What I do in general, how my sessions work, and fees.

General Approach

I use the words counselling and psychotherapy interchangeably, to describe a professional practice of helping clients reach their goals in achieving psychological well-being. Fidus is a Latin word, roughly translated as a faithful/loyal/trustworthy friend or companion. This meaning fits well with the role of a counsellor/therapist: To be a steadfast fellow traveller on the journey of change. When it comes to the processes and tools of therapy, I can take the guiding role – and when it comes to understanding your life and preferences, I follow. As such, we explore and make decisions together.

I provide individual counselling, couple therapy, and family counselling for adults, in English and Russian languages. I offer two modalities of online counseling / e-counseling: video and secure email. We could choose one or the other, or combine the two (each has its own pros and cons that you could read about here). In Calgary, we could also add in-person sessions to this mix (my office space is in the NW).

One of many advantages of working online is flexibility: Instead of a fixed hour every time, we could do a 30-, 60-, or 90-minute video sessions, a single highly-detailed email (equivalent of an hour-session) or a series of shorter emails that add up to a full hourly session.

Sessions and Structure

By the end of our initial consultation, I will outline some ideas on what I can do for you. This way, you could decide if you want to go further with me. If I believe that I am not a good therapist for your situation, I will let you know immediately and provide some ideas on where to look for more help.

Therapy is a balancing act in several ways. First, we know from outcome studies that the connection established between us is a key element of success. My goal is to foster your self-reliance, yet I am doing it through a relationship with you. Second, I am passionate about competent brief therapy combined with teaching skills and tools because few people can afford many sessions. On the other hand, some things cannot be hurried, especially if they involve changing deep feelings and entrenched habits. So… we work together to co-create the best balance we can get for you.

I can do this in two ways. One is meeting session to session. It is a familiar and typical approach. It could be a better option for complex circumstances, where figuring out realistic hopes is a challenge, or for people who do not like goal-oriented counselling.  It could also fit well for couples or family counseling, where understanding and sometimes, reconciling goals and values, requires its own process.

Yet if it matters to you to have a specific plan in a limited time frame, here’s how I can make the most of it:
✓    Step 1, together: First meeting of 90 minutes, to make sure we have time to build in-depth understanding. This  can be done in a single video session, or through back and forth email conversation.

✓    Step 2, just me: I will have some ideas for how to help you right away. Yet I also review recent research to double-check what fits your situation best. In this field, the number of possible approaches and tools is vast. Some have more evidence behind them than others; yet client personality, values, and past experiences also mean that some things are likely to fit better than others.

✓    Step 3, together: I present you with a plan. My plan would usually include several options, and I will explain their potential advantages and disadvantages. This way, we could have a thorough discussion and finalize the plan for you together. Finalizing the plan could be done in one session or two, depending on your situation and preferences.

The key ingredients include steps for you to take and ways to understand how well these steps are working. It is important for you to be able to tell if you are on the right track, and if changes are desired or needed. This plan could be something that you go and do primarily on your own, with occasional brief check-ins for support or adjustments. Or it could involve many more regular sessions, or anything in between. The details depend on your situation, preferences, skills, and budget: Together, we balance these considerations and co-create a solution for you.

Fees and Payment

My fees are $90 an hour (60 minutes).
I offer the first 90-minute meeting at the rate of $120.

If you decide to proceed with steps 2 and 3 after our first meeting, I offer them at a fixed package for $150 (one hour-long session for step 3). If you chose this package and we discover that we need two sessions to complete step 3, the second session is billed at a discounted rate of $60. If the final plan includes ongoing sessions, they are billed at $90 per hour.
A limited number of sliding scale spots is available.

I require pre-payment before the first session through PayPal (credit cards accepted!) or Interac email transfer (call me for details). If we meet in person, you could pay at the time of the appointment through cash or cheque. Online, payment at the time of appointment is harder to arrange: This is the closest equivalent to it, because unlike a lawyer or a dentist, I cannot hold your credit card information on file.

If you have an insurance plan with counselling coverage, please check with your provider whether they cover services by Certified Canadian Counsellors! To my knowledge, currently, many do not, but this could differ widely between insurance providers.

Cancellation policy
Life changes, so call or email me to change your appointment. If you are scheduled for a real-time video session, I expect at least 24-hours notice if you cannot attend it. Otherwise, you will be billed for that session at (a) 50% of the rate you usually pay if you re-schedule or cancel in less than 24 hours; and (b) 100% of the rate if you no show (i.e., miss a scheduled appointment without any notification). If you pre-paid and want to cancel rather then reschedule, I offer full refund if you notify me at least 24 hours in advance. If you have documented evidence of a serious emergency that prevented you from giving notice, these fees could be waived.

Conversely, if I need to reschedule, I will do so as far in advance as possible in fairness to you. Your next session is 50% off if I notify you in less than 24 hours. A no show on my part could only be due to an emergency, and I would contact you as soon as I am able to explain and reschedule.