Q: Last month you mentioned that you work on a sliding fee scale. What is this and how do I access it?
A: Unless provided by OHIP through a psychiatrist, or covered by a private insurance policy, there is generally a fee charged for counselling and psychotherapy. Social service agencies used to be able to provide some service to those who could not afford to pay privately but because of budget cuts, this benefit has been greatly reduced.
I believe however, that people who truly want to make changes in their lives should have access to qualified, professional service no matter what their financial status. Because of this view, I charge a regular hourly rate to those who can afford to pay it with the understanding that this allows me to accept clients who can not afford that fee and who will pay at whatever rate they can manage. I do not require means testing or any documentation for proof. I trust people and have found this trust to be warranted. While many people have used this service and paid less than full price, very few, if any, have taken advantage of it. There is an understanding that I have to achieve some balance between those who pay full price and those who do not because, unlike many others who have other employment and do counselling as an extra, my practice is my full time profession.
As a resident of this community, I feel that providing a sliding fee scale as described, allows me to use my skill and training in a way that benefits us all and contributes to our quality of life. In order to access this service, all you have to do is call for an appointment. Although many people are referred to me through their physician, this is not necessary and self-referrals are welcome.