Counselling

The famous psychologist, Rollo May, once said that “the purpose of psychotherapy is to set people free.”

At Clarity Psychology, our psychologists seek to work closely with you to find relief from the challenges that are affecting your life. Clients that come to Clarity seeking counselling often share the following reasons for coming in:

  • I feel like I can’t stop worrying and I don’t know what to do about it.
  • I feel sad and down most days and I don’t know why.
  • I don’t seem to enjoy things that I used to really like.
  • I am having a hard time sleeping.
  • My motivation and energy level is lower than I would like and I am struggling to get things done.
  • I am worried about my relationships.
  • I need support with my mental illness.
  • I am struggling as a parent and don’t know what to do.
  • I feel like I have lost sight of what I want to do with my life.
  • I have recently experienced a significant loss and I don’t know how to navigate my feelings around it.
  • I can’t seem to manage my emotions effectively and it’s causing issues in my job / relationships.
  • I am feeling very burnt out.
  • Something feels “off.”

At Clarity Psychology, we have a team of highly trained psychologists to work with an array of challenges that you may be facing. We aim to build a strong relationship with you and develop a personalized approach to your care that is both collaborative and effective. Our hope is that you will feel that your care is compassionate and professional.

 

What is Counselling?

Counselling involves forming a safe and connected relationship with a trained mental health professional (e.g., a Registered Psychologist). The mental health professional utilizes a series of purposeful interventions - often guided dialogue and/or behavioural tasks - to help you achieve your desired outcomes. At Clarity Psychology, our team has completed high quality training in several therapeutic methods from experts around North America.

Counselling clients are typically individuals, couples, or families who are seeking to improve their life, develop new ways of coping with distress, overcome or manage mental health challenges, improve relationships/communication, and/or engage in personal growth and development. At Clarity Psychology, the counselling process is personalized to your unique needs.

The success of counselling is largely dependent on the strength of the relationship between the therapist and the client(s). The interventions used and factors external to therapy (such as relationships in the client’s life, for example) also play a large role. At Clarity Psychology, we encourage you to provide feedback on how counselling is working for you and we endeavour to modify our approach to ensure optimal fit with your needs.

Counselling is confidential in nature and clinicians use research to guide their work. Counselling can be both short or long term, can occur individually or with others (couples counselling / family counselling / group counselling), and is for people of all ages. At Clarity we have a diverse staff team and work with clients across the lifespan. 

The Counselling Process

1. Explore counselling psychologists

A strong relationship between a client and their therapist is one of the most important factors for success in counselling. Take the time to read the biographies of our staff to determine who might be the best fit for you. Make sure that the person is experienced in working with your age group and presenting concern. If you have questions about our clinical team at Clarity, reach out anytime!

2. Book an initial appointment

Once you have selected a psychologist, you can book either a free consultation or your initial session by calling our Office Manager at 587.782.4744. Note: some psychologists require you to complete a free phone consultation prior to booking to ensure fit.

3. Complete intake paperwork

After your initial counselling session has been booked, you will be emailed paperwork to complete before your first appointment. This will help your psychologist understand what is bringing you in for counselling, a bit about your history, and what you are hoping to achieve in counselling. If you aren’t sure, it’s okay to say so!

4. Attend first counselling session

Your first counselling session will be 50 minutes in length and will be either virtual or in person (whatever you prefer). During this time, your psychologist will ask you about what is bringing you in and get to know you better. You and your psychologist will develop a collaborative plan for how counselling will proceed - for everyone this is different and depends on how often you would like to come in and your current concerns that you hope to address.

5. Continue with therapy as determined by you and your psychologist

How you and your psychologist work together will depend largely on your presenting concerns and the style in which your therapist works. You will continue to work with your psychologist until you feel you no longer require counselling. It takes a different number of sessions for each
person to reach this point. You are always welcome to provide feedback to your psychologist around what is and is not working in your sessions. Remember that you are never forced to partake in counselling and that you can always request referrals should you feel like your therapist is not the best fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

When people choose to seek counselling varies. For some, it is when they notice thoughts, feelings, or behaviours that are distressing and hard to make sense of and for others, it is when certain thoughts, feelings, or behaviours are interfering with important areas of their life (e.g., school, work, relationships). Some people also seek counselling to improve their overall functioning, to work towards a specific, defined goal, to improve their relationships, or to heal from past pain. Finally, some people seek counselling to simply have input from a non-biased professional. The Canadian Psychological Association has helpful articles on deciding to see a psychologist and what to expect from a psychologist.

A psychologist has graduate training (a master’s degree and/or a doctorate degree) in counselling or clinical psychology. They are competent to assess for psychological disorders. They often provide intervention through scientifically-validated therapeutic strategies. They cannot prescribe medication.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. They attend medical school and complete their residency in psychiatry following their graduation. They are competent to assess for psychological disorders. They often provide intervention via medication, though some may conduct counselling as well.

Yes! Psychological services can be provided in-person, over the phone, or via video conferencing software. Consistent with the guidelines provided by the College of Alberta Psychologists, telepsychology services (phone or video) can only be provided to clients located in Alberta at the time of the appointment. A confidential and secure connection is required for the appointment and the address of your location must also be provided to the psychologist prior to commencing the session.

No. Unlike many other specialists, you are not required to get a referral from a physician to access counselling. You can self-refer at any time.

Private psychological services are not covered by the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. The Psychologists’ Association of Alberta establishes a recommended fee guide for psychologists. At present, the recommended fee guide is as follows:

  • Individual Counselling - $220.00
  • Couple/Family Counselling - $220.00
  • Group Counselling (per person) - $65.00

Many major private and external insurance providers offer reimbursement for psychological services. You are encouraged to contact your insurance provider to determine coverage information.

Psychologists keep notes of your sessions with them. Notes are written after every session and kept in a secure electronic record management system. Notes are destroyed after 10 years.

Psychologists are ethically bound to keep your information confidential. No information will be communicated, directly or indirectly, to a third party without your informed and written consent, unless required by law.

Exceptions to confidentiality include: if you disclose information indicating that you or someone else is at imminent, serious risk of grave harm or you disclose information that leads to concerns about public safety; if you disclose information indicating that a child (i.e., under the age of 18), or a vulnerable adult, needs to be protected from abuse or neglect of any kind; if you disclose that that a regulated health professional has sexually abused a client or engaged in sexual misconduct; if your file is court ordered by a judge; and, if you report that (a) your psychological condition, in whole or in part, was caused by something that happened at work, AND (b) your psychological symptoms have caused you to be off work for more than a day, causes you to be unable to perform your regular working duties, or are likely to.

In a first session, you can expect to discuss the therapeutic process and review consent, explore the main reasons you are coming in for counselling, discuss relevant history, establish goals / desired outcomes for counselling or discuss what your priorities are for counselling, and discuss possible treatment options. You and your psychologist will then book follow-up appointments for mutually agreeable times.

Counselling sessions are 50 minutes in length. Occasionally, counselling sessions can be booked for 80 or 110 minutes, depending on unique treatment considerations.

You are always encouraged to voice your concerns to your psychologist if you are unhappy with any aspect of your experience in counselling. If you are concerned about the conduct of your psychologist and/or feel that a psychologist may have engaged in an ethical violation, you are encouraged to bring your concerns to the College of Alberta Psychologists.

It is very important that you feel a strong fit with your psychologist. Take the time to read the biographies of psychologists whom you are considering working with to determine if their style and approach feels like a good match. Explore whether their training fits the concerns you are wanting to address in counselling. And, don’t be scared to try working with someone new if you don’t feel like you have found the right person for you! Finding the right psychologist can take time.

At Clarity Psychology, we are following the direction of our professional college (College of Alberta Psychologists), as well as provincial guidelines. As such, we no longer require masking, although this is also a personal choice, and we will oblige if you prefer practitioners to wear a mask during your session. We kindly ask that, if you are feeling ill or are actively symptomatic, you contact our office to reschedule your appointment or request the session to be virtual.