Some explanations, overviews about my services:
I do not provide emergency services. If you need help immediately the best thing to do would be to go to the emergency department of your local community hospital. For Ontario there is a list of them here
A good idea before undertaking coming to any therapist is to make sure there is not a 'physical' underlying cause for your present dilemma. If your nutritional state is out of whack or something like your thyroid is either too low or too high, these conditions can have you feeling significantly uncomfortable. Having them checked by your family doctor may reveal something that can be helped in that way. Also, if you are anxious, depressed or having other symptoms that may be helped by medication, they can then help you with that.
Psychotherapy is not for everyone, nor is it for someone who is looking for a 'magic pill'... It requires 'emotional work' and the psychological strength to at least attempt that. See this excellent overview by another therapist. What's more, to make it explicit: I am not a psychiatrist or physician (and also not covered under OHIP) so I am not legally allowed to diagnose, provide medications or prescriptions for anyone. I am also not a psychologist. I will, in most cases, be charging you directly for services. See more about that here.
All I will be doing with any person, couple or family who come to see me will be talking with them. The provincial government has guidelines about professional practise issues and as of April 1st, 2015 has established a governing body, a College of Registered Psychotherapists. Click here for more information.
Here are some advantages I can say that I do offer potential clients. I have been doing this a long time (over 40 years) and have often been able to help couples, for instance, who have not found previous relief from their conflict. I worked for a hospital mental health program as a psychotherapist for more than 20 years and before that as an Adult Education therapist at a college in Quebec and have consistently been evaluated by my clients as providing above average therapy services. I also supervised over 15 Masters level counselling students from both McGill University as well as O.I.S.E. of the University of Toronto. I work on an informal basis (see About Me) and welcome your queries. You can contact me in a variety of ways here. I openly invite your questions about who I am, how I look to assist you and what my experience has been. I do not believe that a therapist should be a Parental form of figure who "Tells you How it is and what you Should Do" (!) I have a deep sense of wanting to honour each of us as autonomous entities. See some of my thoughts about that here.) Consequently, my style is humorous and open but respectful.
I will also definitely tell you if I feel that I will not be able to help you because my skills do not match what I understand you to be needing. In those cases I would attempt to assist you to find a more appropriate resource. In other words I am directly honest about what I can suggest is the possible workability: both for your situation as well as whether I feel I can be of some assistance. To clarify that further: I am only offering opinions and my best ideas - I have neither your truth nor The Truth!
All the same, a considerable advantage I think I offer is that I am not only emotionally, psychologically or mental health oriented. I feel that there are layers to our walk through the world... We may well do ourselves a disservice if we do not include such larger, depth issues in our sense of health. Exploring a sense of purpose, finding our capacity to shift states of consciousness and claiming our potential to feel an expansive sense of self are all parts of the antidotes we need to help us move beyond feeling anxious, depressed or stressed. Thus, if it is part of what you would like, my style of therapy will include the spiritual and the metaphysical.
So, as well as having extensive experience in the more hard edged fields of psychiatry, mental health and psychology, I offer the addition of those spiritual perspectives if you want them included. Frankly, I have often found that the addition of the Transpersonal, the numinous, the Integrative - the thinking and feeling outside The Box type of exploration is extremely helpful as someone seeks to move past their pain. If you Google a term like transpersonal as above you may find some further sense of what I am meaning.
Understanding what Therapy is, what Privacy, Rights & Responsibilities you and I have:
Below you will find an overview of what legal rights, responsibilities and so on that you have - and that any Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario is expected to observe.
Overview It’s important that you understand as much as possible about therapy through making an informed choice. As a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) I am accredited by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. My therapy style is given in brief here. While I have trained in therapy styles summarized as DBT, CBT, Psychoanalysis, T.A. and Gestalt, my core perspective is holistic/pragmatic, based in a model called Psychosynthesis. It acknowleges our need for varying forms of personal, relational as well as spitritual healing. Please ask for more details if you have questions.
Consent for Treatment Our encounter and its evolution in the therapy process begins with a first interview. It leads towards what way I can suggest we move forward to help you with what you are looking for. As we proceed in further sessions though, I will be continuing to query whether and how else I can help - to find goals or resources - at each session. Were it necessary, a referral to another professional might be made, but with your consent. If from my perspective changes are warranted to what we have agreed on I will be letting you know about this as soon as is possible.
Psychotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour. It can be continuously uplifting, at times a trigger for unpleasant feelings or a combination of both those. I urge you to let me know how it is going. If you have a concern, please bring it to my attention. If necessary you have clear rights to discuss your concern with my college: the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Our sessions, and the information you share with me are confidential. I’ll need your written permission to share any of your information. Yet by law there are some instances which oblige me to disclose confidential information.
Those instances are as follows: 1) If you appear to be in imminent danger of doing serious harm to yourself or another person, I am legally required to intervene (i.e. call an emergency contact or family member, contact the police and/or the potential victim) 2) If I have a reasonable suspicion based on your report, that your child or some other child has been the victim of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse or neglect (by you or another), the Children’s Aid Society is to be informed. 3) If there is a court order or summons presented for my attendance in court and/or release of your records. 4) If you reveal that you have been abused by another health care practitioner, I am legally obligated to report this activity to that practitioner’s regulating body. 5) If the need arises for me to contact a relative, friend, or potential substitute decision-maker. This would be required if you’re injured, ill, or incapacitated and unable to provide consent personally.
Personal Health Information As a Registered Psychotherapist, I am regulated under the provincial Regulated Health Professions Act. As such, all identifiable information (e.g. name, age, gender, address, phone number, background information, activities, beliefs, etc.) collected by me about a client, during the course of practicing, is considered “personal health information”.
Your Rights to Privacy As a Registered Psychotherapist I adhere to the current requirements of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA), and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, 2004 (PIPEDA).
Collection of Your Personal Health Information All information I collect will come directly from you, except: a) when you have provided consent for me to obtain information from others; and b) when I am required, by law, to collect information about you without your consent (e.g. in an emergency when additional information is required to prevent potential harm).
Information may be collected through interviews, forms, assessments, and questionnaires. I collect information from you that I believe to be a) important for the purposes of providing you with the services you have requested and/or been referred for; b) to maintain contact with you for treatment-related or future consent purposes; and c) to prevent or minimize potential harm.
By law and in accordance with professional standards, I am required to keep a record of the services provided to you, and my contact with you. Your record includes the information you provide me, assessment results, your treatment plan, relevant consent forms, contact notes, progress notes, billing and payment information, and any correspondence that I have sent or received related to your treatment. These records are the property of Barry Johnston-Spooner ~ Freedom Experience Therapy. However, you have a right to access your records, and to provide consent (or to deny it) regarding the disclosure of any part of your record, regardless of the form in which the information is recorded.
Use of Your Personal Information The primary use of your personal health information is to provide you with appropriate treatment and services. I will collect information about your history and background, your general health, and your current social supports. This information is used for the purposes of treatment planning, assessing your needs, advising you of your treatment options, and (if you provide written consent) to release information to other professionals involved in your care. Your personal health information is also used for the purposes of invoicing, and maintaining a record of your treatment.
Protecting Your Personal Health Information I respect your right to privacy and confidential treatment. All paper files are under direct supervision, or maintained in a locked and restricted area. Electronic documents are directly secured in an encrypted and/or locked and restricted safe. Additionally, computer passwords are used to protect your documents. With your consent, electronic information may be sent through email. Each email has a privacy clause included.
Retention and Destruction of Personal Health Information I am required by legislation and my regulatory body (The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario) to retain personal health information for a period of 10 years after your last appointment date, OR, if you are a minor, for a period of 10 years after your 18th birthday. When records are discarded, paper files are shredded and electronic files are securely deleted.
Costs and related issues My usual fee for therapy is $80.00 to 120.00 per 60 minute hour (depending on your circumstances). For direct paying clients, payment is accepted at each session unless otherwise arranged. I accept cash, cheques, credit cards or debit through bank e-transfer. Receipts are issued once payment is received if you request such. Please retain receipts for your insurance and income tax claims as applicable. A therapy session consists of 60 minutes of direct contact after which I also do record keeping – for which I do not charge. There is no charge for brief phone calls of five minutes and under. Where additional time to review files or provide a written report is meeded fees might be involved. Billing that takes place outside of our regular session hours will be discussed prior to it occurring.
Attendance, no show policy Ideally I’d appreciate 24 hours notice if you are unable to keep your appointment time. Unless there has been an emergency of some sort, if you haven’t provided at least 2 hours notice or if you miss an appointment with no notice, I request a $40 fee from you. If you are paying me directly I would also request a $40 fee.
Emergency Situations If you are experiencing an emotional crisis that requires immediate attention, you may call my office number to see if an emergency appointment is available. If I am not available, or if you are calling outside of regular office hours, please do one of the following: Contact your family physician or else Report to the nearest hospital’s Emergency Department.
Your Right to Access Personal Health Information You have the right to access your treatment records. I am responsible to ensure that your access to your records is both timely and orderly. If you would like to have access to your records: I will need to confirm your identity prior to providing access. I reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests. If you believe your records to be inaccurate in any way, you may request a correction (this applies to factual information and not to any professional opinions I may have documented). If you have requested a correction, I may request documentation to support the correction. Where we agree on the error, I will make the correction and notify anyone who may have received the inaccurate information.
If You Have Questions or Concerns If you have any concerns and/or want to file a formal complaint about the way your privacy has been protected, please submit them to me in writing. I will respond to your complaint by investigating it and providing you with a formal, written response. In the case where you have concerns about my competence or professionalism, I’d ask you to discuss them with me first. However, you are entitled to contact my regulatory body, the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario through their website at www.crpo.ca, by telephone at 416-862-4801 or 1- 888-661-4801 or email: email@example.com
For inquires regarding privacy issues where I have failed to satisfy you are are free to please contact: Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400 Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8 (416) 326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073 www.ipc.on.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
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