We have provided answers to some of our most common questions here.
If you have other questions please contact our office.
What is meant by an Area of Competency for a Psychologist? What is required for a Psychologist to be licensed?
When individuals ask about mental health and what Psychological therapy might do for them, we often tend to focus on differences between physical and mental health and wellness and how we react to increased pressures. In general, we tend to have a better idea of our own physical strengths and capabilities. For example, we understand that some individuals can lift more than others and that as we increasingly add weight to something, we will reach our own capacity at some point and need to ask for help. Most would accept that individuals don’t generally go around trying to lift couches and pianos on their own. However, over the course of our lives and during different events we tend to add emotional weight and pressures to our lives without thinking of the impact. Many of us expect that we can just continually press on and keep lifting up the emotional pressures and baggage we have accumulated without seeking any assistance or help. I think of therapy as providing some of that help “lifting” and dealing with the accumulated pressures and weight that comes from all types of sources; from sadness and guilt and stress and all of the pressures in our lives.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. I have found over the past 20+ years in practice that there is often a great deal of confusion about the differences in the general public, even from insurers, other health practitioners and professions.
Psychiatrists and Clinical Psychologists are both mental health specialists with expertise in assessing and treating mental health issues. There are important differences between the type of training they receive, and in the focus and treatment approaches they can provide.
Psychology is a discipline that focuses on the assessment, understanding and treatment of the mind and human behaviours. Psychologists as a general rule in Ontario will have their PhD in Clinical Psychology which often entails 11 years of post-secondary education and training. Psychologists focus on assessing and treating emotional and social difficulties, and in Canada, they are not currently able to prescribe medications. The therapy focus is on cognitive and behavioural changes that people can make to change their situation and thinking patterns. The focus is on assessment, understanding and therapy rather than on medication. In many situations, Psychologists can work in tandem with psychiatrists to refer patients for prescriptions and medication review and changes.
Psychiatrists practice as medical doctors and use their clinical experience to treat mental disorders using medication primarily, and tend to view issues with depression or anxiety as some type of chemical imbalance. While there are some Psychiatrists that provide additional psychotherapy supports, most of my clients in this region have found that Psychiatrists are able to provide medication review and support only. Psychiatry is an OHIP funded resource that requires a referral from a family physician and may continue over time as a support with
medication management as needed.
There are a number of other sources of supports in our community. Other regulated health practitioners to support emotional and mental distress include Social Workers, Psychotherapists and Counsellors, all of whom have differing levels of education, experience and training.
No, the services of Psychologists are not covered by OHIP outside of a hospital setting. Many extended health benefit plans do offer some yearly coverage for these services. We recommend that you consult directly with your extended health benefits provider to learn about your extended health benefits plan coverage. Please note that while Psychologists do not require a physician referral in order to see someone, many benefit plans require a referral prior to payment.
No, you do not need to obtain a medical referral to be seen by our service providers. To make an appointment, please call our office at 519-414-9444. Please note that some extended health benefits providers do require that you obtain a referral from your family doctor in order to be reimbursed for psychological services. If you plan to submit your expenses for our services to your extended healthcare benefits provider, we recommend that you contact your extended healthcare benefits provider directly in order to determine what their requirements are prior to setting up your appointment with our office.
Currently we do not have a waiting list although at different times this may change depending on a number of factors. Generally new clients can be seen for their first appointment within two weeks. The timing of subsequent appointments will depend on the individual client and the specific services that are required. There are additional resources for those seeking mental health services including contacting Here24/7 to find psychiatry or psychology services, or askforhelptoday.ca to find psychology referrals in your area.
For telehealth appointments payment by electronic transfer (EMT) is preferable. Other forms of payment accepted are cash and cheque. Most extended health plans do not pay Psychologists directly and clients will be required to pay for their visits and then obtain reimbursement from their provider. In some specific situations, providers may pay directly for specific contracted services (e.g., WSIB, auto insurance, Long Term Disability providers etc.) Fees for Psychology services are set in line with Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) guidelines. In situations where clients have minimal or no extended health coverage then a sliding scale may be offered or discussed.
Patients/Clients are seen in our office by appointment only. Dr. Sunseth sees patients (by appointment) in our office on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Appointments are typically between 10:00 AM and 5 or 6:00 PM on most days. The office is not open outside of scheduled hours and there is no emergency or after hours care available. In the case where clients find themselves in crisis or feeling suicidal there are a number of crisis/emergency and after hours care including : Dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room Adults can text HOME to 686868 in Canada to text with a trained Crisis Responder. Children and youth can text CONNECT to 686868 in Canada to text with a trained Crisis Responder. You can contact the Canada Suicide Prevention Service by calling 1-888-456-4566 or texting 45645.
We appreciate your understanding and respectfully ask that you provide us with a minimum of 24 hour notice in order to cancel an appointment. When we do not receive sufficient notice, it is unlikely we will be able to book another client in your time slot and that time has been held specifically for you. When you miss an appointment or cancel/reschedule with short notice, this represents lost time and a loss of income for the service provider. For the first instance that your appointment is missed or canceled with less than 24 hour notice you will be charged half the regular fee for the appointment. For all additional missed appointments or last-minute cancellations, you will be charged the full rate. We do understand that emergencies happen. In cases of emergency or severe illness, no charges will apply.
Given the many restrictions and shut downs that have been implemented during the COVID 19 pandemic, many health care providers have added Telehealth / Telepsychology services to provide care outside of the traditional office setting. Dr. Sunseth used the Adracare platform which is recognized as fully PHIPPA compliant in Canada and is considered simple to use by most clients. If you decide on Telehealth for an appointment you will receive an appointment reminder and a link to join the session for the designated time.
Laptops / Desktops Windows PCs running Windows 7 with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser Apple Macintosh computers running macOS v10.11 with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox Note: Safari IS NOT supported on Apple Macintosh computers. Internet Explorer, Edge ARE NOT supported on Windows computers Mobile Devices Android devices (Android 8 – Android 10) Phones with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox Tablets with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox Apple mobile devices (iOS 11 ) iPhones with Safari iPads with Safari
We try to collect basic information we require from you when you make your first appointment, so there are only a few basic consent forms for you to fill out when you arrive at our office. We do ask that you do your best to be punctual. Your appointment is booked for a one-hour time slot. During this intake appointment you will discuss your reasons for seeking our services directly with the service provider. You will discuss the detailed background related to the issue(s) that brought you to make the appointment, and you will be asked to provide any history or other details that will help the service provider to understand your situation better. If you have reports from medical, psychological or other professional assessments related to your situation, please bring those with you to the intake appointment for the service provider to review. The service provider will ask you for your written consent to proceed with your treatment or assessment. The service provider will provide some detail as to what to expect in the next session(s). Your time with the service provider will last approximately 50 minutes. The remaining 10 minutes is allotted for the service provider to record notes about the session for your file.