FAQs About Counselling with Jessica

Q: What is psychotherapy?

A: Psychotherapy is the process of working with a qualified mental health professional, like myself, to talk about the hardships and concerns in your life. As your psychotherapist, I will spend every session giving you a confidential and non-judgmental space to share your concerns. We can then work together to find a way to move forward. In the medical model, doctors find out what’s wrong with you, and “fix it”. In psychotherapy, the therapist and the client have a different relationship: I will work hard to get to know who you really are and build a strong therapeutic relationship with you. We can use that relationship as a foundation to overcome the thoughts and feelings that are bothering you. Psychotherapy can be conducted in individual, family, couple, or group settings. I provide therapy for individuals and couples. Some common problems that psychotherapy can help with are:

  • Emotional difficulties, including anxiety and depression
  • Interpersonal problems (improving relationships with family and friends)
  • Learning how to better cope with stress or a loss
  • Recovering from a traumatic or painful life event
For more information about my psychotherapy specializations, click HERE.

Q: What is the difference between a Registered Psychotherapist and a Psychologist or Psychiatrist?

A: In Canada, a Registered Psychotherapist is a qualified mental health professional who has met the academic and practical requirements of an overseeing college. I am a Registered Psychotherapist under the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

When you choose to see a Registered Psychotherapist for counselling, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands; we are legally qualified to practice psychotherapy, and have enough experience and knowledge for you to be able to trust us. However, it’s important to note that as a Registered Psychotherapist, I cannot give you a diagnosis or a medication prescription.

A psychologist is a mental health professional who has a doctorate degree in psychology. Many psychologists also practice psychotherapy. Psychologists can conduct a psychological assessment to give you a mental health diagnosis; however, they can’t prescribe medications.

A psychiatrist is a medical practitioner who specializes in mental health; they have a medical degree and a license to practice medicine. A psychiatrist is the only type of mental health practitioner that is able to prescribe psychiatric medications. They usually work with people who have severe or persistent mental illness.

Q: How long does a therapy session last?

A: Individual therapy sessions last 60 minutes, unless you request otherwise.

Initial couples’ therapy sessions usually last for 90 minutes, to make sure that you both have enough time to share. After the first few sessions, couples’ sessions go back to being 60 minutes long.

Q: What should I expect from my first therapy session?

A: Before we have our first session, I will email you some preliminary intake forms that you can either email back to me or print out and bring with you. I like to get the paperwork out of the way so that when we first meet, we can jump head-first into talking about you - about your thoughts, your feelings, and your experiences.

It’s important to me that I understand how your story has unfolded, and that you feel comfortable and safe with me. By the end of our first session, I like to have some idea of what our therapeutic goals will be in our work together.

Both of my in person offices are modern, but cozy. Think hygge: contentment, comfort, warmth, and togetherness. Both offices have a home-like feel (in fact, my Ottawa office is actually inside of my own home); I can guarantee that you’ll never feel like you’re in a sterile medical environment.

If we’re meeting online, by phone, or through email, I’ll send you further instructions of how we can connect after we’ve scheduled our first session. Online counselling sessions are always conducted through a HIPAA-compliant platform, which means that your privacy is protected.

Q: How many sessions of therapy do I need?

A: There’s no simple answer to this. I try not to think of psychotherapy as a time-limited event, but as a journey in which there are always new places to discover. With that said, it is possible for us to work together for a short amount of time (between 6 to 8 sessions) to address one specific difficulty that has come up in your life.

But there’s that kind of counselling - a crisis response to a specific event or hardship - and then there’s the kind of counselling that’s designed to help you explore deeper into yourself, discover new ways of seeing, and navigate life circumstances as they come up. This kind of psychotherapy has no defined end, and can be a lifelong process for some people.

Some people find it enlightening to compare therapy to seeing a personal trainer. You might see a personal trainer for an intensive, limited amount of time to - for example - lose 10 pounds for a special event. But physical fitness, just like mental health, needs upkeep. You can’t just see your trainer for that short amount of time, never work out again, and expect to stay healthy.

That’s how counselling works, too; can we see each other for a short amount of time to address a specific issue? Absolutely. But I view counselling as a maintenance activity for your mental well-being, not as a crisis response. Even if we’ve finished working through the problem that brought you to my office, I’ll always keep the door open for continued conversations and “tune-ups” when you need it.

Q: How much does a therapy session cost?

A: Sessions are $140 CDN plus HST.

Q: What kind of payments do you accept?

A: I accept the following payment methods:

  • Visa, MasterCard or American Express
  • Cash (e-transfer)
Payment is made at the time of the appointment.

Q: Does OHIP cover counselling? What about personal benefits?

A: Most third party benefits providers cover the services of a psychotherapist, but I encourage you to check your plan’s coverage details. For those whose plans require that therapists be supervised by a Registered Psychologist, I will provide my supervisor’s pertinent details on your receipts to facilitate your claims.

For those in Ontario, counselling and psychotherapy are not currently covered by OHIP, unless they are provided by a medical doctor. Unfortunately, that means that OHIP will not cover your counselling sessions with me.