Maybe you're struggling with your own or someone else's substance use or addictive behaviors.
Perhaps you're unhappy with your spouse, your choice of dating partners, or the lifestyle choices that make it tough to improve your health and happiness?
Or, it could be that you're coping with divorce, separation, or a difficult family situation.
If any of the above situations apply to your life, counseling could be helpful. So what's stopping you? The way counseling (often used interchangeably with the word "therapy") is portrayed in movies and on TV can paint a "no way, that's not for me" picture. But in reality, while there's often a couch or a comfy chair, therapists are not detached, distracted listeners who charge an arm and a leg for an hour of their time. And just because you receive counseling doesn't automatically mean that something is wrong with you. Some people think that they need to be in crisis, or that the intensity of the problem or issue has to be bad before they go to therapy – however, people can often benefit from therapy for something as simple as needing help reaching a specific goal or maintaining positive changes in their life.
It's also easy for people to get hung up on the cost of therapy. It’s true that therapy is expensive compared to some things, but it's an investment and you should expect to get a return on that investment . There are other things that are expensive that we don't question the finances of quite so much, such as hiring a good attorney if you're going through a divorce.
"But aren't therapists just people you're paying to listen to your problems?" No, not exactly - compassionate listening is an important part of the counseling process, but therapists have completed graduate degrees and spent years studying relationships, work environments, conflict resolution, communication, and how people change. This training and experience helps them bring insight into understanding the things that might be driving your habits and choices.
Are you about to go to a counselor for the first time? Whatever your reasons for seeking help, you will be more at ease and get better results if you know what to expect.
A quick, no charge, 15-minute appointment in-person or over the phone will allow you and the therapist to get to know each other a bit and discuss the reasons that are bringing you to counselling.
It’s important to feel comfortable with your therapist and have a good “fit” for successful therapy to take place. If you don't feel comfortable, it is perfectly fine to try someone else - you may not like the first person you meet, but that doesn't mean it's a lost cause.
Counselling can be a positive and powerful experience; eventually you'll meet someone you believe you can work with, you just need to keep trying.
A Registered Clinical Counsellor is a professional who has completed a Master’s degree in the field of psychology and has become certified by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). Requirements for obtaining RCC certification include a Master’s degree, specific graduate-level coursework, evidence of obtaining at least 100 hours of clinical supervision, appropriate professional liability insurance, relevant work experience, and a clean criminal records check. As well, registered clinical counsellors must follow the ethical guidelines and standards of practice set by the BCACC.
In BC, anybody can call themselves a “counsellor” or a “therapist” without obtaining any specialized training. It’s important to ensure that the counsellor you’re entrusting with your own well-being is part of a governing body that has standards for education and practice as well as a formal code of ethics. This is one of the benefits of seeing a Registered Clinical Counsellor – individuals with an RCC designation are trained, registered, insured, and regulated health care professionals.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have obtained additional specialized training in psychiatry. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications and work mainly in hospitals or outpatient clinics where they deal with serious mental illnesses. Because their services are covered under the provincial Medical Services Plan, the wait list to see a psychiatrist can often be six months or more.
Psychologists in BC must have obtained a doctoral degree in psychology. Unlike psychiatry, psychology is a non-medical discipline that is mainly concerned with the normal functioning of the mind. Psychologists are not able to prescribe medication, and their services are not covered under the provincial Medical Services Plan. Psychologists typically charge $150 or more per hour.
The counselling relationship is not like talking to a friend or sharing your feelings with a parent or sibling. These people are a part of your everyday life; you know them and they know you. You can't always be sure that they won't tell others about your problems, but at least some of them will likely be there to celebrate your successes and provide you with support into the future.
In contrast, counselling generally involves sharing your feelings with a stranger. This stranger may know virtually nothing about you, but is partnering with you to benefit your wellbeing. This partnership is dedicated to helping you identify and strengthen the skills, knowledge, and resources that will allow you to improve your own situation by sorting out difficulties and bringing greater peace and joy into your life.
Referrals from doctors, massage therapists, chiropractors, lawyers, psychologists, and others are always welcome; however, you don't need any sort of referral to attend counselling.
The number of treatments differs from person to person. Some people see their counsellor weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly for a period of time. Others see their counsellor occasionally, on an as-needed basis. There is no predetermined number of sessions that you are expected to commit to - every situation is different and will be addressed uniquely.
Counselling services are not currently covered under the provincial Medical Services Plan.
Our counsellor charges as follows:
The number of sessions needed is different for each person and can depend on many things, including issues and goals brought to counselling, insurance coverage and affordability, and ongoing benefits perceived by the client, among others. Your counsellor will check in with you along the way to make sure that your needs are being met and that you continue to benefit from the counselling process.
Some third party insurance plans offer coverage for the counselling services provided by RCC’s, so make sure to check with your plan provider prior to your first appointment.
Copyright © 2020
Kim Watt Counselling - Associate at Beautiful Soul Wellness Services