What are the fees for counselling?
Fees for counselling are set in part by professional associations who regulate counsellors and other mental health professionals. At Hollyburn, fees are competitive and start at $120 plus GST per session hour (50 min). Counselling fees may differ according to the type of counselling (individual or couple) as well as the credentials and years of experience of the counsellor. Duration of service will be negotiated with your counsellor, and typically depends on the degree of progress made in therapy. Sessions may be weekly or bi-weekly and will be negotiated at the start of service. If you have extended insurance coverage your insurance package may cover a portion or all of your counselling fees. *NOTE: Counselling fees are not covered by MSP.
Some counsellors and counselling service programs offer discounts or sliding scale rates of counselling. These vary greatly from one agency to the next, and counsellors are not required to provide discounted rates for clients. The fee for therapy should be reported at the start of therapy. Any changes to fees should be provided with notice to clients in advance.
How do I know I’ll get the right counsellor?
The cornerstone to effective counselling is a trusting and respectful professional relationship. When seeking a counsellor, look for one who has training and expertise with your specific issue. Our counsellor’s provide an initial brief phone consult (10 min) to help match your counselling needs to the right professional. You may also contact the counsellors directly (emails are posted on the web page under counselling bios) and request a 10-min call. It’s helpful to speak with your counsellor and ensure you feel comfortable talking about your problem. It’s also an opportunity to ensure that the counsellor has experience that matches your need (i.e. they’ve worked with someone of your age, and have dealt with problems of a similar nature). You may ask the counsellor questions about their experience, training, and registration. Not all counsellors have the same registration, and if you’re hoping to get coverage of fees from an extended health plan, you will need to ensure that you have a professional whose credentials (i.e. Registered Clinical Counsellor, Registered Social Worker) match those outlined in your specific health plan.
How long will it take until I start to see improvement?
Each person’s circumstances are different. Rates of change and progress through therapy depends on many factors. It’s difficult to determine length of service for a given problem. One consideration is the question of how long you’ve been living with the problem in your life. Problems that have persisted for years will require longer courses of therapy. Your counsellor will help you monitor and assess progress. If you don’t feel you’re making headway after several weeks of counselling, be sure to ask your counsellor to discuss this and consider whether a referral to another service or professional may be necessary. Research in marital therapy indicates that couples experience up to 6 years of conflict before accessing couples therapy. For this reason, couples therapy often requires a longer commitment for better results.
Is a counsellor the same as a psychologist or a psychiatrist?
The short answer is no. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. They focus on serving individuals with a specific, often diagnosable mental health issue. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication that may be necessary to help manage mental health symptoms. It’s common for people to see a psychiatrist for medical treatment of a mental health condition or disorder while receiving talk therapy from a counsellor or psychologist.
Psychologists in BC hold a PhD and typically charge higher rates due to their higher credentials and wider scope of practice that includes formal testing and assessment to help categorize mental, cognitive, and emotional capacity and functioning. Many are also engaged in private practice or public programs where they provide talk therapy services.
Counsellors have both academic and professional training in engaging in therapeutic processes aimed at enhancing specific social, emotional and relational functioning for their clients. Counsellors are focused on finding solutions to a client’s identified problem and are trained in a variety of therapeutic methods and models that promote changes to thinking, emotional regulation, and behaviour. Counsellors with the highest qualifications in BC hold memberships with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and have the designation of RCC – Registered Clinical Counsellor. Some RCCs are also members of The College of Social Work (in the case of those who are RSWs or MSWs). It’s important to note that not all counsellors in BC hold undergraduate or Masters degrees. Those counsellors may hold registrations with other groups which require minimum competencies met by providing proof of competencies developed (diploma programs, special training) and years of service in the helping field in order to qualify for membership.