Am I Covered to See You?

Am I Covered to See You?

So you have made the decision that you want to pursue counselling and find some healing and hope out of the hurt that you have experienced.  If you are like many people that I have seen, you want to know how much it will cost, and if there might be any help for that cost you’re your extended health care benefits!  Unfortunately, counselling is not a standard health care benefit.

So as you set out on Google to find a counsellor that might be a good fit for you, what should you look for?  There are so many different options, and so many different acronyms behind peoples’ names!

One thing that you need to be aware of, is that not all people who call themselves counsellors in BC have had formal education or training in counselling and psychotherapy.  The types of counsellors that are typically covered by extended health care benefits are Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC), Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC), Masters of Social Workers (MSW), and Doctors of Psychology (PhD).  Each of these organizations vets its members to ensure that they have had formal training and education.  It is important to do your research.

How much will it cost?

The best place to start is to determine what kinds of cost you can expect from counselling.  The fees for therapy in the Lower Mainland vary from $30-$200.  Again, it is important to do your research.  Look for the qualifications of the therapist that you are considering.  If they are associated with organizations like BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association, College of Psychologists, or the BC College of Social Workers.

If you have extended health care benefits, it will be important to check the following:

  1. What type of counselling professional is covered?
  2. What is your yearly maximum?  This can be listed in amounts such as $500 per year, or number of sessions that will be covered.
  3. How do you submit costs, and what information needs to be on the invoice/receipt?

Once you have this information and begin the process of finding a counsellor, be sure to provide the parameters you are working with in your first session.  It can be difficult to being to open up and explore a painful issue over a few sessions, only to have to end counselling abruptly because your benefit plan won’t cover these expenses.

How do I find a counsellor?

Once you have determined what is covered by your extended health care benefits, the next step is to find a counsellor that is a good fit for you.  It may be helpful to know that a lot of counsellors will offer a free phone call, or a reduced rate for the first session.  Please take this time to ask any questions you might have about them, and how they approach counselling so you can get a sense of whether you feel their personality/style is a good fit for you.

If you find a counsellor that sounds good in their description, but they do not have any time available in the timeframe you are hoping for, ask them for a referral.  Quite often counsellors will refer to someone that works similarly to them.

So how do you find a counsellor?   Ask your friends!  Get some feedback on whether they’ve seen a counsellor, and what they liked or didn’t like about them.  You can do a Google search for counsellors in your area, and then take a look at their websites to see if they sound/look like someone you would like to open up to.

You can also search these websites from the associations noted above:

  1. BCACC – Registered Clinical Counsellors at www.bc-counsellors.org.
  2. CCPA – Canadian Certified Counsellors at https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/find-a-canadian-certified-counsellor/
  3. British Columbia Psychologists at https://www.psychologists.bc.ca/content/find-help
  4. BC Registered Social Workers at http://www.findasocialworker.ca/BC/en/default.asp
  5. Psychology Today – Counsellors in BC will list their services here.  Please note that there is no education/training requirement for listing with this organization.  Read the profiles carefully at www.psychologytoday.com

I hope that this information has helped you as you begin your search for someone to help you heal from your hurt and find hope.  As for me, I am associated with two of the above-noted organizations – BCACC and CCPA.  This means that I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and a Canadian Certified Counsellor. I would love to be the counsellor that you choose to work with you to achieve the goals that you have for your counselling.  I can be reached at 604-359-4470 if you have any further questions.