What is a Psychologist?

Psychologists are licensed to assess, diagnose and treat the full spectrum of psychological difficulties, from the pressures of everyday life to more serious mental disorders.   We use our specialized knowledge of human behaviour, emotion, personality and mental processes to help people better understand themselves and make healthy and meaningful changes in their lives.   

Psychologists are health care professionals regulated by the College of Psychologists of Ontario.     The College’s mandate is to protect the interests of the public by monitoring and regulating the practice of psychology.  As Registered Psychologists, we are held to the highest ethical and clinical standards.   We complete postgraduate degrees at the PhD level, followed by rigorous oral and written examinations. We are required to participate in ongoing continuing education programs to update our skills and knowledge.


How Can a Psychologist Help?

Most of the time, we are able to handle challenges on our own, or with the support of family and friends. However, sometimes people need professional help to resolve their problems and achieve their goals. Whether you are looking for guidance through a difficult situation or whether your focus is on personal growth and development, we can work with you to make meaningful changes. 

Psychologists see people of all ages with a wide variety of problems and concerns.  At Dr. Carol Heusser and Associates, we work with individuals, couples and families.  Whether it is lifestyle changes and transitions, a relationship problem, struggles with depression and anxiety, or perhaps a health issue, we work with you to understand your problem and help you find ways to resolve it.


What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the term used to describe a form of psychological treatment. It is used to treat a number of mental health issues. The purpose of psychotherapy is to help alleviate psychological distress through the use of verbal discussions and therapist interventions. It is commonly referred to as “talk therapy”. In individual psychotherapy a client and therapist’s dialogue is meant to help clients explore, examine, experience, question, and problem-solve their issues.  Psychotherapy is an effective and proven means to help people deal with their emotional and behavioural problems. It is a relationship between the client and a qualified therapist that takes place within a structured environment that promotes trust, positive regard and collaboration. Therapists use a number of techniques to help clients understand their issues and work towards change and improve mental health.


What are evidence-based therapies?

Evidence-based therapies, also referred to as “empirically supported treatment”, are proven and effective means of treatment. Cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and emotion-focused therapy are a few of the therapies implemented by psychologists at Dr. Carol Heusser and Associates.   Evidence-based therapies have been shown through research to facilitate significant improvements in people’s well-being, helping with stress management, behaviour change, relationships, communication styles and coping skills to name but a few.


What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Psychologists’ core training is in human development, cognition, social and behavioural aspects of functioning and psychopathology. In Ontario, Psychologists must hold a Doctorate degree in Psychology and complete extensive post-doctoral education and training. Psychologists are regulated health care providers who practice within the framework of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA, 1991).  With recent changes in legislation, persons with Masters degrees who were registered as psychologists in another province may also call themselves Psychologists.  

A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists’ core training is in medicine with additional specialized training in psychopharmacology and psychiatric disorders. They are the only mental health professional licensed to prescribe medications.


What to Expect

When you meet with a Psychologist it is an opportunity to talk openly about your concerns and feelings in a comfortable and supportive setting.  No matter what the problem, you can expect that we will interact with you in a professional, empathic and competent manner. 

Sessions are usually about 50 minutes long.  The last 10 minutes of the hour are spent on note taking and treatment planning. Some problems can be sorted out in just a few meetings while other types of issues take longer to deal with.  We work with you to develop realistic goals and a plan for your therapy.  Therapy works best when the client takes an active role in collaborating with the psychologist each and every session.

It is a good idea to arrive a few minutes early for your first appointment as we will ask you to fill out an Intake form.  There will also be some information about the practice for you to read.  These forms are included here [link to helpful forms] if you would prefer to complete them before your appointment.