We've put together a brief guide to help you find the right therapist, determine what the different designations mean, and what you should be looking for when assessing fit. Find the guide here.
First Session includes Toronto and GTA based mental healthcare professionals (therapists/psychotherapists). At this time, the directory primarily includes those professionals who are Registered Psychotherapists (or Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, or Registered Social Workers with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. There are a few exceptions, for example, there is one Philosophical Therapist currently listed on First Session, whose training falls outside of the CRPO and the OCSWSSW, but is also supervised by a Clinical Psychologist (see Insurance/Coverage question below).
When you use the online booking tool embedded within each therapist's profile page, you are reserving a spot directly in the calendar of that particular therapist. Some information that is not readily available up front, will be provided to your directly from the therapist after you make a booking. This information may include directions to their location, instructions for accessing an online therapy session, and payment options.
Currently OHIP does not cover the services of Registered Psychotherapists, Social Workers, or Psychologists listed on First Session (sad face). However, many employer benefits and extended insurance plans do cover these professionals. The best way to find out is to determine whether your insurance plan covers the services of Registered Psychotherapists, or Registered Social Workers. Several of the therapists listed on First Session are also Supervised by a Registered Clinical Psychologist, which often provides even more coverage within insurance plans. Please check each therapist's profile page, under Insurance Coverage, to see what designations/coverage they fall under.
The therapists listed on First Session charge between $80-200 per therapy session. Each therapist's price, or range of prices is listed on their profile page. Currently, all billing is handled with the therapists directly.
On each of the therapists' profile pages, you may notice either "Sliding Scale" or "Pay What You Can". When a therapist offers a sliding scale, they typically reserve a few spots within their client roster, to offer up a discounted rate, for those without benefits, or with financial constraints.
When a therapist is offering "pay what you can", this implied that the therapist is being extremely generous, and is offering their services for whatever amount you, as the client, can afford.
Currently in Ontario, if not covered under your insurance, the cost of the services from a Registered Psychotherapist and Registered Social Worker can be used as a medical expense tax credit. See the CRA website for more details (this is not tax advice).
First Session launched in 2019 with therapists located in downtown Toronto. We're currently expanding throughout the GTA, and plan to launch in Vancouver later in 2020. New therapists are being added every month.
You can apply here.
We are constantly looking to improve this platform, and really appreciate any feedback you're willing to share with us. You can get in touch by filling out this form.