The relationship developed in counselling and length of therapy varies according to need. Counselling issues may relate to early life patterns (developmental issues), chronic events (trauma recovery), current events (addressing, reframing and/or resolving specific or ongoing problems), making decisions, coping with crisis, personal growth and development (awareness, insights and knowledge), appropriate balancing of connection and independence, inner stamina and resources (working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others). Problems addressed can vary in terms of intensity and cause. Treatment goals are collaboratively determined along with frequency of sessions. Individual psychotherapy and couple therapy generally occurs about once a week and lasts one hour.
What to expect at your first session
An individual session is fifty minutes long, couple sessions may be slightly longer. Following the initial privacy and confidentiality discussion, I will collect some information about what brings you to counselling. Together, we will begin to determine your goals and aspirations for counselling keeping in mind any limitations imposed by financial or time constraints.
You decide at what level you wish to engage the therapy process based on what life situations and/or core messages have been touched upon.
After your first treatment you may experience:
- A clearer idea of what is troubling you
- A clearer direction related to your goals
- A feeling of reduced stress that you are seeking help with problems
- A sense of accompaniment in the process
- A bit of nervousness and uncertainty of how the process will unfold and be helpful to you
It is normal to feel some hesitancy when you first meet a new counsellor. You might even dread retelling your story over again to a new person but this is necessary for me to ‘catch up’ with your experiences and to get to know you. Also, many people have had previous experiences in counselling with varying results. It is important to share these experiences with me so that we can co-create a counselling experience that suits you and your goals.
I prefer to see clients weekly until there is an improved level of balance and main goal areas have been achieved and consolidated. We assess your goals and progress as we go to determine the frequency of sessions according to need.
My pathway in counselling began with my own journey of healing, seeking and personal growth. In 2001, I began in intensive period of self-education and personal growth that included spiritual development, aboriginal studies, and traditional healing arts such as herbal medicine, aromatherapy, yoga studies, Chinese medicine, meditation, and energy healing. I have studied with a number of well-known masters for extensive periods. In 2006, I decided to formalize my quest by pursuing a degree in Human Relations and Spirituality at Saint Paul University which I completed in 2009. This led me to two specialized master’s degrees: one in Conflict Resolution & Insight mediation (2010) and the other in Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Spirituality (2013). I am constantly inspired by the people I am priviledged to work with in both my body-centered healing practice (www.spiritwell.ca) and psychotherapy practice (www.annagreen.ca). Through their courage to heal and take charge of their lives, they illustrate life’s challenges, struggles, transitions, and search for meaning. I am motivated and encouraged by their determination, ability to be playful, have patience and to be curious about their own journey.
Areas of Specialty
In addition to providing counsellor services to individuals and couples during my MA at Saint Paul University, I have worked at a number of Internships. These include several internships at Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital providing spiritual care counselling to stroke, cancer and geriatric patients, Rideauwood Addiction & Family Services participating in a group recovery circle, and the Centre for Treatment of Sexual Abuse and Childhood Trauma where I counselled trauma clients over a one year period. As a result of this training, I have developed specific competencies in trauma recovery, bereavement, and holistic healing.
As ongoing professional growth, I continue to study body-mind therapies and neuroscience related to trauma recovery. The following are inspirational sources and ongoing studies to me: EMDR (Francine Shapiro), The Body Remembers (Van der Kolk), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Pat Ogden), all pioneers in body centered psychology. I also highly value the interactive psychobiological work of Stan Tatkin for couple therapy, as well as, the work of Sue Johnson using Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.
Fees, Insurance Coverage & Regulated Psychotherapy
Can clients get reimbursed for my services?
The fees I charge for counselling sessions are offered at competitive rates, I reserve a limited number of sliding-scale or reduced fee counselling spots for clients in need. Fees for counselling and psychotherapy are are decided at your first visit after discussing the issues being addressed and expected timeframes. Fees for other services are based on an hourly rate of $160-200 per hour depending on the service provided. Fees for Medical Letters and other forms such as Consent to Disclose, Summary Treatment Reports, etc may vary according to time spent coordinating such services and commensurate fees for medical forms.
There are several insurance companies in Canada. Some insurance companies do cover counselling services but coverage is not consistent. Coverage is possible under the following insurance companies: Pacific Blue Cross, Equitable Life, Greenshield, and SunLife. Coverage is not automatic and it is up to each individual client to contact their insurance company to determine what services are covered. (Source CCPA 2018)
Can clients use my receipt to receive a deduction tax purposes?
Clients may be able to use any medical receipts that have not been reimbursed by health plans to receive deductions on their taxes. Typically, the medical expenses must add up to 3% of their income in order to have an effect.
I am required to charge HST
In order for a profession to be GST/HST exempt, that profession must be regulated in at least 5 provinces. Counselling/Psychotherapy is only regulated (or becoming regulated) in 4 provinces and therefore is not tax exempt. Counselling session fees are subject to HST. Counselling fees are tax-deductible and can either be included as medical expenses on your income tax return or submitted to third party insurers for reimbursement up to the limit of your coverage.
Making Registered Psychotherapists part of your mental health care team
In April 2015, the government of Ontario proclaimed the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) into law, ensuring the competency and qualifications of Registered Psychotherapists (RPs). Since this time, more and more employers are including RPs in insurance benefit plans but many have not recognized the Registered Psychotherapist as a specific provider title.
Actions You Can Take to promote the recognition of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario by 3rd party Insurers and Employers:
- Check your insurance coverage to see if RPs are covered. If so, ask for a receipt from your therapist and process as you would other claims under your benefits plan.
- If not, and you would like to help change that, you can:
Go to rptherapybenefits.ca. Under the Resources tab click on Client to Employer Letter. You can edit the template from there to tailor it to the Human Resources Benefits area of your employer, requesting they add RPs to your benefits plan.
If you work in a unionized setting:
Ask your union representative to add RPs (Registered Psychotherapists) to the list of professional services included in the group benefits plan during the next contract negotiations. See rptherapybenefits.ca, Resources tab and click on Client to Union Letter to help you get started.
If you have a private health plan, ask about adding coverage of RP (Registered Psychotherapy) services to your plan.
Check to see if you have a Health Spending Account. If so, you can likely use funds in this account to cover your services until RPs are included directly in your plan.
Of course, your participation in this is entirely up to you. I will be happy to share this information with you if you are interested in what you can do to have RPs services included into your plan. After all, RPs specialize in providing psychotherapy, and we need to catch these plans up to the current regulatory environment.
For more information: Speak with me - your Registered Psychotherapist, or email the Registered Psychotherapy Insurance Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.