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Frequently asked questions

Top questions

How do I choose a therapist?

We've put together a thorough 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.

How much does therapy cost?

The therapists listed on First Session charge between $80-250 per therapy session. Each therapist's price, or range of prices is listed on their profile page.

What is the difference between a therapist, psychotherapist, counsellor, social worker, psychologist, and psychiatrist?

Yes, we agree—it's far too complicated! We've written a brief guide to help understand it here.

How do I know if my benefits cover the therapist I choose?

Many employer/group benefits and extended insurance plans do cover these professionals. Your coverage will generally depend on the designation or license of each professional (ex. Registered Social Worker, Registered Clinical Counsellor). Please check each therapist's profile page, under Insurance Coverage, to see what designations/coverage they fall under. If you're unsure about coverage, you should ask your benefits provider whether they cover that specific designation of therapist. We also wrote this guide to help.

Do I need a doctor's referral to see a therapist?

No. Anyone can book with a therapist directly. However, you do typically need a doctor's referral to see a psychiatrist (who can diagnose and prescribe medication).

Do payments and online sessions happen through the First Session platform?

No. Your therapist will provide payment details and for online therapy, they'll use their own platform that you'll get access to.

What is "Sliding Scale"?

On each of the therapists' profile pages, you may notice "Sliding Scale" listed near their rates. When a therapist offers a sliding scale, they typically reserve a limited number of discounted spots within their client roster, for those without benefits, or with financial constraints. If you're interested in obtaining a discounted rate with a therapist who offers sliding scale, you should ask them directly about availability.

What happens once I book a free phone consultation or an initial session with a therapist?

When you use the online booking tool, you are reserving a spot directly in the calendar of your therapist. After you make your booking, your therapist will reach out directly providing any additional information you need to start therapy.

What happens when I contact a therapist with the contact form?

When you contact a therapist via First Session, your form submission is submitted directly to the therapist. You can read more about First Session's commitment to confidentially in our Privacy Policy.

What happens when the therapist I want to work with has a waitlist?

If your therapist is full and has a waitlist, you cannot book with them directly, but you can contact them to inquire about their waitlist. Therapist waitlist times can vary from several weeks to a few months.

Is therapy covered under provincial health care plans like OHIP or MSP?

Currently provincial health care plans do not cover the services of the private practice therapists listed on First Session. Check out this extensive guide which covers this more in depth.

There are no therapists near me—when and where will there be more listings?

First Session is growing across Canada, with the bulk of our therapists located in Ontario and British Columbia. However, we have many therapists that can work with clients who live in all of Canada's provinces and territories. If you select the province where you live on the find a therapist page, you'll be shown the therapists who are able to work with you in your province of residence.

I am a therapist, how do work with First Session?

You can apply here.

How do I share feedback, or simply get in touch with the First Session team?

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.