Why A Psychologist?

Brad Hagen

There are many different ways you can get help for life’s challenges. You could talk to a friend, family member, someone from work or church. You could also see many paid helpers, including a family doctor or a psychiatrist, although these persons may not have as much time for you as you would like.  You could also see people calling themselves “life coaches”  “counsellors,” or “therapists,” although you should realize that anyone can call themselves these terms, even if they do not have formal training or credentials.  So what are the reasons you should consider getting help from a Registered Psychologist?

When you see a Registered Psychologist, you’re getting someone who is highly skilled and trained in helping people face common emotional and psychological challenges. A psychologist has successfully received a University Masters and/or Doctoral (Ph.D.) degree, that involves anywhere from 7 to 11 years (I have 14) of university study and internship. Psychologists study – and practice – how to help people with their thoughts, emotions and behavior, using methods that have been extensively evaluated with decades of research. So you are getting someone who is very knowledgeable and well-trained to help you with your problems, and is familiar with the research on your particular issue.

You can trust that your psychologist is trained to treat you ethically. A psychologist – unlike many other people who may offer you counselling services – has to follow a rigorous code of ethics. This code of ethics means that they are carefully trained in ways to protect your confidentiality, your privacy, your dignity, and your overall well-being.  Also, because all psychologists must follow this code of ethics, you have protection by being able to contact a Psychologist’s professional association in case you have any concerns about their ethical behavior.

You are getting help from someone held to very high standards. Psychologists are not only accountable for their ethical conduct to the public through their Professional Association, but they are also regulated by the Alberta Health Professions Act – so psychologists are held to a very high standard in terms of their professional accountability to the public and the government.

Your cost of seeing a psychologist may be fully or partially reimbursed. Unlike some other people you may seek help from, psychologists are widely recognized as highly trained professionals, and the fees may be tax deductible, covered by insurance, or available through third party billing.

You are likely seeing someone trained as a particular expert. Psychologists, as part of their extensive training, typically become experts within the field of psychology – and have extra training and supervision in that area.  For example, I have specialized expertise in counselling techniques for people with mental health issues (depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.), trauma and abuse, couples/relationships, and chronic health/pain issues.