Frequently Asked Questions

People who have never used counselling or therapy services before often have questions about the services offered. I have tried to answer some of the most common questions below. If you have questions that are not addressed here, please contact me and I will make every effort to respond in a timely manner.

Table of Contents

  1. What is counselling?
  2. What can counselling do for me?
  3. How would I know if I could benefit from counselling?
  4. Is everything discussed with a Counsellor confidential?
  5. How many sessions are needed?
  6. How can I make counselling work for me?
  7. How does internet / telephone counselling work?
  8. What should I know about my counsellor?
  9. How can counselling help me?
  10. What does successful counselling feel like?
  11. Can young people contact a Counsellor?
  12. What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a counsellor, a psychologist, and a social worker?
  13. What is a Registered Clinical Counsellor?
  14. What can I expect from a counsellor?

1. What is counselling?

Counselling is a skilled process which enables clients to explore problematic areas, difficulties and concerns. Counsellors are trained to work in a variety of ways so that the necessary skills are applied exactly where they are needed. Some clients find that they have no presenting or significant problem, but that they just want to feel "listened to" and understood, having the space to share or work through their thoughts and feelings. Counselling gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings about what is troubling you with a qualified professional. You will gain a clearer understanding of what is happening to you, and will be assisted in identifying the choices available to you. You will learn skills that will help you to take responsibility for your own life, choices and decisions. This will lead to a happier and more confident lifestyle. Counselling essentially aims to help clients to work towards more satisfying and resourceful lives, by taking control of their own lives and decisions. The client chooses what they want to work on, and is empowered to make their own decisions and choices. An honest, trusting and supportive relationship between counsellor and client is essential for the counselling process, but the client is in control of what he/she reveals to the counsellor. Counselling is a non-judgmental environment, where clients are respected for who they are, whatever their ethnicity, beliefs, lifestyle, or sexual orientation.

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2. What can counselling do for me?

Generally, the goal of counselling or relationship counselling is to help people find solutions to problems, gain insights and understanding of themselves and others, develop options, explore values, express feelings, change behaviour, make choices, change relationships, or to become more fully alive.

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3. How would I know if I could benefit from counselling?

If you are experiencing or feeling ongoing anger, depression, co-dependency, alcohol and/or drug dependency, shame, denial, anxiety, or other emotions or feelings that are causing you physical or emotional discomfort, you may benefit from talking with a Counsellor.

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4. Is everything discussed with a Counsellor confidential?

It is essential that our clients know that what they talk about with there therapists will remain confidential. There are however some limits to confidentiality. There are three exceptions: 1) A Counsellor is required by law to report child abuse, 2) Our records can be subpoenaed by the Court or we may be called to testify, and 3) If your life or somebody else's life is in danger we must take actions to keep you, or them, safe. As well, we may encourage you to allow us to confer with other professionals involved in your care in order to develop the best treatment plan for you. However, you make the decision about whether this can happen or not. Aside from these exceptions, issues discussed in counselling sessions remain confidential.

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5. How many sessions are needed?

As stated by several famous psychotherapists, no one knows the client better than the client themselves! Counselling is very much centered upon the client, who decides for themselves when they are ready to stop the counselling process. It depends a lot on the client's goals and the level of functioning that they desire to reach. The doors at CoreQuest are always open, and clients can choose to take a break, seek counselling elsewhere, or return to counselling at any time. It really is your choice - you will know when you are ready to go it alone!

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6. How can I make counselling work for me?

Clients can help themselves by being committed to the counselling process - it often requires much effort and determination to work efficiently. Clients who know what they want to achieve from counselling are half-way there to solving the problem. However, counselling can assist clients to determine their goals if the client is unsure of which way to turn. Although clients can choose what they reveal in counselling, it is important that what they do disclose is as honest and accurate as possible, in order for the counsellor to gain a clear insight and understanding of the client.

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7. How does internet / telephone counselling work?

Online counselling is offered by myself and is ideal for clients who may live outside of Vancouver, have mobiliity issues, or just prefer the convenience of doing therapy from the convenience and comfort of their own home or office.  Options for this type of counselling include Skype video sessions, email, instant chat or telephone. You choose the means with which you are most comfortable. You may, for example, wish to start off with telephone counselling, then continue sessions via email/instant chat, or vice-versa. It is your decision entirely!

Although counselling is traditionally a face-to-face process, things are changing as we have entered the 21st century ; we often have pressures or restrictions of time, finances, identity, location, disability etc. This type of counselling still offers a "safe" environment. You still have control over the counselling process, you can choose what you want to say and how you say it, whilst maintaining your own comfortable level of individual space, and a certain degree of anonymity if you so wish. Also, if you choose to receive counselling by email or instant chat, you can keep a printed record of the sessions, which will enable you to review your personal growth and progress. If you have any questions about internet/telephone counselling do not hesitate to ask.

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8. What should I know about my therapist?

It is important to gain as much information about your counsellor as possible. Clients should be satisfied that their counsellor is qualified, experienced, and that they adhere to a code of ethics.

Questions you may want to ask a potential counsellor.

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9. How can counselling help me?

Counselling and/or therapy can help alleviate emotional pain and suffering. It can help you develop new skills to deal with the problems at hand. It can help increase your self-esteem. It can give you hope that there is a better way, or a way out. The only thing that it can't do is change you. You have to do that by yourself. You have to take the skills or new ideas and put them into practice in your life. Counselling will not help you unless you take what you have learned and put it into practice in the world.

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10. What does successful counselling feel like?

Successful counselling feels like something has changed - something is different. You feel more hope and self-confidence. You are trying out new behaviours and they are working. People may react differently to you, and they may comment that something about you has changed. You will also likely notice that you are having different results in your interactions with people around you. In the end, you are the one who makes the decision about whether therapy has been successful.

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11. Can young people contact a Counsellor?

In the province of British Columbia children and youth have the right to consent to their own counselling.

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12. What is the difference between a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist, a Counsellor, and a Social Worker?

Psychiatrists
Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors that receive an additional 6 month training in the field of psychiatry. Although some psychiatrists will specialize in 'biological' psychiatry and others will specialize as psychotherapists, most psychiatrists employ a number of different types of treatment, tailoring each combination to the needs of the individual patient. However, all psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication if they feel it is called for. They tend to be called upon to treat the more serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and manic depression.

Psychologists
In the province of British Columbia Psychologists have attained at least a doctorate degree in psychology.They typically carry out much of the research in the field of psychology.Unlike psychiatry, psychology is a non-medical discipline that has been firstly concerned with the normal functioning of the mind and has explored areas such as learning, remembering and the normal psychological development of children. Psychologists are not able to prescribe medication and so concentrate exclusively on psychological or 'talking treatments'. They treat a wide range of conditions, including phobias, depression, other individual emotional problems and family problems. 

Counsellors
There are currently no regulations governing those working in the field of counselling in B.C. although this situation is under review by the Health Professions Council. At the moment, educational qualifications vary greatly for people practicing as counsellors. However, Registered Clinical Counsellors have a minimum of a Master's degree and must meet certain standards. See What is a Registered Clinical Counsellor? for more details. They counsel clients, provide therapy, evaluate the effectiveness of counselling programs and evaluate clients' progress in resolving identified problems and movement towards defined objectives, and they follow up results of counselling programs and clients' adjustments.

Social Workers
Social work positions generally have at least a B.A. university social work degree. It is mandatory to be registered with the Board of Registration for social workers to use the title of "Registered Social Worker" or to represent oneself as a social worker in the province of British Columbia. However, registration is not mandatory in order to be employed in the field of social work in B.C. Social workers treat social functioning difficulties, provide counselling, therapy and referral to other supportive social services, and evaluate child development and the adequacy of child care.

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13. What is a Registered Clinical Counsellor?

A Registered Clinical Counsellor or an R.C.C. is a fully qualified mental health profession with a minimum of a Master's degree in counselling psychology or related studies and is a registered member with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors. This association maintains high standards that ensure safety and well being of clients among counsellors. They offer much of the same psychological and counselling services that psychologists and other counsellors do. That is they counsel clients, provide therapy, evaluate the effectiveness of counselling programs and evaluate clients' progress in resolving identified problems and movement towards defined objectives, and they follow up results of counselling programs and clients' adjustments. RCC fees typically start at $100/hour.

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14. What can I expect from a counsellor?

Your counsellor ought to:

  1. treat you with integrity.
  2. be honest and forthright with you.
  3. have taken their own personal healing work seriously and have addressed it in some in meaningful and significant way.
  4. respect your opinions and beliefs even if they differ from their own.
  5. be non-judgemental in every aspect.
  6. act ethically and morally.
  7. make you aware of your rights and responsibilities at the beginning of therapy.

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More questions?

Phone or Email us with your specific questions at trevor@corequest.ca and we'll get back to you in a timely manner.