The first session is a bit different than subsequent sessions - we'll spend some time discussing consent and confidentiality as well as the counselling process itself. I will likely ask you more questions than I would in later sessions to get to a sense of what your challenges are, your background, and what your goals are for counselling. First sessions are about getting to know each other and to formulate over-arching goals for our work together.
Since counselling is still an unregulated profession in BC, legally anyone can claim to be a counsellor and face no repercussions for doing so. However, there is a professional organization called the BCACC that helps ensure quality and ethical care is maintained within the field of counselling. Counsellors who register with the BCACC are called Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCCs).
Clinical counsellors help individuals with a wide range of concerns related to mental health.
To become a registered clinical counsellor requires a master's degree in counselling (or a related field) from an accredited post-secondary institution, required counselling coursework, and at least 100 hours of clinical supervision (typically accomplished through a clinical practicum).
In BC psychologists require a doctorate degree such as a PhD or PsyD. In addition to providing therapy, they can also provide assessments to diagnose individuals with mental health disorders (per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders). Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health; they can provide therapy, diagnose, and write prescriptions.
Health insurance or extended benefits through work or post-secondary will often cover clinical counselling. The dollar amount or number of sessions differs depending on what type of insurance or benefits you have, so it's good to check to clarify what is covered for you.
At this time I don't do direct billing, but you will be issued an invoice that can be submitted to be claimed through your insurance.
I am also a registered provider with First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).
Part of what makes counselling work is that it is confidential, so everything we discuss will be kept between us. However, there are a few exceptions in which confidentiality may need to be broken:
1) If there is imminent risk of self-harm, or risk of harm to someone else.
2) If there is suspicion or known harm to child or vulnerable adult.
3) If there is information requested by court subpoena (or in some cases, a third party insurance company such as ICBC).
Otherwise, you can request to have your information shared to a third party with written consent.
I require 48 hours notice to cancel sessions (unless there's an extenuating event such as illness). This allows for a greater probability for me to fill the space in my schedule that was reserved for the session.
At this time I do not, as my current liability insurance only applies to work with residents of BC.
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