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Frequently Asked Questions
How can counselling help me?
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Counselling could help you to:
These are just some of the benefits of counselling.
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Ask before you start counselling with this person. Being in therapy is being in a counselling relationship. You will want to know whether or not you can connect with this counsellor. During the early period of therapy, you will begin to find out about this. In a good therapeutic relationship, trust should develop and improve as time goes on. You may also find that a particular counsellor is good at helping you through one aspect of your situation, while another one will be better at helping you with something else.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Therapist
- What is your training and background?
- What approach to therapy do you use?
- On what belief system (philosophy) do you base your counselling?
- How many counselling sessions will I have, and how often?
- What are your fees?- How do you handle confidentiality?
Also, you can ask the counsellor questions specific to your situation.
My answers to these questions are found below. If you have further questions, please email me.
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The field of counselling has great variety in the training and approaches among therapists. Hopefully this description will help you understand some of the more common variations.
The general progression in receiving training is to earn a Bachelorís degree, then a Masterís, then a doctorate.
BSW - Bachelor of Social Work. Sociology studies.
MSW - Master of Social Work. Sociology studies.
BA - Bachelor of Arts.
MA - Master of Arts.
B.Ed. - Bachelor of Education.
M.Ed. - Master of Education.
B.Sc. - Bachelor of Science.
B.Sc.N - Bachelor of Science in Nursing. RN with university training.
M.Sc. - Master of Science.
BRE - Bachelor of Religious Education. Theology & Education.
B.Th - Bachelor of Theology. Theology, Ministry, Arts related.
M.Th - Master of Theology. Theology & specific majors.
MTS - Master of Theological Studies. Theology & specific majors.
MDiv - Master of Divinity. Theology & specific majors.
Dr. - This therapist could be a M.D. (Medical Doctor). If this is the case, the doctor may be a general practitioner who has taken additional training in counselling, or he may be a psychiatrist, a doctor who has specialized in psychiatry.
**Note: A person with the title "Dr." is not always a medical doctor.
PhD - Doctor of Philosophy. Psychologists who have this degree would have concentrated on the study of psychology in their training.
D.Min - Doctor of Ministry. Theology degree. May have a counselling focus.
It is usually a good idea to check what the therapistís major was, as these can vary greatly within these degrees.
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In my training, I first earned a Bachelor of Religious Education, during which I received some hospital chaplaincy experience. Then I trained as a nursing assistant and worked for a number of years in that field. When I lost my job as a practical nurse because of organizational restructuring in the hospital I worked in, I returned to school, received a Master of Divinity with a major in Counselling, became an Individual, Marriage and Family Counsellor, and have been in private practice for several years.
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BRE = Bachelor of Religious Education
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Each therapist will use methods that best suit his or her own personal philosophy and style, but there are some general categories into which most approaches fit.
Four Basic Therapeutic Approaches
Sociology - This focus views people in relation to society. Society can have an influence on, as well as be influenced by, individuals and groups of individuals.
Psychology - This focus looks at the individualís internal and external responses as personal issues. Problems are seen as coming from within the personís own thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Solutions come when each individual recognizes and deals with their personal thoughts, feelings, or actions. Most traditional approaches to therapy fall into this category.
Family Systems - This approach looks at people as not merely individuals, but as participants in relationships. People influence relationships and are influenced by them. The focus in this approach is primarily on family relationships.
Every individual action within a family has some meaning within the whole family system. When there are problems, the difficulty is not seen as coming from one particular person, but from relationship patterns that have become dysfunctional. Solutions come from identifying the harmful patterns and working together to develop more functional ones.
This change does not have to begin with the person who appears to have the problem. Any family member can take responsibility to change. The idea is balance -- if one part of the whole changes, the other parts must change in some way. In this approach, blaming is decreased and personal responsibility for oneís actions and reactions is encouraged.
Spiritual Approaches - Although there are therapists who do therapy from an atheistic viewpoint (no belief in God), there are approaches that recognize a spiritual side to human life. There is more to us than just body and mind. Therefore, there are issues in our lives that need to be dealt with in a spiritual manner. Christian Counselling is counselling that comes for the viewpoint of the Christian belief and value system. Other forms of spirituality are becoming a part of therapy in some circles. If a therapist claims to include a spiritual aspect in therapy, it is important to find out what he or she means by this. Not all spiritual approaches are the same.
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My own approach is a combination of Family Systems and various psychological methods. I work from the basis of the Christian viewpoint of life. In working with people, I try to take into consideration all aspects of human life: mental/emotional, physical, spiritual and relational. When you register for counselling with me, you will have a choice between three options for the focus you want your counselling to take:
- PERSONAL COUNSELLING (individual issues for yourself)
- FAMILY OR RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING (issues involving relationships)
- PRAYER COUNSELLING (counselling through the use of directed prayer regarding your situation)
You can choose one of these options, or a combination of any of them, in the course of the counselling process.
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For more information on the Christian viewpoint, please see my beliefs page.
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Online Counselling is a relatively new alternative to traditional face to face therapy. Counselling is done online via email or message board formats, forms, and/or through real time chat sessions. Contact with the counsellor can be exclusively through the internet, or can combine internet, phone and face to face interactions. For more information, please see my article about Online Help.
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Yes, you may receive counselling from me via telephone. Contact me with a request for an appointment by phone, and we can set up a time to talk. Payment for these sessions can be made via the Payment page on this website, or through snail mail. For more information, please click here.
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Usually you would have one counselling session per week at the first, although other arrangements can be made as necessary. As counselling progresses, sessions are often spaced farther apart. Most sessions are approximately one hour long, but two hour sessions are available. The number of sessions you will need will vary, depending on your situation. In many cases, counselling will be finished somewhere between 4 to 8 sessions. Some will go as long as 12 sessions and some situations will only need one session. A few people will need ongoing counselling for several years.
The process is similar with online counselling, but the format differs somewhat. One session is usually considered to be one chat session of one or two hours in length (cost varies according to the length of sessions), or one email/message board style entry and my reply. I generally provide you with homework exercises to do, which you may find helpful to do, whether or not you return your work to me, but to receive further feedback on the homework would constitute another session. One benefit of online counselling, especially the email style, is that it allows you to process issues on your own time, and come back to the counsellor when you are ready for the next step.
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For those who come to see me, fees are usually negotiated on a sliding scale based on financial ability to pay. You will be asked to state your income within a specific range. Your fees will be based on a set rate for that income range. If there are circumstances that make the set rate a hardship for you, we can discuss this and hopefully come to a satisfactory solution.
There is a flat fee for those coming from out of town for several days of intensive sessions. This fee is based on an hourly rate of $60.00 per hour (Canadian funds). Your accommodation is not included in this fee, and is your own responsibility to arrange.
For online counselling fees, see my Payment page.
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Everything that is discussed in counselling is confidential. This means that information shared in the session is not shared with others outside of the professional relationship. It is important for you to know that I sometimes work with a team, for your benefit as well as my own support and accountability. Therefore, some information from the sessions may be shared in full confidentiality between myself and my supervisor and/or professional peer support group. All issues shared in these situations are completely confidential between the professionals involved, and will not be shared with others, or made public.
The only time when I will not be able to keep confidentiality is when an issue comes up that I am required by law to report. Should such a situation ever arise with you, I will inform you of my requirement to report before doing so. Confidentiality also means that, if I do not know you from another setting, I will not take the initiative in greeting you should we ever meet in public.
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Is your question not answered here? Please contact me.