Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between traditional forms of counselling and psychotherapy?

It is not possible to make a generally accepted distinction between counselling and psychotherapy. There are well-founded traditions which use the term interchangeably and others which distinguish between them. Where there are differences, they relate more to the individual psychotherapist’s or counsellor’s professional training and areas of interest, and/or the setting in which they work, rather than any intrinsic differences between the two activities. For private practices, the terms “counselling” and “psychotherapy” are most often used interchangeably.

Can a distinction be made between coaching and counselling?

Both a coach and a counsellor listen intently, ask clarifying questions, challenge assumptions, engage in goal-setting, while supporting and encourage forward movement. With the guidance of both a coach and a counsellor, a client generally gains insight, overcomes limitations and becomes empowered.

Our counsellors/coaches offer both counselling and coaching in this practice. One of the questions often asked is, “How is counselling different from coaching?” One of the difficulties in answering such a question is that both counsellors/therapists and coaches may share a range of services. A fundamental distinction which could be made between the two is as follows – whereas counselling may, when warranted, include issues of healing and unresolved issues/concerns of the past, coaching begins with the present. With coaching, although the past may be discussed on occasion, the focus is always on movement and taking action, not on insight or understanding.

Is counselling only for troubled people?

There are many reasons why an individual, couple or family might choose to see a counsellor. Throughout our lives, we often face a range of challenges and adversity, circumstances or feelings that cause us much discomfort. We may feel that something is clearly missing in our lives. We may want to be proactive, be preventative and educate ourselves. We may want to explore the means of making healthy life choices, achieving optimal balance, changing our lives and maximizing our potential. Counselling provides support, positive input and the necessary tools for coping with life and achieving success.

Does counselling have any impact on physical health?

A multitude of life events or situations can result in feelings of uneasiness or distress and may often result in discomfort and stress. Acute stress (i.e., short term) can be either motivating (e.g., racing to meet a deadline) or distressing (e.g., an argument with a family member, friend or colleague); the latter may result in short-term forgetfulness and other mild symptoms. Chronic stress, however, may seem never ending and inescapable (e.g., the stress of a bad marriage or of an extremely taxing or unfulfilling job), causing damage to the body, often demonstrated through physical symptoms. Some symptoms may be very mild, such as chronic headaches or susceptibility to colds. With prolonged exposure to chronic stress, however, more serious health problems may develop. These stress-influenced problems may include, but are not exclusive to:

  • suppressed immune system
  • increased anxiety/panic/obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • depression
  • elevated blood pressure
  • heart disease/increased rate of heart attack and stroke
  • sexual dysfunction/decreased libido/increased infertility
  • hyperthyroidism
  • diabetes
  • ulcers/digestive problems
  • tooth and gum disease
  • hair loss/sleep problems (e.g. eczema, acne)
  • obesity

Some literature suggests that there is a direct negative effect between chronic stress and cancer.

Will seeing a counsellor be a scary experience?

The effectiveness of therapy/counselling will largely depend on the relationship between the therapist and the client. A qualified, competent and dedicated therapist will be committed to building a comfortable rapport with their clients. They will be welcoming and non-threatening, understanding and non-judgmental. They will offer a warm and supportive approach to counselling, and will do their best to ensure the relative comfort of their clients.

The collaborative approach between counsellor and client encourages a cooperative exchange in an atmosphere of sharing and honesty, promoting client comfort by removing the element of fear from the counselling experience.

Must I share my earliest childhood memories for counselling to be effective?

Although it is sometimes helpful to revisit childhood experiences in order to gain a better understanding of a presenting problem, it is not a necessary component for progress and success. However, the review and assessment of appropriate client input (e.g., past experiences/thoughts/feelings) is often warranted and helpful.

Does the counsellor direct what course of action I may choose to take?

A counsellor does not personally direct a client to take a particular course of action. The client and the therapist work collaboratively in meeting the client’s goals. Through active listening, a counsellor will begin to understand a client’s perspective, and will then facilitate, thus providing support as the client navigates towards a chosen path.

Does each therapist have one specific method of practice?

Although there is considerable consensus about the purpose of counselling and its core content, there are distinct methods of counselling. Different theoretical emphases are clearly demonstrated through different therapeutic approaches. Our experienced professionals are well-trained in a range of counselling methods and use an integrative approach to counselling. Their expertise in many modalities allows them to tailor therapeutic techniques to suit each individual’s, couple’s or family’s needs.

Our therapeutic approaches include:

  • psychodynamic
  • holistic
  • client-centered / humanistic
  • solution-oriented
  • narrative
  • experiential and emotion-focused
  • cognitive behavioural
  • behavioural
  • family systems

Can anyone refer to him or herself as a counsellor or therapist?

Although the terms “counsellor” and “therapist” are sometimes referenced loosely, it is advisable to seek out counselling from a qualified masters or doctorate level professional. This would require, at a minimum, a post-graduate education, including degrees such as Master of Social Work (M.S.W) and Master of Education (M.Ed.). A committed professional will maintain an ongoing involvement in professional development, continuing to stay abreast of updated research/information relevant to the field.

A qualified counsellor/therapist should be a member of the regulatory body or bodies that govern their professional regulatory associations.

Is counselling affordable?

Many extended health-care and private insurance plans generously cover the costs of counselling and therapy. In other circumstances, there is a standard fee for service. Inquiries regarding insurance coverage and/or fee structure are welcomed by our counsellors and will be addressed discreetly on a personal basis.

*It should be noted that for your convenience, and where required, we offer the opportunity to arrange the appointment at an agreed upon location with flexible hours of operation.

Is your profession regulated?

Yes, our professions of Counselling and Career Coaching are fully registered with a College / professional body.

• Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA)
• Career Coaching International (CCI)
• Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW)