What can I expect from counselling?

Therapy can help a person to gain a new understanding about his or her life and to acquire new ways of coping with and solving problems. It can help a person to develop new skills and to change behaviour patterns. Counselling can also contribute to an increased understanding of self and others, and this heightened awareness can facilitate change. For more information, please see my page on What to Expect.

How do I know for sure that counselling will help – are there any risks?

Therapeutic outcomes cannot be guaranteed and will always vary from person to person.  There are also potential risks associated with therapy.  It may stimulate unpleasant memories, evoke strong feelings, and changes in awareness may alter a person’s self-perception and ways of relating to others. Sometimes clients will feel worse before they feel better.  This is especially a concern for trauma clients.  Therapy is a process which takes time and openness.  Of course, you can continually discuss any concerns you are having with me, and we will adapt treatment as needed. Your safety, comfort, and well-being are central to our work together.

What’s the best way to contact you?

Please contact me by email: counsellorruth@gmail.com or by phone: 778.886.9946.  If I am unavailable, please leave a message on my confidential voicemail and I will do my best to return your call or email within 24 hours.

How many sessions will it take?

There is no set number of sessions of length of time that it takes to be finished therapy.  In many ways, self-improvement is a lifelong process. Many clients do start to feel relief from their symptoms within the first couple of sessions, however deeply-rooted issues tend to take longer to explore and to translate into life change.  A typical course of therapy runs anywhere from 4-15 sessions or more, depending on the issue and the client’s needs.  Once they have made significant improvements, often clients will choose to end weekly sessions but continue with bi-weekly, monthly, or yearly check-ins.  When the time comes, we can create a transition plan that suits you best.

Is everything we discuss confidential?

Information about your counselling sessions will not be released to anyone without your informed and voluntary consent, except in certain exceptional circumstances.

Exceptions are:

  • When you may be a danger to yourself or to others
  • When there is suspicion or disclosure of abuse of vulnerable persons, such as a child or elder
  • If the counselling is being paid for by a third party (i.e. Employee Assistance Program), they may require some disclosure such as session summaries
  • When records are subpoenaed by court order or otherwise required by law.
  • Communication by email.  Due to nature of electronic information, I cannot guarantee the confidentiality of any information exchanged in this manner, however precautions have been taken to prevent security breaches as much as possible.

Every reasonable effort will be made to discuss these circumstances with you prior to the involvement of other professionals.

What kind of problems can I talk to you about?

We can use our time together to discuss whatever you would like.  Sometimes people come in one day with one concern, and the next session their focus has shifted.  This is completely normal.  We can adjust based on your needs and what feels of greatest concern at the time, while still keeping your goals of therapy in mind.  The exception is if we are following a specific program that requires us to devote time accordingly.  Also, I am certainly not an expert in all areas but can refer you to another professional should you require someone with specific training or knowledge in a given area.

Can I still come to a session if I am using substances?

Yes.  For substance use work, I adopt a harm-reduction model.  The only stipulation is I require that clients not use at least 24 hours prior to the counselling appointment, so that we can be most effective in our work together.  If substance use issues are extreme, I may suggest that you first attend a specialized detox and/or treatment program.

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