Calgary Psychologists, Social Workers and Counsellors
In the city of Calgary Psychologists are one of three types of professionals you can see for counselling. There are also Social Workers and Counsellors.
What’s the Difference?
In Calgary Psychologists and Social Workers both have governing bodies that regulate what they do, and the tittles are protected by law. It takes requirements to call oneself a Psychologist or Social Worker. Both require at least a Masters degree and both have to complete a certain number of hours. Calgary Psychologists also have to complete the EPPP’s and an oral exam, which they must pass in order to become registered.
In Calgary Psychologists can work at a variety of settings. They may work at doctor’s offices, for Alberta Health Services, for Universities or agencies. Their tasks can vary from assessments to diagnosing disorders to education or counselling. At Living Well our Psychologists are all trained in counselling, and offer their services in a private practice setting.
Calgary Psychologists are required by their governing body, the College of Alberta Psychologists, to have supervision and to follow the ethical guidelines. Most Calgary Psychologists will also pursue continuing education in order to develop professionally. Many Psychologists will also pursue their own counselling in order to avoid something called countertransference. Countertransference happens when a Psychologist’s own subconscious or issues become projected onto the client which can inhibit effective treatment. While some countertransference is typically inevitable, Living Well hires Psychologists that are committed to doing their own ‘work’ in therapy too. We believe we cannot ask clients to do anything we aren’t willing to do ourselves. This commitment to being well ourselves sets us apart. Rather than simply passing information on due to education and training, our Psychologists, Social Workers and Counsellors have the added benefits of having been clients themselves. And many still are (including our founder)
Most Registered Social Workers in Calgary all have similar guidelines to that of Psychologists. They have a governing body, the Alberta College of Social Workers, and they are required to meet certain criteria before they can be fully registered. Calgary Social Workers also work in diverse settings in the community, for example working to protect children’s rights, for organizations against sexual violence and helping with community programming. Like Calgary Psychologists, most Calgary Social Workers are also well trained and competent in offering counselling to clients. This can be family, individual or couples counselling, depending on the areas they’ve chosen to specialize.
In Calgary Counsellor is not a protected term. At this stage in the development of the profession, anyone can call themselves a Counsellor. That said, Living Well only hires Counsellors that have met similar requirements to that of the Psychologists and Social Workers offering counselling at our practice. They too must have a minimum of a Masters degree, have a minimum number of hours of experience, must belong to a particular governing body (such as the Professional Association of Christian Counsellors and Psychotherapists) and must follow a code of ethics.
Why would I choose a Calgary Psychologist vs a Calgary Social Worker or Calgary Counsellor?
At Living Well Calgary Psychologists don’t offer any greater or lesser form of therapy compared to that of our Social Workers or Counsellors. The primary reason our clients choose a Psychologist (whether a Provisionally Registered Psychologist or a fully Registered Psychologist) is because they are covered by most benefits plans. Most people with benefits have between $500 to $2000 per year in coverage, so it can help financially to make sure you see a Psychologist instead of a Social Worker or Counsellor. That said, many Registered Social Workers are covered too.
So then, why would anyone see a Calgary Counsellor at Living Well?
Well, there are a few reasons.
First, a person may not have benefits coverage. If coverage isn’t a concern, then a counsellor could meet the client’s needs similarly to that of a Psychologist or Social Worker.
Second, the client may want to work with someone who specializes in a particular area. For example, Christian Counselling. Since there are less universities that offer education to become a Christian Counsellor, one of our therapists may have chosen to attend one of these schools if they wanted to specialize, even if they wouldn’t ultimately qualify to be a fully Registered Psychologist. While this may mean they are not covered by as many benefits plans, it does mean they are well trained in the areas that clients are looking for help. For example, Jennifer Dawn Watts, the founder of Living Well, completed her Masters degree in Counselling at Providence Theological Seminary in order to offer therapy that was spiritually sensitive and took into account the whole person. Whether clients are Christian or not, they can benefit from this specialized training in spiritual direction and holistic counselling. Because of this, some clients will choose to see her, even if only about 20% of benefits companies currently cover her counselling services.
Finally, another reason a client may choose to see one of our Calgary Counsellors instead of a Calgary Psychologist or Social Work is because they hope to get in to see someone as soon as possible. If at that moment a counsellor is available, they may choose to work with that person instead of waiting to see a Psychologist or Social Worker.
At Living Well you will see the following specified definitions beside each counsellor’s name on our Rates page.
- Registered Psychologist
- Provisional Psychologist
- Registered Social Worker
- Certified Professional Counsellor
Please take note of the designation of the counsellor of your choice, and call your benefits company to confirm coverage if this is a concern.
Additionally, although not included in their official title, we do have Christian Psychologists, Muslim Psychologists, Christian Counsellors and Muslim Social Workers at both of our Calgary locations. As some clients prefer to meet with a professional with a similar world view, or faith-based counselling perspective, we understand and have therefore offered this to our clientele. Just make sure to include this information on your Appointment Request Form.
How to decide? Remember our free consultation policy
to experience their approach to treatment. Since 30% of why people improve in counselling is based on the relationship between the clients and therapist (regardless of their official title), we want to make sure all clients find the therapist that best suits their needs.