What should I expect at my first appointment?

The goal of the first appointment is for your clinician to get to know you, understand your concerns, and explain important clinic policies. You will have a chance to ask any questions you may have before you start the initial session.  Your clinician will work with you to gain a better understanding of your history, interests, and the concerns that have brought you to their office. They may also have you complete brief symptom measures. Information is gathered with the intent of developing a treatment plan specific to your needs. If treatment at our clinic is recommended, this treatment will be explained to you and you will be given the opportunity to ask questions. The first appointment is 90-minutes, while subsequent sessions are likely to be 50-minute.

How much does each session cost?

Our standard fee is $225 per hour for a psychologist and $170 per hour for a master level psychotherapist. Payment can be made by Visa or Mastercard through our scheduling software.

What is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment that has been scientifically proven to be effective for a wide variety of mental health difficulties. The goal of CBT is to identify and modify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that may be contributing to emotional difficulties and keeping you stuck. CBT is based on the premise that how we think (e.g., our beliefs and assumptions) impacts our feelings and behaviours. Consider the following situation and how three people might respond differently to it:

In CBT, you work collaboratively with your therapist to learn skills and strategies for dealing with unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. When people experience persistent negative moods like anxiety or depression, there is a tendency to focus on some parts of the situation (the negative parts) and ignore others (the positive or neutral parts). The aim of CBT is not to “think positively” but rather to consider situations from various perspectives in order to see things in a more realistic or balanced way. Furthermore, some behaviours that may feel good in the moment (e.g., slamming a door when we are angry) can actually maintain our difficulties or make things worse. Making changes to unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving can have significant and long-lasting effects on our mood, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Does CBT Work?

CBT was first developed in the 1960’s and is now considered an evidence-based psychological treatment for a wide range of mental health difficulties. In order to be considered “evidence-based”, a treatment must have been delivered to large groups of individuals and data collected on how well the treatment actually works. This data is then carefully analyzed by researchers and scientifically shown to be effective. The psychologists at the Waterloo CBT Clinic have extensive training as mental health clinicians as well as scientists, and are committed to providing treatment based on the most current scientific evidence available.

What is the format of CBT?

A standard course of CBT lasts for 8 – 20 sessions, which typically take place once per week. CBT focuses on helping you learn skills and strategies for dealing with your problems more effectively.  In each session, your therapist will help you learn and practice a specific skill. The skills that are learned will be tailored to your particular concerns and treatment goals. The goal of CBT is to teach you a set of skills so that by the end of therapy, you will have the tools you need to be your own therapist.

Do you take insurance?

If you have extended health care benefits (e.g., though your employer or spouse), psychological services may be partially or fully covered. Insurance plans vary widely and we encourage you to check with your provider prior to your first appointment. You will be provided with a receipt at the end of each session that you may submit for reimbursement. Fees that are not reimbursed may be claimed as a medical expense on your income tax returns.

What does it mean that CBT is “evidence based” or “empirically supported” and why does that matter?

In order to be considered “evidence-based” or “empirically supported”, a treatment must have been delivered to large groups of individuals and data collected on how well the treatment actually works. This data is then carefully analyzed by researchers and scientifically shown to be effective. Evidence-based treatments have been demonstrated across numerous clinical trials to reduce symptoms significantly for many years following the end of psychological treatment. The goal of evidence-based treatment is to encourage the use of safe, effective treatments that are likely to produce good outcomes rather than relying on poorly studied or ineffective options. CBT is the most common and most extensively studied evidence-based treatment for reducing psychological symptoms, and its benefits have been demonstrated for a wide range of concerns.

The psychologists at the Waterloo CBT Clinic have extensive training as mental health clinicians as well as scientists, and are committed to providing treatment based on the most current scientific evidence available.

How long does treatment take?

A typical course of CBT is usually between 8-20 sessions, although the exact length will vary depending on the nature of your concerns, your treatment goals, and financial considerations. Therapy sessions are typically scheduled weekly and last 50 minutes.

Do I need a referral?

A referral is not required to make an appointment with us. Potential clients are encouraged to contact us directly if they have questions about our services or if they would like to book an appointment. We do also accept referrals from other professionals if this is preferred.

What is a psychologist?

Clinical psychologists have advanced graduate level training in mental health and psychotherapy.  Clinical psychologists specialize in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological conditions.  Typically, clinical psychologists have obtained an undergraduate degree (four years), followed by a Master’s degree (two years) and a Ph.D. (4-6 years).  A Ph.D. in clinical psychology involves a broad range of clinical training experiences, as well as coursework in diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and ethics.  Given the research requirements of a Ph.D., this type of training also positions a clinical psychologist to understand current research on best practices, and to provide evidence-based treatment (that is, treatment that is shown through research to be effective). At the end of their Ph.D., psychologists spend one year in a full-time clinical residency, where they acquire more advanced training and specialization.  Following completion of their degrees, psychologists then register with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) to work under supervision for at least one year.  Following successful completion of supervised practice, which includes two sets of written examinations and an oral examination, a psychologist is granted the privilege to practice autonomously in Ontario.

The psychologists at the Waterloo CBT Clinic are trained to assess and diagnose problems in thinking, feeling, and behaviour.  We use psychological measures to aid in assessment and diagnosis.  We have also been extensively trained in the provision of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and related empirically supported interventions to treat a wide variety of conditions.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Psychologists and psychiatrists are both registered healthcare professionals with approximately the same number of years of education/training (at least 8-9 years). Psychologists complete doctoral degrees and receive specialized training in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological difficulties. In contrast, psychiatrists complete medical degrees (like your family physician) followed by a residency in psychiatry specializing in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.  In Ontario, psychiatrists are licensed to prescribe medication and much of their work is focused on this aspect of treatment.  Psychologists and psychiatrists often collaborate together in optimizing patient care. In Ontario, psychological services are paid privately or covered by extended health benefits but are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). In contrast, psychiatric services are covered by OHIP. Psychologists and psychiatrists both receive extensive formal training and supervision in their areas of specialty, are regulated by a professional college, and adhere to a strict code of ethics and professional standards.

What age range of clients do you work with?

We work with children ages 6-12, adolescents and adults.

What concerns can you help with?

To give you a sense of our areas of interest and expertise, we provide the following list of problem areas commonly addressed by our practitioners.  If you are unsure if our services are appropriate for you, please contact our clinic for more information.

  • Adjustment difficulties/life transitions
  • Agoraphobia
  • Anxiety
  • Assertiveness
  • Body image concerns/unhealthy eating habits
  • Coping with illness, injury, or chronic health problems
  • Depression and low mood
  • Excessive worry
  • Interpersonal difficulties
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Social anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties/insomnia
  • Perfectionism
  • Stress
  • Trauma

Is there free parking?

Yes, there is free parking in front of and beside the building.