Dr. Joanna Bolster
Psychological Services

Common Questions

It's so common when embarking on something new such as therapy, or even when starting with a new psychologist to have many questions.  Here are my efforts to answer the most commonly asked.....

       Where are you located?

My office is on the south side of Edmonton in the Strathcona Business Park; within a business by the name of Pinewood Naturopathic Medical Clinic.  Free parking is available anywhere out front of the unit, or through the accompanying lot.  Once inside the unit, please have a seat in the waiting area which is through the door behind the front desk.  My office is on the second floor

       Are you taking on new clients?

Yes. Although there are times when I do not take on new referrals as the waiting time for a first session exceeds what I feel is timely to meet someone's needs; this is especially the case when I am approaching a time away from the office due to vacation.  Waiting times for a new client varies depending on a range of factors including your availability, time of year (I typically take holidays in the summer and at Christmas), and of course my availability.  Clients that are able to come during the day typically can expect a shorter wait.  

         Do you offer evening or weekend spots?

No.  My latest appointment of the day begins at 3:30pm on Tuesday.  Naturally, this spot is in high demand and is often booked 6 weeks out.  I do try to accommodate other spots that might make leaving work more possible, by offering lunch time or 9am spots Monday through Wednesday, and a 9am spot on Thursday.    

        Are you covered by Alberta Health Care?

No.  I am not covered by Alberta Health care.  I do, however, have all the credentials you need to be reimbursed by your extended health care benefits if you have them, or if you have a partner that has extended health care coverage.  I will provide a receipt each session that you can then submit to your provider to receive reimbursement from.  If you do not have extended health care benefits, receipts can be saved and used as a medical expense deduction on your next year's income tax filing. 

What forms of payment do you take? 

I currently take cash, cheque or e-transfer as forms of payment.  If the e-transfer is made before our scheduled session time, I will provide you with a receipt in session.  If the transfer occurs after our session, I will send you an electronic receipt.  I also take VISA and Mastercard, and there is a $5 additional processing fee for that form of payment assigned by the credit card company.   

        I've never seen a psychologist before, what can I expect?

Although each initial session is unique to the needs of individual clients, there are some predictable components.  I always begin our first session by welcoming you into my office and allowing you time to get settled.  After a brief introduction, I go through a few sheets of paperwork with you detailing my services, limits of confidentiality, and your contact information.  Once we have addressed those details, I then progress to telling you briefly about me and how I practice.  Finally, we move towards hearing what brought you into my office; the crux to the information gathering time.  Through that time, I will ask you a range of questions as I endeavor to learn more about you, your areas of concern, primary goals for therapy, and whether what you are looking for is what I can offer therapeutically.  I will end our time together by letting you know what I think I can offer you and then encourage you to think about that material and then we can go from there.  No pressure..... I promise!

          What is confidentiality?

Confidentiality within a therapeutic relationship means that for the most part, any information you share with me is private.  I will not and cannot share your personal information without your consent.  I do take written notes through our session, which I later translate into more formal notes for a file which I store in my locked office within locked filing cabinets.   Any rough notes I make are later shredded.  The only exceptions to this promise of confidentiality are legally based and involve situations where you share information that tells me that you are intending to hurt someone, to hurt yourself, where the possible abuse or neglect of a child or dependent adult is in question, and / or where your file is subpoenaed through a legal process you may be involved in.  In essence, situations involving safety or issues related to legal processes. 

If you are referred by your insurance company, they will be requesting updates as to your progress, treatment goals, areas of concern, and in some cases likelihood of ability to return to work.  In these situations, confidentiality is differently contracted, and by nature of the insurance company paying for my services, they are entitled to receive information that answers mutually agreed upon treatment goals and outcomes. As a client, it is important for you to know that I endeavor to provide the least amount of information possible to satisfy their needs whilst protecting your privacy. 

Confidentiality is of  uptmost importance to me as a psychologist. I believe it takes tremendous courage to come in and talk with a stranger about typically very personal issues.  Given this, I take the privilege of knowing your personal information very seriously and work diligently to safeguard that information.

   Do you offer sessions by Face time or Skype if I live out of town?

Yes!  I am pleased to be able to offer both Face time and Skype sessions if you are someone for whom travelling to Edmonton is cumbersome in terms of geographical distance.   I do ask that our first session be in person so that we can best assess your needs, our fit and the specific details and potential limitations of privacy associated with internet communication.