POLICIES & FAQS

School psychologists are mental health professionals who are diverse in knowledge and training. Often employed in schools and private clinics, they are knowledgeable in areas of child and adolescent development and psychopathology, the field of education and how to support students with needs within it, behavioural and/or parenting practices, general and social-emotional learning as well as personality development. School psychologists apply principles of educational psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, community psychology, and applied behavior analysis to meet children’s, teens’ and young adults’ needs (up to age 25 years).

School psychologists help to promote positive and adaptive behavior as well as positive mental health, but are perhaps best known for their expertise in defining learning needs and their strong advocacy for client’s needs within school systems.  School psychologists are trained to carry out various types of assessment, including psychoeducational, behavioral and functional (adaptive behavior, behavioural challenges).  They are also skilled in individual and group counseling, can screen for/define many mental health issues and provide appropriate and timely referrals to other professionals.  Consultation is a core aspect of a school psychologist’s practice as they work with school personnel, outside agencies and other mental health professionals to meet the needs of clients in an ethical and effective manner.

Our school psychologists are fully registered or candidate-registered psychologists (a Candidate is in their required supervisory period with a fully registered psychologist which lasts for about four years post-graduation).  We chose our profession of school psychology over other areas of psychology because we strongly feel our skills and presence in the schools, where our clients ‘live’ everyday, is needed.  Working in the system and privately benefits our clients in both settings.

See our information flyer on Facebook to learn more about us, or visit www.nasponline.org and search “Who Are School Psychologists?”  We would be happy to answer any other questions you may have about our expertise on the phone or in person.

Counselling therapists are allied health care providers who often work in mental health clinics, community and government agencies, the public school system, community colleges, universities, correctional facilities, healthcare facilities, industry and private practice.  They are professionally and legally accountable, adhering to the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and required by their licensing body to participate in on-going education and professional development. Like psychologists, counselling therapists are provincially regulated. Established in 2011 by the Department of Health and Wellness and the Counselling Therapists Act, the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists oversees annual licensing and professional conduct.

Counselling therapists work with individuals, couples and families of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and world views to address mental health problems, emotional concerns or life transitions. Utilizing graduate education and ongoing learning to guide their practice, counselling therapists are focused on the art and science of building and enriching the therapeutic relationship. Evidence-based counselling models/strategies are used to collaboratively and holistically promote clients’ well being within the context of any challenges affecting optimal functioning. 

An increasing number of Nova Scotians’ workplace health insurance policies are able to cover sessions with a counselling therapist in private practice.The Canada Revenue Agency also recognizes counselling therapists as health service providers, which allows counselling fees to be claimed as a medical expense on Income Tax Returns.

Yes, evening appointments are available. Please contact us and we will do our best to schedule an appointment time that works for you.

  • A parent interview to collect relevant developmental and school history
  • A cognitive measure or IQ test (WISC-5/WAIS-IV)
  • A measure of Academic Achievement to help determine reading, writing and math skills (WIAT-3)
  • Memory assessment
  • Additional formal and informal tests might also be used to determine academic skills (e.g., phonological processing, other measures of writing/spelling ability).
  • A measure of visual-motor coordination
  • A review of school information and report cards
  • A telephone consultation with your child’s teacher
  • Measures of emotional and behavioral functioning (if necessary)
  • Measures of attention and executive functioning (if necessary)

A psycho-educational assessment is usually completed over the course of two days in approximately 4-6 hours. Breaking the assessment into two-days helps to ensure the assessment experience is not stressful for your child. Individuals who are older can request to have the assessment completed in one day.

A comprehensive report that details information collected throughout the assessment will be provided directly to you. We will meet with you to explain the report in detail, so you fully understand any diagnosis and how you can best support your child. Reports include evidenced-based programming suggestions tailored to the individual’s cognitive/learning profile. 

Please bring any documentation that will help the psychologist to better understand your child’s school experience such as:

  • Report cards
  • Notes from school planning team meetings
  • Letters/emails from the teacher describing concerns
  • Previous psycho-educational assessment reports
  • Individual Program Plans or academic adaptations
  • Relevant medical information or reports
  • Previous speech and language evaluations

The assessment will take place in a room with only the child and the psychologist. Parents will be able to view the space with their child and ensure their child is comfortable before leaving. Parents are welcome to wait in the waiting room area or leave the clinic while the assessment is underway. 

Parents/guardians will be contacted to review assessment results within 2-3 weeks of the assessment being completed. The process of scoring, interpreting and report writing can be longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the assessment. Please consult your psychologist directly to determine an exact timeline.

We are accepting new referrals. At this time, the wait for an assessment is approximately 1-2 weeks.

Fees:

Private psychological services are not covered by MSI, but are covered in part by most insurance companies.  The current rate for psychological service in Nova Scotia is $190/hour, while the hourly fee for a registered counselling therapist is $100-$120.00.  Both services are HST-exempt since they are considered health-related services. 

For both psychologists and counsellors providing counselling or consultation services, time is billed on a professional hour which is 50 minutes in duration (10 minutes are provided for documentation of the service).  Other services, such as assessment or career counselling, require an estimate of hours needed/approximate cost in advance. 

If you come to Spirit seeking assessment for yourself or for your child/teen, an estimate will be provided to you to consider before the commencement of that service.

Due to difficulties with non-payment, most private practices including Spirit do not direct bill.  Instead, payment is required either in scheduled instalments or at the end of the service provision (i.e., assessment debriefing).  Most often, our clients choose to pay after an assessment is completed for ease of billing and reimbursement.  

We currently direct bill for most insurers including Medavie/Blue Cross (including VAC, RCMP, CAF), Great West Life and others. Clients seeking services without insurance coverage or through an insurer we cannot direct bill are provided with a receipt that they can directly submit to their insurance provider for reimbursement. 

While most are self-referrals, some insurers require a physician’s note before engaging our services.  Please clarify your insurance coverage and appropriate documentation before making an appointment with us.

When you contact us and have an opportunity to discuss your situation, we can advise you what documentation (school reports, speech-language assessments, medical letters, etc.) to bring to your appointment.

At Spirit, we appreciate that life happens, despite all of what you do to come and see us. Trying to anticipate life stuff is nearly impossible – please call or email us to reschedule if you feel there is a chance you are going to miss your time with us.

If you do need to cancel, please phone or email 24 hours prior to your appointment time.  For Monday appointments, cancellations are required before 4 pm on the preceding Friday.

If you cancel your appointment after the 24-hour window, you will be billed a cancellation fee of $125.00 for psychologist appointments, and $50.00 for an appointment with a registered counselling therapist or speech-language pathologist.