Frequently Asked Questions

Summary: Services are provided virtually to individual adults (19+) living in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.

Service Details

What happens in therapy?

Sessions are approximately 50 minutes in length. During our first session, much of the time will be spent gathering information on you and what has brought you to counselling. I will ask lots of questions to best understand your situation and how to move forward. Generally speaking, therapy is about you having a space where you feel comfortable and safe to talk about what you’re going through—being vulnerable about your experiences and feelings and challenging yourself to try new things and see if they help how you’re feeling.

How is therapy from a Social Worker different?

There are various healthcare disciplines who can provide mental health counselling and/or therapy such as Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Registered Nurses, Master of Arts Counsellor, Master of Education Counsellor, Psychologist, etc. Each discipline brings a different philosophy and sometimes differ in values to their therapeutic approach. What sets Social Workers apart is the care and consideration of an individual’s social context and environment and commitment to social justice. Therapy isn’t just about psycho-education and teaching coping skills, but also advocating with and for clients when needed, navigating other systems of social supports, and providing community resources.

What issues/concerns do you work with?

Wanting to speak with a therapist is a reason as good as any to book an appointment. However, I do prioritize clients seeking support in my trained areas of specializations (disordered eating, anxiety related disorders, depressive disorders, and grief, including death and bereavement). I also have experience and knowledge in the areas of separation/divorce, pregnancy loss, and religious trauma (but have yet to receive formal training in these areas).

Do I need to be referred to your services?

No! Birch Stand is a private practice which means you don’t need to be referred by a doctor or other healthcare professional. Book an appointment yourself online here.

How do I book a virtual appointment?

I provide my services virtually, using a platform called Owl Practice which includes a video feature for real-time, virtual therapy sessions. Telehealth/virtual therapy sessions are held to the same ethical and legal standards as in-person sessions. New and existing clients book appointments online using the Owl Practice client portal specifically designed for my practice.

  1. Create an account on the Client Portal
  2. Choose an appointment time and book
    (appointment times visible on portal are flexible; email me to learn more)
  3. Complete the intake and consent form
    Within a few days of booking, you will receive an email with a secure link to complete an intake and consent form. It’s very important that you complete this so that we can minimize administrative time during your first appointment. When completing the form, you can customize any email or SMS reminders/notifications you desire.
  4. Attend your appointment
    Phone appointment: If you did not “choose as video session” I will call you at the phone number you provided in your form.
    Video appointment: You can join the session by logging into your account on the client portal or clicking the “join now” button in your email reminder (if you selected email reminders).

What are your hours of operation?

Currently, I operate on a part-time basis: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9am-4pm. In the future, I hope to offer some evening appointments.

Can you prescribe me medications?

No. I cannot provide prescriptions for medication. Please contact your family doctor or Nurse Practitioner to explore options for medication.

Do you provide diagnoses?

No. Formal diagnoses for mental health disorders can only come from those trained in psycho-diagnostic assessment such as a Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

Do you provide therapy to children or youth?

No. I currently only provide services adults (19 years-old or older) living in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. I am not experienced or specialized in working with children or youth.

Who can help my child with their eating disorder?

A good place to start to get info and resources for Eating Disorder support is the National Eating Disorder Information Center (NEDIC). Toll free helpline 1-866-633-4220

The IWK Hospital in Halifax, NS also serves individuals under the age of 19. To access their mental health services, the first step is to call central intake toll-free 1-855-922-1122.

Are your services confidential?

Yes! I will maintain your client confidentiality as required by the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers and provincial law. If you wish to have your information released to anyone, including a doctor or another therapist, you will be required to sign an additional consent to share information form. There are some limitations to confidentiality which are important to understand as there are circumstances under which I may be legally and/or ethically obligated to release information or break confidentiality. These details are outlined in a consent form provided to you upon booking and will be discussed more during our first appointment.

Appointments and fees

Are your services covered by health insurance?

Most health insurance companies do have coverage for MSW RSWs like myself,
but it is your responsibility to contact your insurance provider to inquire on your specific coverage and reimbursement details. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Do I need a doctor’s referral?
  • How much money do I have for counselling and within what timeframe?
  • Is there a deductible?
  • What professional title do you require of my counselling therapist?
  • How do I submit receipts for reimbursement?​

Do you direct bill for insurance?

I am currently am set up to direct bill to:

  • Blue Cross (includes the student health plans for SMU, Acadia, & DAL students)
  • Campus Trust (MSVU & STU students)
  • Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)
  • Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)
  • Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)
  • Greenshield (KINGS & NASCAD students)
  • NIHB (Indigenous individuals)

I am also a registered provider with TELUS eClaims, allowing me to direct bill to dozens of insurance companies (e.g. Canada Life, Desjardins, Equitable Life, & more). At the end of your appointment, we can see if your insurance company allows for direct billing to reduce your out-of-pocket expense.

What are your service fees?

Standard 50 minute counselling sessions are a flat rate $175 each. This is the minimum rate recommended by the NSCSW. However, the majority of health insurance plans cover psychological services provided by a MSW social worker. It is your responsibility to know your coverage details; please check with your insurance provider.

50-minute counselling session$175
Late cancellation or late re-scheduling (<24 hrs notice)$60
Session missed/no-show$175
WPATH assessment & letter of readiness$225
Late cancellation or late re-scheduling (<24 hrs notice)$75
Hourly rate for letters/reports$175

Social Workers are exempt from charging GST/HST for individual therapy sessions, which the Canadian Revenue Agency defines in detail in the Excise Tax Act.

I can’t afford your rates. Do you offer sliding-scale counselling?

Yes! I have a small capacity to take on clients at a reduced rate if there is a financial barrier to access counselling. This means the client is not able to afford regular counselling rates due to being:

  • Un-insured
  • Under-insured
  • Under-waged/low-income

To inquire about availability please email me at Raquel@BirchStand.ca

What methods of payment do you accept?

E-transfer is preferred but I also accept credit card.

See more Intuitive Eating FAQs here.


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