Frequently Asked Questions
Is counselling right for me?
For many situations in our lives we can get support and help from our friends, families, and self-help literature. However, sometimes these supports are not enough. Talking with a trained counsellor can offer additional, neutral support. Working with a counsellor can offer a safe space to explore your thoughts and feelings, to be listened to, to offload and explore issues you are struggling with that perhaps lead you to feel frustration, uncertainty or emotional pain. Counselling can also help you develop new and existing resources and tools to help you move forward now and in the future.
Will insurance cover my counselling costs?
Check with your extended benefits provider (e.g. Blue Cross) to see if your plan covers Registered Clinical Counsellors.
What should I expect from the first session?
During our first appointment, I will ask you a series of questions to help me get a better understanding of your situation. We will discuss the reasons that brought you to seek counselling, your personal history, and your strengths and resources. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what to say or where to start; I will guide the process and give you an idea of how we can proceed in working together.
The confirmation email from booking your appointment will contain a couple of links with further information.
How many sessions will I need?
Unfortunately there is no concrete formula for session numbers. Research suggests 10-12 sessions as a baseline number. In my experience this has been accurate. After 10-12 sessions, while the issue is generally not completely resolved and checked off the list, you will have a clearer understanding of why you are experiencing what you are experiencing and tools with which to experiment. You will then be in the position to say: ‘that’s enough for me to work with for now’ or ‘now that I have a clearer understanding I’d like to go deeper.’
What is the difference between a counsellor, psychologist, and psychiatrist?
Clinical counsellors and psychologists do very similar work. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who then specialized in psychiatry. Only psychiatrists can prescribe medication.
In Canada there is currently no regulation of counsellors (although hopefully this will change soon). Therefore it is important to ensure that your counsellor is registered with either the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors or the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Membership in these organizations requires a minimum of a Master’s Degree in counselling, as well as clinical experience, and there are strict guidelines for professional behaviour.
Psychologists in B.C. require a minimum of a PhD and clinical experience is required before a practitioner may call him or herself a psychologist. Psychologists’ fees are generally higher than those of counsellors. Psychologists are regulated by the government.
Is counselling confidential?
The law protects the confidentiality of communications between a client and psychotherapist/clinical counsellor. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, also by law, there are some exceptions to this rule.
- Child abuse or elder abuse. By law the therapist is required to report.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. By law the therapist is required to report.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself, the therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
- If client records are subpoenaed by a court of law.
Please ask if you have any concerns prior to engaging in services.
What is Bader-Pearson Couples Model?
This couples model helps us to understand the normal and natural stages and struggles that growing couples encounter. The model provides a structure for therapy through identifying the developmental task, developmental stalemate, diagnosis and specific treatment interventions for each stage of development. This model creates a structure through which partners can better understand each other’s vision, learn to change the way highly charged issues are discussed, manage emotional reactivity, and gain a deeper understanding of each other’s behaviour.
What is Gottman’s Couples Counselling Model?
The Gottman Method is a highly structured and goal-oriented form of couples therapy that is designed to help couples maintain healthy, lasting relationships.
What is Discernment Counselling for Couples?
This short term couples model (1-5 sessions) helps to create a framework and process when partners have different agendas – one wants to save the relationship and one wants to leave. Three paths are explored: staying in the partnership, moving towards divorce or agreeing on a six month reconciliation period with an all-out effort with therapy and other supports.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
This type of therapy helps to identify and transform disruptive thoughts and thinking patterns. This can be especially useful for anxiety.
What is Integrative Body Psychotherapy?
This model explores and increases awareness of the mind-body connection in order to balance and integrate how thoughts, emotions, and body sensations are experienced.
What is Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy?
Focusing is a body-oriented, mindfulness-based practice that enables clients to pay attention, non-judgmentally, to their own thoughts, emotions and body sensations, resulting in a greater ability to self-regulate in stressful situations.
Research at the University of Chicago, since replicated in more than 50 studies, showed that the way that clients pay attention to their own experiential process, even in the first session, is predictive of success or failure in therapy. Focusing is a way to bring that successful client process into any kind of psychotherapy.
What is Mindfulness?
This approach offers specific techniques to assist in cultivating moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. It can be thought of as fitness training for the mind.