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Frequently asked questions Therapy Alberta

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does therapy help me?
    Therapy offers you the opportunity to connect with a compassionate person who accepts and doesn’t judge you so you can build a safe relationship and space to explore your wants and needs. Going to therapy doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. Therapy can help you understand what you are experiencing, why it's happening, and support you to form new patterns.
  • What does therapy help with?
    Anything you’re struggling with at home, school, work, or in relationships. Some people attend therapy for adhd, anxiety, conflict, depression, dissociation, grief, growth, identity, motor vehicle accidents, pain, stress, substance use, and trauma. Therapy can help you improve your mental, emotional, physical, and relational health. You can read more about our specialties here.
  • Who do you help?
    We help everyone in Alberta, and all are welcome. We serve individuals, couples, families, youth, and adults. Our therapists are inclusive of marginalized groups, rural communities, BIPOC and 2SLGTBQIA+ communities.
  • What is your approach to therapy?
    Each therapist has a unique process of building a relationship and helping you. At Therapy Alberta, we know you have different experiences, preferences and needs so we draw on many types of therapy including attachment theory, cognitive, emotion-focused, mindfulness, relational, and somatic. All our approaches to therapy are trauma-informed. You can read more about our approaches here.
  • What is somatic therapy?
    Somatic therapy embraces a whole-person approach to healing and focuses on the relationship between mind and body. Negative experiences affect both your mental and physical self and your nervous system, which controls your breath, digestion, and heart. Somatic therapists incorporate both talk therapy (mind down) and body therapy (body up) to help you understand what your body and mind are doing and why, how to regulate, and how to change.
  • Why do you offer exclusively online therapy?
    Because then you can connect to a therapist anywhere in the province. The best therapist to meet your needs might live in a different area. Online services with a licensed and regulated professional are covered by insurance the same as in-person therapy. By focusing only on virtual services, we can commit to providing the highest quality support for all people anywhere in Alberta, especially in areas where therapy may not be readily available. Online therapy provides benefits such as convenience, flexibility, privacy, saved time, and continuity of care. Some people even find it easier and more comfortable - there's no commute, waiting room, or bumping into others. You are familiar with your environment, and have all your favorite comforts within reach.
  • Is online therapy effective?
    Yes, research shows online therapy is as or more effective than in-person therapy. Online therapy can increase privacy, ease, and access. Though they do miss some visual cues, online therapists can tune in to the many available verbal, non-verbal, and sensory cues to help inform their work and can still build great relationships even when they can't see all of you. With online therapy, you can connect to a therapist anywhere in the province. The best therapist to meet your needs might live in a different area. Virtual services with a licensed and regulated professional are covered by insurance the same as in-person. You may even find it's easier to connect online. There's no commute, waiting room, or bumping into others. You are familiar with your environment and have all your favorite comforts within reach. All you need for a video session is a phone or device with internet, and a quiet place to talk.
  • What do I need to do online therapy?
    It is important for you to have a quiet, private place to participate in your sessions. Some people choose their bedroom, office, car, or a friend's place. If there are others in the same home, headphones, fans, white noise, and music can help increase your privacy. Access to the internet and a computer, smartphone, or tablet that is capable of connecting to the internet are the only requirements for a video session. You can also choose to have phone sessions.
  • Is therapy different from counselling?
    Mostly, the words are used interchangeably. In Alberta, only psychology & psychological services are regulated words. Sometimes therapy refers to long-term more in-depth work, while counselling refers to short-term solution-focused work. Referring to ourselves as therapists allows us to capture multiple roles, including psychologists, social workers, and counsellors, but you'll see both words for ease of understanding.
  • Who are your therapists?
    We are a diverse, inclusive, and socially conscious team of Alberta therapists. We are growing to include psychologists, social workers, and certified canadian counsellors.
  • What is a psychologist?
    A psychologist is a trained health professional who completed undergraduate psychology courses, obtained a counselling or psychology Master’s or PhD degree, and specialized in research, assessment, clinical therapy, or other areas. Psychologists are regulated by the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP). Clinical or counselling psychologists can offer assessments, diagnoses, and treatments for mental health concerns provided they are trained and competent in each area. ‘Psychologist’ is a protected title in Alberta, so only professionals who register with the provincial regulating body can call themselves a psychologist. You can find more information about CAP here.
  • What’s the difference between a Registered Psychologist and a Registered Provisional Psychologist?
    A Registered Psychologist has been approved after a thorough entry process by the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) as a fully qualified and independent licensed professional. A Registered Provisional Psychologist is a psychologist who is qualified to become independent when they complete all CAP requirements.
  • What is the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta?
    The Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA) is the voice of, and for, psychology in Alberta. They are the voluntary body that advocates for psychology in Alberta, informs the public and the media, and advocates for consumers of psychotherapy, psychological, and mental health services. Psychologists can choose to join PAA. You can find more information about PAA here.
  • What is a Social Worker?
    A social worker is a trained health professional who completed a degree or diploma in social work. A registered social worker (RSW) obtained a Master’s degree and specialized in social policy, community development, health promotion, research, or therapy. Social workers are regulated by the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW). When a social worker specializes in therapy, they receive a Masters of Counselling just like a psychologist. A registered clinical social worker (RCSW) has an advanced standing in counselling social work practice. You can find more information about ACSW here.
  • What is a Certified Canadian Counsellor?
    A certified canadian counsellor (CCC) is a trained health professional who completed a degree and a Masters of Counselling. CCCs are regulated by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). The CCPA includes recognition of standards of professional preparation, continuing education, and a formal code of ethics. As a non-statutory self-regulating body, CCPA provides advice and discipline for members on matters of professional conduct. You can find more information about CCPA here.
  • What is a psychiatrist?
    A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, whereas psychologists cannot. Psychiatrists are regulated by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA). You can find more information about CPSA here.
  • Can I tell my therapist anything?
    Yes. If you want to, and if you’re ready. You don’t have to tell your therapist anything you don’t want to. You can say as little or as much as you want. At any time, you have the right to say yes, no, pass, I don’t know, not right now, pause, wait, or stop. Sometimes it’s better to wait to share something until you feel you can trust your therapist and have a safe relationship.
  • Should I tell my therapist everything?
    Only what you feel comfortable sharing. Therapy is not automatically safe. Your therapist is not automatically a safe person. You can take your time getting to know them and seeing how they react to what you say and do. Trust takes time to build. Sometimes it’s better to wait to say certain things until you feel you can trust your therapist and have a good relationship. It can be hard to share your personal experience no matter how safe you feel, but your therapist is there to help you and will try to make it as easy as possible for you.
  • Do we have to talk about the past?
    Only if you want to. Your therapist might ask about your history to help them better understand you and your experiences. Some therapists focus on the root causes of your concerns, so if you choose this approach, you’ll spend time working with past memories, relationships, and beliefs. Many approaches to therapy focus on the present and future if you prefer.
  • Do I have to tell my story again?
    Only if you want to. Some people feel it is important to tell their story as part of their healing. Your therapist doesn’t need to know your whole story to help you. Some approaches to therapy using the body or art don’t need you to tell your story at all.
  • Will my therapist tell anyone what we talk about?
    What you talk about in counselling is kept private and confidential and is only released with your written consent. The exceptions to this include if your therapist is: concerned there is an imminent risk to your safety or the safety of another person or animal. concerned a child or vulnerable adult is in danger of or is being harmed or neglected. subpoenaed or court ordered to provide information as part of a legal proceeding.
  • How do I choose a therapist?
    The relationship with your therapist is the biggest contributor to change in therapy. You want to find a therapist who is qualified, knowledgeable, relatable, and feels like a good fit for you. You can choose a therapist based on the concerns they specialize in (eg. anxiety, discrimination, self-esteem, trauma), their approaches to therapy (cognitive, emotional, somatic, edmr), their education, their experiences, or their identities. You might want to find someone with a shared experience and identify, or a different perspective. If you are open to online therapy, you can choose a therapist across the province instead of just in your own area. You can read a therapist’s profile, email them, and book a free phone or video consultation to get to know them better. Find someone who communicates in a way you feel understood. If you are interested in connecting with a therapist on our team, you can find our profiles here.
  • What is a consultation?
    If you are interested in booking with one of our therapists, we offer a free 15-minute phone or video consultation so you can meet the therapist, ask questions, and see if it feels like a good fit. You want to feel like you could connect with this person and work together. It also gives the therapist a chance to ask you questions and ensure your schedules align and that they will be able to help you.
  • How do I book a session?
    You can book online here through our Jane platform, you can submit a contact form on the website here, you can email the administrative assistant at, or call us at 403-713-0163. You can also email a therapist directly from the emails listed on the Jane platform.
  • What is informed consent?
    Informed consent is the process of giving a client the information they need to make a decision about continuing therapy. You’ll read the form on Jane (thoroughly please!), sign, and discuss really important topics in your first session. Your therapist will make sure you understand: a) who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much (logistics); b) what to know and look out for (privacy); c) notes and secrets (confidentiality); d) what you can do and must do (rights and responsibilities); e) what to do and not to do (boundaries); f) how to keep you healthy (safety); and g) who to complain to (concerns).
  • What happens in the first session?
    You click a link to join a video call at the session time. Your therapist starts the call and you both awkwardly enter the virtual room, greet each other, see a smiling face, and meet. You ask questions, you answer questions. You have a really important discussion with your therapist about informed consent (see below). You try to help them understand who you are, what’s happening now, and what you’re hoping for. You imagine a different future, set destinations, and sketch a map for your journey together. If your therapist seems like a good guide, you agree to meet again. If you’re not sure or it doesn’t feel right, that’s okay. Going to therapy can be hard! You have choices. You can meet them again, you can ask for another therapist here, or we’ll help you find another therapist that might be better for you.
  • What happens in a typical session?
    You click a link to join a video call at the session time. You enter the virtual room less awkwardly, greet each other, and the rest is up to you and your therapist! You can talk about what’s hard and what’s good. You can focus on the body and mind. You can explore sensations, emotions, thoughts, or behaviors. You can practice building a healthy relationship with yourself and others. You navigate the past, present, or future and take steps together.
  • How long and how often do we meet?
    Sessions can be 50 minutes, 75 minutes or 100 minutes for more intensive work. You and your therapist will determine the most appropriate time for your concerns. How often you attend sessions will depend on your concerns and needs, but usually you meet weekly or bi-weekly, ideally at the same time and day for consistency. Often you meet more frequently at the start as you build a therapeutic relationship with your counsellor, and can space them out if you need more time between sessions.
  • When are sessions?
    Sessions can be booked to suit your availability and your therapist's schedule. We offer appointments during the day time, some evenings and some Saturdays.
  • Do I have to do homework?
    The answer is up to you and your therapist! Do you want to do homework? Some people like homework, and some people don’t. Some therapists assign homework, others don’t. Some therapists ask you to notice something, practice something, or think about something. Sometimes the work you do in a session is enough that all you need to do between sessions is take gentle care of yourself. If your therapist gives you something to do and you don’t do it, talk with them about what got in the way, and what you would like to do instead. If they don’t give you anything, and between sessions you wish you had homework, tell them that too! A client-centered therapist will individualize their approach to your needs and preferences, so together you can figure out what works best for you!
  • How do I change therapists?
    If you wish to change to another therapist, you may discuss this with your therapist. If you are uncomfortable doing so, you may reach out to us here. We would be happy to match you with another therapist if one is available within Therapy Alberta or suggest an alternative therapist.
  • What if my therapist leaves?
    If your therapist chooses to leave Therapy Alberta, they will give you notice and you have a few options. You can follow them, continue with another therapist at Therapy Alberta, receive referrals for another therapist outside of Therapy Alberta, or finish therapy before they leave.
  • How do I know if therapy is helping?
    Sometimes it’s easy to see how therapy is helping. You might start feeling better, thinking more clearly, feeling hopeful, or making changes. It all depends what goals you set with your therapist, and what you are focusing on. Your relationships might improve, you may feel more confident, you might be more in control of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sometimes it’s harder to see the progress. If you are working on past trauma, it can take a while just to start to feel comfortable with your therapist. Maybe the first progress you see will be that you build a better relationship with your therapist, gain new understanding of your patterns, or you start to notice your emotions and your body.
  • What if I don’t think therapy is helping?
    Sometimes therapy doesn’t help, if it’s not a good fit or you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist, or it’s not the right approach or technique. You can share with your therapist if you do not feel therapy is helping. You can discuss where you feel stuck, or maybe try a new strategy. If you aren’t yet, you might need to attend weekly to see progress in the beginning. You can also experiment with the day, time, or location, in case one of those factors is getting in the way. If you don’t think your current therapist can help you, it’s okay to change therapists too. You can ask your therapist for a referral, or contact the admin here.
  • What if I’m unsatisfied with my therapist?
    Sometimes you might have concerns based on something your therapist said or did, or how you feel during or after therapy. If it feels safe, you are encouraged to discuss any feedback or concerns with your therapist. They want to help you in a way that works for you. Let your therapist know what’s going on for you - they will remain calm and listen carefully to your concerns and acknowledge your perspective. They will offer an apology and discuss how they can repair the relationship rupture. You might decide you can continue with them, or you might decide it’s not a good fit and you would like to transfer to a different therapist. You can ask for a different therapist at Therapy Alberta, or you can ask for referrals to outside therapists. If you don’t feel safe talking to your therapist, or you are still unsatisfied, you can contact us here.
  • I’ve already tried therapy and it didn’t help, why should I try again?
    Because it’s worth finding the right kind of help that works for you. You can talk about your previous counselling experiences with your new therapist, and they can learn what you liked, didn’t like, and what you want done differently this time. A good therapist will work with you to better meet your needs, and check in so they know it’s helping. We’ve had bad experiences too - sometimes it’s not the right approach, not a good fit, the therapist did something hurtful, or they lacked skills, knowledge, or sensitivity. We want to help in a way that works for you, where you feel comfortable and trusting. In your session, you will be treated with respect and dignity. Our therapists are trauma-informed and never want to hurt you.
  • Can therapy be harmful?
    Yes, if therapy is done too fast, too soon, too much - it can be harmful. You might have had a bad experience in therapy, or heard about someone else's. We prioritize the therapeutic relationship - making sure you are heard, respected, and treated with dignity throughout the process. Therapy can certainly be difficult, and bring up uncomfortable feelings or adverse reactions. Sometimes if a therapist takes you into trauma before your body is ready, it can make things worse. We make sure to support you at each step and guide the process carefully, and act from a trauma-informed lens to reduce the likelihood of causing harm in therapy.
  • What does it mean to be a trauma-informed therapist?
    Trauma-informed therapists understand the impact of negative experiences on a person’s body and mind. They recognize your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are the ways you have learned to cope with stress and trauma. They know how to facilitate recovery, and practice in a way that reduces the likelihood of causing further harm. Trauma-informed therapists provide safety and choice at every step of the process and prioritize building a secure therapeutic relationship - the basis for healing.
  • How do I change therapists?
    If you wish to change to another therapist, you may discuss this with your therapist. If you are uncomfortable doing so, you may reach out to us here. We would be happy to match you with another therapist if one is available within Therapy Alberta or suggest an alternative therapist.
  • What if a past therapist has done something inappropriate to me?
    Therapists are bound by provincial ethical and legal obligations to not harm clients. If you have experienced something inappropriate, we know it can be really hard to talk about. You can bring it up with a new therapist to help you decide how to proceed. You are encouraged to bring forward a complaint to the appropriate professional body. If you need support, you can contact us on our website here.
  • What if I need more help?
    If you need additional support, discuss this with your therapist, who will be able to suggest alternatives. You are encouraged to supplement your therapy with other activities and other health professionals. You may find benefits from support groups, clubs, sports, physical activities, spiritual resources, and other health services including massage, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, naturopath, and more. If you or your therapist think you could benefit from in-person services, or a combination of both in-person and online, they can help you find appropriate care.
  • What are the fees for therapy?
    Our fees are set within the guidelines of each therapist’s professional body. Psychologists generally charge $200 per therapeutic hour, which includes a 50 minute session and 10 minutes for notes and file review. You can find each therapist's fees on their booking page here. We offer 50-minute, 75-minute, and 100-minute sessions. We direct bill most insurance; if direct billing is not an option for you, payments are due same day, and receipts are provided for reimbursement with your insurance or health spending account, or for therapy with a psychologist or social worker, to claim as a medical expense on your taxes.
  • How do I pay for therapy?
    You can pay for therapy out of pocket or through your health benefit insurance. Fees are payable via e-transfer to your therapist on the same day as your appointment, or with prior arrangement, via direct billing to your insurance company. You can read about paying for therapy with insurance here.
  • Do you offer a sliding scale or reduced fees?
    Yes, our therapists offer a sliding scale fee based on your household income and ability to pay. If you need a reduced fee, please discuss this with the therapist you are interested in seeing.
  • What if I can’t afford therapy?
    There are many agencies across Alberta that offer free and affordable therapy with government funding and private donations. You can read about these resources here.
  • What if I need to cancel a session?
    Therapy Alberta has a 24 hour cancellation policy, barring exceptional circumstances (emergencies). If you need to cancel your session, you can cancel your appointments in your client profile in Jane, or you can contact your therapist directly by email. If you cancel an appointment with less than 24 hours notice, you will still need to pay the full session fee. You can set up appointment reminders in Jane to come 48 hours before your session, so you’ll always have enough notice to cancel.
  • What if I need to reschedule a session?
    If you need to reschedule your session, you can cancel and reschedule your appointments in your client profile in Jane, or you can contact your therapist directly by email. If you reschedule an appointment with less than 24 hours notice, you will still need to pay the full session fee. You can set up appointment reminders in Jane to come 48 hours before your session, so you’ll always have enough notice to reschedule.
  • What if I am running late or I’m struggling to connect?
    If you’re just running a few minutes late or know you’ll be late, you can email your therapist so they don’t worry when they’re waiting. Sometimes people are ready to connect but are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. You can join your call without video and just talk, or you can join and just chat - they’ll help you settle. You can also email your therapist and let them know what’s going on, and they might switch to a phone appointment for you.
  • What if I miss a session?
    If you miss your session, barring exceptional circumstances (emergencies), you will still pay the full session fee, which is not covered by insurance. Once you pay the fee, you can reschedule with your therapist, or see them at your next scheduled time.
  • Can I contact my therapist between sessions?
    You can contact your therapist between sessions with respect to questions, booking, or changing your appointments. If you need to speak with your therapist for therapeutic reasons, it is best to book or request an appointment.
  • Can I be friends with my therapist after I finish?
    No, you and your therapist cannot become friends during or after your therapy. Ethical standards for therapists prohibit friendships with clients or past clients.
  • Can I add my therapist on social media?
    Please do not add your therapist to your social media. Social media presents challenges for maintaining anonymity and professional boundaries. We will not ask you to like or follow our pages and we will not like or follow yours. Please read our social media policy here.
  • Sometimes I have thoughts of suicide or self harm, should I tell my therapist?
    Yes, when you trust them. It can be really hard to talk about suicidal thoughts, and often people are afraid their therapist will automatically contact emergency services. We do not advocate for non consensual intervention or hospitalization - these usually increase suicidality. We want to help keep you safe in a dignified manner and will only bring in more support when you cannot keep yourself safe. More than 10% of Canadians have thought of sucide - there is nothing wrong with you. You are not broken. Suicidal thoughts affect people across all age groups and identities, and are common if you live with depression and anxiety, identify as male, or are part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. When you tell a safe professional, they can help you understand and normalize your experience, collaboratively create a crisis and safety plan, decrease suicidal ideation and attempts - all in the context of a safe therapeutic relationship where you experience respect, dignity, empowerment, and hope.
  • How can I keep myself safe?
    If you already have a therapist, ask them to do a safety plan with you if you don’t have one yet. You can keep yourself safe when you are alone by engaging in activities you enjoy or that keep you busy or distracted (music, tv, phone, outside, pets, hobbies). If you don’t feel safe alone, but aren’t ready to talk, call a friend or family member who can help distract you, just by talking or going out or doing something fun. If you need more help, contact someone in your life who you would feel comfortable telling that you are struggling. Let them know what they could do to help, whether it’s listening, helping you with your safety plan, or visiting you. If you don’t want to tell anyone in your life yet, call or text or chat with an anonymous distress line to speak with a trained peer volunteer or counsellor who can help you create a safety plan or implement yours. You can find free resources here. If you have a therapist, contact them and they’ll respond when they get your message. If you have access to the means to harm or kill yourself, tell someone who can take them for now or bring you somewhere safe away from them. If you feel you cannot keep yourself safe, ask for a mobile response unit or PACT team to come to you or have someone take you to the emergency room.
  • Who do I call if I’m (or someone I know is) in crisis or distress?
    There are many free, anonymous resources available in Alberta and Canada to help if you are in crisis or distress, including: Calgary Distress Centre - 403 266 4357 Edmonton Distress Line - 780 482 4357 Mental Health Helpline - 1 877 303 2642 Crisis Text Line - Text CONNECT to 741741 Kids Help Phone - 1 800 668 6868 (chat); Phone (24 hours): 403 264 8336; Text: 587 333 2724 Alberta Helpline - 211 211 Alberta Health Link - 811 Health Link 811 Family Violence Info Line - 310 1818 Talk Suicide Canada - 1 833 456 4566 You can find many more services here.
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