Parenting sleep consultations include an Assessment as well as the development of a Treatment Plan. Consultations are typically conducted over two appointments – one focusing on the assessment and the second on the treatment plan. Each appointment can be up to 2-2.5 hours, depending on how much needs to be discussed.
Treatment plans are individualized, taking into consideration the presenting problems, factors that are believed to be contributing to the maintenance of the problems, parents’ tolerance for what they feel comfortable with, and their description of their child’s temperament. Treatment plans, including particular behavioural techniques, are based on what is known from both scientific literature and clinical experience, to be effective in treating the presenting problem(s). The majority of the recommendations are behavioural in nature.
A primary goal of the consultation is to gain a better understanding of the factors that have caused, and that are maintaining the presenting problem(s). Another important goal is to provide parents with a set of tools and techniques that are effective in treating these problems.
Prior to the consultation, several questionnaires are sent to parents. Completed forms are returned prior to the consultation. A summary report, following the completion of the consultation, is optional.
The purpose of follow-up consultation is to answer questions, and provide additional support following the initial consultation. The frequency and duration of follow-up are based on individual needs. Follow-up consultation is usually done in person. However, in some circumstances, follow-up consultation may be conducted over the phone.
Referrals can be made by paediatricians, family physicians, and other health-care professionals. Self-referrals are welcome as well. A referral from a physician is not necessary.
Coverage for psychological services is often provided through private extended health insurance plans, work-place benefits or employee assistance plans. Fees for psychological services are based on guidelines recommended by the Ontario Psychological Association. Psychological services are not covered under OHIP.
Psychologists’ fees paid out-of-pocket are tax-deductible. They can be claimed as a medical expense when filing an income tax return.
CHOOSING A REGISTERED PSYCHOLOGIST
To become a psychologist in Ontario, an individual must earn a doctoral degree in psychology (a Ph.D.) which takes a minimum of 10 years of training in a university program that is recognized by the College of Psychologists.
After the doctoral degree has been completed, an individual wishing to work as a psychologist must take an additional year of supervised training after which he or she is evaluated by written and oral examinations. Upon successful completion of the training and the examinations, the individual is admitted to the College of Psychologists as a qualified psychologist. Psychologists are accountable to the College of Psychologists of Ontario. They must adhere to ethical rules and practice standards.
The College of Psychologists of Ontario is the governing body for psychologists in the province. The College holds a mandate to protect the public and it does this by monitoring and regulating the practice of psychology. Psychologists must formally declare their areas of competence and demonstrate to the College of Psychologists that they are competent to practice independently in their declared areas. Psychologists are mandated to provide ethical and competent services.
For more information, visit the Canadian Psychological Association website.
Unlicensed therapists and other unregulated counsellors do not have to answer to any governing body. As such, there is no guarantee that they are sufficiently competent to practice in the areas they claim to. Also unlicensed therapists’ services are not covered by insurance or health care benefit plans.
WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY?
As a Clinical Psychologist, confidential information is of utmost importance to me. I adhere to the standards of professional conduct and the confidentiality requirements outlined by the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Psychologists must keep records of their sessions with clients and any contacts that they have with them. These records are kept in a locked and secure area. Psychologists are required to protect their clients’ privacy. Under normal circumstances, a client’s personal information will not be disclosed to anyone unless they consent to have that information transmitted. There are a few conditions under which a psychologist may have to disclose information about a client without their consent. However, the circumstances under which such action would be taken are rare. Details about these exceptions will be discussed at the first appointment.