Are session fees covered by my health benefits?

Unfortunately, counselling is not covered by our BC Health Care Plan. However, you may be able to get a few sessions of counselling covered through your extended health benefit plan. It is important to check with your specific plan to determine whether it will cover “Clinical Counsellors” or “Registered Counsellors” who have a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology.

If your plan states it will only cover Registered Psychologists then you can contact them directly and explain that it is important for you to see a Registered Counsellor or a Play Therapist and sometimes they will allow for this exception.

Insurance plans differ greatly so it is your responsibility to ensure that you will be reimbursed if you plan on claiming your counselling sessions. Counselling is considered a medical expense for Revenue Canada.

Are you a registered provider of counselling for Crime Victims Assistance or First Nations Health Authority?

Yes. I am an approved to provide counselling through the Crime Victims Assistance Program (CVAP) and BC Department of Justice. This may be available for approved victims and family members. I am also approved to provide counselling through the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). Interested clients should seek out the approval and paperwork from the appropriate service for counselling costs to be submitted and covered.

What is the cost of counselling?

Session fees are $120 + GST per 50 minute clinical hour as per the BC Association for Clinical Counsellors' recommended fee structure.

BCACC Recommended Counselling Fees 2016

Please note that family and couples sessions are usually longer than an hour and may have a higher fee for service. Co-Parenting Counselling for divorce and separation fees are to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Is there a waitlist for your services?

No, at this point I am usually able to schedule your first appointment within the week depending upon your availability. Late afternoon and evening appointments are in high demand so sometimes it may take longer than a week if these are the times you require.

What is parking and accessibility like at your location?

My office is conveniently located in Downtown Nanaimo in the city's Arts District. There is street parking available in front of the building for a small fee as well as some free street parking if you are fortunate to find it.

The building does have an elevator for people with mobility issues.

How long does counselling take?

This is not an uncommon question but it is very difficult to answer. Counselling does not solely depend on my work. It is meant to be a collaborative process that requires joint effort by both you and me in order to see success. Discussions about counselling goals and whether these are being met should happen regularly throughout the process.

If time or money is an important consideration, then it is worth having a longer conversation about it. We can enter into an agreement to work on a particular piece of work based on the time or money limitations you may have.

What should I expect in the first session?

It is important to find a therapist with whom you would be comfortable developing a therapeutic relationship. I invite people seeking out my services to contact me via email or telephone to determine whether I am the right fit for them and their particular concern. I am happy to answer any questions and provide information about my work. If I am not the right therapist for you, I am happy to refer you to someone else who better suits your needs.

Our first session together is another opportunity to see if I suit what you were looking for and if I have the right approach to address your identified concern. Research shows that our working relationship is critical for people finding counselling valuable and helpful to them.

How do you handle missed appointments?

Appointments you make with me are very important and that time is set aside for your use exclusively. Therefore, if it is cancelled without 24 hours noticed or missed completely, it is usually too late to find someone to replace you and the appointment remains empty.

Clients who cancel with less than 24 hours notice will be billed for half the cost of the session (e.g.; $60 + GST).

Clients who do not cancel and simply do not show up without any notice will be billed for the full fee of the missed session (e.g.; $120 + GST).

I understand that there are some valid reasons for cancelling. However, out of fairness to all clients, cancellation fees will only be waived in the event of a serious illness, medical emergency, death in the family or natural disaster.

I will always make an attempt to follow up about any missed appointments.

Is there support for me after hours, in an emergency or outside of the counselling room?

Clients are encouraged to use their natural social supports or community resources such as the 24-hour Vancouver Island Crisis Line 1-888-494-3888 for assistance outside of counselling appointments. However, I may be able to handle an “emergency” request for a counselling appointment or provide telephone support billed at regular hourly rates.

For additional after hours support, please proceed to your local hospital emergency.

If you are often having difficulty managing between sessions, it would be important to share this with me so we can discuss methods and strategies for improving your coping.

What if I feel I am not getting the help I need or I am unhappy with therapy?

Sometimes it is difficult to recognizing small changes and improvements when they happening to you. It is important to discuss your concerns to see if there is something I can do or if a referral to another service provider is required.

If you are no longer feeling comfortable with me, please let me know so we can explore this further and decide if you would prefer to see someone else. It is important to know that negative reactions such as feeling unheard, uncared about or unworthy can sometimes be feelings leftover from previous relationships so bringing this up to me could be beneficial to healing past pain.

How you deal with anger and conflict in sessions?

I do believe that a certain amount of conflict in relationships is healthy if we want to better understand one another. Conflict can encourage partners or family members to learn about what is important to each other and can foster closer relationships if conflict happens in a healthy and constructive way. When the situation in the therapy room becomes too heated then we can no longer be curious about the other person so it becomes my role to intervene and de-escalate those situations. I use a combination of curiosity, compassion and candidness to ensure there is safety for people to explore themselves and others. I work directly with people to help them understand their patterns of angry responding and practice soothing themselves before escalations occur.

How will I know if counselling is working?

I generally feel that people can judge this for themselves. However, here are some of the changes clients have expressed to me:

  • “I feel less anxious, lonely, sad, scared, angry, overwhelmed, panicky, etc.”
  • “I can handle things better.”
  • “I know myself better.”
  • “I know why I’m so hard on myself.”
  • “I know what I was feeling and experiencing was normal.”
  • “I am more hopeful now.”
  • “I know what I need/ want to do.”
  • “I am calmer now.”
  • “I have strategies to help.”
  • “I get along better with others, my partner, my kid, my boss, etc.”
  • “I finally gave myself permission to cry about it.”
  • “I am more social now.”
  • “I don’t want to harm myself anymore.”
  • “I eat and sleep better and I exercise more.”