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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions...

Do I have to be referred by a family doctor or specialist physician?

No, you can contact Dr. Penner’s office directly via email or phone to make an appointment. No referral is necessary, although referrals from physicians, schools, or other health professionals are also accepted.

Are psychologists’ fees covered by insurance?

Many extended health plans include some coverage for psychological services provided by a registered psychologist, although the amount varies. Please check with your provider to find out the exact amount available to you and your family members. Although psychology services are not covered by BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP), they are tax deductible as a medical expense.

What’s the difference between a psychologist and other mental health providers (e.g., clinical counselors, therapists, psychotherapists, etc.)

Psychologists are health professionals regulated under the Health Professions Act of BC and under the rigorous ethical and professional standards set by the College of Psychologists of British Columbia. Terms like “registered clinical counselor” “therapist” “psychotherapist” etc. are not regulated (i.e., protected) under the Health Professions Act.

In contrast, the term “Psychologist” is regulated and protected. To become a registered psychologist in BC, individuals must obtain a Masters and Doctorate in psychology and complete a post-doctoral residency and period of supervision prior to registration. The College’s mandate is to protect the public from harm, so you can rest assured that the service you receive from a psychologist is of a high standard and adheres to best practice guidelines and ethics codes.

What’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Like psychologists, psychiatrists are a regulated profession under the Health Professions Act and practicing psychiatrists belong to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. Psychiatrists have an MD whereas psychologists have a PhD. Psychiatrists typically prescribe medication whereas psychologists typically provide therapeutic treatment and assessment.

What are Dr. Penner's fees?

Dr. Penner’s rate for a 50-minute therapy session is $200.

Dr. Penner’s rate for assessment is $2350. This includes consultation with family members, direct testing, scoring, interpretation and the production of a comprehensive report that can be provided to other organizations (e.g., schools) at the client’s request.

These rates align with those determined annually by the BC Psychological Association and are on par with the fee schedules of other psychologists in Vancouver. Payment can be made via credit card, cash, or cheque and clients will be provided with an official receipt indicating Dr. Penner’s College registration number.

What is Dr. Penner's cancellation policy?

Dr. Penner requires 48 hours notice for cancellations (i.e., 2 business days).

What will happen at my first appointment?

Your first appointment is an opportunity for both you and Dr. Penner to determine whether she can be of assistance to you. You will be asked to complete some forms that are for your protection (i.e., a consent and confidentiality agreement).  You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the types of treatments and assessments Dr. Penner provides, the usual length of treatment, expected outcomes, risks and benefits of undertaking psychological treatment or assessment, and anything else that is of concern or importance to you. By the end of the first session, treatment or assessment goals are mutually established and an agreement as to how proceed is reached.

It is normal to feel somewhat nervous or uncertain before your first appointment. Every step possible will be taken to ensure that you feel comfortable and welcomed when you arrive for your visit and informed by the time you leave.

Will my private information be shared?

Any information you share with a registered psychologist is confidential and cannot be released without your informed consent. In the case of minors who are not yet competent to consent to their own treatment, a legal guardian provides the consent to treat or assess, and also can provide consent to release information. If Dr. Penner feels it would be helpful for information to be shared with other parties (e.g., a family physician, school personnel, another health professional) you will be consulted and if you agree to the release you will be asked to sign a document indicating your consent to release the information.

There are some rare instances in which a psychologist must release your information without your consent (e.g., if someone is in imminent danger of serious harm), but these exceptions to confidentiality will be detailed in your consent document.

 

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