FAQ

Your most frequently asked questions

Answered by our psychologists

Cognitive behavioural therapies, or CBT, is a group of psychological treatments that has considerable scientific evidence showing it works for many different problems. It involves learning practical skills to help change the way we behave and the way we think – which, in turn, improves the way we feel. Gaining and practicing these skills can have long-lasting effects in many different areas in our lives, long after leaving therapy. Check out this link to learn more about cognitive behavioural therapy.

As any parent can attest, childhood is not without bumps in the road. It is not uncommon for children to experience temporary or mild struggles at certain developmental periods. In these cases time is often the cure, along with parents who keep routines and loving consistency in their child’s life. However, at times struggles can seem to take over the whole family. It is probably time to seek help if any of the following seem to be happening:

  1. Your child’s functioning is impacted. This means that they are not doing some of the things that kids or teens should be doing such as attending school, making friends, and generally living life,
  2. Your child is significantly distressed and the distress has been going on for some time and/or seems to be getting worse not better, or
  3. You feel like your child’s mood or behaviour is more than you can handle.

Check out this link for more information on what is and isn’t normal when it comes to anxiety. Teens may wish to take this quiz to see if anxiety is a problem for them or check out the mindcheck website to take one of their quizzes or learn more information about a variety of struggles.

Many parents are faced with the question of whether or not their child should undergo a formal learning assessment. This question can arise at many points during a child’s development and assessments can be sought out for many reasons.  Some common reasons for seeking an assessment include suspected intellectual disability, learning disability, or giftedness.  Click here to learn more about psychoeducational assessments.

While every child is different, some signs that your child might benefit from a psychoeducational assessment are:

  • Your child studies all of the time, yet his/her marks do not reflect his/her effort.
  • Your child struggles and has a hard time keeping up in one or more subjects.
  • Your child complains of schoolwork being too hard or has difficulty grasping new concepts.
  • Your child’s teacher voices concerns about your child’s learning or attention.
  • Your child exhibits problems with emotions or behaviour at school or home.
  • Your child seems to be losing interest in school, dislikes school, and/or commonly does not want to attend school.
  • Your child has poor planning skills. For example, he/she has difficulty turning in homework assignments on time despite understanding the content.
  • Your child requires a substantial amount of parental support to complete schoolwork.
  • Your child has been assessed before but requires an updated assessment (e.g., to qualify for accommodations during high school provincial exams or accommodations through a college/university disability resource centre).

A physician referral is not necessary.  You can contact the clinic directly if you are interested in seeing a psychologist at Cornerstone. A few extended health plans may require a physician referral for reimbursement of psychological services, so we encourage you to check with your extended health plan first. Although a physician referral is not necessary, referrals from physicians, schools, or other healthcare professionals are welcome.

We will do our best to see you quickly.  However, please be aware that a period of waiting might be necessary depending on psychologist availability.

Please contact Cornerstone for current information about wait times.

The information you share with a psychologist is confidential and cannot be disclosed without your permission except in specific circumstances, which are referred to as the “limits of confidentiality”.  At your first meeting, your Cornerstone psychologist will review the limits of confidentiality with you, which typically involve situations where there are safety concerns and/or legal requirements to help protect someone. In such situations, the psychologist is required to report information to the appropriate authority (e.g., police, Ministry of Child and Family Development) or other individuals in an effort to ensure the safety of individuals.

Psychologists are required to keep a record of their contact with clients and these records typically include information about a client’s current concerns/symptoms and history, psychological test data, and diagnoses (if applicable), as well as information about sessions attended. In BC, these records must be stored securely for 7 years after the final date of contact.  In the case of children and adolescents, these records must be stored for 7 years after they reach the age of majority (i.e., age 26), after which the files are securely destroyed.

Please be aware that unencrypted email can be relatively easily accessed by unauthorized people, which can compromise the privacy and confidentiality of client information. As well, email cannot be guaranteed as an effective or timely means of communication. At your first meeting, your Cornerstone psychologist will discuss the risks of communicating via email and you will decide together what limits will be placed on the use of this form of communication (e.g., for administrative purposes, scheduling appointments). To safeguard your private information, clinical information should not be shared through email. Email should never be used for emergencies.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is typically short-term therapy, ranging between 6 and 20 sessions.  However, the number of treatment sessions will vary depending on the individual situation. You can discuss estimated length of treatment with your Cornerstone psychologist. Usually after the first few sessions the psychologist can give you a more precise estimate of the length of treatment.

Psychoeducational assessments typically involve longer appointments over one or more days. Please contact the clinic for more information.

In BC, a registered psychologist is a person who is registered with the College of Psychologists of British Columbia, which is one of the Health Regulators of BC whose mandate is public protection. Registered psychologists typically have a doctoral degree in psychology and have completed multiple clinical training placements including a year-long full-time internship in a clinical setting. In addition, registered psychologists are required to take continuing education courses throughout their career to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest developments in the field. For more information, see what is a psychologist and finding a psychologist.

Evidence-based  practice of psychology involves choosing treatments with the most research evidence to support their effectiveness. In essence, these are the therapies that have been shown to work! These treatments are then used collaboratively with families combining clinical judgement and expertise with each individual’s values and needs. Here at Cornerstone, our treatments are grounded in science and delivered with heart. Check out this link to learn more about evidence-based practice. Check out our blog post to learn more about why and how to choose an evidence-based therapist.

Registered psychologists in BC do not prescribe medication. For many childhood disorders like anxiety and depression, evidence-based psychotherapy is recommended as a first-line treatment. However, in certain situations it makes sense to start with a combination of medication and psychotherapy, and in other cases, medication might make sense if a child or teen is not making good progress in treatment. For other disorders like ADHD or psychosis medication may be a more central part of the treatment, although therapy can still be helpful for some aspects (e.g., learning organizational skills in ADHD). We welcome collaborations with psychiatrists and other physicians in all cases, and particularly when a child is on medication. Your child’s psychologist can also help you sort out when it might be time to have a consultation with a psychiatrist or pediatrician to discuss whether medication might be an appropriate add-on to therapy.

The answer to this question depends on a few things, like your child’s age and the nature of the problem. Teenagers, for example, may need and benefit from a level of privacy when it comes to certain personal matters and this is always discussed at the outset of therapy. However, in most cases parent involvement is key to a successful outcome. Most families find that the whole family is impacted when their child is struggling. Parents often describe being caught in a cycle or may even feel like they’re held hostage by their child’s difficulties. At Cornerstone, we include parents in the therapy process as much as possible because we recognize that parents are often key agents of change. That means there are steps parents can take, either in combination with their child or sometimes even on their own, that can be of benefit. Even with teenagers it is often helpful for parents to learn about the nature of their teen’s psychological difficulties and the goals and steps that are being taken. Ultimately, the goal is to help families find new ways of coping and learn skills to tackle problems – present and future.

It is usually not possible to fill appointment spots on short notice, so the clinic requires 48 hours notice for cancellations. Late cancellations and missed appointments are charged at the regular rate.

Contact Info

Cornerstone
Child & Family Psychology Clinic

Suite 212 - 3195 Granville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6H 3K2
Tel 604.808.5559
Fax 604.565.6616


Our mission is to empower children, teens, and parents to live life to the fullest. We provide quality, evidence-based assessment and therapy services for a wide range of childhood challenges.