Frequently Asked Questions

“All a kid needs is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.”

Magic Johnson

Q: What training is required to be a Psychologist?
A: A Psychologist is a professional who has achieved graduate-level, university education in psychology (at least a Masters degree in Alberta) as well as supervised practical experience. In Alberta, psychologists must be registered by the College of Alberta Psychologists. In order to be a Registered Psychologist with the College, a psychologist must have their educational and training credentials reviewed and approved. They must also pass specific tests (written and oral) to assess their knowledge and understanding of many aspects of psychology as well as ethical and legal matters related to the practice of psychology.

Q: What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
A: A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has done additional training in the area of psychiatry. They may or may not offer therapy services to their patients. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications while Psychologists do not prescribe medications.

Q: Are Psychologists fees covered by Alberta Health Care?
A: Fees charged by psychologists in private practice are not covered by Alberta Health Care. However, if you have extended health care benefits, you may have benefits or health spending accounts that will cover fees for psychological services. You need to check with your specific benefits plan to see if you are covered, but most plans include some amount of coverage for services provided by a Registered Psychologist. Some plans require that the psychologist must have Ph.D.-level training in psychology, but you should check with your specific plan for details.

Q: Do I need to be referred by my doctor to be seen by a Psychologist?
A: No, you do not require a physician referral to be seen by a psychologist in private practice. You can simply call and book an appointment with the psychologist of your choice at a time that is convenient for you.

Q: How long does therapy take?
A: It depends… There is no simple answer to this question because every individual and situation is unique. The time that you spend coming to see a therapist really depends on what your specific goals are for treatment. Sometimes people are looking for an opportunity to consult briefly with a professional and other times they are interested in looking at more in-depth issues that may keep them repeating similar patterns over time. Dr. Kincade is very respectful of your particular goals and will tailor treatment to your individual needs.

Q: I think my child might have a learning disability.  What should I do?
A: If you are concerned about your child’s learning, the first step is usually to speak to his or her teacher. The teacher can typically give you a sense of whether your child is meeting expectations relative to the grade placement and age. If the teacher shares your concerns regarding your child’s learning, you may wish to speak with other school officials, such as a resource teacher, principal or assistant principal to see what options might be available to further explore your concerns. If you decide to pursue a psychoeducational assessment by a psychologist in private practice, you should first arrange an interview, so you can discuss your child’s academic and developmental history as well as your current concerns. Please feel free to explore the “Psychoeducational Assessment” page on this website for more information.

Q: How can I prepare my child for a psychoeducational assessment?
A: It is important to speak with your children about their up-coming psychoeducational assessment, as most children feel less anxious when they know what to expect. Generally speaking, it is recommended that you speak to your children about their assessment at least 2-3 days prior to their appointment. Explain to your child that everyone has different areas of strengths (things they do well) and weaknesses (things that are harder for them) and that the purpose of this assessment is to help parents and teachers understand how they learn best. You can tell your child that the assessment includes different questions, puzzles, drawings, and stories as well as some school-like tasks like reading, spelling, math, and writing. In your explanation, try your best to avoid using the word “testing” as this may evoke unnecessary anxiety in some children. Although your child may find some things to be hard during the assessment, they will also probably find some things to be quite fun.

Q: What does my child need to bring to the assessment?
A: On the day of your child’s assessment, please ensure that your child is well-rested and has eaten a good breakfast. Please feel free to send your child with some water, as well as some snacks that you think your child might like. Please also make sure your child brings their eye-glasses and/or hearing aids if they have them.

Q: How long does the assessment take?
A: Generally speaking, a standard psychoeducational assessment will take about 4 hours of testing time, although this can vary slightly depending on the child. It is usually recommended that a child complete the testing over two sessions on different days. If there are particular circumstances where an assessment must be completed in one day, we highly recommend a one-hour lunch break away from the office to ensure your child has some time away from the office.

Q: What is a psychoeducational assessment and why is it helpful?
A: A psychoeducational assessment is done to determine an individuals’ strengths and weaknesses across many different domains including: their cognitive abilities (i.e., thinking and reasoning abilities), academic achievement (i.e., performance in school based tasks such as reading, writing, mathematics), information processing, language, as well as their social, emotional, and behavioural functioning. Information is gathered using a variety of methods including: parent and teacher interviews, review of report cards, questionnaires, classroom observations (in some specific cases), a battery of paper and pencil and computerized tests, as well as clinical observations of the student during testing. A psychoeducational assessment is helpful to determine a students’ learning potential, as well as areas of particular strength and weakness in order to determine the best learning environment, supports, accommodations, and academic interventions (if needed) for your child. A psychoeducational assessment can also determine if a student meets diagnostic criteria for a Learning Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or whether there are other areas of challenge that may be negatively impacting their functioning in the classroom.

Q: What happens to the information? Does it go to my child’s school?
A: The information obtained from a private psychoeducational assessment is kept completely confidential and is not shared with anyone unless we have explicit written and verbal consent from the parents and/or guardians of the student to share the report with a school, professional, or other organization. Upon request, we can provide you with more than one copy of a report, if you know ahead of time that you intend to share it with your child’s school.

Q: How long does it usually take to get the results back from my child’s assessment?
A: Generally speaking, we aim to have a report completed within two weeks from the last date of testing, if all other documentation (i.e., teacher and parent questionnaires and report cards) have been submitted. It can take varying amounts of time for teachers to complete the school-based questionnaires, so it is recommended that parents present the forms to the school as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for teachers to finish them.

Q: What age should I have my child assessed if I suspect learning challenges?
A: If you suspect learning difficulties, it is usually best to have your child evaluated as soon as possible. Research has shown that the best outcome for children with learning difficulties occurs when they have targeted academic interventions from an early age. For many children, learning difficulties may not become fully apparent until around Grade Two, when children have had the opportunity to develop reading, writing and mathematics skills.