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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best recommendations for co-parenting during the covid-19 pandemic?

Leaders from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and AFCC have released guidelines for coparenting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven Guidelines for Parents Who Are Divorce/Separated and Sharing Custody of Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Comply with all CDC and local and state guidelines and model good behavior for your children with intensive hand washing, wiping down surfaces and other objects that are frequently touched, and maintaining social distancing. This also means BE INFORMED. Stay in touch with the most reliable media sources and avoid the rumor mill on social media.
Be honest about the seriousness of the pandemic but maintain a calm attitude and convey to your children your belief that everything will return to normal in time. Avoid making careless comments in front of the children and exposing them to endless media coverage intended for adults. Don’t leave the news on 24/7, for instance. But, at the same time, encourage your children to ask questions and express their concerns and answer them truthfully at a level that is age-appropriate.
3. BE COMPLIANT with court orders and custody agreements.
As much as possible, try to avoid reinventing the wheel despite the unusual circumstances. The custody agreement or court order exists to prevent endless haggling over the details of timesharing. In some jurisdictions there are even standing orders mandating that, if schools are closed, custody agreements should remain in force as though school were still in session.
At the same time, it would be foolish to expect that nothing will change when people are being advised not to fly and vacation attractions such as amusement parks, museums and entertainment venues are closing all over the US and the world. In addition, some parents will have to work extra hours to help deal with the crisis and other parents may be out of work or working reduced hours for a time. Plans will inevitably have to change. Encourage closeness with the parent who is not going to see the child through shared books, movies, games and FaceTime or Skype.
Provide honest information to your co-parent about any suspected or confirmed exposure to the virus, and try to agree on what steps each of you will take to protect the child from exposure. Certainly both parents should be informed at once if the child is exhibiting any possible symptoms of the virus.
Try to provide makeup time to the parent who missed out, if at all possible. Family law judges expect reasonable accommodations when they can be made and will take seriously concerns raised in later filings about parents who are inflexible in highly unusual circumstances.
There is no doubt that the pandemic will pose an economic hardship and lead to lost earnings for many, many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it can’t be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances.
Adversity can become an opportunity for parents to come together and focus on what is best for the child. For many children, the strange days of the pandemic will leave vivid memories. It’s important for every child to know and remember that both parents did everything they could to explain what was happening and to keep their child safe.

Other therapists and counselors have various levels of training and possible registration requirements.These can be highly diverse depending on the individual’s background. Since therapist, counselor, and coach are not protected terms it falls on the client to ensure that the person they are gaining services from have adequate knowledge, experience, and accountability.

What is the difference between a Registered Psychologist and other therapists/counsellors?

In Alberta, psychologists are legislatively regulated by the Health Professions Act and must follow procedural standards established by the College of Alberta Psychologists. To ensure public trust of the profession, psychologists must identify and work within their areas of competence. Psychologists also must follow a Code of Ethics that ensures the dignity of the individual and fair treatment of those that
use their services. An individual is required to gain permission from the College of Alberta Psychologists (by meeting these and other clinical requirements) to use the term Registered Psychologist.


Other therapists and counselors have various levels of training and possible registration requirements.These can be highly diverse depending on the individual’s background. Since therapist, counselor, and coach are not protected terms it falls on the client to ensure that the person they are gaining services from have adequate knowledge, experience, and accountability.

Why Choose a Registered Psychologist?

Psychologists use their extensive university training to learn the science and practice of psychology.They are trained as experts in the foundations of human behavior including development, learning theory, neurosciences, personality and motivation. Psychologists also have extensive training in cognition, emotion, relationships, evaluation, research, ethics, and how to healthfully effect behavioral

A psychologist holds a master’s and/or doctoral degree that involves from 7 to 11 years of university study and residency / internship on the evidence‐based practice of psychology. It is the extent of this education and training in cognition, emotion and behavior, and how to effect behavioral change that makes psychologists unique. A practicing psychologist help people overcome or manage their concerns using a variety of treatments or psychotherapies and may also use psychological tests to help with assessment and diagnosis.

Are fees covered by my health benefits?

Most health benefits plans have coverage for psychological services. It is important to confirm with your individual plan to identify how much is covered for each plan member and if there are certain qualified professional accepted. Registered Psychologists and Registered Provisional Psychologists are commonly accepted by health benefits plans in Alberta. Additional monies in benefits plans, such as health
spending accounts also cover psychological services. Any portion of the session fee that is not covered by your health benefits can be applied towards your personal income tax as a medical expense.

If your health benefit plan identifies certain individual practitioners they accept and you wish to attend sessions with a Psychologist not on the list you can request that Psychologist be added to the list for your treatment. This may require some paperwork provided by the Psychologist (resume, license, etc.) but the majority of the time Psychologists can be added to a provider list given the acceptance of the
remuneration rate and credentials. Ask your Psychologist and services provider for more information.

What is a sliding fee?

The sliding fee scale is designed to make quality psychological services more accessible for people who may not be able to pay the provincial recommended rate of $190.00 per session. Creating Solutions has placed the provincially recommended fee at the top of the fee scale and then reduces that amount incrementally based on the annual household income. The scale ranges between $85.00 and $205.00 per hour.If a client is uncomfortable disclosing their income level the $205.00 fee rate will be used.

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a foundational approach to psychotherapy. The vast majority of Psychologists and therapists utilize the principles of CBT to assist clients to identify the interactions between their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This awareness allows people to make choices or engage in behaviors that will work towards the change they want. CBT is commonly incorporated in with other forms of therapy and other interventions.

What is couples therapy?

Couples therapy, otherwise known as couples counseling, focuses treatment on the relationship dynamic between individuals. A couples’ therapist will look at patterns of behavior, past hurts and/or conflicts that keep popping up, individual issues that are impacting the relationship, and other dynamics that keep partners from being able to emotionally connect and grow their relationship. Sometimes couples therapy is not the right choice for a relationship, a psychologist is also able to identify various other methods and resources to help a couple who is struggling.

What is family therapy?

Family therapy is similar to couples therapy in that it focuses treatment on the dynamic, or system, of a family. Change is viewed in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health for clients. The format of family therapy can be quite variable; working with all members of a family or different groups of members depending on the unique issues.

What is individual therapy?

Individual therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is focused on an individual client, usually an adult. This form of psychotherapy utilizes various techniques to treat mental health, emotional, and some psychiatric issues. Sometimes psychotherapy is also known as “talk therapy” although that can be slightly misleading as individual therapy can also include mindfulness training, relaxation techniques, and awareness of psychological congruence (the consistency between our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions). Psychologists utilize a biopsychosocial approach to a client’s concerns, which focuses on the various areas of a client’s functioning in order to effectively generate change.

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy designed specifically to meet the needs of young children(approximately 5 years old to 12 years old). It is a group of interactive therapeutic techniques based on a child’s unique way of processing information; play. Young children primarily act out their concerns rather than talking about them; play therapy uses this to the child’s advantage and gives the child a safe place to act out both their concerns and their solutions.

How do I prepare my child for Play therapy?

You may tell your child that she “will be spending time with (the therapists name) in a special playroom every week where there are toys to play with”. If your child want to know why he/she is going to the playroom, you may say something like, “when things are hard for you at home (or at school), sometimes it helps to have a special place to play”. It is important for the child to feel safe in play therapy.

What is a family law Practice Note 7 Intervention?

These interventions are appropriate in the context of family law case management for a small minority of separated and divorcing families where decisions concerning children are before the Court and where:

 The families are experiencing a state of high conflict

 The intervention of the Court is required

 The Court requires assistance of parenting experts

These interventions are in the best interest of children who are members of conflicted families; they are to be early, quick, and effective interventions by the Courts and parenting experts. Interventions conducted by a parenting expert include evaluative interventions which provide information to the Court to assist in decision making and therapeutic interventions which attempt to work towards resolutions, manage conflict, and make changes in the existing family dynamic.

What is a parenting expert?

A parenting expert will not provide an opinion or recommendation as to the best interest of the children, including recommendations regarding parenting time/responsibilities, custody, access, or relocation. A parenting expert can describe what is happening in the family and/or with the children. The parenting expert may make recommendations to the Court regarding a process that may be helpful to the family in addressing and/resolving parenting issues. The parenting expert is a friend of the Court and is appointed by the Court to assist the Court and the parties to find a resolution to their conflicts, using tools appropriate to the family and the particular issues before the Court.

What is a Family Specialist?

Family Specialists meet with the whole family system, including children, in order to identify the child’s needs, wishes, in relation to the family functioning. The Family Specialist works to gain an understanding of the best interests of the children viewed from a developmentally sensitive point of view and to identify issues in regard to parenting.

Family Specialist works with parents as part of the collaborative process to give information that is child sensitive. They meet with parents to identify issues and concerns about the children, they meet directly with the children to provide emphatic support, help them voice their fears and concerns about the divorce, and help them articulate their thoughts, feeling, and wishes for the future of their family. The Family Specialist identifies effective co-parenting skills and the development of a developmentally appropriate parenting plan that encourages loving relationships between the children and their parents.

What is parent coordination?

Parent coordinators facilitate decision making between parents and assist parents to discuss matters with their children’s best interest as a direction. Parent coordinators provide psychoeducation, assist parents to understand issues related to child development, communication, cooperative parenting, and conflict resolution. Parent coordinators are trained as family therapists and have additional training in post divorce work.

Parent coordinators help parents resolve their differences regarding their children and their care in a manner that serves the best interests of the children and minimizes conflict between the parents that potentially harm children, fostering cooperation between the parents. Parent coordinators act a mediator when parents encounter conflict. Where the parent coordinator cannot assist the parties to
negotiate a settlement of the conflict, the parent coordinator may decide the issue and the parties are bound by that decision because of their jurisdiction as arbitrators.

What is a divorce coach?

Divorce coaches assist in the collaborative law process through identifying and prioritizing issues and interests of the participants. The divorce coach will engage the participant(s) in the use of effective resolution skills. The divorce coach will facilitate communication and reduce misunderstanding between participants their lawyers and any other involved professionals. The focus of divorce coaching is future oriented, moving towards resolution in the collaborative process. Divorce coaches assist in the development of a responsive and developmentally appropriate, child centered parenting plan.

What does confidentiality mean?

Confidentiality is a term that identifies the nature of information shared within session as being private and entrusted with the therapist. For a Psychologist this necessitates written permission from the client and/or guardian to discuss any session content with a third party. There are some legal and legislative limitations to confidentiality, meaning situations where a Psychologist would be obligated to disclose session content without the client’s consent, which can be clarified with your therapist.