• linda9729

Rural and Remote Telepsychology Services Available Now

Did you know that you can access low-cost psychology services in your local community?


Growing up in a remote rural community in Alberta, there were no local professional counselling services. It’s the same for many rural communities across Alberta and when there are psychologists, they are often very busy and have waitlists. Or, if there are any local psychologists, they may not offer an area of specialization you need.


And let’s be honest, a lot of us who were raised in small communities were taught to “rub some dirt in it,” “pull up your bootstraps,” or “power through.” These aren’t always bad strategies. Let’s be honest. Rural people are tough and it’s a strength that keeps us going. But being tough can also mean that we have the strength to talk about what’s going on. And, when we do decide to talk to someone, we want them to understand our life, our values, and who we are.


It would be great for all rural communities to have psychologists. Psychologists are specialists in mental health. They are registered health professionals who follow a code of ethics to protect the public. They have formal training and can assess, diagnose, treat, and consult on a variety of areas. Psychologists do not prescribe medication. For medication, clients are referred to physicians and psychiatrists. Psychologists can consult with other health providers if needed.


My name is Laura Friesen. I’m a registered provisional psychologist in Alberta doing my PhD at the University of Alberta. I’m a Psychology Resident at Clinical Services at the UofA. One area I specialize in is rural culture and rural mental health. It’s just not possible to have psychologists in all communities. So, this year, I am starting an initiative with Clinical Services to reach out to rural Albertans.


Clinical Services offers telepsychology services (phone, video) for a low fee. The recommended fee for professional psychological services is $200/session. For counselling, our rate is $50/session. If you happen to be in Edmonton, in-person services are also available. Services are provided by masters and doctoral students supervised by fully registered psychologists. Psychological assessments (vocational or therapeutic assessments) are $375. Psychoeducational assessments (assessing cognitive and learning concerns) are $750. Psychoeducational assessments generally require 1-2 appointments in-person for testing. There is a fair waitlist for psychoeducational assessments (it can be 1-2 years), but counselling is more quickly accessible. Students see clients from September to the end of April. There are still quite a few months left! Assessments and counselling are provided year-round by interns. For more information on counselling or assessment services please call (780) 492-3746.


To make sure that rural communities, lifestyle, and values are respected and understood, I will be offering a brief training on rural cultures and rural mental health to student clinicians. I do this to give them an idea of what it’s like to be rural and what rural people have said they want from mental health services. I base this training off my own research where I interviewed rural Albertans and from research others have done. My training is also supported by examples of my own life growing up in a small hunting, farming, trades, and logging community and examples shared with me by other rural Albertans.


So how do you access services?

To access COUNSELLING, please fill out the online referral form at: Counselling Centre | Department of Educational Psychology


To access THERAPEUTIC ASSESSMENTS, please call (780) 492-3746 or email me at clin2121@ualberta.ca. There are limited spots for therapeutic assessments this year.


To get on the waitlist for PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS, please fill out the online referral form at: SCCP Centre | Department of Educational Psychology


All the best,


Laura Friesen

Registered Provisional Psychologist

Psychology Resident, University of Alberta


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