B.Sc, M.Psy

Frequently Asked Questions

Everlasting Essentials @ Trent View Counselling Center

Patience Hill-Berardi 

What are the differences between therapists and counsellors? 
   In some provinces in Canada, the law does not allow the word psychotherapy. All forms of psychotherapy are called counselling. The term psychotherapy is restricted so nonregistered practitioners must call themselves counsellors. They have to talk regarding counselling when they provide the equivalent of psychotherapy. It's a little confusing.

Why attend therapy?
   There are many reasons why people will book an appointment with me. Psychotherapy may be helpful to you when:

  • You feel overwhelmed by life problems
  • Depression, anxiety or anger are taking over your life
  • You don’t know how to manage a significant life decision
  • You are having relationship problems
  • You are having difficulty coping with a serious illness in yourself, or in a family member or friend
  • Your job is too stressful, and you can’t handle it anymore
  • You don’t know what to do, or where to turn for help

I have specialised knowledge in:

  • How we feel, think, and behave;
  • How problems can develop in these areas of functioning; and
  • How to facilitate change to help reduce distress, resolve problems, and improve overall psychological health and well-being.

What kinds of problems do you work with? 
   I have a generalist practice. I work with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, substance abuse issues, relationship problems, coping with life change, and extreme states of mind. Feel free to contact me for more information about specific treatment.

How do I make an appointment? Do I need a referral from a physician?
   We do not require a referral. However, your insurance may have this requirement to be covered. Please check your policy. To schedule an appointment, you may contact us directly by telephone (613-392-1259). Alternatively, you can book an appointment yourself directly on the website.

What should I expect at the first appointment?
   The initial appointment involves a detailed assessment to understand you and your particular situation, current problems, background, and your strengths and resources to develop an appropriate plan for treatment. I aim to help you feel comfortable and safe to talk openly about your concerns.
   At the end of the consultation (a few sessions), I will provide you with my initial impressions and recommendations. I will work with you to develop a treatment plan, including goals and approximate time frames. Sometimes an individual’s primary concerns or symptoms are not within my area of expertise. If this happens, I will refer you to another professional who can help. 
   In the event there are a limited amount of sessions, we will focus on providing you with enough tools to get you to a functional level.

   Payment for services is due at the time of each session. We accept the following methods of payment: Cash, Cheque, and Email Money Transfer.

Length of Sessions
   Although a full hour is scheduled for you, the actual session lasts 50 minutes. This allows me to use the remaining 10 minutes to complete session notes.

How often are therapy sessions?
   The frequency of sessions depends on the individual and typically ranges from once a month to several times a week. Occasionally, individuals have started with multiple sessions in a week and gradually moved to once a week or biweekly. Sometimes clients need to attend monthly for a variety of reasons. I will work with you to establish the frequency of sessions that will be best for you and your financial situation.

Missed appointments
   Your appointment is a block of time that is reserved for you. Missed appointments and last minute cancellations prevent me from scheduling other people. If you believe you won’t be able to make a scheduled appointment, I would ask that you notify me as soon as possible. You can cancel appointments you have made on our booking system within 24-hours of the appointment. There may be a possibility that I can find you a different time in the week. Alternatively, if I can fill the time with another patient, no fee will be charged to you. However, $75 will be charged for any missed appointments I cannot fill. This fee is not covered by insurance.

How long does therapy last?
   Typically you are the one who decides when therapy ends. This is usually when you feel you have made satisfactory progress. This may take a few sessions or several years. Cognitive behavioural and solution focused therapy take a shorter period than longer-term psychodynamic psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. You have the right to stop therapy at any time without further financial obligations, other than those already incurred.
   Some people do decide to stop therapy suddenly when difficult issues come up. Rather than just quitting, it is best to discuss your feelings with me. Talking about your wish to quit therapy, including negative feelings you have towards me, will very often lead to progress, new insights and a stronger therapeutic alliance.
   On occasion, I may decide to terminate therapy. If I have contracted with you for a specific number of sessions to address a problem, then therapy will end at the end of that contract. If I feel that I cannot help you due to limitations in my training, I will inform you of this and refer you to a therapist who may be better suited to meet your needs. If you threaten me verbally or physically or harass my office staff, my family, or myself, I will terminate you immediately from treatment. I will offer you referrals, but cannot guarantee that they will accept you for therapy.

Do you prescribe medications?
   I do not prescribe medications. I fully respectful of individuals’ decision to use or not to use medications and we are happy to work collaboratively with family physicians and psychiatrists in this regard.

How does therapy work?
   Some people refer to psychotherapy as a “talking treatment” because it involves talking to a therapist one-on-one, as a couple, a family, or to a group of people with similar issues.
   Therapy can be time-consuming and challenging as you may feel uncomfortable with the emotions and thoughts that therapy is causing you to bring out. But, this is all part of the process.
   Psychotherapy helps to give you a fresh perspective on a difficult problem and helps you find a solution. Psychotherapy helps you to understand yourself better, to develop skills for healthy relationships, and to be a much happier and satisfied person.
However, remember that your therapist cannot do the work for you. For therapy to work, you must be a willing participant.

Emergency Procedures
   If you are experiencing an emergency, I can usually be reached at 905-621-0828. I am available for brief between session phone calls during normal business hours including some evenings and weekends. I will tell you in advance of any anticipated lengthy absences and give you the name and phone number of the therapists who will be covering my practice.
   If you are unable to reach me and feel that you cannot wait for me to return your call, contact your family physician or the Trenton Memorial Hospital 24-hour crisis centre at 613-392-2540 ext 2753 and ask for the psychologist or psychiatrist on call. You can reach the Mental Health Centre during the regular business hours at ext 2228. If you believe that you cannot keep yourself safe, please call 911, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room for assistance.

   With a few exceptions, you have the absolute right to confidentiality in your therapy. This means that I cannot share what you have told me to anybody without your consent to do so. You may direct me in writing to share information with whomever you deem necessary, and you may revoke that permission at any time. I may legally speak to another regulated health care provider without your consent, but I would only do so when necessary for the delivery and management of your health care or in the case of an emergency.

   There are times when confidentiality may be broken without your consent. These circumstances include:

  • If there is a reason to believe that you are at serious and imminent risk of physically harming yourself or another person.
  • If there is a reason to believe that a child or elderly person is suffering from abuse and/or neglect.
  • If you, or someone you know, has been sexually abused by another regulated health professional.
  • A court has subpoenaed your records.
  • If you are a member of the military or a veteran, the information we discuss may be shared with your case manager.
  • As a clinician who is supervised, your file may be reviewed by Dr. Patricia Conroy to ensure you have the best treatment possible.