I provide psychological services to adolescents, adults, couples, and families residing in the greater Halifax area. I offer a variety of interventions based on my understanding of the presenting concerns and individual client needs. Please refer to the about me page to learn more about my theoretical approach to psychological therapy.
Please be aware that MSI does not cover the costs of seeing a Psychologist. Payment must be made at the end of each session and at a rate of $180 per therapy session, which is the standard fee for most psychologists in Halifax.
If you have an extended health plan (i.e. Maritime Life, Blue Cross), my services may be fully or partially reimbursable; please check with your insurance provider. Although I have a sliding scale and pro bono policy for clients who do not have insurance coverage and cannot afford my regular fee, these appointment slots are very limited and are typically triaged after being wait-listed. Please contact for more information.
Sessions start at your scheduled time and are billed for 60 minutes, though we meet for only 50 minutes of that hour. The remaining ten minutes is still your time, which I will use at the end of each session to write therapy notes, including any hypotheses or thoughts related to our meeting, or possible directions we might take in future sessions. I will also ensure that I take at least another 5 minutes at the beginning of each session to review these notes, since it might be one or two weeks, or perhaps a longer period of time, between sessions. This is common practice and is the most efficient way to make use of the time that we have.
THE FIRST SESSION
The first session usually begins with brief introductions, followed by an initial discussion of Privacy, Confidentiality, and Consent. Although these issues are important to understand in the first session, I treat them as ongoing items for us to be mindful of, and encourage clients to ask any related questions at any time during my professional involvement. Another important task in the first session is to determine who the 'client' is. This is easy to answer for a single adult seeking therapy, but can be challenging when children and families are involved.
The format of the first session is a somewhat unique. Since I know very little about you, I will be asking a lot of questions, doing a lot of listening, and will be taking a great deal of notes. To some, the first session can be a bit frustrating, because they may feel that they have explained so much, but have received little feedback. To others, it may be a huge relief to explain their concerns, challenges, or problems and feel heard or understood. At any rate, I make every effort to provide some sort of feedback in the first session, whether it is to an adult client, adolescent client, or the parents of a child client.
In this first session, I will also have a good idea as to whether I feel capable of helping you. The reality is that all therapists cannot be experts at every type of problem. This means that I will occasionally need to refer you to another clinician who might be better at treating a particular therapeutic issue. Although a few clients might see this as a waste of a first session, I typically do not bill for a first session needing a referral; it is also an excellent way to get the therapist that will best meet your individual needs.
One of the most pressing questions for most clients at the end of that initial session is: how long will therapy take? Like most therapists, I will be unable to provide a firm answer. What I can tell you is that an average length of therapy is 8-12 sessions, though it could be longer or shorter depending on the presenting concern, severity, and how longstanding it is. It is much easier to estimate a length of therapy after the second or third session when there is more time to conceptualize the presenting issues and understand the personality styles of individual clients. By the end of this first session my hope is that clients will feel comfortable enough to continue with a second session.
THE SECOND SESSION ONWARDS
The second meeting begins to look more like a typical therapy session, so if you were unsure about the first meeting with a therapist, you might want to wait until after the second before deciding that the client-therapist fit is not quite right. By at least the fourth or fifth sessions, the majority of my clients should begin to feel that I have an adequate understanding of their presenting issues and that they are starting to benefit from therapy. If this is not the case, we should be talking about whether there are possible 'roadblocks' or misunderstandings that could be keeping us from moving forward. During the first few sessions, I work to establish a rapport and collaborative therapeutic relationship with my clients. This is an important ingredient to any successful therapy, as client and clinician must work together if they are to resolve the concerns a client wants to address.
MORE ON MY PHILOSOPHY
It is a privilege for me to do the work that I do and I continually strive to improve my skills and my ability to help those in need of it. I am passionate about the profession of psychology, though it is concerning to me that our training programs have become increasingly focused on what I would call 'symptom management,' rather than exploring root causes that might underlie surface symptoms. It seems to me that many clinicians focus on superficial and observable change by using what I would call 'gimmick' or 'band-aid' therapies. The problem with this approach is that band-aids eventually fall off. In my experience, if one focuses entirely on subduing a symptom, another often emerges in its place. For example, a person who is depressed may learn some tricks to shake themselves out of their depression, only to notice emerging symptoms of inexplicable anxiety or other issue(s).
If a short-term aid could help a client find some relief, I will offer it to them, but my main therapeutic philosophy does not involve offering band-aids, superficial advice, or therapeutic gimmicks. Most of these approaches assume that rational information is what potential clients are looking for. However, much of the time people find themselves 'stuck' not in their logic, but in repetitious emotional or relational patterns. My goal is to work with individuals on multiple levels to help each client find meaningful and lasting change. More often than not, this does not have to mean a longer course of therapy; only a more holistic view of what it should entail.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you live in Halifax and have additional questions about seeing a psychologist for therapy or counselling? If so, you are more than welcome to contact me by phone or email. I will try to answer additional questions, concerns, or curiosities to the best of my ability.