FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For more information about Dr. Rickey Miller and about psychologists in general, please read the following FAQ's.

1. What do psychologists do?
2. What is the difference between psychologists and psychological associates?
3. What is the difference between psychologists and psychological associates and other counselors and psychotherapists?
4. What is the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists?
5. Are my sessions confidential? Are there any circumstances under which information about my sessions would be released?
6. Do I have the right to read my file?
7. What do I do if I have an emergency?
8. How long is a therapy “hour”?
9. What if I have to cancel an appointment?


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1. What do psychologists do?

We help you understand yourself better, improve your lifestyle, and cope more effectively with stress and pain. We complete psychological assessments and provide psychotherapy. We are trained in the assessment, treatment, and prevention of behavioural and mental conditions. We diagnose psychological problems including neuropsychological disorders and dysfunctions as well as psychotic, neurotic, and personality disorders and dysfunctions. In addition, we use a variety of approaches to help you maintain and enhance your physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and interpersonal functioning.

The College of Psychologists of Ontario maintains a register of all current members. You can find information about an individual psychologist in the searchable Public Register at www.cpo.on.ca. You can also call 416-961-8817 or send an email to cpo@cpo.on.ca.

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2. What is the difference between psychologists and psychological associates?
We have completed a doctoral degree in psychology (Ph.D. or a Psy. D.) and usually a one-year internship as well. Psychological associates have completed a master’s level degree in psychology and four years of experience.

Both psychologists and psychological associates have completed at least one additional year of formal supervised experience approved by the College, and they have passed three examinations required by the College.

Members of the College are required to indicate whether they have a master’s or doctoral degree in all professional correspondence, reports, and promotional information. If you have any doubt, you can ask a therapist who uses the title “psychologist” to report his or her highest graduate degree.

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3. What is the difference between psychologists and psychological associates and other counselors and psychotherapists?
We are members of the College of Psychologists of Ontario. The College is not a university, community college, or school. It is an organization whose purpose is to protect the interests of the public by ensuring that patients receive competent and ethical professional psychological services from qualified providers.

We must meet rigorous professional entry requirements, adhere to prescribed standards, guidelines, and ethical principles, and participate in quality assurance activities to continually update and improve our knowledge and skill.

The College has no authority over other service providers including counselors and psychotherapists. Therefore, counselors and psychotherapists are unregulated. As of the time of this writing (2011), there is no regulatory body with the legal authority to set minimum levels of education, training, and competence, or to establish and monitor professional and ethical standards of conduct for these therapists.

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4. What is the difference between psychiatrists and psychologists?
A psychiatrist has an M.D. degree and is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of people with mental disorders. Psychiatrists typically have a medical approach to psychological problems. As physicians, they can prescribe medication. About 12 years of post-secondary education are needed to become a psychiatrist.

A psychologist has a Ph.D. or a Psy. D. degree. A Ph.D. degree requires a dissertation based on original research; a Psy. D. degree requires supervised psychotherapy experience. For either degree, the candidate must complete a one-year internship. About 12 to 15 years of post-secondary education are needed to become a psychologist.

There are many subspecialties within psychology. Clinical and counseling psychologists provide psychotherapy, and to do so they must meet licensing requirements. To obtain this license, psychologists must receive further training and complete written and oral examinations.

We are licensed by the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Psychologists typically have an educational approach to psychological problems. Our aim is to help you understand yourself better, consider better options for coping with stress, make more effective lifestyle choices, and learn strategies for leading a happier and more meaningful life.

Some people receive both psychiatric and psychological treatment at the same time. In our practice, we often work closely with psychiatrists and refer patients for consultation regarding medication. Psychiatrists often refer patients to us for psychotherapy.

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5. Are my sessions confidential? Are there any circumstances under which information about my sessions would be released?

Your sessions are completely confidential. Before we can let anyone know anything you tell us or even before we confirm that you are attending sessions, we require your written permission. There are only four exceptions:

If you indicate that your life is at serious risk
If you indicate that someone else’s life is at serious risk
If you indicate that a child is being abused or neglected
If we receive a court order or subpoena requesting our file about you
We ensure that all information about you is kept in a secure and locked area. Our secretary and all other staff are also required to ensure your confidentiality.

Information about you may be seen by individuals who are carrying out an audit for the College of Psychologists or Revenue Canada. If this occurs, we will not allow identifying information to be removed from our office without your written consent.

When you give us permission to disclose information about you, you may limit the content. However, if the information you do not want disclosed is clearly needed to provide you with appropriate service, we are required by law to inform that person that you have decided to withhold some information.

We offer phone sessions if you cannot attend in person. You can also communicate with us via email and Skype. Please be aware that email and Skype are not secure media and that we cannot ensure confidentiality of information that is transmitted via these electronic means.

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6. Do I have the right to read my file?

You have the right to read our file about you, including reports and other correspondence. You can request copies of this information with the following exceptions:

if, in our view, there is a possibility of harm to you or someone else
if there is confidential information in your file about a person other than yourself
psychological tests cannot be copied
There may be a fee for providing you with copies of documents in your file.

If you believe that any information in your file is not accurate, you may ask us to correct it. If we do not agree to make the correction, you may file a notice of disagreement in your record.

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7. What do I do if I have an emergency?

Contact your family physician, go to the nearest emergency room at a hospital, or call 911.

If the situation is not an emergency but you would like us to contact you as soon as possible, you can send a confidential voicemail message or send us an email. We will make every effort to contact you as soon as possible. For more information, see Contact us.

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8. How long is a therapy “hour”?

55 minutes.

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9. What if I have to cancel an appointment?

If you do not show up for your appointment and you cancel with less than 24 hours notice, you must pay the session fee unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as if you are seriously ill or if the weather makes it impossible for you to travel. For more information, see Contact Us.
 

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