What is counselling?

Counselling is a professional working relationship where a trained mental health professional uses psychological theories in a planned and skillful way to help a person cope with adversity, heal emotional pain, and grow. It is different from talking to a friend or family member, as counselling sessions are intentionally designed to help you reflect, learn, and make change in your life.

Counsellor, psychologist, therapist, coach - what is the difference between these terms, and what are you?

I am a Registered Psychologist and Canadian Certified Counsellor.

Until recently, the title of "Counsellor" was not protected in Alberta. This meant that anyone who considered themselves qualified to offer counselling could offer their services and call it "Counselling," and the training involved could vary widely. The term "Therapist" remains unprotected and it is a catch-all term for professionals who offer some type of helping service to another person. Likewise, the term "Coach" is unprotected and unregulated, which means that the nature and quality of these services vary considerably. There are some coaches who are extensively trained and qualified, and others who are less trained. There is no organization in Alberta that is responsible for protecting the public by making sure that coaches are practicing safely and ethically. If you choose to work with an unregulated professional, I recommend that you ask about their educational qualifications and where they gained their certification to practice so that you can make an informed decision about how to move forward.

In Alberta, a psychologist is someone who has completed rigorous training in psychology (Master's degree or higher), 1600 supervised hours of practice under a fully registered psychologist, has had the quality of their work verified in writing by other psychologists, and has passed two qualifying exams: an intensive exam specific to the practice of psychology and a second exam specific to ethics and legal statutes. The term psychologist is protected and we are governed by the Health Professions Act and our regulatory body, the College of Alberta Psychologists, is responsible for making sure that psychologists are practicing safely and ethically with their clients. We have to abide by a Code of Ethics, engage in ongoing professional development, and follow our College's practice guidelines and alerts to keep our licenses to practice.

When you choose to work with a psychologist, you are choosing to work with someone who is extensively trained in scientific approaches to support mental health, has passed numerous exams and reviews that are designed to make sure that they are ready to practice independently, and has to abide by rules and laws that are designed to protect the client from harm.

I also hold the title of Canadian Certified Counsellor, which means that my training program, work experience, and professional letters of reference from individuals who had previously supervised me were accepted and verified by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). The term "Canadian Certified Counsellor" is a protected title restricted to those who have had their credentials evaluated by the CCPA and there are ongoing education requirements to maintain this title.

What type of counselling do you offer?

I offer individual, online counselling to adults. Most of my work involves a combination of psycho-education about the nervous system, learning specific coping and relaxation skills, exploring the impact of past experiences on current challenges, and practicing new ways of thinking about yourself and the world around you. I tailor my exact strategies to the nature of your presenting concern and your strengths. Please check out the Services page for more information about my specific counselling approach and the types of presenting issues that I typically work with.

What are your fees?

I charge $190 for a 50-minute session. The Psychologists' Association of Alberta recommends $200 per session as a standard fee for psychologists practicing in Alberta.

Do you offer direct billing?

As I am a registered psychologist, the majority of health benefits plans will cover a portion of the services that I offer. The exact amount will depend on your specific plan's parameters. I am registered with various organizations that allow me to offer direct billing, such as Alberta Blue Cross and Telus eClaims. Please contact me if you would like to check whether I have direct billing with your insurance provider.

If I am unable to offer direct billing for your specific insurance provider, you can submit your receipt with my registration number for reimbursement.

What is your cancellation policy?

All appointments that are not cancelled 24 or more hours prior to the scheduled appointment will incur a $100 cancellation fee. Exceptions may be considered for extenuating circumstances, at my discretion.

Can I meet with you in person?

At this time, services are provided exclusively using online counselling. If you are looking for a therapist in the Edmonton area who is taking clients in person, I can connect you with referral options.

Is online counselling as effective as face-to-face therapy?

We are fortunate to live at a time where the internet can facilitate connection and healing. There are some specific issues that are more appropriate for face-to-face counselling, such as suicidality, psychosis, or domestic violence, but the majority of other mental health concerns can be addressed effectively and efficiently through online counselling. If we start working together and we find that online therapy is not a good fit for your needs, I will help you find a counsellor who can meet with you face-to-face.

How do I book a session?

You can either contact me using the Contact section of this website or by emailing annelise@heroiccounselling.com to inquire about availability and book a free consultation to discuss how we might work together. If I do not have current availability, I will help connect you with referral options that are accepting new clients.