Hamilton Psychological Services

701 Main Street West, Suite 104, Hamilton, ON., L8S 1A2 • 905-527-5991 • 1-877-527-5991 • [email protected] •        Client Portal
We moved! Please note the new address.

"A lot of different flowers make a bouquet."
Muslim Origin

We offer direct billing to 10 major insurers, covering 85% of privately insured Canadians. Ask us to submit your claim for you at your next visit.

Helpful Links

About Learning Disabilities:
All Kinds of Minds
Learning Disabilities Association

For Kids and Teens:
Mind Your Mind
Kids Help Phone

For Parents
Kids' Mental Health Ontario
Lives in the Balance
Psychology Foundation

For Couples
Gottman podcast

For everyone
Help Centre
Mood Disorders Association
Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

Professional Organizations
Ontario Psychological Association
Canadian Psychological Assoc.
College of Psychologists of Ontario

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between psychologist, psychological associate, registered psychotherapist, social worker, psychiatrist, therapist, counsellor, etc.?

All of these people offer some form of mental health service. However, the training is quite different for each group.

logoPsychologists and Psychological Associates have more than one degree in psychology. Following what is usually an Honours Bachelor degree in Psychology, graduate work in applied psychology (e.g., Clinical Psychology) is required. Psychological associates have a Masters degree plus intensive supervised work experience. Psychologists using the title "Doctor" have a doctoral level degree (e.g., Ph.D., D.Psych., Psy.D.). Psychologists also typically undergo a year of focused clinical training, called an internship or residency. Psychology graduates must then become registered/licensed with a province to practice psychology.

In Ontario, psychologists and psychological associates must be registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. This is the licensing or registration that your extended health plan requires. Yes, we are registered psychological practitioners.

Psychologists and psychological associates are trained in performing psychological assessments, which can be used to make a diagnosis or help with a particular issue (e.g., experts in court). Psychologists and psychological associates, in addition to working to address general stress and coping, also offer psychotherapy (i.e., treatment) for mental health problems.

logoSocial Workers are registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. They have a Bachelor degree in Social Work. Social Workers provide assessment and psychotherapy to clients. They have knowledge of diagnostic criteria, and evidence-based treatments for mental health conditions. Social Workers often play an integral role in assessment and diagnosis under supervision of Psychologists and/or Psychiatrists. Often, Social Workers have a special interest in how individuals are impacted upon by society and factors such as discrimination.

logoRegistered Psychotherapists are registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. This regulatory College is newer, and began operations in 2015. This is a benefit to the public, because the job of regulatory Colleges is to protect the public; before the addition of this College, mental health workers who did not fit in the other Colleges because of different educational backgrounds (e.g., something other than Psychology or Social Work) were unregistered. Further changes are planned by the government of Ontario, in that the practice of psychotherapy is likely to become a Controlled Act, meaning its practice will be limited to members of the Colleges that are specified (e.g., Psychologists, Social Workers, Registered Psychotherapists).

logoPsychiatrists go to medical school, and then specialize in the practice of psychiatry, which tends to focus on the biological aspects of mental health. Therefore, psychiatrists are often involved in diagnosis and typically prescribe psychiatric medication. Psychiatrists are registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario.

logoPeople who call themselves counsellor, therapist, life coach, spiritual advisor, etc. are not regulated with a provincial regulatory body. Therefore, there is no oversight of their work and no process to formally evaluate their credentials. Importantly, there is then no College whose job it is to protect you or help with concerns or disputes that may arise. As such, it is important to do your homework and learn more about these individuals’ training and experience before deciding to work with them.

What does the first session look like?

Overall, the first session is your chance to meet your clinician and get a sense of whether you feel comfortable working with them. It also is a time for you to ask any questions you have and for your clinician to listen to what your concerns are and begin to develop a plan with you about how you can work together to address your concerns.

In the first session, your clinician will speak to you about privacy and confidentiality, following up on any questions you might have from our policies that will have been emailed to you or which are available in our offices for you to review. Similarly, your clinician will address any questions you have about the consent form that was emailed to you (or that you read in the waiting room). These are important things to be clear about before starting to work together.

Clients do not lie on a couch, like in the movies. You usually sit in a chair across from the clinician (children often sit on the floor, if they prefer, with their clinician). In the first session, you will be asked a number of questions in order for your clinician to learn more about you and your concerns. Therapy sessions are usually 50 minutes in length, although assessment interviews could be longer. One hour is billed; we use the other 10 minutes to prepare for and document sessions. We offer 1.5 hours for first sessions in order to accommodate time for extra questions and to develop an initial tailored treatment plan.

What is psychotherapy like?

The first session is used to develop a treatment plan for each client. After the first session, and as treatment progresses, your clinician will develop a conceptual model or “theory” of you.

For example, when working within a framework of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the understanding within this frame leads to discussing how your thinking, beliefs, and behaviour interact.

The first few sessions are usually used to help the clinician understand your concerns. Then you transition into psychotherapy, where you start to work on coping and solutions. For more information, please see our "What to expect in psychotherapy" document.

How much do sessions cost?

Our rates are comparable to other licensed psychologists and psychological associates in the Hamilton area.

Many health insurance plans offer some coverage for psychological treatment. Please read your policy to clearly understand the details of your coverage. We offer direct billing to 10 major insurers, covering 85% of privately insured Canadians.

You may be eligible for insurance coverage if you have been in an automobile or work-place accident. Additionally, other coverages are available in certain situations (e.g., Employee Assistance Plans or EAPs; First Nations funding; Victim’s Services, etc.). Furthermore, we are registered Blue Cross Health Care Professionals, so individuals with certain federal programs (e.g., Canadian Forces; RCMP) are eligible to receive coverage.

Psychological treatment is a medical expense which can be claimed on your income tax.

How Do I Pay?

Unless you have other arrangements (e.g., motor vehicle insurance coverage), payments are made at the end of each session. Receipts will be given upon payment, which can be used for reimbursement with your extended health plan and/or on your income tax. We offer direct billing to 10 major insurers, covering 85% of privately insured Canadians.

We can take debit, credit (MC and Visa), cheques, and cash.

Are you registered? Will I be able to use my extended health benefits?

Yes. Please check and make sure you have coverage for psychological services. Also, please check your annual limit and any session limits. Most coverages are for a certain amount per person per year in your family (e.g., $500 for each person), but not all of them. It can help to know when your “year” resets; often this is January, but not always.

Is my information kept confidential?

Absolutely. An important part of our work is maintaining the confidentiality of each client’s information. All information is kept in confidence, according to the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the standards of our regulatory colleges. We are not even allowed to indicate, without your permission, that you have inquired about seeking services. Our administrators are good at answering questions with “I can’t confirm or deny someone is a client here without express consent.”

However, there are instances where confidentiality must be broken. These exceptions are often necessary for protecting clients and the public. For example, if we were to learn that a client is intending to harm themselves or another person, we must take reasonable steps to prevent harm. Also, if we learn that a child is being neglected or abused, we are legally obliged to contact the Children’s Aid Society. Information about limits to confidentiality are discussed with your clinician in your first session.

Are there appointments available in the evenings or weekends?

Yes. However, evening and weekend appointments are under high demand. Please call the office to find out current availability.

What happens during a psychological assessment?

Assessments are designed to uncover reasons for challenges and problems that people are encountering.

In our practice, a full psycho-educational assessment will cover aspects of learning and mental health that can contribute to problems with learning, with mood, with social functioning, and with relationships. The social-emotional aspects of the full psycho-educational assessment can be done when there are not concerns about academic or intellectual functioning; we generally refer to this as a mental health assessment. For more information, please see our "What to expect during an assessment" document.

Do you specialize with my specific area of concern?

We often get asked if we specialize in certain areas (e.g., Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; divorce; giftedness).

Because we have a group practice, it is likely that you will be able to find a clinician that suits your needs. We do not, however, limit our practices, so you will not find someone who only works with one type of concern or difficulty. (Also, our regulations prohibit us from referring to ourselves as specialists.)

When we do not cover the area you’re looking for assistance with, we will be happy to help you find someone suitable.

When I arrive where can I park, and are there bus stops nearby?

By car: There is ample parking in the back of the building.

By bus: Both HSR and GO have nearby bus stops on Main Street.