Frequently Asked Questions
Sessions lengths differ by what we are working to accomplish. For example, an intake session in which we are going to talk about your situation, complete some assessment inventories, and initiate a treatment plan to match your needs, can take 1.5 hours. If a breastfeeding newborn infant attends the session with her mother, baby care can also extend that session to 1.5 hours. Typically, once we have initiated treatment, a session will be one hour in length.
In a typical session, we do a check in to see how any skills learned in the last session have been helping in the real world, and we consider ways in which new developments in your life are impacting your wellbeing. We then attend to our treatment goals through insight-oriented solution-focussed discussion or via techniques such as EMDR (a traumatic stress recovery technique), relaxation visualization, or other support methods designed to help you thrive.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, with years of additional training and board certification in the medicine of mental health. Typically, psychiatrists work to initiate and manage prescription medication in order to alleviate the symptoms of disturbances to mental health.
A psychologist is a graduate-level mental health specialist, who may work in tandem with your psychiatrist or as your primary mental health care provider. In Alberta, psychologists are regulated health professionals under the Health Professions Act, and are trained to diagnose and treat mental health functioning.
All sessions are confidential, meaning that what is discussed and even the fact that you are participating in psychotherapy remains between you and me. Certain exceptions require confidentiality to be broken: a credible threat of suicide, the threat of homicide or significant harm to another, suspected child abuse or neglect, and responding to a specific court order are all situations in which a report is mandated by law.
My fees are not covered by Alberta Health Services. Typically, however, clients who have supplemental insurance through carriers such as Blue Cross, Greenshield, and similar providers, will qualify to have their payments to me reimbursed under these plans. Since contracts between insurance companies and employers or umbrella organizations (such as AMA) can vary widely, you will be well served by checking in advance with your carrier.
I prefer to have 48-hours’ notice of a cancelled appointment, so that I can offer that appointment time to someone else as it becomes available. I do not like to make new mothers wait a long while for an appointment, once they find the courage to reach out. Because I work a great deal with parents of very young children, I do realize that children rarely let you know two days in advance that they “feel a cold coming on.” Do your best. If the situation repeats on a consistent basis, we will have a conversation and a charge for the time may be initiated, with notice.
My per-session fee is $170. I do not charge more for longer sessions. I am also available between sessions at no charge for five-minute check in calls or emails. I work with folks in a very vulnerable life phase and want to be sure that you are able to appropriately apply the skills and techniques that we have discussed.
No, you do not. While doctors, doulas, and others often do refer the people they support to me, no referral is necessary to make an appointment.
No, there is no form for you to prepare in advance of your session. I will discuss with you an informed consent document, outlining the ways in which I work and reviewing the parameters of confidentiality. I will also likely discuss an assessment inventory with you to determine whether anxiety, depression, postnatal mood or stress symptoms are impacting your life. I will typically prepare a report for you and, with a signed release, will also share this assessment and our treatment plan with a family member, care provider, or support person.
Dress comfortably, arrive in good time so that you do not feel stressed by the commute, and be ready to learn!
Yes! I work with all of these units either consistently throughout treatment, or on an “as you would benefit” basis. For instance, it is a very common experience to begin care with an individual, and then realize that she would like her partner to participate in identifying a treatment plan, understanding insights, and/or understanding changes that would benefit family dynamics going forward.
Yes, we have two hours’ free parking in a large lot that is immediately adjacent to our building. You will, however, need to accurately enter your license number into a machine that tracks cars parked in this lot, as we share parking with a college that requires permitted parking for their students.
I am available evenings, however, not typically on weekends as I have family obligations (and privileges!) that take me away from my office on those days.
I accept credit cards, debit cards, and cash payments.
As my fees are already below those recommended by the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta, I do not offer a sliding scale per se. I can, however, refer those needing such services to outstanding opportunities within Calgary to engage with services for clients with limited means.
Absolutely! I often speak on such topics of “When Survivors Give Birth,” based on my certification with Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus and their book of the same name. I have also given many talks at conferences and to community groups on topics such as early parenting, infant and pregnancy loss, the 14th Moon (menopause), and similar issues important to women and new families. I have spoken at professional conferences about the ways in which accrued stress and even traumatic stress impacts care choices, and I have presented in several university settings about the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders manifesting within the perinatal period.