What is Therapy?
- Therapy is a partnership where the psychologist helps you better
understand and solve your problems.
- Therapy can provide the opportunity for you to talk openly and
confidentially about your concerns and feelings.
What is a Psychologist?
- A Psychologist is a professional trained to assess, diagnose,
and treat problems. Psychologists are trained to understand behaviours,
thoughts, and feelings and to help individuals develop new patterns
of behaving, thinking and feeling.
- Psychologists may have special areas of interest such as dealing
with issues of abuse, health problems, or grief. Psychologists
may specialize in working with children, adults, families, or
- In Nova Scotia, the profession of psychology is regulated by
the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology (NSBEP). To be
registered, a psychologist must have a graduate (Masters or Doctoral)
degree, a period of supervised work experience, and pass professional
examinations. A psychologist must also adhere to professional
practice guidelines and ethical principles. The registration status
of a psychologist may be determined by contacting NSBEP at (902)
3. Where do I
find a Psychologist?
Psychologists may be found in:
- Private Practice. (Usually available to everyone.)
- Counseling Centres at Universities and Colleges. (Usually available
only to students.)
- Community Mental Health Centres. (Usually available to everyone.)
- Hospitals and Health Care Centres. (Often limited to certain
types of referred patients.)
- Family and Child Guidance Centres. (Usually available to children
and their families.)
- Other settings such as schools, police forces, the military
(Note: In some cases, you may require a referral from a physician
or mental health care worker.)
How do I find a psychologist?
- Ask your family physician or other health care worker.
- Talk to friends and family.
- Call your provincial psychological association (APNS).
- Contact your local community mental health centre, hospital,
health care centre and family and child guidance centre.
- Inquire at your church, temple or synagogue.
- Consult your local yellow pages under "Psychologist".
- Ask at the counseling centre of your local college or university.
5. What should I
consider when making a choice?
It is important that you and your psychologist work well together.
You need to feel comfortable, respected, and understood. As well,
you should feel that you can trust the psychologist and be honest
with him or her. The following questions may be useful when you
first contact a psychologist:
- Are you a registered psychologist?
- What kind of experience do you have in helping people with .
. . my problem?
- Do you have experience working with ... (e.g. children, couples,
- What will happen during our sessions?
- How long is a therapy session? How many sessions will there
- What is your policy about privacy and sharing information with
my family physician, school, or place of work?
- Is there a fee for your services?
Usually, there is no charge to you for seeing a psychologist through
a hospital or community mental health clinic. However, provincial
health care programs do not cover the services of psychologists
working in private practice. If you see a psychologist in private
practice, you will be charged for their services.
When seeing a psychologist privately, you have more choice over
whom you can see and the waiting periods are generally shorter.
If possible, you may wish to speak to several psychologists before
making a decision. If there are fees, you may wish to ask the following
- What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a 45-minute
to 50-minute session.)
- Will I have to pay PST? GST?
- Do you use a sliding-fee scale? Please explain how it works.
- Will I be charged if I miss a session?
- How do you bill for services?
- What types of insurance do you accept?
- Will my insurance cover your services?
- Do you bill my insurance company directly?
6. Who pays for
- Hospitals and Community Mental Health Centres
- Services are provided through government funding and are usually
available at no cost to you.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) - Many
companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to help employees
with emotional and other problems. You may be able to see a psychologist
or other mental health specialist through your EAP. Contact your
supervisor or personnel department to see if this is possible.
- Private Insurance - Many people are covered
by a supplementary health care plan through their employer, in
addition to MSI. Many supplementary health care plans pay a portion
of the costs of seeing a private psychologist. Talk to your insurance
carrier or employer to see if you are eligible.
- The Consumer - Clients may pay directly for
psychological services. Psychologists may use a "sliding
fee" scale, where your income will help to determine your