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WHEN SHOULD I SEEK COUNSELLING?
If you are asking this question, it just might be time to talk to a counsellor. Counselling can be beneficial in any stage of life, whether dealing with stress or family issues, or dealing with major trauma and mental illness. Typically there is a tipping point when the pain of what you are going through outweighs your hesitation to ask for help. Sometimes you have the feeling of being overwhelmed, that you have tried everything and nothing is resolving your problem.
WHAT IS AN INTAKE FORM?
An Intake Form is a basic form that gathers important information about you, your family, your current state of well being, any challenges you are facing, and your hopes for the counselling process. It allows your counsellor to get a picture of you and your life at the start of counselling and serves as a reference point for improvement and growth.
WHAT IS INFORMED CONSENT?
Counselling, like other health professions, requires the client to be informed of the risks and the benefits of any treatment or procedure, as well as information on confidentiality and the collection of personal information. Once you have been informed you have the right to voluntarily consent, or not, by signing the Informed Consent Form. To begin counselling a client must give informed consent. Consent is an ongoing process and can be withdrawn at any time, effectively ending the counselling relationship.
WHAT IS INFORMED CONSENT FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLSECENTS?
For children aged 18 and under it is generally the rule that a parent or guardian give informed consent by signing the Informed Consent Form. However, according to the Infants Act a minor can give consent without a parent’s knowledge or approval, if they express understanding about the nature of the therapy he or she will receive.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FIRST SESSION?
A client is asked to fill out the Intake Form and Informed Consent Form and bring them to the first session. Your counsellor will take a few minutes to review the paper work before asking you to come into their office. Usually the first session allows you to get to know a bit about your counsellor and New Story Counselling and ask any questions. Your counsellor then asks you questions and you share as much or as little as you like. The session lasts for 50 minutes. If you decide to enter into the counselling process, you discuss goals and hopeful outcomes of therapy. Scheduling the next appointment and handling payment is done at the end of the session.
HOW MUCH IS COUNSELLING?
The BCACC standardized fee for an individual session is $120 per 50 minute session. The BCACC standardized fee for couples counselling or family counselling is $135 per 50 minute session. The BCACC standardized fee for group therapy is $50 per individual for a 50 minute session.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?
New Story Counselling has a 24 hour cancellation policy. The full fee will be charged in cases where clients cancel without 24 hour notice.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
We accept cash, cheques, and also VISA, and Mastercard through PayPal.
DO YOU OFFER A SLIDING SCALE OR SCHOLARSHIPS?
A sliding scale is available. A financial aide form can be filled out to request an adjusted rate. Also, some churches, schools or organizations are willing to help with costs. It is worth calling your local church.
DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
You may contact your insurance company to ask about extended coverage for mental health. Some extended coverage plans will reimburse you a certain dollar amount every year, or a certain number of sessions per year. The proper receipts will be available for you to apply for insurance reimbursement.
IS EVERYTHING I SAY CONFIDENTIAL?
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of counselling. It is important that you feel safe to share with your counsellor knowing you can trust him or her with personal information. Everything you say will be held in confidence, except for three things:
First, any discussion about abuse/ neglect of a child or a vulnerable adult will be reported to the authorities for the safety of that person.
Second, any threat to harm yourself or someone else will reported to the authorities for your safety and/or the safety of the person threatened; and Third, if the court of law requests your records the counsellor will do their best to give a limited summary of your counselling with only the needed information. In some cases full records are required.
You will be notified by your counsellor if for any reason confidentiality must be broken. These exceptions are for your safety, the safety of vulnerable others, and the upholding of the law.
HOW DOES COUNSELLING HELP ME?
Life is not meant to be lived alone. When we experience pain or feel overwhelmed we need others around us to help us overcome. Sometimes the people around us are limited in the knowledge and ability to help. In this case a clinical counsellor can offer you support, care, advice, and tools to help you achieve your goals. In counselling you may learn new coping skills, gain personal insight, form healthier ways of relating to others, and/or overcome unwanted behaviors.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO COUNSELLING?
Counselling may come with risks. Opening up about your pain can sometimes lead to more pain initially. Talking about painful memories might lead to unwanted thoughts, strong emotions or tension in relationships at home and at work. In theory, things may get worse before they get better. This is a potential risk in the counselling process worth considering before beginning. Please talk to your counsellor about any concerns you may have.
WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE COUNSELLING PROCESS?
One important thing for a client to understand is that counselling requires work from both the counsellor and the client. It requires a willingness to be honest, to build trust with the counsellor, to receive feedback and potentially to make changes in the way you think and act. The level of commitment and effort you put into the counselling process will impact what you get out of it.
WHAT IS MY ROLE AS A PARENT WHEN YOU ARE WORKING WITH MY CHILD?
When working with youth, your counsellor generally asks that parents join them for the first session. This allows your counsellor to gain informed consent, gather information about what the child is struggling with, and begin to build trust between your counsellor and the family. A parent or guardian has a right to know what is happening between a counsellor and a youth at any time. Usually your counsellor asks the parents to give the child some sense of autonomy and confidentiality in the counselling process. Any concerns from the parents or from your counsellor will be addressed immediately. Some family or parent appointments may be recommended.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Each counselling session is 50 minutes. Initially you meet with your counsellor once every week. As you begin to improve sessions are scheduled every other week and then once a month until the closure of the counselling process. Depending on your needs, the course of counselling can take anywhere from 6 sessions to more extended periods spanning 1 to 2 years.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I AM DONE?
This is a personal choice, but often a decision reached mutually between counsellor and client. You can end the counselling relationship at any time. Usually the client begins to gain insight and skills to better deal with life’s challenges and communicates success in achieving their goals to the counsellor. At that time a plan can be made by the counsellor and client to move towards closure.
WHAT IF IT IS NOT HELPING?
If counselling does not seem to be helping please tell your counsellor. The reason counselling is not helping can be something as simple as miscommunication or a deeper issues such as not trusting your counsellor. The sooner you can discuss this with your counsellor the better. He or she can refer you to another counsellor, doctor or to an alternate service that will help you. The goal is to get you the help you need, even if that means changing therapists.
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN COUNSELLING?
Christian counselling is simply using the knowledge of psychology and skills of clinical counselling within a framework of Christian faith and theology. It opens the door for those interested in integrating their faith into the counselling process. This can look different for every individual but may include discussing his or her relationship with God or the Church, struggling with moral issues, learning to love God or self or others well, learning spiritual disciplines, discussing their call or purpose, seeking forgiveness and/ or renewal. Incorporating faith issues into the counselling process can open the door for more holistic healing. As Christians it also invites God to be active in the process of counselling, self-growth, healing, and change.
WHAT IF I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN?
New Story Counselling is not exclusively a Christian counselling centre. Anyone is welcome here. Our counsellors are trained in working with people from all walks of life and all faith backgrounds. They will treat you with the utmost respect, quality care, and only talk about what you feel comfortable discussing.