Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between seeing a Registered Clinical Counsellor and another helping provider?
In BC, the term, "counsellor," is not regulated. That means anyone with any level of education or experience can call themself a counsellor. However, there are ways to ensure you see a professional who is highly trained, has been supervised in their practice, and has an overseeing body; choosing a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) is one way to ensure you get competent, appropriate, and ethic counselling. RCCs are part of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). To register as a clinical counsellor with BCACC, a practitioner must have completed a Master's degree with an accredited university program including specific courses and supervised real-life practice. This means that RCCs must have significant training and practice in providing ethical and evidence-based counselling/ therapy/ mental health treatment to be registered. It also means that if you are concerned about the treatment you receive, there is a body you can report to. Additionally, many extended benefits plans cover some or all of the cost of seeing an RCC (call your plan provider to check your coverage).
RCCs are similar to professionals registered with the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association as Canadian Certified Counsellors and Registered Clinical Social Workers with the BC College of Social Workers. In BC, psychologists are another kind of helping professional who are registered. Psychologists are qualified to do full assessments as well as generally have a Doctorate degree. RCCs, RCSWs, CCCs, and R. Psychologists all have a form of regulation, standards of practice, codes of ethics, and so forth. This is very different from practitioners who call themselves counsellors with minimal qualifications or who may use interventions which have no evidence to validate the treatment approach and/or can be practicing in a harmful manner.
How many sessions will I need?
Most research shows that between 8 and 16 weekly sessions are where the most therapeutic gain is seen for most mental health concerns and that there can be ongoing benefit beyond that, especially in terms of maintaining changes and having continual support. However, there is no exact number; everyone's situation, presenting concerns, and ability to implement what they learn in therapy is different. We work with our clients to provide the maximum benefits through our interventions and recommendations, and we tailor our approach as much as possible to each client's own needs, budget, and abilities. We spend a lot of time in the first session trying to understand in great detail what is happening for you so that we can give you our best estimate; please keep in mind it is just an estimate and that as your situation changes, the number of sessions recommended may change too. In sum, we're here for you for as many sessions as you need or as feel beneficial to you, whether that's days, weeks, months, or even years (and maybe with some breaks between).
How much does counselling cost? Is there a sliding scale or discount option?
Sessions start at $150 +GST (individual) for a 60 minute time slot; about 45-50 minutes is spent with the clinician and the last 10-15 minutes are used by the therapist for administrative work related to your visit, such as note-taking, researching, and perhaps sending you resources, for example. See our Fees & Insurance page for more information on how you may be able to be reimbursed for some or all of your sessions.
What is the difference between counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, etc.?
These terms all tend to mean the same thing (a psychological intervention process), but are used slightly differently by some people, and protected/ regulated differently in different parts of the country and the world. We use the terms interchangeably, ourselves.
Can my counsellor assess or diagnose a mental health/ DSM-5 condition?
Although assessments are not technically outside of the scope of counsellors in a legal sense, most counsellors agree that diagnosis is best left to psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors who are well trained in clinical assessment. If you think you may have a diagnosable mental health condition and think an assessment would be valuable to you (for example for medication or accommodation purposes), a good first step is to talk to your doctor.