Whether you are considering a change in your life or are in the midst of one, it helps to have a trained and professional counsellor listen and explore options or perspectives with you that may be difficult for you to see on your own at this time.
I use a holistic approach where we consider the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of your life situation. My practice is safe, comfortable, warm and embracing. I work from a person-centered Rogerian modality. I incorporate solution-focused techniques, narrative therapy, and spiritually integrated psychotherapy as appropriate.
I am currently at Full Capacity but I do maintain a Wait List. Since I still want to support you, please read “Choosing a Therapist” below, and subscribe to my Newsletter, where you will be guided through various strategies that may be helpful on your journey. Most of my Blog posts are originally delivered in my Newsletter, and you can check out previous posts here, or follow me on Facebook by Liking my author page.
Choosing a Therapist
As a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), and in my past work for the Ethics Complaints Committee for the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), it is my responsibility to educate the public around SAFETY in your choice of counsellor or therapist.
I have supervised and mentored students and offered peer consult to fellow therapists so my mindset is always on BEST PRACTICE. When you are choosing a counsellor/therapist in British Columbia, you need to know that as of today’s date, ANYONE can call themselves a counsellor. I want you to feel empowered. Since I sometimes have to put individuals on a Cancellation or Wait List, if the client can’t wait, I offer the following direction so they can find another therapist who might not only be a good match, but also has the education, credentials, ethical knowledge and professional qualifications required for public safety in general, and your personal safety specifically.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask for her Credentials- Yes, a good match is important, but it makes no sense to seek a match without first checking her credentials and professional status. When you are vulnerable, you may feel that you can trust someone who calls herself a ‘counsellor’ or a ‘coach’ or a ‘therapist’ to have the professional requirements to give themselves these titles. However, this is simply not true. It is up to you to check her credentials. Your counsellor or therapist should have a minimum of a Master of Arts degree or equivalent in Counselling Psychology. She should be able to discuss her thesis, course work, and practicum experiences in detail. Do not feel you have to give your personal power away just because someone gives themselves a title or has a piece of paper framed on their wall.
- Ask for her Registration- It requires time, effort, financial investment and maintenance to become registered with professional licensing bodies. Your counsellor or therapist should be able to provide you with her registration numbers and relevant professional associations. Belonging to a professional organization or college requires the counsellor agree to abide by a Code of Ethics and particular Standards of Practice. Finally, ask her directly how she participates in continuing competency and stays current on the latest research regarding mental health.
- Ask for her Professional Disclosure Statement- This statement outlines the conditions of confidentiality in therapy along with her fee schedule. You can compare her fees to the Recommended Fee Schedule at the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors website. The Informed Consent you must be asked to review and sign should be comprehensive, and you must be allowed to review it and ask questions. Always look for the limitations of confidentiality as therapists are required by law to break confidentiality if they learn that a child mat be at risk of abuse or neglect, or in need of protection,or if they believe you or another person is a clear risk of imminent harm. The Payment Agreement not only shows you how transparent she is, but it will also help you avoid awkward misunderstandings around late arrivals, no-shows, and outstanding invoices. Ask her if she maintains a Personal Protection and Policy Information Page which is your right to know how she protects your privacy in her practice. She should be able to provide you with this if you ask for it. These are ethical pieces and if she cannot provide these documents, you have the personal right and responsibility to decline her services.
- Therapist Self Care Plan- Without asking for details, inquire if she participates in her own growth and self care regimen, or if she has her own therapist, or if personal therapy was a requirement of her training or educational program. You are looking for congruence here- actions that match professed values. You may feel reassured if you know that your therapist has another professional she herself goes to for personal, ethical or professional consultation. You will feel safer knowing she has her own care in place.
Other Things to Consider
Once you feel satisfied with her credentials, professional status and self care, you will want to make sure that you and she are a match. You need to feel safe and comfortable with your therapist. She should be nonjudgmental and professional. A piece of paper in a frame on a wall does not guarantee the personal qualities, active listening skills, demeanor, tone of voice, or feeling of safety you will need to make personal progress. She should ask you what your goals are for therapy, and she should offer you useful tools and strategies for moving forward. If you feel there is not a match, move on. If you choose to allow her to work with you and you encounter a problem, try finding the courage to speak openly about it. If you cannot, I recommend you communicate with her governing body. You will NOT hurt her feelings and it is actually your responsibility to keep yourself safe.
These are just a few useful tips and questions to ask when you are choosing a therapist/counsellor. If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me or call me at 250-792-2501.
Wondering if your treatment can be covered?
For many good reasons, my counselling style attracts individuals working in health, mental health, legal, educational and other helping professions. Often these professions have health insurance coverage which includes therapeutic modalities.
For example, BCNU members have access to $900.00 toward sessions with a Registered Clinical Counsellor of their choice. Check with your benefit provider for counselling options.
My accreditations are recognized by these benefit providers:
- Registered Clinical Counsellor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors
- Certified Canadian Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association
- Registered with the British Columbia Crime Victim Assistance Program. I provide counselling to claimants under this program.
- EAP counselling provider for Homewood Health, Arete, as well as other employer benefit plans
A best practice in counselling services is that the therapist provide a copy of her/his Disclosure Statement for review and discussion.
I provide copies of my Disclosure Statement at our first conversation. My disclosure statement includes information regarding fees, confidentiality and its limits, cancellation policy, my Personal Information Protection Policy, and my process of closure.
For your information, I use the Recommended Fee Schedule at the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellor website, modified to reflect our current economic climate.
Also during this first conversation, we will work together to determine your immediate goals. We will revisit these goals and celebrate together, or change the goals as the way becomes clearer. I am committed to helping you meet your goals in a skilled and timely manner.