who do you work with?
I imagine you have looked at a few counsellors profiles on Psychology Today or Counselling BC, and our pictures and words are starting to run together. You know that counselling is a big investment of your time, money and energy and you want to make sure that the person that you choose to work with actually works with the area you’re struggling in. And not just can help, but focuses on it and takes training so they can stand out in that area.
While I am a work in progress, and striving to better myself in all of the work I do in the counselling room, there are specific areas that I focus on in my training and the clients that I see. So if you are struggling with anxiety and aren’t really sure how to cope with it or where it stems from, then I can help you explore that. I believe that a lot of anxiety and issues that you may be facing now can be rooted in your experiences from your past. Some times they are a result of a traumatic experience that you have had. To learn more about what trauma is and if that might be something you are looking for help in, click here.
Another area that I am especially passionate about helping you with is to learn what boundaries are, and how they can help you have healthy and authentic relationships with others. This is especially important when you have survived a traumatic experience, because it can feel like you have lost the ability to have a voice in your own life.
As a result of my focus on helping people who have survived a traumatic experience, I pursued training in a way of doing therapy that is called EMDR. While this is a great tool and I’ve seen it be very effective, it is just one way that I do therapy, and may or may not be the best fit for you…but let’s explore that.
In my work with couples, I find that most of us struggle at some point with how to do communication and conflict with each other well. Finding ways to talk to each other so that you don’t hurt each other or keep hitting the same wall can be so rewarding and liberating for your relationship.
In keeping with the theme of helping people that have survived a traumatic experience, I work with couples who are either working through the consequences of an affair in their relationship or have survived it and need some help either with one specific area that it still touches or how to be in this new relationship.
If you are a newly engaged couple or are wanting to decide if your next step is to move in together, then premarital counselling could be helpful for you. To learn more about this option, click here.
what is counselling like?
If you have never been to see a counsellor before, it can be a bit unsettling to take the first step to book an appointment. In the first session together, I start by reviewing the Informed Consent form you signed in the electronic paperwork through Jane. This form provides you with information about confidentiality with me, what the risks and benefits to counselling are, and how much the session will cost.
I will also ask for some basic information from you. This includes me asking you some questions about your life both while growing up and what it looks like now. This helps me to get a picture of you as a whole person before we start on the issue that you have come to counselling for.
what are the risks and benefits to counselling?
Risks - Counselling may require that you be willing to explore difficult topics or memories, and try new or different behaviours. These experiences can sometimes lead to stronger than usual emotions. Effective counselling attempts to minimize or manage these feelings, which requires cooperation between you and me as your counsellor.
Benefits - The benefits of counselling include a greater understanding of self, or others, a decrease in troubling symptoms of stress or anxiety, and an overall greater sense of personal well-being. You may learn coping skills that help you to more effectively manage life pressures, and allow you to build stronger more stable relationships with family and friends.
will our sessions be confidential?
Yes. Everything you talk in counselling will be completely confidential, and will not be released without your consent.
There are three exceptions or limits to my responsibility to maintain confidentiality. We talk about them in our first session together, and then I will remind you of them if there is a potential for a breach.
1) Suspected child or elder abuse
2) An imminent risk of suicide or homicide
3) A court order has been made to subpoena your files
If you come for couples counselling, you need to know that I hold your relationship as my client. This means that I don’t keep secrets. If you tell me something while your partner is out of the room, I will try to help you find ways to share that information with them as well.
These limits to confidentiality are here for your protection, and I will exercise them in accordance with BCACC guidelines.
can I bring my spouse with me?
When you are feeling like your relationships aren't quite right, your spouse is probably the first person that you are noticing that distance with.
When I am working with you in the counselling room, you are my client. That means that I am trying to help you reach your goals in the most effective way possible. There are times when that means that you will want to bring your spouse in for a session or two so that they can provide some perspective on the relationship, and perhaps hear some of what you are working on in a more intimate setting.
If you are wanting to work on your relationship as a couple, you have a couple of options. Your first option is to start marriage counselling with me right from the start. That means you are both invested in improving your relationship, and your relationship is the main focus for counselling. The second option would be that as you and I are working together, you realize that a large part of what you are missing is how you relate to your spouse. At that point, I would recommend some marriage counsellors for you to work on that part of your goals. You can choose if you want to continue individual counselling with me at the same time or come back to it once your relationship is improving.
Having a separate counsellor for couples counselling helps both of you to be on the same foot in relationship with that counsellor, and provides less opportunity for one of you to feel like the counsellor is siding with one or the other because they know you better.
how do I choose a counsellor?
First of all, it is important to recognize that counsellors are just people. Some counsellors will feel like they are a better fit for you than others because of things like their personality, style of counselling, and the the way they see client problems. You can get a feel for that from websites, but it won't be until you are sitting in front of them before you can get a better sense of who they are.
Since you are paying for a counsellors' services, and trusting them with you, I would encourage you to interview them before committing to meet with them on a regular basis. Some counsellors offer a free telephone consult, or a reduced rate session so that you can take the time to do this. Research has shown that the primary factor to success in counselling is the relationship between the counsellor and the client. So if you are not comfortable, you are probably just going to waste a lot of time and money without a lot of results. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable, find another counsellor.
So what should you ask? You might want to ask questions about their qualifications (what level of education do they have, where did they go to school, how many years of experience do they have, are they registered with a association such as BCACC or CCPA), along with practical questions (how much do they charge, how long are sessions, do they bill to insurance companies such as CVAP, ICBC or WorkSafe, how do they take payment). Also, if you are seeking a counsellor who uses a specific kind of therapeutic approach (e.g. CBT, EMDR, OEI, art therapy, etc.) you will want to ask about their specific training in the approach as many of these require additional training to a Masters degree.
You may also want to ask about their counselling style (for instance, are they really directive or do they collaborate with you; do they do a lot of teaching skills or do they focus on processing feelings, etc.). The answer to this question will tell you a lot about what you can expect from the counsellor in your work together. Another way to ask this would be to tell the counsellor about what problems you are experiencing and ask for an idea of how they would approach these issues.
If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me!
If you have more questions, feel free to contact me clicking the button below or book your first appointment according to your schedule through my online scheduler.