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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a prescription or referral from my doctor to see a Registered Psychologist or Mental Health Therapist?

While you do not need a prescription or referral from your doctor to begin therapy with a Psychologist/Therapist, you may need one to obtain reimbursement from your health insurance policy. Most insurance plans do not require a referral from your doctor but some do. It is always best to check your extended health benefits plan first. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, contact your human resources department or your plan.

Does Fresh Hope Counselling offer direct billing with extended health care providers like Blue Cross, Great West etc.?

Yes but it depends on who your insurance provider is. Fresh Hope Counselling is now able to direct bill with Alberta Blue Cross, Green Shield Canada, Great West Life, Wawanesa, Cooperators and Chamber of Commerce plans. If you have other extended health benefits, you will have to pay for your therapy session in full and submit the receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Does Alberta Health Care cover sessions with a Registered Psychologist or Mental Health Therapist?

Unfortunately, Alberta Health Care does not cover sessions at this point in time.

Can I choose the Registered Psychologist I want to consult?

Most, if not all, health insurance companies allow you to choose which Psychologist you receive services from. Some may have limitations on how much the Psychologist can charge (or the maximum the insurance company will reimburse) but allow you the freedom in choosing the best Psychologist for you. As policies can change at any time it is always best to contact your insurance company first.

How long is a normal counselling session?

Although most clinics charge for a ’50 minute’ hour, at Fresh Hope Counselling we still believe that an hour is an hour and try to make counselling sessions as close to 60 minutes as possible. For the initial session, if it is at all possible, we highly recommend that you come for a 90 minute session (prorated accordingly) to enable a more thorough intake and initial assessment.

Are you able to estimate the number of sessions I will need?

Even with all the experience we have, it is impossible to be sure how many sessions it will take for someone to get better or deal with their presenting problem/issues. One thing we do know is if the client is motivated and takes an active role in the healing process, it likely will take less time for therapy.

Are there Income Tax Deductions for Psychologist Expenses?

Yes! All fees incurred from a consultation or therapy session with a psychologist or therapist are a legitimate medical expense that can be deducted from your taxable income. You can claim the actual cost of your therapy session less any amount paid by insurance/benefit plans.

I’ve never been to counselling before. Is there anything I have to do to prepare?

If you’ve never been for counselling don’t worry! Counselling is a great way to improve your quality of life, learn skills and heal or find freedom from life’s many struggles. After contacting Fresh Hope Counselling, Marla, our Administrative Assistant, or Glenn, our Office Administrator, will send out the intake forms and a client/therapist contract for you to sign (it outlines the legal dynamics including what you can expect from the counselling, confidentiality, fees, and our cancellation policy). If you can fill out the forms and return them to the office prior to your appointment it will allow the Counsellor to read through your forms prior to the session.

In order to get the most from your session, a good way to prepare yourself is simply to come with an intention to be open, honest and willing. The Counsellor will do her best to make you feel at ease and help you share what the presenting problems are that you want to work on. The greatest predictor of success in therapy is the connection between Therapist and Client.