Frequently Asked Questions

Are you psychologists?

No, we are not psychologists. We are Registered Professional Counsellors with the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association or Registered Counselling Therapists with the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists. We meet strict educational and competency requirements, undergo regular professional development training and peer supervision, carry professional liability insurance, and have passed rigorous testing to meet our organizational requirements for lisensure.

Are your services covered by MSI or health insurance?

No. Private mental health services are not covered by provincial health insurance (MSI). Many third-party health insurance companies do not cover services provided by Registered Professional Counsellors as this time. However, services have been covered on a case-by-case basis and more insurance companies are approving claims submitted for services provided by Counsellors. Please check with your health plan provider for more information. Registered Professional Counsellors have been covered under the same category as clinical counsellors, mental health therapists, or psychotherapists (not psychologists).

Will you give me a diagnosis?

No. As Registered Professional Counsellors and Registered Counselling Therapists we are not permitted to provide a diagnosis in accordance with Provincial Law. Doctors (including psychiatrists) and psychologists are the only professionals who can make an official diagnosis in Nova Scotia. Although your counsellor may have working theories about possible diagnoses, our main focus is on relieving symptoms and distress. If you need a diagnosis your counsellor would be happy to refer you to a psychologist.

What is the difference between a Counsellor, Psychologist, or Psychiatrist?

Counsellors work with clients to help them overcome personal struggles through counselling and coaching. Counsellors are trained in mental health counselling approaches, crisis intervention, and various other areas. The main goal of a Counsellor is to help clients overcome personal struggles. The activity of counselling is not regulated in Nova Scotia, however counsellors are regulated by a variety of associations and colleges such as the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA) or the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists (NSCCT).

A Psychologist is a therapist with at least a master’s degree in counselling or clinical psychology, and focus on psychopathology, therapy, and assessment. In general, a Psychologist will offer a wider range of therapies for psychological disorders, and are also able to conduct psychological assessments for various disorders. Psychologists in Nova Scotia are regulated by the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology (NSBEP) and provide psychologist services. Only members of the NSBEP can provide psychological services.

A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor with a specialization in mental health. Psychiatrists are able to provide therapy for a wide range of disorders, give a diagnosis, prescribe medications, and conduct psychiatric assessments. Psychiatrists are the only mental health practitioner who can have someone admitted to a hospital. Psychiatrists in Nova Scotia are regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (CPSNS) and provide psychiatric care. Only psychiatrists who are members of CPSNS can provide psychiatric care in Nova Scotia.

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