Dr. Sonia Dhawan, Psychologist

To book an appointment, call

people jumping together in unison
fulfilled woman with arms spread
woman meditating in peace
man jumping over obstacle

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Registered Psychologist?

A registered psychologist is someone who has completed a doctoral degree in psychology and a pre-doctoral internship in psychology, along with a post-doctoral year of supervised practice and passed 3 licensing exams to be registered with the College of Psychologists.

Back to Top

What are the differences between Psychologists/Psychological Associates/Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists?

As mentioned earlier, a Psychologist is someone who is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and has completed a Ph.D. or Psy.D. and is given the title of Doctor in the province of Ontario. They are able to diagnose mental health disorders, along with physicans such as family doctors and psychiatrists. They are not able to prescribe medication, but can recommend that someone see their doctor or a psychiatrist to be prescribed medication and they provide therapy to help people with their problems. On average, a clinical psychologist has done 11 years of university education plus another year of supervised practice before they are registered as a psychologist.

A Psychological Associate is also a member of the College of Psychologists, but has completed a Master’s degree. They also have one year of supervised practice and have to pass the same licensing exams as psychologists do. They are also able to diagnose and treat mental health disorders, but have fewer years of university education and training as psychologists.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialized in the area of psychiatry, or problems of the mind. They are able to diagnose a problem, prescribe medication for a problem and some of them also provide therapy for a problem. Due to their training, a psychiatrist tends to use a medical model to assess and treat problems, and tend to treat mental problems that are more severe.

A psychotherapist is a professional who provides therapy. These individuals may have professional training in counselling, but so far the standards for the background of a psychotherapist have not been regulated. A psychotherapist is not allowed to diagnose like a psychologist or a psychiatrist can.

Back to Top

How long have you been practising as a Registered Psychologist?

Dr. Sonia Dhawan has been Registered with the College of Psychologists for 12 years.

Back to Top

Will my information be kept confidential?

Psychologists are regulated to keep your information confidential. You must give your permission for us to release your personal information to another person, such as a family member or your doctor. There are five limits to confidentiality which include:

  1. Psychologists are required to report clearly imminent dangers to self, e.g. you have a definite plan to kill yourself and intend on acting on the plan that day.
  2. Psychologists are also required to report if you are an imminent risk to someone else (the potential victim of violence must be informed).
  3. Psychologists are also required to report reasonable suspicions of neglect and/or physical or sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16 to the Children’s Aid Society.
  4. Psychologists are required to report sexual abuse by another regulated health professional if this information is discovered in the context of their work.
  5. In rare instances courts may subpoena counselling records if you are involved in a legal proceeding.

Other than these 5 situations, your information will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Back to Top

Does OHIP cover psychological services?

No, psychological services are not covered by OHIP. However, psychological services are covered by most extended health insurance plans (e.g., Sunlife etc.) and some Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs), either partially or fully. Please check with your plan administrator for details.

Back to Top

Do I need a referral from a doctor?

No, you don’t need a referral from a doctor to see a psychologist. While some extended health care plans may require a doctor to make a referral, in order to provide reimbursement, psychologists accept self-referrals.

Back to Top

How many sessions will I need to feel better?

This is something that depends on the individual and the severity of the problems that they are facing. The amount of time that you have been dealing with your problems also may have an impact on how long it takes to address your issues. Depending on your motivation and willingness to cooperate with homework assignments will also have an impact on how quickly you see results.

Back to Top

What will my first visit to a psychologist be like?

During your first appointment, a psychologist will likely ask you to describe the reason you sought help and some history about these problems. They will likely want to know about when the problem started, how it’s affecting you and what things make it better or worse. A psychologist will also likely ask about your background history, such as your experiences growing up, your education and work history, your interpersonal relationships and your history of drug/alcohol use. A psychologist may also want to use some psychological tests to get a better understanding of your symptoms or issues.

Back to Top