Counselling During COVID-19:

Update And Policies

In consideration of the announcements by the provincial government and recommendations by Work Safe BC, we have developed safety precautions and procedures that will allow us to offer in person counselling. 


We will continue to review our plans in the weeks and months to come and hope that this process will result in keeping everyone as supported, safe and healthy as possible.

We ask only clients who consider themselves low-risk to consider in-person sessions as an option.


Understanding the Risk of In-Person Counselling During the Pandemic


“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways, including through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and from touching a contaminated surface before touching the face… The risk of person-to-person transmission is increased the closer you come to other people, the amount of time you spend near them, and the number of people you come near. Physical distancing measures help mitigate this risk. The risk of surface transmission is increased when many people contact same surface, and when those contacts happen in short intervals of time. Effective cleaning and hygiene practices help mitigate this risk.”  

WorkSafe BC In-Person Counselling: Protocols for returning to operation, May 22, 2020


Mask Policy (updated September 3, 2021): 


Please wear a mask until seated in your counsellor’s office. At the beginning of each session, your counsellor will ask whether you prefer to conduct your session with a mask, or without a mask. If you prefer to wear a mask for your session, your counsellor will wear a mask as well. If you are not able to wear a mask for any reason, please let your counsellor know

If you must sneeze or cough, please do so into your elbow, or into a disposable tissue. Avoid touching your face especially with unwashed hands.


Screening Policy (updated September 3, 2021): 


Clients must confirm the evening before our session that they have no symptoms of COVID-19 (which may include a cough and fever, difficulty breathing, etc.), do not feel unwell, do not have allergies causing them to sneeze, and have not been in close contact with someone who is ill with COVID-19.

If you have any COVID symptoms or have potentially been exposed to COVID, you will be asked to reschedule or switch to an online format. If this is the case, please let us know as early as possible. If you show up to your appointment with symptoms/exposure to COVID-19, you will unfortunately be asked to return home and reschedule. We will be flexible with our cancellation policy if you come down with cold and flu-like symptoms if you cancel prior to the session. However, if you arrive in office without cancelling and you are showing symptoms, you will be charged for the session.

Similarly, if the counsellor has been exposed to COVID or is experiencing COVID-related symptoms, we will let you know as soon as possible and reschedule or change any upcoming appointments to video until symptoms have cleared and/or we have been tested negative.


Gillian Hestad Counselling and Consultation cannot guarantee that you will not get COVID-19, but will do everything reasonable to keep all clients safe, whether in person or virtually. Be aware that if clients attend counselling in-person, and you or another client or your therapist were to get sick, the Public Health Officer would undertake contact tracing and Gillian Hestad Counselling and Consultation would be obliged to provide your contact information. 


Occupancy Limit of Gillian Hestad Counselling and Consultation office:


Therapist + 3 people from the same home. Washroom occupancy limit: 1.


1.     There is a hand sanitizing station in the office. We ask clients to use this promptly upon entering the office or to use the bathroom sink to wash your hands.

2.     In order to allow more space and physical distancing, please do not arrive for your session more than 5 minutes prior to your session time; if you arrive earlier than this, if weather is permitting please wait outside or in your car until this time.

3.     We have temporarily removed all reusable mugs, but will provide disposable cups for water or tea.

4.    Surfaces touched by clients will be disinfected between sessions.

5.    Cleaning procedures: we will be sanitizing all door knobs, handles, and commonly touched surfaces throughout the day, as well as at the start and end of each day and after each client leaves. 

6.    Clients and staff will keep a distance of 6 feet whenever possible and there will be no physical contact (e.g. no shaking hands) with your counsellor or staff

Please note that these policies have been set in place in consideration of the recommendations set by Work Safe BC and the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors, and may change with little or no notice. If you have questions, please contact your counsellor directly or for general inquiries, connect with us below.