Frequently asked Questions




What Is Psychology?
What Is a Psychologist?
What Are Some Different Kinds of Psychologists?
What Is a “Registered Psychologist”?
Do Psychologists Prescribe Medications?
What Is the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist? How about Social Workers and Others?
When Should I Consider Seeing a Psychologist?
Are Many People Embarrassed About Seeing a Psychologist?
Who Pays for the Services of a Psychologist?
Can I Use Extended Health Benefits to Pay for Psychological Services?
Does Manitoba Medical Pay for the Services of a Psychologist?
Do City or Provincial Social Assistance Programs Pay for Psychological Services?
Are Psycho-educational Services Available for Children in the Public Sector?
Does a Red Ladder Optimized Learning Clinician Work for My Child's School?
Are Psycho-educational Services Available for Adults in the Public Sector?
Will a Private Practice Psychologist Work with My Child's School?
Can I Take My Child to a Psychologist If I Don't Have Legal Custody of the Child?


What is Psychology?


The word psychology is a combination of two words, psyche (meaning, mind or soul) and logia (meaning, knowledge of, or study of). Psychology studies how and why people act, think, and feel the way they do, how action, thinking, and feeling affect (or are affected by) an individual's or group's physical state and external environment, and how change in any of these areas happens.

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What Is a Psychologist?


Psychology is the study of the mind, and a Psychologist is a social, behavioural, and cognitive scientist who studies how people think, feel and behave, assesses and diagnoses problems in thinking, feeling, and behaviour, and works to help people to understand, describe, predict, and sometimes change aspects of feeling, thinking, and behaviour. Psychologists are the only professionals allowed to administer and interpret certain kinds of tests used to assess cognitive functioning or intelligence, psychopathology, and brain dysfunction. Psychologists are uniquely trained to use psychological tests to help with assessment and diagnosis. They use a variety of techniques to help people to understand and overcome or manage problems, basing treatment on the best available research as well as consideration of the unique values, characteristics, goals, and circumstances of each person. Although most Psychologists have completed some training in psychopharmacology, Canadian Psychologists are not licensed to prescribe medication and instead work in partnership with Family Physicians, Pediatricians, and Psychiatrists, who prescribe and manage medications. A Psychologist usually holds a doctoral degree in psychology (a Ph.D., Psy.D. or Ed.D.) and has received among the highest levels of education in health care, with an average of seven years of education and training after an undergraduate (Bachelors) degree. In Manitoba, a Psychologist must be a Member of the Psychological Association of Manitoba, unless he or she works in one of the currently license exempt settings of hospitals, schools or post-secondary institutions, corrections, or government.

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What Are Some Different Kinds of Psychologists?


Psychology is involved with a vast range of areas and issues, and Psychologists work in many settings and with different populations. Psychology is a "hub science," meaning that it links research and perspectives from the social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, humanities, and philosophy.

Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Adkins are Clinical Psychologists. Clinical Psychologists specialize in psychological assessment (including psychological testing) and psychotherapy. They help individuals, couples, and families by understanding how they think, feel, and behave, and they use a variety of treatments to help people to overcome or manage problems, to change attitudes and behaviours, and to cope more healthily and effectively with life issues.

Some other areas of psychological practice are Counseling Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, School Psychology, and Applied Behavior Analysis. Other Psychologists work with business or industry, while others focus on forensic issues. Geriatric Psychologists concentrate on behavioural and emotional issues associated with aging. Rehabilitation Psychologists focus on physical recovery and disability. School and educational psychology concerns itself with learning-related issues and educational systems.

Regardless of the area of demonstrated competence, all Psychologists must have knowledge in certain foundational content areas, including biological bases of behaviour, learning, ethical, legal and professional issues, knowledge of research design and methodology, psychological measurement, etc. The Psychological Association of Manitoba provides more information about different practice areas in psychology definitions of Area of Competence (PDF)

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What Is a “Registered Psychologist”?


Psychologists are registered, or licensed to practice, by the Provincial College of Psychologists in Canada, or by State boards in the United States. In Manitoba, the Psychological Association of Manitoba licenses Psychologists, and a Psychologist must be a Member of the Psychological Association of Manitoba in order to practice, unless he or she works in one of the currently license-exempt settings of hospitals, schools or post-secondary institutions, corrections, or government. School Psychologists working within elementary, middle, and high schools are certified by the Manitoba Department of Education, and their professional practice is regulated by the same Department.

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Do Psychologists Prescribe Medications?


Not in Canada, although Psychologists in some jurisdictions are licensed to prescribe medication. Most Canadian Psychologists have at least some training in psychopharmacology, but work in partnership with Family Physicians, Pediatricians, and Psychiatrists.

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What Are Some Differences Between Psychologists and Psychiatrists? How about Social Workers and Others?


It can be difficult to understand similarities and differences among the various mental health treaters, and there is often a lot of overlap in terms of scope of practice. In Canada, the professionals who most commonly treat people with mental health problems are Psychologists and Psychiatrists, but many other professionals are also involved.

Psychiatrists have completed a medical degree (M.D.) as well as a residency to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. As physicians, they are licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, their fees are mostly paid by Manitoba Health, and they often use medication to help their clients manage mental disorders. Many Psychiatrists specialize in the treatment of disorders for which medication needs to be a central intervention (for example, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Mood Disorder, Alzheimers Dementia). Some Psychiatrists also conduct psychotherapy much as Psychologists do, and some Psychiatrists emphasize psychotherapy over pharmacotherapy. (For more information, visit the website of the Canadian Psychiatric Association: www.cpa-apc.org.

Like Psychologists, many Social Workers provide counselling and preventative services in private practice, schools, hospitals, and social services agencies. Social workers working in the mental health field assess, develop treatment plans, provide treatment, as well as case management or advocacy for people with mental health problems. Mental Health Workers often provide front line and day-to-day services to clients with mental health issues, and are generally affiliated with hospitals or Health Authorities. A range of other professionals also provide counselling: some of these are Occupational Therapists, Pastoral Counsellors, Psychiatric Nurses, and School Guidance Counsellors.

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When Should I Consider Seeing a Psychologist?


Everyone, at some time in their life, faces big problems. Sometimes we solve problems on our own. Sometimes we sort things through with friends or family, a teacher or religious leader, or read a good book. Sometimes things just improve with time.

And other times, we need professional help. If the issue is legal, a lawyer is the right advisor, and if the concern is about medical health, we see our Family Physician or a Medical Specialist. When learning, behavioural, or emotional issues are hard to tackle and don't go away, a Psychologist might be the best person to see for help with understanding and finding solutions to problems facing us at home, school, or work.

It might make sense to consult a Psychologist if:



Weʼll be glad to discuss your concerns with you and, if weʼre not well-suited to helping you, we will try to suggest someone else. The main thing to remember is that we all need help sometimes and, sometimes, putting off a request for help just allows problems get worse.

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Are Many People Embarrassed about Seeing a Psychologist?


People who receive psychological evaluation or treatment have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about, because they are confronting their challenges directly.

In fact, not addressing problems or under-reacting—or simply hoping a situation will resolve itself, despite its being significant or having persisted for a long time—may be damaging. Itʼs true that some people have misconceptions or fears about seeking or receiving psychological assistance, and that some people say they don't "believe" in psychology, or refuse to ask the advice of a "shrink." Sometimes pride prevents people from seeking help, because they believe they simply should not have difficulties.

It is true that, for centuries, some people have attributed psychological difficulties to laziness, bad character, or lack of intelligence. We now know that people are born with learning styles and biological tendencies and that we all respond differently to stress, with some people developing depression or anxiety or physical illness. There is nothing shameful about having mental health problems, and these should be treated just as we would treat a headache, an ulcer, or diabetes. Successful treatment can mean the difference between success in school, career, family life, and other relationships, and failure in these.

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Who Pays for the Services of a Psychologist?

Can I use extended health benefits to pay for psychological services?

Does Manitoba Medical pay for the services of a Psychologist?

Do city or provincial social assistance programs pay for psychological services?


Private practice psychology is provided on a fee for service basis. Normally, clients or their families are responsible for fees incurred for evaluation and intervention. Fees are normally based upon an hourly fee. Our services are not paid for by Manitoba Health (Medicare), but are very often covered by extended health plans such as Blue Cross, Great-West Life, or Manulife. Many people are unaware that they have good extended health coverage for the services of a registered Psychologist. Always check the details of your particular plan. Any fees paid out of pocket to a registered Clinical Psychologist may be deductible as a medical expense on a federal tax return.

The fees of a Psychologist are sometimes paid by third parties such as Child and Family Services, a First Nations Educational Authority, the Department of National Defence or Veterans Affairs Canada, the Workers' Compensation Board, social assistance programs (Income Security), or a government or corporate employment and education program.

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Are Psycho-educational Services Available for Children in the Public Sector?

Does a Red Ladder Optimized Learning clinician work for my child's school?


Psycho-educational evaluation and intervention services are available through Manitoba school divisions free of charge. Speech and language pathologists, audiologists, social workers, and reading clinicians also work in the school system through Clinical Support Services or one of the Educational Support Centres attached to School Divisions.

Parents concerned about their child's school success can speak with their child's teacher or resource teacher about the advisability of psycho-educational evaluation, psychological intervention, or both, and ask about the availability of these services.

In many cases, wait lists in the public system are lengthy. Depending upon the school division, the time of year, and other factors, the wait for public services may be as brief as a few months or may take one or more years.

Most often, parents initiate a private practice psychological evaluation, and parents tend to be the starting point for collection of information and history. A private practice Psychologist tends to speak with school officials somewhat later, and may or may not observe a child in the classroom setting. Unless a parent requests, for some reason, that a private practice Psychologist not consult with their child's school, school officials will normally be interviewed and asked to participate in the evaluation process. It is the policy of Red Ladder Optimized Learning to obtain as much information from school staff as possible.

Waiting times tend to be much shorter in private practice psychology, and when a family has extended health insurance, need not cost a lot. Evaluation is generally available throughout the summer and on school holidays, meaning that a child need not miss school to attend.

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Are Psycho-educational Services Available for Adults in the Public Sector?


Limited services are available to adults through hospital-based evaluations units upon referral by a physician. There tends to be a waiting list for these services. Services are also available through the Psychological Services Centre at the University of Manitoba.

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Will a Private Practice Psychologist Work with My Child's School?


A private practice Psychologist works for the individual client. Where the client is a minor, the Psychologist works for the client and his or her parents. With the authorization of the client or a minor client's parents, a private practice Psychologist will collect certain kinds of information from a classroom teacher, ask the teacher to complete paperwork related to the child, and may observe a student in the classroom. Consultation with a child's teacher and classroom observation can be vital pieces of information for an evaluation of learning.

However, it is not appropriate for a private practice Psychologist to discuss his or her work with anyone apart from the client and family, except when the client has explicitly authorized the exchange of information. That is, although a private practitioner will collect information from a teacher, he or she cannot release information without authorization. In this way, the flow of information is one-way only unless a client or his or her parents authorize something else. The client or his or her parents maintain similar control of private practice psychological findings and report.

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Can I Take My Child to a Psychologist If I Don't Have Legal Custody of the Child?


As in any health care setting, private or public, a Psychologist must have the permission of a minor's legal guardian before beginning any evaluation or intervention with the child or teen, and a Psychologist will request formal authorization to work with a minor. Where two parents live together with their child, either or both parents can normally provide the necessary authorization. Where separated or divorced couples co-parent a child, it will be important to clarify the custodial arrangement in force: it will be important to know which parent is legally authorized to consent to health assessment and treatment, or whether both parents are authorized.

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