Common questions regarding therapy with a Certified Counsellor, Registered Social Worker or Registered Psychologist
Your Services page mentions that you have more than one location. Where does each therapist work?
Living Well offers sessions at four separate locations within Calgary, AB.
The following counsellors work out of our Centre ST/McKnight office located at 4803 Centre Street N.
The following counsellors work out of our Mount Pleasant office located at 505 30th Avenue NW.
The following counsellors work out of our Inglewood office located at 39 – 35 Inglewood Park SE.
Cathy McCurdy works out of her private home office located in Silver Springs in NW Calgary, AB.
Aziza Giga-Hirji is only available for virtual appointments at this time.
Kaitlyn Barnett is only available for virtual appointments at this time.
Shannon Baustad is only available for virtual appointments at this time.
Steven Ngu is only available for virtual appointments at this time.
I called but no one answered, is there a receptionist or therapist to take my call?
At Living Well we understand that one of the biggest concerns individuals have about therapy is cost. As a result, we have worked hard to keep business costs down so that clients can get the help they need without paying standard therapy rates. For example, most practice owners in Calgary are within the $225-$250/hr range, while most Registered Psychologists start at the recommended PAA fee which is $200 for a 50 min session. In keeping costs down (for example, by having part time reception), are able to keep the majority of our hourly rates between $140 and $200 for a 60 minute session. In addition, we have therapists that offer sliding scale rates between $80 and $135 per hour, based on financial concern and therapist availability. Currently, due to the increased volume of requests that we have been receiving lately, our capacity to offer a sliding fee scale has been limited. Please feel free to check in with us directly to see if we currently have the capacity to offer a sliding fee scale.
If you reach our voicemail, please leave a message, or fill out our Appointment Request Form for the quickest response. We seek to contact clients the same day as their request, at most within 24 hours. We appreciate your patience as we strive to offer high quality, but affordable, services.
Therapy is going to cost more than I thought, now what?
Therapy is an investment in yourself. In the same way a physician or specialist are highly trained in their line of work for the physical body, our therapists are highly trained in helping clients with their psyche and lives. Countless people apply for positions at Living Well counselling services in Calgary Alberta, but our founder, Jennifer Dawn Watts, hand picks some of the most inviting, non-judgemental, and skilled therapists with modern approaches to treatment to help you reach your goals. While some practices may offer lower rates, you can often end up working with an intern or resident with little experience.
We all invest in our homes, our vehicles, our vacations and our electronics, but its wonderful to also consider investing in ourselves. You are worth it.
Additionally, you may be able to receive assistance from your benefits plan or from a faith community should you belong to one. While these may only cover a portion of your sessions, we understand every little bit helps.
I am hoping to use benefits coverage for counselling. What do I need to know?
It makes sense you will want to use what you can from yours or your partner’s benefits plan if you have coverage. At the same time, here are some important facts to consider as you move forward.
1) The credentials required for therapy vary by insurance company and plan.
Since there are so many plans available, we have no way to guarantee what will be covered under each individual plan. Please call your benefits provider to find out EXACTLY what credentials they require before submitting your Appointment Request Form. Most plans cover a Registered Psychologist but not always if you’re out of province, and a majority of plans cover Registered Social Workers as well. Some plans will also cover Certified Counsellors.
2) Note how much coverage you have. Some plans only cover $300 or $500 per calendar year.
Alternatively, some plans only cover 3 or 4 therapy sessions, which often isn’t enough to successfully reach your goals. If you have serious financial concerns and cannot afford a therapist’s full fees once your benefits run out, our counsellors do offer sliding scale options. If you will need sliding scale please discuss this with your therapist at the beginning of treatment. If they can’t accommodate your needs, they can try to refer you to a therapist that can.
Do you direct-bill insurance companies?
Unfortunately at this time insurance companies cannot accept direct-bill from therapists, nor do we know of any Psychologist or Counselling practice that has these capabilities. Therefore we do require payment up front, and then we offer you a receipt to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. This is similar to massage, acupuncture and other health benefit services.
I’ve called my insurance company and the counsellor I was hoping to work with is not covered, now what?
It is unfortunate that insurance companies still make such distinctions when all Living Well therapists have both Bachelors and Masters degrees and similar levels of training. That said, here are some things to consider.
1) The coverage may be minimal anyway. If only 3 sessions are covered, you may want to instead choose to invest in yourself and your development with the therapist you feel would be the best fit. Studies show that 30% of why people improve in therapy is due to the fit between the therapist and the client. Therefore, its very important you get to work with someone you desire to work with.
2) The therapist you want to work with may be more affordable in the long run. Therapists at Living Well keep their rates lower than average in order to help therapy be more affordable (click here for PAA recommended fee schedule). If you are paying a higher fee when benefits run out this may be tough to sustain in your budget. If you start with a lower fee, this may be more sustainable long term.
3) You may be able to use your health spending account. Many therapists are covered within a health spending account even if their particular credentials are not covered under Psychological Services.
4) The therapist may be able to offer you a sliding scale fee.
Sometimes Living Well therapists will be able to offer you a lower fee than their set rate if finances are truly a concern for you. This is something you would discuss with the therapist directly.
5) You may choose to work with someone else who is covered. If the options above don’t sound like they would work for you, you may want to go through the profiles and choose a therapist that does have the credentials your plan requires. All of our therapists are chosen out of a large range of applicants and our founder is very specific in what she looks for in counselling professionals. You can have confidence in another choice, and you can also book a free 20-minute consultation to make sure your therapist is a good fit for you.
What is Living Well’s GST policy?
While Psychologists themselves are exempt from charging GST to their clients, practices are not. Since our practice, Living Well Counselling Services Inc., is the one billing clients, we are required by law to charge GST. This has been investigated in depth by our founder Jennifer Dawn Watts, and our accountant who has over 30 years experience in corporate practice. That being said we continue to strive to offer reasonable rates at our practice, and as such, Living Well charges on average 20-30% less than the recommended PAA rate for Psychologists, as well as offering sliding scale for those in need. We also continue to offer sessions that are a full hour, rather than the standard therapy practice of 50 min.
Should you have any questions about our billing policy, please contact Jennifer at 403.695.7911 and she’ll be happy to answer any additional questions.
I want to see someone right away for therapy. What’s the quickest way I can get in to see someone?
We understand that when some clients call they may be in distress and hoping to talk with someone as soon as possible. The quickest way to reach us is by calling between 9am and 12pm on Monday through Saturday, as we have someone in the office to take your call.
Outside of our reception hours, we suggest you take these 3 steps:
1) If you have benefits, contact your provider to see what credentials they require and how much coverage you have. If you don’t have benefits skip this step.
2) Look at the Our Therapists page including credentials and profiles, along with our Rates page, and decide which therapist you would like to work with.
3) Fill out our Appointment Request Form with all sections filled in to the best of your ability.
This form will be sent to the therapist you choose and they will get in contact with you as soon as possible. We aim to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours, but you will often hear from the therapist within the same day.
Do I need to start with a 20-minute consultation?
No, many of our clients do not. You may have read the bios, know who you’d like to work with and feel ready to get started on treatment with your therapist’s next available appointment. This motivation is great to capitalize on, so if you’re ready please note this on your Appointment Request Form and we will set you up with a therapist that is ready to book you right in.
Do you offer 20-minute consultations by telephone or in-office?
Both. This varies by counselors and available times. Please ask the therapist when they contact you, and they can let you know what they currently have available.
I have never been to counselling & am not sure if I need it. How do I know?
There was a time when therapy was seen as something only for those with severe mental health issues. Not so these days. Now it is seen by many as a legitimate avenue for personal development & growth and as something that anyone can benefit from. So if you’re thinking about it, why not give it a try? It is private, confidential and full of positive possibilities. You are worth the investment.
The cultural background I come from is not a Western mindset. Can I work on myself without losing my values?
Yes. If your values are important to you, they are important to your therapist. We have seen many clients from varying cultural backgrounds, and often they retain some of the best and unique gifts from their cultural heritage while letting go of other negative aspects of their life holding them back such as depression, relationship concerns, anxiety or addictions. Counselling will always change us, but the goal is to become more of our true selves, not to lose ourselves all together. If your culture is important to you and you have concerns, please make sure to let your therapist know.
Living Well recognizes that in order to maintain their cultural background, some individuals may feel more confident conversing in their native language. For this reason, we do have counsellors offering services in Urdu/Hindi, Arabic and Gujarati.
The therapist I want to work with is far away from me and/or I have trouble finding a time to make it into the office. Are there other options?
Yes, several of our therapists offer telephone or Skype counselling. This can be great because you get to work with your preferred therapist and/or you may find it more convenient. You can start with a free 20-minute consultation to see if this form of therapy might be helpful for you. Many of our clients have truly enjoyed this new way of meeting together.
I can’t decide between therapists, could I try a free 20-minute consultation with more than one?
Due to the high demand for therapist’s time we cannot offer more than one free consultation at this time. We suggest you choose the therapist that you feel would be the best fit, meet with them and if you like them you can go ahead an book in sessions for treatment. If for some reason you don’t find them a fit you can then email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a transfer.
Why should I choose to work with Living Well?
Well, no one should tell you that you should do anything! But if you’re hoping to start to work on yourself, there are a few things that differentiate Living Well from other agencies.
1) We see clients for a full hour, rather than the industry standard session length of 50 minutes. This allows clients more time with their therapist instead of feeling rushed.
2) We book a minimum of 15-30 minutes between our sessions. Many therapists book their sessions ‘on the hour’ which means if a session goes slightly past the 50 minutes, you may be bumping into the therapist’s next client scheduled to go into their office. No one really feels great about that. Your concerns are meaningful, and deserve to be handled with care. A therapist’s work is also better when they have an adequate break in between sessions.
3) We don’t see a large number of clients in one day. We have limited the number of clients we see in order to make sure the work you receive is attentive and skilled, whether you are our first client or the last client in our schedule for the day.
4) We respect client’s spirituality. If you have spiritual beliefs these will be honored and respected. And of you don’t have spiritual beliefs don’t worry, this will be honored and respected as well. Essentially we don’t push our own values on to our clients. What they believe, and the resources they have, are what’s most important to their treatment.
5) We aim to keep our rates affordable for you. The average Registered Psychologist rate suggested by the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta is $190 for a 50 minute session, and many therapists in the city charge up to $225. We strive to keep our fees below this average, even with our therapists that have over 20 years experience.
I have a question that wasn’t answered here. What should I do now?
The best way to reach us is to via email at email@example.com. We strive to respond to inquiries within one business day and value your patience. If you have not heard back from us within a day or two at the most, then we suggest you follow up with a call to our office.