Frequently Asked Questions

Are people who go to therapy weak?

Why shouldn't I just take medication?

What is your approach?

What can I expect?

What can I do to improve the experience?

How many therapy sessions will I require?

What are the differences between mental health services?

What about confidentiality?

How do I pay?

What appointment times do you offer?

What if I need to cancel?

What if I am in crisis?

How can I contact you and make an appointment?

Are people who go to therapy weak?

  

Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have strengths that you’ve used before that, for whatever reason, aren’t working right now. Together, we’ll discover your inner resources to help you address this present challenge.

Why shouldn't I just take medication?

Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy. Medication treats symptoms, but cannot solve all issues on its own. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.

What is your approach?

No two people are alike and neither are their problems. Understanding that you are unique and “one size” does not fit all, your individual personality and needs are taken into account as we work together to create a therapeutic plan.


Our goal is to create an atmosphere in which you feel safe to explore even the most difficult areas of your life.


My work is informed by various therapeutic approaches, including:


  • drawing/writing/painting/music/drama/puppetry/play/storytelling, visualization (Expressive Arts)
  • unconditional positive regard, respect, listening and empathy (Rogerian)
  • focused on your individual needs (Person-centred)
  • exploring your inner resources and resilience (Strength-based)
  • exploring how you view yourself within your life’s story (Narrative)
  • exploring the impact of your family on your life – patterns, attitudes, etc. (Family Systems)
  • making the connection between your thoughts and actions and where you might want to change (CBT/Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • exploring ambivalence (Motivational Interviewing)
  • recognizing the impact on body, mind, and spirit; the need for safety in relationships and personal control; focusing on strengths and developing resilience and coping skills (Trauma-informed)
  • making a concrete plan to achieve goals (Solution-focused)

What can I expect?

Prior to our first session, I will ask you to complete an intake questionnaire. This is to help me understand your situation and how I can best support you toward achieving your therapeutic goals. 


You can expect that I will do my best to understand your concerns. I will listen non- judgmentally and provide an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and trust that, together, we will find better solutions to the challenges in your life. 


You can expect that what we discuss will be kept private, with a few exceptions. (For more information, see What about confidentiality?)


As with most things in life, there is no guarantee concerning the benefit of therapy. Change is difficult and, therefore, you may experience distress and/or uncertainty. You are not alone and will be supported through the process


Sessions are usually 50 minutes long and therapy will only continue only as long as you desire and it is beneficial to you.

What can I do to improve the experience?

Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. The work you do outside our sessions will be what helps you move forward. 


A wise person once said, “Never work harder than your client.” 


This is your life. The more you put into working toward health and healing, the greater the benefit you will receive.

How many therapy sessions will I require?

There is no minimum or maximum number of sessions* you should attend, as therapy is very personal. 


It is recommended that you come for at least four to six sessions, as this is what it generally takes to build a therapeutic relationship and begin seeing positive outcomes from therapy. If you come regularly, we will periodically review your progress to make sure you are benefiting from our time together and determine if there is anything we may improve.


*Please note that the maximum number of sessions may also be determined by your EAP/EFAP/insurance healthcare plan.

What are the differences between mental health services?

  

Although psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry and spiritual care may overlap in some areas, there are some important distinctions among each profession and what they can offer.


“The practice of psychotherapy is the assessment and treatment of cognitive, emotional or behavioural disturbances by psychotherapeutic means, delivered through a therapeutic relationship based primarily on verbal or non-verbal communication.” See Psychotherapy Act, 2007, Section 3.


Psychotherapists are able to offer the most diverse range of therapies. They may also offer individual, family, or group sessions. In Ontario, psychotherapists must be registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.


A licensed psychologist has a Master’s or doctoral degree (PhD) in psychology and studies how people think, feel and behave from a scientific viewpoint. They tend to focus more on testing, assessments, and research. For example, if you have a developmental disorder, learning problem, or brain injury, they can provide coping strategies. A psychologist often works with a psychiatrist. They may or may not counsel clients.


A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication and may or may not counsel clients. They work with people on both a biological and psychological level.


Counselling focuses on giving advice, encouragement and instruction; and providing information that may or may not include psychotherapeutic interventions.


Spiritual counselling integrates religion or faith-based beliefs with psycho-social care and guidance.


Spiritual direction occurs between two people, with the director facilitating the examination of the directee’s relationship with God in daily life. The goal is to help another draw closer to God, rather than resolve specific problems. Content is determined by what the directee brings to the session. Accompaniment on the spiritual journey may include: supportive listening, encouragement, suggestions, ideas, readings, and prayers.

What about confidentiality?

Our sessions will be private and confidential, with the following potential exceptions:


  • If I believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger of physical harm.
  • When disclosure is required by law, as in suspicion of child abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional, under the age of 16), abuse of other vulnerable persons (i.e. the elderly, or disabled persons, etc.), by court order, or a search warrant.
  • Your service provider (EAP/EFAP/insurance company) may require documentation regarding your sessions. The details required vary, depending on the provider.
  • In order to serve you better, it may be necessary to consult with a professional colleague. In this case, generic issues would be discussed, without any identifying information.
  • If you would like me to relate information regarding your sessions to someone else (i.e. doctor, psychiatrist, teacher), all parties must sign a release of information and this will be done.
  • In a situation such as my unexpected death or prolonged illness, you may be contacted by a representative who is acting on my behalf. This representative will be obliged to ensure confidentiality as I do and will provide you with an appropriate referral. 

With children and youth, there may be times when it would be helpful for the parent/legal guardian to be informed of particular issues. I would then work with the child/youth to see how this would best be addressed. As much as possible, themes would be discussed, rather than specifics.


While I do make use of email for booking appointments, please keep in mind that email is not completely secure; therefore, please do not include sensitive information in an email.

How do I pay?

Private

If you do not have any insurance or EAP coverage, the rate is $100 per one-hour session (plus HST). Payment by cash, cheque or e-transfer is due at the end of each session.


EAP/EFAP (Employee Assistance Program/Employee and Family Assistance Program)

Each program has different policies and coverage limits that are dependent upon the services your company purchases. Please check with your provider for more details.


Extended Coverage/Insurance

Psychotherapy services are not universally funded by OHIP. Many extended health insurance plans cover a portion or the entire cost for psychotherapy. Please check with your plan provider regarding coverage for psychotherapy and counselling services, the limits for hourly rates and yearly allowances, and how you are compensated. 


Here are some suggested questions you might want to ask your provider to help determine your benefits:

  • Does my health insurance plan include mental health benefits? Does it include Registered Psychotherapists?
  • Do I have a deductible? If so, what is it and have I met it yet?
  • Does my plan limit the number of sessions per calendar/school/fiscal year? If so, what is the limit?
  • Do I need written approval from my primary care physician in order for psychotherapy services to be covered?

A receipt will be given after each appointment. 


Please note that non-reimbursed psychotherapy expenses may be claimed on your income tax. For more detailed information, please, visit www.cra.gc.ca/medical.

What appointment times do you offer?

Daytime, early morning, early evening, and some weekend appointments may be available. Please call, text or email for an initial phone consultation. I try to respond within two business days.

What if I need to cancel?

  

Your appointment is a block of time that is reserved for you. 


If you believe you won’t be able to make a scheduled appointment, please notify me as soon as possible, with at least 24 hours’ notice.

What if I am in crisis?

If you are experiencing an immediate crisis, please contact your doctor, your local emergency department, call 9-1-1 or Four County Crisis Team.


PETERBOROUGH REGIONAL HEALTH CENTRE

Emergency Department

705-743-2121 ext. 5022


FOUR COUNTRY CRISIS TEAM, MOBILE CRISIS INTERVENTION

24 hours/day, 7 days/week

1-866-995-9933


KIDS HELP PHONE

24 hours/day, 7 days/week

Call, text, or chat. Live chat and telephone counselling available.

Website:                   www.kidshelpphone.ca

Call a counsellor:  1-800-668-6868 (call is  free)


KAWARTHA SEXUAL ASSAULT CENTRE

24-hour crisis support line for all

1-866-298-7778


TELECARE DISTRESS CENTRE OF PETERBOROUGH

24 hours/day, 7 days/week

705-745-2273


How can I contact you or make an appointment?



NorthStar Wellness

Mind-Body-Spirit


Allyson Lucas, MDiv, Registered Psychotherapist

351 Charlotte Street, Ste. 201C (Upper Level)*

Peterborough, ON K9J 2W1

Mobile: 705-768-8703

Email:                     northstarwellnessptbo@gmail.com

Website:              www.northstarptbo.com

FaceBook:          @northstarwellnessptbo


*NOTE:  There are stairs and, if mobility is a challenge for you, please let me know and an alternate location may be arranged.


If you would like to receive more information or set up an appointment, please contact me.