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Preparing for your Appointment

What should I expect in the first session?


In the first session, you will meet with your counsellor and fill out an intake form and read and sign a consent form. Ask any questions you need to know about the form or your counsellor's credentials. Your counsellor should have a Masters degree and be in good standing with their associations or college. Your counsellor will also want to know at your initial intake, your history, more about your issues that brings you to counselling, and the goals you hope to gain. 


How many sessions will I need?


Most clients have anywhere from 4 to 20 sessions, depending on what concerns are brought in and how long they have been an issue. Some clients prefer a more in-depth exploration of their issues or concerns and want to learn the life lessons that come out of personal growth and spiritual evolution. Other clients gain satisfaction from 4-6 sessions and are wanting skill development as a means of goal attainment.  Many clients return in the future for occasional "booster" sessions or when other concerns arise. Many ask to see their previous counsellor as old or new issues resurface. Many of our clients believe maintenance therapy (once a month) keeps them in a stable wellness phase for optimal living. 


Clients who have EAP/EFAP will have a designated number of sessions paid for by their employer. This will be discussed in your first session. Your counsellor will keep in mind that your short-term goals will have a solution-focused approach. 



How often will I be expected to come in for sessions?


Most clients come in once a week or once every two weeks at the beginning of therapy. Your counsellor and you will review your goals and often that will determine the frequency and length of time. Just know nothing is set in stone, and if there is a change in your future goals or you feel you want to try another therapy just consult with your therapist and they will try and accommodate. Advanced booking if available is highly recommended if your therapist is very busy or you need a certain day or time. 


Do I need a referral?


No, you do not need a referral for counselling. But if you are working with another health care professional (GP,  psychiatrist, physiotherapist, case manager, etc.), we may ask your permission to consult with them to provide you with the best care possible. Our counsellors believe in the effectiveness of continuity of care whereby all professionals are working together for your best benefit and there are no gaps in services. 


What is the cost of counselling?


Fees are set according to guidelines recommended by the  Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, BC College of Social Workers and BC Association of Counselling. Fees can be paid prior to the session via online booking or fees are due at the end of each session and are payable by cheque, cash, or e-transfer. Fees are subject to
no shows unless  advanced notice (48 hours) is provided. We always have a wait list of clients. 


Is counselling covered by my health care plan?


Unfortunately, BC's provincial health care plan (MSP) does not cover the cost of counselling. However, many extended health care plans (e.g., Blue Cross, Sunlife, Great West Life, etc.) will reimburse you for the services provided by a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), or Social Worker (RSW), and Clinical Counsellor (RCC). Island of Hope Counselling does not do direct pay, so you will need to submit your receipt to your extended healthcare plan for reimbursement. Since September 26, 2012 counselling services provided by a Registered Social Worker (RSW) can be claimed as a medical expense when filing your income tax return. In other words, Registered Social Workers are now authorized “medical practitioners” for the purposes of claiming medical expenses. Request whether you want your invoiced emailed or given after each session. 


Is everything I say confidential?


Yes, with a few exceptions, any personal information that you share in a counselling session is kept confidential by your counsellor according to BC's Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA, 2004). Every effort is made to respect client confidentiality, however counsellors are required by law to share your information when/if:

  • It is revealed that a child is or may be at risk of abuse or neglect, or in need of protection
  • If you or another person is at clear risk of imminent harm
  • If disclosure is otherwise required or authorized by law (e.g., legal order, subpoena, warrant)

Island of Hope Counselling Services is a  group practice which means counsellors and the administrator may see your basic information for the purpose of business procedures (eg. filing). We cannot confirm confidentiality will remain intact via online scheduler, email, text or fax, but we will try our very best to be extremely careful and mindful of any and all communication processes. All our professionals sign a contract to adhere to client confidentiality. 

 


How do I make an appointment?


To make a counselling appointment please go to the button on this website to access the online booking system. Simply choose your preferred counsellor and then your preferred date and time. You will then be sent an email to confirm your appointment. Please note that online booking is available for all of our therapists. If you would like to connect with us or want more information prior to booking an appointment, please call or email my administrator assistant Debbie and she will be happy to assist you. 


What if it is an emergency and it is outside of normal business hours?


If it is an after-hours emergency and you require immediate attention please call the Vancouver Island Crisis Line @ 1-888-494-3888. You may also call 911 and/or go to North Island Hospital Comox Valley. We will try our best to return your call as soon as possible, however, we may be in session and will try to call you at our next opportunity.  

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