Frequently Asked Questions
This is perhaps a bit like defining the difference between pop music and classical music: both have their place and it is often a matter of preference. That said, counselling is often understood as contemporary, brief in duration, and solution-focussed, while psychotherapy often goes deeper, involving itself in the "invisible" (such as deeply rooted patterns, unconscious processes, dream-states, symbols, spiritual quests, and early/forgotten memories). If you want quick tools for here-and-now problems, looking to change how you "do life", then perhaps conventional counselling is for you. If you are after something deeper, and your quest is more about purpose and being in life, then psychotherapy might be the better fit.
Take anxiety or depression as examples: through a contemporary counselling process, we would likely take 4-6 sessions target cognitive-behavioural syptoms. On the other hand, if we were to approach it through a deeper psychotherapeutic process, we'd be more invested in exploring the origins and roots in order to come to a more comprehensive understanding of how/why anxiety and/or depression manifest, in addition to providing insights regarding how to deal with it.
We'll probably figure out pretty quickly what it is you're after... but in either case, be prepared for some depth, some challenge, some fun, and a big dose of liberation!
What's the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Are you covered by insurance or my British Columbia Medical Services Plan)?
We are currently registered under the following providers: Worksafe BC, First Nations Health Authority, and ICBC.
In addition, many other insurance companies will reimburse employees for either the full amount or a portion of counselling fees. Every plan is different, so please contact your insurance company/employee assistance plan to determine whether they cover fees for counselling with a Registered Clinical Counsellor (in the case of Ron, Andrew, and Jodie), or a Master's level Registered Social Worker (in the case of Ken. Be sure to ask them regarding your annual limits (if applicable).
Counselling is not currently covered under British Columbia's MSP.
If you are curious why we don't work with most Employee Assistance Programs (Homewood Health, Aspiria, etc): the answer is that such insurance companies do not reimburse counsellors for the full billable rate set out by our governing bodies, the BCACC & the BCCSW. Instead, they contract the work out to those counsellors willing to accept significantly (30%-50%) lower rates, and then the insurance companies pocket the difference. While we would wish to provide service to EAP-insured clients, it ultimately becomes a decision based on scruples and business principles.
How long are sessions? How often should we meet? And for how many sessions?
Ideally, the first session would be 80 minutes. This gives us time to get to know one another, to fill in some history/assessment, and formulate a plan based on your counselling goals. Thereafter, it's usually best to have sessions weekly for at least the first few 4 weeks so that things stay fresh in mind and on-track in terms of action plans. There is, however, a lot of room for flexibility: some folks are understandably limited by such factors as time, service caps (in the case of insurance-billed sessions), or where surplus cash flow is a concern. We've had clients meet weekly on an ongoing basis, and we've had clients who went away satisfied after only one session. Much depends on your specific circumstances, needs, hopes, and availability. We'll take some time during the first session to assess needs and set attainable goals that will work for you.
What form(s) of payment do you take?
We find that it works best to use the integrated payment system that comes with our booking system, Jane Software. This system uses military-grade encryption and even we can't see the credit card information that is stored. This also allows for us to focus our time on just the therapy part instead of having to do the money part every time: clients are billed (almost) automatically after the session is complete. If you don't have a credit card or you have concerns about doing it this way, please let us know and we'll do what we can do accommodate you.
Where do I find your office?
The nearest main intersection is Wallace and Terminal. The "Vault" coffee shop is in the same strip of buildings as our offices... we're just a little further up the road on Wallace. The entrance to our part of the building is near the end, toward the lawn below city hall. The address is 477 Wallace. Parking during the day is (currently) free. We're on the third floor, near the end of the hall, on the left. There is an elevator and there's a waiting room if you happen to show up early.
how often will we meet?
It is most common to schedule regular (weekly or every two weeks) sessions until difficulties begin to subside or your goals are reached. During severe crises, we have met with individuals more than once per week. Generally, more growth can be experienced through weekly therapy, but meeting every two weeks can provide ample time to digest things and practice new skills between sessions. We can discuss which option seems more appropriate for your unique situation.
How do I know when our therapy is finished?
Throughout our relationship, we will discuss goals and our progress in working toward those goals. Usually, once it has been mutually determined that goals have been satisfactorily reached or when you determine that you no longer need the supportive relationship, we set an end date together. Once that end date is established, we use our remaining time to consolidate growth and discuss the most helpful aspects of therapy.
can you prescribe medication?
As Registered Clinical Counsellors or Registered Social Workers, we do not have the ability to prescribe medications. If you'd like to consider medication, we will gladly refer you to a psychiatrist or medical doctor with whom we will collaborate on your care.
How long will therapy last?
Depending on your own unique needs, therapy can be short-term (4-10 sessions), for a specific issue or goal, or long-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for continued personal growth.
Do you work with children/teens?
Andrew, Jodie, and Ken work with teens, and they have strong skills in building trust and therapeutic relationship with them. Andrew also works with children (under 12).
Ron has chosen not to work with children at this time. While he has worked with kids and adolescents extensively in the past, he has opted to focus his training and expertise on working with adults.
My spouse has been unfaithful. Is there hope for our relationship?
In a word: YES! In some cases, the betrayal occurs in the form of romantic and sexual relationships; in others it is an emotional affair, and in still others, the problems have to do with pornography or "sexting". Betrayal is extremely painful and difficult to deal with, and many relationships fail as a result. That said, there is a lot of hope when both partners are willing to do the work to repair and rebuild the trust, friendship, and esteem.