FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you offer online therapy?
Privacy and Confidentiality
When you contact us by email to arrange a telephone consult, please share only basic information to secure and maintain your own privacy on the internet.
During our telephone conversation, we will record some information and maintain it in a secure file that will then become your client record as we work together. If you decide not to pursue therapy, no records will be maintained.
How to get started?
If you are interested in booking an appt with one of us, please email us directly. Dr. Turrell works with teens and adults, while Dr. Unger and Mr. Pavlov work with adults (17 and up). Ms. Bell works with teens, adults, couples, and families. Upon receipt of your email, we can arrange a time and day for a brief phone consultation, free of charge.
When you email us, please provide only basic information to protect your privacy, as on-line communication can never be guaranteed fully confidential.
During the consultation we will ask you some questions about your struggles and will let you know if we have the experience and knowledge to be helpful. You will also have an opportunity to ask us questions. At the end of this conversation, we may decide to schedule an appointment.
When do you see clients?
Sheri sees clients Monday through Friday, generally between 8:15 am–5:30 pm. Sheri offers some evening sessions and group therapy is generally offered in the evenings. Lee works Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and has some evening hours. Mr. Pavlov works Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Thursday morning, and Friday morning.
When we start to work together, we will ask you to accept only an appointment day and time that you can commit to on a weekly basis, moving to biweekly or monthly as therapy comes to an end.
We are often asked if we will see people every few weeks or once a month and over many years of experience, we’ve learned that doing so at the beginning stalls the development of a therapeutic relationship and stalls progress – it’s easier to build a safe and trusting relationship if we meet regularly.
What happens at the first session(s)?
For adolescents, this process will involve session(s) with them and their parents together, session(s) on their own, and some sessions with parents on their own. After the assessment phase, I will meet with adolescents and their parents to share my impressions. At that time, we’ll decide if continuing to work together feels like a good idea, and collaboratively, we will decide upon a treatment plan.
For adults, the process is similar in that we will meet a few times after which, I will share my impressions. Together, we’ll decide if working together continues to make sense, and we will collaboratively decide on an approach and goals.
Psychological / Psychotherapy / Social Work services are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Some extended health plans may cover all or some of the cost of services provided by a Registered Psychologist, Psychotherapist or Social Worker. The portion of the fee that is not reimbursed by your insurance provider may be claimed on your income tax as a medical health expense, depending on your tax profile.
A receipt will be provided to you, which can then be submitted to an insurer for reimbursement. Different insurers offer different amounts and types of coverage, and it is recommended that you contact your insurer in advance to find out the amount that is covered and what is expected from you (e.g., some insurance companies require a physician’s referral for psychological services).
All fees for therapy, assessment, and consultation services are based on the recommended guidelines of the relevant professional organizations, such as the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA).
To get the most out of therapy, we recommend organizing your schedule in such a way that you can make it to your appointments on a regular basis, and if you need to, adjusting your budget for the expense of therapy.
Payment is due at each session and payable by cash, cheque or email transfer.
Please be aware that we are unable to work with clients who require us to bill directly to third party insurance companies, such as WSIB or long term disability providers.
How does therapy work?
The process of therapy is difficult to accurately describe in general terms. It is a very diverse journey for each person, depending on his or her unique personality, experiences, and circumstances. Because therapy involves talking about difficult situations and / or emotions, it can be a stressful process; you won’t always feel ‘better’ or ‘happy’ at the end of a session. On the other hand, therapy often leads to improved quality of relationships, problem solving skills, reduced distress, and an increase in overall resiliency.
Although I have experience and education in providing many types of therapy, (i.e., Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Emotion Focused Therapy) my practice is based primarily in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or “ACT” (pronounced as a single word), mindfulness, and psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Taken together, these approaches are not about getting ‘rid of’ or ‘controlling’ what we think and feel, but rather, learning to relate to thoughts and feelings as ‘chatter’ or ‘noise’ in our minds. When we can step back from our thoughts and feelings and stop perceiving them as ‘symptoms’ to be controlled and eliminated, we are in a better position to pursue the life that we want, a fulfilling life that brings both joy and pain.
What services do you offer?
Some people contact us wondering whether or not they have a specific diagnosis, while others are struggling in some way with difficult emotions or life circumstances.
Regardless of the type of support you need, we’ll start with an assessment and shift to therapy once we have reached a mutual understanding of the changes you want to make and what is getting in your way.
We are able to provide both short term and long term therapy, depending on your individual needs.
We don’t believe that a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to therapy is helpful, human beings are complex and unique. We have education and experience in a number of ways of providing therapy and integrate what we know to best meet your needs. That said, we do find that mindfulness and acceptance approaches are helpful for a great many clients. Dr. Turrell is also a Psychoanalyst, and as such, brings a psychoanalytic lens to her work, with an emphasis on how early experiences are shaping your present life, especially how you function in relationships, both inside and outside of therapy.
At present, we do not conduct assessments for ADHD, Learning Disorders, or Autism Spectrum Disorders. We do not offer therapy for individuals who are struggling with substance use concerns.
Psychologist or Psychotherapist - what's the difference?
The first important difference between psychotherapists and psychologists is the number of years of education and training required to register by each college. The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario requires members to complete an undergraduate degree that includes 360 hours (total) of training and education.
In contrast, to become a psychologist in Ontario the College of Psychologists requires:
- An undergraduate degree in psychology (4 years)
- A masters degree in psychology (2 years)
- Doctoral-level education and training equivalent to a PhD in Clinical Psychology (4 years)
- Psychology or PsyD from a CPA or APA accredited program
- Completion of at least two 500-hour clinical practicum placements
- Completion of a year-long (1,500-hour) clinical residency; and
- Completion of a year-long period (1,500 hours) of supervised practice while registered with the College of Psychologists as a psychologist in supervised practice (CPsych, Supervised Practice).
In summary, on average, to register with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, Psychologists need to have ten years of academic and supervised clinical training in assessment and treatment of mental health problems. In fact, Psychologists have more training in psychotherapy by far than any other regulated health professional.
The second important difference is that psychologists are able to perform the controlled act of communicating a diagnosis of mental illness whereas psychotherapists are not. This is an important difference because, before you can help someone effectively with their emotional struggles, you need to be able to identify the nature of the struggle accurately through a rigorous assessment process.
While psychotherapists’ fees may be eligible for coverage by insurance companies and employee programs, they don’t have nearly the same training as psychologists and cannot diagnose.
What is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
When we have thoughts, feelings or sensations that we don’t like, we can get hooked into all sorts of behaviors to try to get rid of or reduce those unwelcome thoughts and feelings. In ACT, we don’t spend time trying to argue with, or dispute our thoughts, or get rid of, or change how we feel. This is the ‘acceptance’ part of ACT. We learn instead, to notice what is showing up inside, and approach it with curiosity and openness. The ‘commitment’ part of ACT refers to figuring out what matters to each of us, getting a sense of our values, and doing things aligned with our values regardless of what thoughts and feelings show up. This means that we can have thoughts like “I can’t do it,” and try anyway, taking the thoughts and feelings along for the ride.
In essence, once we truly ‘accept’ our thoughts and feelings, stop trying to get rid of them, and make room for them, we are free to ‘commit’ to the things that matter to each of us. The focus of ACT is to build a life that is fulfilling and driven by values. The focus of ACT is not to get rid of feelings or control thoughts.
What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?
I am trained at a contemporary psychoanalytic institute that acknowledges its roots in classical psychoanalysis, but incorporates changes and modifications to this approach to make psychoanalysis more relevant to today. For instance, whereas many of the first psychoanalysts saw themselves as uninvolved observers, as a contemporary psychoanalyst I accept that I am not only an observer but also a participant, and that we both influence each other in the therapeutic process.
Together we pay attention to what matters to you. Therapy is a conversation, but it is a very unique kind of conversation. Much of this conversation involves deep listening on my part and a commitment to stay with difficult emotional experiences. This means I try to pay attention not only to you, but also to myself and what happens between us. I draw attention to this from time to time and regard this awareness of our interaction as a critical part of our work together.
I listen for unconscious material present not only in what you bring but also in our interaction, and I draw attention to this material so that it can be used as a potential source of healing and creativity. My desire is to encourage aspects of yourself that you have had to deny, hide, abandon, or leave unexpressed, perhaps to please others, protect yourself, or avoid conflict. As these aspects of yourself come forward in our work, they have the chance to be known together and incorporated into your life. Change will not come about through advice or insight: rather, I believe that change comes about from experiencing and deeply feeling new ways of being and relating that emerge out of our struggle with old, painful patterns.
The old ways of being are formed in relationships and they are changed in relationships. The therapeutic relationship itself becomes an important arena where the old is played out and the new can come to be known and experienced.
What are Dr. Turrell's Qualifications?
This is a great question to ask any health care professional and I’m more than happy to answer it!
I received an HBA in Psychology from McMaster University, followed by an HBSc in Nursing at Ryerson Polytechnic University.
I worked as an RN at Sick Kids (Eating Disorder in-patient unit) and Mount Sinai Hospital (Adult in-patient mental health unit, ER). After a few years, I realized that therapy was my passion and decided to pursue graduate work in Psychology. I completed my MA and Ph.D. in Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto.
Over the past decade, I have pursued additional education and clinical supervision in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Psychoanalysis. In June 2018, I became an ACBS Peer Reviewed ACT Trainer, meaning that experienced ACT clinicians have reviewed my skills and decided that I meet their criteria to train other clinicians in this mode of therapy.
After becoming a psychologist, I decided to further my therapy skills and embarked on training to become a psychoanalyst at the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (TICP). I graduated as a Psychoanalyst from TICP in January 2019.
Believing mindfulness practice is of incredible benefit to myself and my clients, I do maintain my own practice and am mid way through obtaining my mindfulness teacher training credentials.
My work / placement experience includes: Toronto District School Board, The Arson Prevention Program for Children (TAPP-C/ CAMH), SCAN Team and Anxiety Clinic at SickKids, as well as Child & Adolescent Clinic and Eating Disorder Program at North York General, and Adult Mental health / Child & Adolescent Mental Health at Trillium Health Partners.
Get in touch?
Contact Dr. Sheri Turrell to receive more information.