The Process – How does this work?
If you are interested in exploring therapy with Woods Psychological Services then you can begin by making contact with Ron by email, via the Contact form, or by phone. Please contact Ron to ensure he is accepting new clients. When Ron receives your email, someone from Woods Psychological will contact you in approximately 2 business days to discuss your needs, goals, and concerns that are bringing you to therapy. If the match between therapist and client seem to be agreeable to both then an appointment can be scheduled together and an intake form will be sent to be filled out and brought back for the first session. If the match between therapist, client, and presenting problem are not ideal then efforts will be made to find another suitable therapist. It is recommended that the first session be longer than the typical 1 hour (50-minute) session and that at least a 1.5 hr session be scheduled. This is because there is usually so much material to cover that a person often leaves feeling disappointed that they did not accomplish as much as they had hoped. For couples, Ron is utilizing the PACT couples approach which begins with a very thorough first session which is recommended to be 2.5 to 3 hours for the first session. I am flexible with this so please discuss this with me before scheduling.
If clients prefer, Ron can book sessions for clients in person, or over the phone. If session times are not quite what someone is looking for they can send Ron an email and he can determine if he can adjust his schedule in order to accommodate times that work for you. For example, if someone prefers to have a lunch-hour session but no times are available, send an email, and he will do his best to accommodate those times.
Please Note: Former clients of Ron’s do not need an initial phone consult and can schedule as they wish on the website. However, they will need to fill out a new intake form.
Length of Sessions and Fees
A therapy “hour” is typically 50 minutes in length, however, some clients may commute from out of town or wish to cover more material in one session and prefer to schedule a longer session. If you would like a longer session, such as 1.5 “hours” (which is technically 75 mins) or a 2 “hour” session (which is technically 100 minutes), then an individual can schedule 2 hours on the calendar and email Ron with how long you would like the appointment to be.
As of 2018, the Psychologists Association of Alberta’s recommended fee schedule was set at $200/hour for individual, couples and family sessions. Woods Psychological charges a regular rate that is congruent with these suggested rates. Sessions are paid for at the time of the session. Woods Psychological accepts Cash, Debit, and all major Credit Cards. If clients cancel with less than 24 hours notice or don’t show up for a session they will be charged the full rate for the missed session. We understand that this can be difficult for anyone to accept, as no one like to pay a fee, however, please understand that by canceling last minute, other people are missing out on an opportunity to attend sessions and there is a significant loss in revenue. If it is a matter of forgetting or transportation issues, we will do whatever we can to have a session so the time and money can be ideally spent on therapy, as was arranged when the session was booked. This means that if you cannot make it to your session but have access to Skype or your phone, we will gladly utilize that time and proceed with a session.
Is this covered by Alberta Health Care or my benefits plan?
Alberta Health Care does not cover psychotherapy, however, it is a write-off at tax time, which is something I recommend you speak to your accountant about. Most major employee assistance benefit companies will accept your receipt with their claim form as long as the psychologist is recognized by the College of Alberta Psychologists (as Ron is a Registered Psychologist this should not be a problem). If you are unsure, you can phone your insurance company first to see if the services are covered. Unfortunately, Woods Psychological Services will be unable to provide direct billing so clients will need to submit their own receipts for reimbursement.
So what does therapy look like?
Hollywood presents many different versions of therapy, most of which look nothing like real psychotherapy. I view therapy as a collaborative process where client and therapist work together, utilizing the client’s strengths to accomplish the goals of the client. The potentially deeper work of therapy is the relational aspect where the therapeutic relationship itself is bringing about many changes, not only in the patient’s personal life but also in the patient’s brain and mind. Many are quite uncomfortable coming in for therapy the first few times, but this gets easier as trust grows in the therapy process. It also helps when clients are encouraged to express their concerns, doubts, and questions throughout therapy because the process of therapy is often about finding one’s own voice. One important part of therapy to be aware of is the nature of the relationship means that there will be times when you may have some objections, concerns, and maybe even strong feelings about something that occurred in therapy. This is a normal part of therapy that can potentially sabotage the work, where the patient will “ghost” the therapist and lose out on what could have been a turning point in the patient’s life, or where the potential “rupture” will be worked through and growth can occur. These moments are a regular part of therapy and it is important to understand this is the place to return and push through and work things out. If there is a misunderstanding in therapy that cannot be mended then I will do my best to find a suitable referral for you. It takes a great deal of courage to pursue therapy, and more courage to push through therapeutic ruptures. Therefore if something bothered, confused or even offended you in therapy, please know it is entirely okay to talk to me about it.
How long will it take?
The length of therapy can vary tremendously. One factor is the therapeutic approach (model) of the therapist, which can make a significant difference in time spent in therapy. Another factor is the nature and severity of issues the client wishes to address. For some 4-6 sessions can be enough, but, in my experience, this is the exception rather than the rule. For others, it may take regular (perhaps weekly) sessions for an extended period of time (perhaps over a year). This is impossible to determine without having a couple of sessions to determine the nature of the problems, and goals for therapy.
A good thing to remember is that although our society is very fast-paced and used to quick results, the problems that often bring someone to therapy have often developed over years, if not decades, and it will, therefore, take some time to effectively work through them. People who are willing to do work outside of sessions will also progress much quicker than those who come weekly but do nothing between sessions. How long therapy takes is, to a large part, up to the client.