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As seen in Today's Parent 

As seen in Flare Magazine

Click above to read a recent article with citations from Anu


Anu Sharma-Niwa,
M.A., R.Psych.
Registered Psychologist 

Phone: (403) 990-4159
(confidential voice mail)

 info@heartofcommunication.ca


Office Location 

Mount Royal Village:
501, 1550 8th Street SW
(at 16th Avenue)
Calgary, AB 


On-Line Booking

Returning clients: login

New clients: sign up for on-line booking

Book your own appointment online or call me directly at (403) 990-4159.

Please call or email for information about my current fee schedule.


Cancellation Wait List

Don't see a time that suits you? To be seen as quickly as possible, please put your name on the wait-list and I will call you if there is a last minute cancellation.

FAQs



Is therapy right for me?

 

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out the extra support of a psychologist when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking to work with a counsellor.Seeking out the right therapist is an individual choice that one makes usually when they reach a point where they are tired of suffering. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or more recent problems with anxiety, depression, relationship struggles and low self-worth.At other times, seeking a counsellor is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or a work transition. Many seek the safe and supportive counselling environment as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a psychologist /therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, low self-esteem and problems with a variety of transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives. If you are unsure if therapy can be of help to you, please contact me  and we can discuss how I might be able to assist you.

 


How can therapy help me?
 

 

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. As your Psychologist, I can provide support, help with problem-solving skills and enhancing your  coping strategies. I provide counselling for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, low self-worth and creative blocks. Many people also find that psychologists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Psychologists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution.

The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Client motivation to make changes and the rapport/relationship between you and your psychologist are the most important factors that can facilitate positive change. Clients can observe changes fairly quickly when the therapist and therapy approach is a good fit for them and they are feeling ready to actively implement the recommendations that they and their psychologist have mutually agreed upon.

 


What is therapy like?

 

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual, couple and family, and their specific goals. For those who have never been to therapy, the idea of the first counselling session can sometimes feel daunting. Typically, the first session is an opportunity to meet the psychologist, and for your therapist to better understand the reasons you want to attend therapy.

 It is common to initially schedule a series of weekly sessions, progressing towards every two weeks and eventually to only the occasional follow-up session. Each session is fifty minutes in duration. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviours. It is important to take what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between therapy sessions. For therapy to be most effective, you must be an active participant, both during and between the counselling sessions.

 


Is medication a substitute for therapy?

 

In some cases, medications are very necessary. There are other times when problems can be best addressed by psychotherapy alone. It is well established that the long-term solution to many mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the root causes of distress and the behaviour patterns that curb progress. However, extensive research has demonstrated that a combination of medication and psychotherapy can sometimes be the most effective course of action. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.


What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

 

A "psychologist" is a protected title for someone who is a Registered Psychologist with their provincial regulatory body (i.e. College of Alberta Psychologists). A psychologist has gone to graduate school to obtain at least a Master's Degree in psychology, has successfully completed one year of post- graduate training/supervision, successfully passed a comprehensive written exam as well as oral exam regarding ethics and professional practice, among other requirements. A psychiatrist can conduct similar work in that both work with mental disorders and developmental disabilities. However, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has gone to medical school and is specialized in working with psychiatric issues. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication while psychologists are uniquely trained to use psychological tests to assess and diagnose problems with thoughts, emotions and behaviours.


What is the difference between counselling, psychotherapy and therapy?

 

The terms "counselling" and "psychotherapy" or “therapy” are often used interchangeably but some people do cite differences between the two. Counselling generally refers to shorter term therapy that can be conducted by anyone who refers to themselves as a counsellor -or therapist (which are not protected titles). The term Psychotherapy (or the shortened version, “therapy”) is usually reserved for long-term therapy focusing on longstanding deeper issues that are interfering with your functioning in the here-and-now. Psychologists, psychiatrists and clinical social workers (protected titles) are trained in providing both counselling and psychotherapy (or therapy) services. It is not unusual for a presenting concern to begin with counselling and progress into psychotherapy


Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

 

Most employers typically provide some form of insurance coverage for counselling and therapy, either indirectly through insurance plans (i.e. Blue Cross), or directly through the provision of specified funds for counselling purposes through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Psychologists' fees are not covered by Alberta Health Care.

 Psychologists' fees are guided by the Psychologists' Association of Alberta and are tax deductible.

To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

 

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover per year?

 

Payment for psychotherapy sessions is required at the time of each session. If you have insurance coverage, you will be reimbursed for your therapy sessions by your insurance provider.

 


Is therapy confidential?

 

The confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychologist is honoured. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The psychologist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The psychologist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The psychologist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
  • If the psychologist is subpoenaed to court for any reason, files may be part of the legal proceedings.

 

 


How do I get started?

 

To get started, you can call or email me to book your therapy appointment. If you are unsure if I can help, please contact me and we can discuss how therapy can help you with the problems you are experiencing. 

Once we begin working together, during our 1st therapy session you will give me an overview of your concerns and we will talk about how we can work together to help you. We’ll explore what has gotten in the way of having the life you want and establish goals for your future.