Q: What is a psychologist? What do psychologists do?
A: As described by the Canadian and Ontario Psychological Associations, psychologists study the way people think, feel, and behave from a scientific point of view. They apply their knowledge to help others understand, explain, and change behaviour. Psychologists provide mental health assessment and diagnostic services. They provide counselling and psychotherapy for mental health difficulties. Psychologists offer support for managing the impact of physical illnesses. And they also assist with personal, relationship, and work functioning as well as career development. Psychologists can be found working in hospitals and community clinics, schools and universities, social service agencies, correctional facilities, as well as private practices. They use their expertise and skills to help people deal with barriers to psychological health and wellness. And they may be involved in research, practice, or teaching.
Q: What’s the difference between a psychologist and other mental health professionals?
A: There are a number of professions that provide treatment or support to persons who are experiencing mental health issues. According to the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO), which regulates the profession of psychology in Ontario, members of the CPO are regulated professionals and the only individuals who are authorized to practice psychology in this province. To be eligible for registration to practice psychology here requires completion of graduate school, supervised training and experience in professional psychology, and passing examinations. Members of the CPO must practice in accordance with specific professional ethical codes and guidelines, standards of conduct, regulations, and legislation. The CPO aims to ensure that consumers receive ethical and competent professional psychological services from qualified providers.
Psychiatry is a specialized field within medicine. Whereas psychologists typically have master’s and/or doctoral degrees that involve 6 to 10 years of university study, psychiatrists have medical degrees and then specialize in mental health and mental disorders. Psychiatrists often prescribe medication as a means of helping people with managing mental disorders or changing their behaviour. There are also some psychiatrists who provide therapy, as psychologists do. To learn more about psychiatry, you can visit the website of the Canadian Psychiatric Association at: www.cpa-apc.org
In addition to psychiatrists, there are family physicians who have training and an interest in treating mental disorders. Some people consult their family physicians about medication while also attending therapy with a psychologist.
There are other regulated professionals who provide services to those who may be experiencing mental health difficulties. Regulated professionals are required by law to provide services ethically and competently. Such professionals are accountable to the public for their professional activities through their regulatory bodies. These professionals include nurse practitioners, social workers, registered psychotherapists, and occupational therapists. The Ontario Psychological Association has created a table that highlights the differences in scope, education, and training of the aforementioned professionals that can be viewed here:
Q: How do I find a psychologist who is right for me? Who is the best psychologist for me?
A: As highlighted by the Ontario Psychological Association, feeling comfortable with a psychologist may help a person with being able to share relevant information more easily as well as with working together more productively. When contacting a psychologist for the first time to learn about services that may be available, you might be able to gather some initial impressions by asking your own questions. Some of these questions could include: Are you accepting new clients? What are your hours of availability? Do you have experience helping people with a particular problem? What kinds of treatment approaches might you use? What are your fees?
Many psychologists would be willing to have a brief conversation with you before scheduling any appointments, so that they can get a sense of whether addressing the concerns you describe would fall within their scope of practice and that they would be an appropriate person to assist you. Some people may wish to speak with a few psychologists before making a choice, as there may be a number of them who could potentially meet your needs or help with your goals. Additionally, many psychologists would be willing and pleased to offer suggestions on where services might be available to you that they are not able to provide themselves. These efforts are aimed at trying to facilitate a good fit between clients and psychologists.
Q: How often are appointments? How many appointments will I need?
A: The answers to these questions depend on a number of factors, some of which include: the nature of the reported problems and their severity; clients’ goals and priorities; the treatment approach taken by the psychologist; as well as other forms of support and resources that may be available.
Q: What about my privacy?
A: Privacy is important to psychologists. Psychologists are required to observe and follow strict ethical and legal guidelines to maintain clients’ privacy. In Ontario, the privacy of personal health information collected by psychologists is afforded by the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Psychology Act, and the Health Protection Act.
As highlighted by the Ontario Psychological Association, clients have the right to privacy and confidentiality. There are only a few circumstances in which a psychologist may need, or be required, to disclose your private information. So that you are aware of the limits of confidentiality, these circumstances will be reviewed with you prior to starting treatment. As examples, the sorts of exceptions to confidentiality include, but are not limited to, actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, risk of harm to oneself or others, and the psychologist receiving a court order.
Q: Do I need a referral from a physician?
A: No, self-referrals are accepted. Some insurers require a physician referral for coverage of costs of psychological services, however. It’s in your best interest to check with your insurer prior to appointments to determine the extent of your coverage and whether this a requirement of your plan.
Q: Where are in-person appointments held? Is there free parking?
A: When offered, in-person appointments are held at 295 Wolfe Street, Suite 103. The entrance is off the driveway and the office is on the first floor to the right after passing through the interior doors. There is free parking behind the building.
Dr. Marcus Juodis, C. Psych.
PO Box 22065 Wilton
London, Ontario, Canada
Phone: (519) 871-6632
Fax: (519) 286-6525
Please be aware that email is not a secure form of communication and limit emailed information to that which you would be comfortable discussing in a public place.