Do I need a referral from a doctor for therapy?
No. You can refer yourself by simply calling. While some clients are directly referred (i.e. through their doctor, community agency) a referral is not required. When I receive a referral from a source that is not the direct client, I would contact the client to assess their interest and motivation for service. Children and adolescents are most often referred by their parents/guardians and I require that people in the family system are aware of and partake in the therapeutic process as required based on the child/adolescent’s specific needs.
What can I expect when meeting with my therapist for the initial appointment?
During the initial session(s), I gather information from the client and or their family pertaining to the presenting concern (e.g. what brings you to counselling, how long have you been dealing with the issue, what contributes to the problem, etc.) and work towards developing a trusting relationship. Subsequent sessions focus on helping the client gain a better understanding of their emotional and behavioural patterns, developing problem-solving strategies, and work towards shifting the person in order to meet their goals.
Do parents need to consent for children's counselling?
Both parents/legal guardians are required to consent to counselling services unless sole custody has been awarded. I request that the parent requesting the services and attending with the child inform the other parent and provide my details.
That being said, children 12 years and older are often able to make informed decisions about their health and consent to counselling without parent involvement.
Are your services confidential?
Prior to starting counselling services I review confidentiality with my clients.
The law protects the relationship between a client and a therapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission.
Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately
If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim
If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety
Minors (under 18 y/o) must be accompanied to their first appointment by a parent in order to provide informed consent for services and to discuss the limitations of confidentiality for the minor, unless they are a mature minor
If my files are subpoenaed by the court of law, I am legally obliged to surrender them
Subject to complaint, the BCCSW may obtain relevant personal information, including records and clinical notes contained in my records as part of the complaints process.
I have an obligation to provide contact information to appropriate health authorities for contact tracing when required by law(eg. COVID19). Please note, I will only provide as much information as is necessary for tracing purposes, as outlined in section 77.6(1)-(7) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Do you provide services for people involved in legal proceedings?
My involvement in your treatment will be strictly limited to the provision of counselling. Thus, I am ethically unable to participate in dual roles, such as acting on your behalf in legal proceedings, including to testify in court, whether in person or by affidavit. Please let me know if you require such services and I can make a referral to an additional and/or appropriate professional to meet your needs.
If you are involved in any legal proceedings, you agree that neither you, nor the lawyer, nor anyone else acting on your behalf, will call on me to testify in court or at any other proceeding, nor request disclosure of your counselling records, nor refer in any court filing to anything I have said or done.
Such agreement may not prevent a judge from requiring my testimony, even though I will work to prevent such an event, including reviewing with you the potential risks in doing so. If I am required, I will provide information as needed and only when appropriate release forms are signed or the court order is provided. As your therapist, I am ethically bound not to give my opinion or recommendations about any legal proceeding decisions. If I am required to appear as a witness, the party responsible for my participation will reimburse my fees that will be set in accordance with the nature of the service involved.