People seek therapy for many different reasons. No matter the reason, the goal of therapy is for the client and their clinician to develop a plan to address the issue or set of emotions that led the client to seek therapy and/or develop tools to better cope. Often just talking through thoughts and feelings with a neutral, non-judgemental, and supportive person can be the first step in feeling better.

Most of our psychotherapy services at the Center for Pediatric Excellence are for teens aged 13+ and adults. We currently have limited options for children aged 6-12 and, as a result, those waitlists are currently closed. Our psychologists are trained in various forms of therapy, and each will have a different approach. If you’re interested in a specific method, look through each of our psychologists’ bios or contact us  to see if any of our psychologists could be a good fit for you or your teen.

Here are questions we are often asked about our Psychotherapy Services along with our answers.

How does Psychotherapy work?

Psychotherapy is sometimes referred to as “talk therapy” because it generally involves talking to a professional licensed to provide psychotherapy. In partnership with your therapist, psychotherapy helps to give you or your child a fresh perspective on a difficult problem and is intended to help you or your child to come to a solution. In order for psychotherapy to work, you or your child must be a willing participant. Psychotherapy can be time-consuming and challenging because you or your child may be discussing difficult experiences and/or emotions, perhaps for the first time. This may lead to an initial increase in uncomfortable emotions and/or thoughts. This is very common and often part of the process. Ultimately, by talking through issues, psychotherapy is intended to help clients to:

  • Understand themselves better

  • Develop skills for healthier relationships with themselves and others

  • Be much happier and satisfied people.

Is Psychotherapy different from counseling?

Yes. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between psychotherapy and counseling. In Psychotherapy, a person works with a therapist to talk through their issues so that the person can draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions. Counseling takes a more direct approach where the counselor is more likely to give advice to help a person solve a problem or deal with an issue.

Who provides Psychotherapy?

Psychologists provide all Psychotherapy services at the Center for Pediatric Excellence.

How old does my child need to be to begin Psychotherapy?

This really depends on the individual. However, at CFPE we have very limited availability for therapy services for children 6-12 and our psychologists’ waitlists for that age group are currently closed.

Will I or my child be diagnosed with a mental illness through Psychotherapy?

Mental illness assessment and diagnosis is not the goal of psychotherapy. However, a mental illness assessment and diagnosis may come out of psychotherapy based on the initial concerns that led you or your child to seek psychotherapy or the issues that you or your child discuss(es) with the psychologist.

Are sessions in-person or virtual?

It’s up to you! Our psychologists offer both in-person and virtual sessions.

How long are sessions?

Initial psychotherapy sessions are 60-minutes and follow-ups are typically 30- or 60-minutes. Your psychologist will discuss and may make recommendations about session length with you and/or your child.

Does the Center for Pediatric Excellence offer family, marriage, and/or group therapy?

No. If you or your child are interested in any of these instead of, or in addition to, individual psychotherapy, your psychologist will be happy to recommend clinicians who do provide these services.

What to expect at my or my child’s first therapy sessions?

Your initial session(s) will be for preliminary assessment to determine if your clinician can help you or your child. In these initial sessions, you can also decide if the psychologist you’re seeing is a good fit.

The first 1-3 sessions are typically spent:

  • Reviewing confidentiality

  • Collecting background information

  • Completing initial questionnaires

  • Establishing your therapy goals

Once you and your psychologist have established your psychological needs, your psychologist will work with you to create a suitable treatment plan

How many sessions will I or my child have?

Unlike our other services, the length of psychotherapy is highly variable. For scheduling purposes, you will initially be booked for anywhere between 4-6 weekly or bi-weekly appointments based on your preference. You and your psychologist will discuss the number and frequency of sessions based on your goals and treatment plan. If for any reason you want to cancel a scheduled session, you can do so up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment time and you will not be charged. Click here to review our cancellation policies in our FAQ.

What if the psychologist is not the right person for me or my child?

For psychotherapy to be effective, you or your child need to feel comfortable with the psychologist and their approach. Like any other relationship, there isn’t always going to be a good match between your or your child and the psychologist. The benefit of a therapeutic relationship is that a psychologist is non-judgemental; you will not hurt their feelings if you want to stop therapy or ask to see someone else.

Have a discussion with your psychologist if at any point you want to try a different method, be referred to another psychologist, or stop sessions altogether. NOTE: If your child is not a match with their psychologist, they may need your support to have this discussion. With your child’s consent, arrange for an appointment with you, your child, and their psychologist.

Can I talk to my child’s psychologist about what my child says in sessions?

No. Even in children and teens, anything* discussed in one-on-one psychotherapy sessions is kept confidential between a client and their psychologist. This is a crucial element of the therapeutic relationship. Depending on the situation, you may be invited to join part of a session to discuss an issue with your child and their psychologist. The only time you will be informed of what your child discusses in therapy without your child present is if your child has given their psychologist consent to discuss a specific topic with you.

*Two important exceptions to confidentiality are:

1. your child is in immediate danger of harming themselves or someone else, OR

2. your child discloses past or on-going abuse against themselves or another child

If either of these situations should arise, your child’s psychologist is obligated to inform and involve the proper authorities (police and/or Children’s Aid). Your child’s psychologist will also notify you unless it would put your child at further at risk (i.e. your child is being injured by you or with your knowledge).

How can I support my child as they attend Psychotherapy?

Your child’s psychologist will be able to provide more suggestions and ones that will be specific to your child and situation. Here is a short list of general tips:

Respect your child’s right to confidentiality. Be open to talk about sessions without an expectation that they will or should share specific details about what they discussed with their psychologist.

Ask your child’s therapist for suggestions. Although they cannot answer any specifics about what they discussed with your child, your child’s psychologist can provide suggestions for how to support the work they’re doing with your child, offer parenting tips, or provide other assistance.

Listen to your child if they voice opinions about their psychologist. Finding the right fit is crucial in psychotherapy. Whether it’s personality, approach, or any other factor, if your child is not comfortable with their psychologist, it is much less likely, if not impossible, for your child to reach their therapeutic goals.

Support and/or assist your child in developing their therapeutic goals; do not make them for your child. For Psychotherapy to be effective, your child needs to be motivated to do the work to make changes. Putting goals on your child that they do not share will set you up for frustration and disappointment.

Be positive and understanding. Psychotherapy is difficult; the entire process can take time and there will be bumps along the way. Expressing judgment or frustration can have a negative impact on your child and their ability or willingness to engage in the work needed to see positive change.

Is Psychotherapy covered by OHIP?

No. Many private insurance plans provide some degree of coverage. Check with your insurance provider to verify what they will cover.

How much does Psychotherapy cost?

All of our psychologists charge $225 per hour for psychotherapy.

Do I need a doctor’s referral?

No. Psychotherapy is not covered by OHIP, so we do not require a referral from a physician. However, some insurance companies require a doctor’s referral to cover the cost. Please check with your insurance company.

How do I get started?