Where do Psychological Associates and Psychologists work?
Psychological Associates and Psychologists work throughout the province providing service to clients in a wide array of workplaces. They teach, supervise other providers, carry out research, and work in all areas of psychological practice. Most Psychological Associates and Psychologists offer a range of services involving assessment and intervention. Most work in one or more of the following places:
- In Schools
School is often the setting where learning difficulties and social or mental health issues are first recognized. Intervention at this level can be the least costly and most effective. Schools often refer students to psychology professionals in order to better understand the reasons for a child’s failure to make expected progress. An assessment may reveal a learning disability, developmental delay, an emotional issue, or giftedness. Based on the results the Psychologist or Psychological Associate can recommend program accommodations or modifications that will allow each child to reach his or her optimal level of academic success.
For problems like anxiety, depression, and self-harm, school Psychological Associates and Psychologists provide a first level of intervention as well. They can counsel students, support classroom teachers in working with the emotional needs of children, and recommend referrals to community supports. School Psychologists and Psychological Associates will liaise with these community supports when in the best interest of the student.
Children may need social support in navigating the complex matrix of relationships with peers, parents and their community. Group initiatives that reinforce social skills and anti-bullying programs are often planned and implemented by Psychological Associates and Psychologists.
- In Hospitals
Psychological Associates and Psychologists provide assessments, diagnosis and treatment including individual and group counselling. As part of an interdisciplinary team, they attend rounds, case conferences, supervise students and residents, and provide teaching to staff. Frequently they are involved in program development, program evaluation and research.
Within a hospital setting, assessments usually focus on cognitive function, memory, intellectual and personality functioning. This includes examining such things as thinking skills, solving problems, remembering things, using language, relating to people and dealing with stress. Neuropsychological assessments deal with perception, motor performance and potential for rehabilitation. A diagnostic report contributes to a multidisciplinary treatment plan.
Counselling may be available on an outpatient basis in either an individual or group format. Counselling will often help deal with stress and difficult emotions that may be triggered by specific situations in everyday life. Psychotherapy is offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and often involves delving deeper into repeated patterns that lead to difficulty managing emotions, thoughts and interpersonal relationships.
- In Family Health Teams
Psychological Associates and Psychologists participate as members of care teams providing mental health programs (individual and group therapy), assessment and diagnosis, consultation to staff and programs for chronic health conditions. On some teams, a Psychological Associate or a Psychologist acts as a lead for the mental health group. Health teams can hire psychology staff with particular competencies, such as child psychology, clinical psychology or neuropsychology, depending on the needs of the team. In this context, the services provided by mental health staff, including psychology staff, are covered by government funding. Psychologists and Psychological Associates on a family health team can be involved in treatment planning in situations where a health condition is affecting mental health or a psychological condition is affecting physical health. On family health teams, indirect services provided by psychology staff can include education on mental health issues to physicians and other medical professionals, consultation to other team members and joint participation in program development and on committees.
- In Private Practice
In private practice, Psychological Associates and Psychologists provide a broad range of services to clients. Psychological assessments may be done for diagnostic purposes, to guide treatment, or to inform decisions on matters such as insurance coverage, eligibility for programs, and custody and access rulings. An assessment may also support treatment by other professionals (for example, therapists, physicians, and teachers) or it may provide a basis for counselling or psychotherapy offered by the Psychological Associate or Psychologist.
Psychotherapy may be provided individually, as a family, as a couple, or in groups. A preliminary assessment helps the psychology professional target psychotherapy to client needs and optimizes client strengths in order to address the concerns that currently impact their lives.
Clients are required to pay for psychological services offered in a private practice. Extended health benefits may cover the cost, while some insurance policies and EAP services (Employee Assistance Programs) offer limited coverage. In addition, some psychology professionals provide fees for service that are geared to the client’s income. Fees and how they will be covered are agreed upon when beginning service.
- In Correctional Faclities
In correctional facilities, Psychological Associates and Psychologists perform risk assessments, diagnose psychopathology, develop rehabilitation programs, and provide individual and group therapies.
As part of an interdisciplinary team, they attend rounds, case conferences, supervise students and residents, and provide teaching to staff. Frequently they are involved in program development, program evaluation and research.
- In the Workplace
Psychological Associates and Psychologists can be found working in organizations in a variety of roles associated with mental health, workplace well-being, and performance. They may coordinate or deliver EAP services that offer counselling for employees and their families. They may do workplace interventions such as teambuilding sessions, career counselling, assessment of organizational health, or interventions to alleviate conflict. They may offer leadership assessments and coaching to improve managers’ and executives’ effectiveness. In large organizations, Psychological Associates and Psychologists develop selection tests to ensure that hiring and promotion are based on competence in job-related skills. They contribute valuable expertise in the objective assessment of skills and personnel to assist in human resource services and management.