What is counselling? People come to counselling for a variety of reasons. You may be looking to make changes, but do not quite know where to start, or may have issues such as depression, anxiety, stress and managing your emotions. Counselling is also a legitimate source of support in a crisis or during a difficult time.
What are the risks and benefits to counselling? 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. There is also a risk that your relationships will change as a result of what you are learning here and how you are changing. 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.
What are my rights to confidentiality? The relationship you create with me is highly confidential. I will not discuss what you share with me to anyone without your written consent. However, there are limits to client confidentiality and these exceptions include:
• I have a duty to report any information you may provide that indicates that you intend to harm yourself or someone else. I am also required to report an abuse towards a child or elderly person that you may tell me about during our time together.
• If you are in the midst of a court proceeding and the court of law subpoena’s counselling records, I am obligated to provide my clinical notes of our session work.
• In order to provide you with the best quality of service, I engage in regular consultation or supervision. This allows me to provide a quality service to you. The information provided to the clinical supervisor is confidential between myself and the supervisor, and the supervisor is held to the same confidentiality parameters as noted here.
What are your rights in counselling?
• You have a right to receive a referral to another counsellor or mental health professional.
• It is your right to have access to your clinical records or request to obtain copies of your file, subject to legal requirements. Please note that if you do request this, the file is first scanned for information pertaining to legal requirements, therefore may not be released immediately upon request but within two weeks of the request. Your right to access your information continues after the end of the counselling relationship.
• It is your right to refuse therapeutic modalities or interventions that I may be using at any time during your counselling session.
• It is your right to terminate counselling at any time by so advising me.
What is the structure of counselling services? Counselling sessions typically last 50 minutes for individual appointments and 1 hour and 15 minutes for couples or extended appointments. If you are late arriving for your appointment, the session will still end at the appointed time, and you will be charged for the total time of that appointment.
Appointments are offered at free for a 15-minute phone consultation, and then $130 (+GST) for individual appointments. Couples or extended appointments are offered at $190 (+GST). Other services such as extended phone calls, consultations with other professionals, letter-writing, etc. are charged at the $130 rate.
Payments are made at the time of service. Receipts are available at the end of the session and are typically emailed to you unless you require a hard copy. If you are utilizing health care benefits to cover your costs for counselling, please note that I am unable to utilize direct billing. If your health plan does not reimburse you for the full cost of the clinical counselling services, you remain responsible for those additional costs and will not be refunded the difference.
If for any reason you need to miss a session, please call me (778-549-6334) to cancel at least 24 hours in advance. Please note that less than 24 hour cancellations or no shows may result in full session fees being charge. If two consecutive sessions are missed and after three phone calls you cannot be reached, it will be assumed that you no longer wish to continue counselling services and your file will be closed.
If there is an emergency between appointments, please contact your physician, your local hospital emergency, or the Vancouver Crisis Line at 604-872-3311.
If you have a concern about any aspect of your counselling, I would ask that you first address it with me as your counsellor. If this feels impossible or unsafe, or if it doesn’t feel resolved after we have discussed it, you may contact the Registrar of the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors at 1-800-909-6303.