• How do I know if I need counselling or if I am ready?

There will be a different answer to this question for every one who asks it. Most people seek counselling if they are struggling with personal, social, or psychological issues, or are just "not feeling right" and are not sure why. Counselling is meant to provide you with needed support while you clarify issues, explore options, develop strategies and coping skills, and increase self-awareness. It is a unique experience that one does not encounter in any other relationship. The focus is 100% on you and your needs.

You'll know you are ready to come to counselling when you are tired of feeling the way you do, you are frustrated because what you have tried is not working, you feel stuck, or you are simply curious about what it has to offer. 

  • What can I expect from therapy?

This often depends on what you hope to have happen by coming to therapy since the therapy process will be tailored to reflect this. A common, and general goal, of counselling is often to collaboratively enhance your wellbeing and daily functioning.  Counselling provides opportunities to explore and process struggles related to thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and relationships in your life.  There are several benefits to counselling including increasing self-awareness and insight as well as discovering helpful coping strategies ultimately contributing to personal growth and healing. There are also some risks involved in participating in counselling including experiencing strong emotions and feelings of discomfort as we address difficult topics and you try different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. In counselling, we try to minimize and effectively manage discomfort. In order to reduce unexpected problems, it is important that you talk to your counsellor about any concerns or questions that you have regarding the counselling process.

  • What can I expect during the first session?

Upon arrival, your counsellor will bring you into a private office where you will have the opportunity to share what it is you are hoping to have happen by coming to counselling. Every person has a unique story and it is our job to ask the questions to help decipher what it is you are looking for. Sometimes, an individual may not know what it is they are seeking and that's okay too. We start where you are.

We will explain confidentiality and informed consent and answer any questions you may have. We will ask some standard intake questions that we ask everyone to gain insight in your background knowing that it is always up to you what you feel comfortable sharing. We will go through the intake form that you either filled out upon arrival or brought with you (you can download a copy under the "Book" tab on the menu bar). Finally, together, we will start to develop a treatment plan that feels right for you.


Know it is normal to feel anxious about coming to therapy. This feeling tends to subside after the first few sessions.

  • What if the therapist and I are not a good fit?

The therapeutic relationship you have with your counsellor is very important. Not every relationship works. If, for any reason, you do not feel as though you and your counsellor are a good match, we would be more than happy to explore other options with you. We want what feels right for you and wish to support that in every way possible.

  • How often will I come to therapy?

Frequency of therapy session varies from person to person depending on needs. Most often, therapy sessions happen weekly, however this can change over the course of treatment. As therapy draws to an end, it is normal to schedule more time between sessions.

  • How many sessions will I need?

This will vary from person to person. Some people find what they are looking for in as little as two to three sessions while others need more time. Some people come to therapy for a period of time, take a break, then resume at a later date. Current research is not definitive in answering the question "how long does effective therapy really take?".  Some studies show that duration of therapy has little to do with therapeutic outcome (King, 2018) while others indicate the longer the duration of therapy, the more meaningful, and lasting, the change is (Shelder & Gnaulati, 2020). Every situation is unique and there is no definitive answer to this question.

King, M. (2018). Duration of psychotherapy has little association with outcome. British Journal of Psychiatry, 207(2), 93-94.

Shelder, J., & Gnaulati, E. (2020). The tyranny of time: How long does effective therapy really take?. Psychotherapy Networker, 44, 26-31.

  • What is a Registered Clinical Counsellor?

Counselling is not a regulated profession in BC, Canada, meaning anyone, regardless of their credentials, can call themselves a "counsellor" or "therapist". While BC is looking to regulate the profession through the development of a regulatory body to ensure public safety, the program is not yet in place. It therefore becomes a 'buyer beware' situation. Many counsellors take it upon themselves to self-regulate by applying to associations that do have specific requirements in place to ensure public safety. The BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) is one such association. Emily, Angela, and Laura are all registered members of the BCACC meaning they meet specific educational and training criteria that provide assurance, experience, qualifications, and stringent professional and ethical standards.

  • What is informed consent?

Informed consent is the process of getting permission from you to participate in the therapy process before you begin therapy. It is about you having enough information about what to expect when participating in counselling therapy to make the decision of whether or not you want to proceed with it. Your participation in the counselling process is completely voluntary, and you have the ongoing right to refuse or rescind your consent at any time without explanation or question.

There are special considerations with consent to health care as it pertains to children. In BC, anyone under the age of 19 is considered a child (or minor). Following the regulations of BC's Infant Act, any minor deemed mentally capable of providing informed consent may do so, even if that consent over-rides the consent (or refusal) of that child’s parents or guardians. Typically, parents provide consent if the minor is under the age of 12, but usually around the age of 12 the child's desires are factored into the consent process. Please refer to the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors for more information on this matter. In keeping with the law, an adult guardian figure would always be made aware of safety concerns that arise during the counselling process with a minor even if the minor does not wish for such disclosure.

  • We live in a small town, how do I know my information is kept confidential?

Trust, security, and safety are paramount to any successful relationship and this includes the therapeutic relationship. You own your information and it is not ours to give away. Your information will not be shared with anyone. If you happen to bump into your counselling in public, she will not acknowledge or greet you unless you acknowledge or greet her. This is to protect/respect your privacy. There are strict confidentiality guidelines that as Registered Clinical Counsellors we must adhere to and take very seriously.

There are times when a therapist must legally report information that is shared with them in order to keep people safe or because they have been subpoenaed by law. These situations will be covered carefully with you during your first session.

  • I am involved in a custody situation. Will you go to court for me?

Kootenay Clinical Counsellors do not offer services, documents, or reports for those seeking consult for the purpose of custody evaluations.

  • Social Media Policy

The client-clinician relationship requires the maintenance of specific boundaries in order to protect the therapeutic benefits of such relationship and to maintain the safety and well being of the client. It is not responsible or ethical to take the therapeutic relationship outside of therapy, therefore, social media relationships are avoided.

  • Do I need a referral from my family doctor to book an appointment?

No. Counselling is a self-referral process meaning you do not need a referral from your family doctor. Some insurance agencies require a doctor's referral in order to obtain financial coverage so it may be helpful to check in with your insurance agency to see if this applies to you.

  • Can I book an appointment for a family friend, partner, or family member?

We generally recommend that the individual seeking support contact the clinician to book their appointment (this does not apply to appointments for children). However, we understand there are situations when it can be helpful to have an individual book the appointment on behalf of someone else and so we do accept this form of booking.

  • Do you provide Life Coaching or Art Therapy?

Kootenay Clinical Counsellors do not offer life coaching or art therapy services at this time.