Providing comprehensive psychological assessments and intervention for children, adolescents, and young adults.

Like the birch tree, we know our clients are strong and resilient. With the right support, all children can flourish.

At Birchwood, every client starts with an initial appointment. This provides you with an opportunity to meet your clinician, find out what services are available for you, and choose the one that makes the most sense for you and your family.

We are located in Suite 210 of the Medical Arts Building at 336 Kings Road, Sydney, Nova Scotia and would like to respectfully acknowledge that our office is located on the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw.

Jessica Garden, M.A.S.P.

Psychologist (Candidate Register)

Jessica is a full-time Psychologist (Candidate Register) with Birchwood. She received her Bachelor of Arts with an Honors in Psychology at St. Francis Xavier University in 2011. She went on to complete her Master of Arts in School Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University in 2014. She spent six years living and working for a school division in rural Manitoba where she practiced as a School Psychologist, certified with Manitoba’s Department of Education. During her time in Manitoba, Jessica also completed a post-baccalaureate diploma in Education at the University of Manitoba.

Jessica is born and raised in Cape Breton. She returned home in July, 2019, to be closer to family while raising a young family of her own. On her return to the island, Jessica worked with child and adolescent mental health services at Nova Scotia Health. At the clinic, Jessica worked primarily with children and adolescents presenting with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Specific Learning Disorders, and Intellectual Disabilities.

At Birchwood, Jessica continues to focus her work primarily on neurodevelopmental assessment, intervention, and consultation. She also has extensive experience working with clients who struggle with a variety of school-related difficulties including challenges with anxiety, behavior difficulties, and a variety of chronic health conditions.

If you have any questions about Jessica or her work, please phone the Birchwood Psychology office at 902-304-5527. If you’d like to book an initial appointment with Jessica to determine whether Birchwood is the right fit for you, you can book online or phone the office, Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 12:30PM.

Laura MacNeil, M.Sc.

Psychologist

Laura MacNeil is a registered psychologist who practices part-time with Birchwood. She offers assessment (learning and intellectual disorders, ADHD, and autism) and therapy services to children and youth. Laura uses evidence-based treatment approaches, primarily cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which she has advanced training in. She is also a certified provider in Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) and the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS: School-Based). Laura particularly enjoys working with neurodiverse populations and youth who are struggling to control their emotions and behaviors.

Laura completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at St. Francis Xavier University (2007) and received her Master’s in School and Applied Child Psychology from the University of Calgary (2010). Laura worked for nine years at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health & Addictions Services clinic of Nova Scotia Health in Sydney, NS. During her time there, she held several different clinical positions, as well as clinic manager for one year. She currently works full-time as a School Psychologist for Wagmatcookewey School in Wagmatcook, NS. Laura has co-authored peer-reviewed articles that have been published in journals such as Infancy and the Canadian Journal of School Psychology. She is most proud of her two children and loving husband.

If you have any questions about Laura or her work, please phone the Birchwood Psychology office at 902-304-5527. If you’d like to book an initial appointment with Laura to determine whether Birchwood is the right fit for you, you can book online or phone the office, Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 12:30PM.

Emma Roland

Office Manager

Emma is a recent graduate of the psychology program at Cape Breton University. She graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science, Major in Psychology and Minor in Biology. Although Emma plans to pursue further schooling, she is gaining valuable work experience while simultaneously keeping the Birchwood Psychology office running smoothly. When you have questions about our services or would like to book an appointment over the phone, she is the friendly voice you’ll hear on the other end of the line!

Birchwood offers a variety of services including psychoeducational assessments, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessments, as well as individual and group counseling to address a variety of issues related to school success.

Booking

Our clinic uses a practice management software called JANE. Once a client books an appointment, a profile is created in Jane and a welcome email with their appointment date/time is sent. Within Jane, clients can request reminders for their appointment or upload credit card information to the section titled, “Credit Cards on File,” to allow ease of payment when their appointment arrives.

Payments

We accept credit, e-transfer, or cash payments at the beginning of each session. We bill at $190.00 per hour. You will only be charged for your appointment that day. We will attempt to direct bill private insurance companies. If your insurance does not accept direct billing requests from psychology services, a receipt will be provided for you to submit directly to your insurer for reimbursement. We recommend that you contact your insurance company prior to your appointment to determine whether your service will be covered.

Cancellation Policy

Appointments may be canceled without penalty up to 24 hours prior to the appointment time. Within 24 hours, clients will be charged 50% of the cost of the scheduled appointment with the exception of reasons outlined in our COVID-19 policy below.

COVID-19 Policy

Please cancel or reschedule your appointment if you are exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 or develop symptoms. You will not be charged for cancellations due to exposure or illness. Please advise the office if you have been traveling outside of the province within the last two weeks. Clients are asked to sanitize upon entering the office. All high touch surfaces will be sanitized regularly throughout the day. Any test materials used during an assessment will also be cleaned between clients. Masks will be worn at all times during in-person service delivery with the exception of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessments. During these assessments, face shields will be provided and worn during the testing session.

Fees

Assessments are generally flat rates, while individual counseling is $190.00/hour and group counseling is $65.00/hour, per person. For further information on specific services and their associated costs, see below.

Assessments

Psychoeducational Assessment

Psychoeducational assessments provide valuable information regarding a person’s intellectual and academic skills. These assessments include direct testing, a comprehensive report including detailed recommendations, and thorough feedback meeting to review assessment results. Additional follow-up including school observation, school-team meetings, and specific evidence-based intervention are available at an additional cost.

Our fees for psychoeducational assessments are $2,565.00 and include the following:

  • New Client Consultation
  • Direct Testing
  • Indirect Hours – scoring, report writing, formulation, consultation with school personnel and other relevant informants
  • Feedback Meeting

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

An ASD assessment typically consists of an initial intake appointment, a standardized parent interview, a semi-structured, standardized assessment with the client. Additional information may be gathered from direct observations, consultation with daycare and/or classroom teachers, consultation with medical professionals, and other sources as needed.

Our fees for an ASD assessment depend on client age and type of assessment needed. Fees generally fall between $2,280.00 and $2,660.00, and include the following services:

  • New Client Consultation
  • Direct Testing
  • Indirect Hours – scoring, report writing, formulation, consultation with school personnel and other relevant informants
  • Feedback Meeting

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

An ADHD assessment typically consists of an initial intake appointment, standardized parent and teacher questionnaires, as well as direct observation. Additional information may be gathered from consultation with daycare and/or classroom teachers, direct observation in additional settings, consultation with medical professionals, and other sources as needed.

Please Note: The total cost of an ADHD assessment varies depending on whether a psychoeducational assessment is required to determine if a learning impairment is the primary source of an individual’s ADHD-type symptoms.

If no psychoeducational assessment is required, our fee for an ADHD assessment is $1,520.00 and includes the following services:

  • New Client Consultation
  • Direct Observation and/or Testing (as needed)
  • Indirect hours – scoring, report writing, formulation, consultation with school personnel and other relevant informants
  • Feedback Meeting

Behavior Support

At Birchwood, we offer comprehensive support services for children and youth experiencing behavior difficulties impacting school success. Services are determined individually, depending on a client’s needs, but often include:

  • Initial appointment to collect relevant developmental history and background information,
  • Direct observation in multiple settings,
  • Standardized questionnaires,
  • A comprehensive assessment report with detailed evidence-based recommendations,
  • A thorough feedback meeting,
  • Consultation with school team or other important stakeholders,
  • Additional behavior monitoring and ongoing support, as needed.

For more information, contact the office directly at 902-304-5527.

Coaching

Birchwood offers individual and group coaching to clients who experience executive functioning challenges including difficulties with:

  • organization,
  • attention,
  • planning,
  • memory,
  • time management,
  • task initiation, and
  • task completion.

Clinicians will work primarily with parents of younger children and directly with older children and adolescents to set goals, identify strategies to achieve those goals based on clients’ strengths and areas of challenge, and provide ongoing monitoring and support as needed.

For more information, contact the office directly at 902-304-5527.

Consultation

Birchwood also offers consultation services for clients who are looking for services outside of traditional assessment and intervention. These services are often requested following an assessment and/or intervention, and may include ongoing attendance at team meetings, reviewing and updating previous intervention goals, and connecting regularly with family or care workers to support implementation of assessment recommendations. Consultation services are tailored to clients’ specific needs which often change over time. Birchwood’s clinicians can provide ongoing consultation for clients depending on their level of need at any given time.

For more information, contact the office directly at 902-304-5527.

With the right support, all children can

At Birchwood, every client starts with an initial appointment. This provides you with an opportunity to meet your clinician, find out what services are available for you, and choose the one that makes the most sense for you and your family.

Questions? Let us know by filling out the form below.