People seek counselling for different reasons and at different times in life. Sometimes individuals seek counselling when they are experiencing a crisis. Others seek counselling to move past ongoing issues that are holding them back in their life. Yet, regardless of where you are, counselling can offer possibilities for new ways of being and living, that closer resembles the real you.
What To Expect
When you come for therapy, you will enter into a professional helping relationship with a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), or Registered Social Worker (RSW). These are dedicated professionals who have met rigorous, academic masters-level training, have clinical experience and supervision requirements that are part of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) membership criteria, or the British Columbia College of Social Workers (BCCSW).
All RCCs and RSWs must pass a Police Record Check and carry professional liability insurance. RCCs and RSWs are held accountable to their clients through their colleges code of ethical conduct, standards of clinical practice and its complaints and investigation and disciplinary procedures.
Rights and Responsibilities
Clients have the right to participate in the ongoing counselling plans, to refuse recommended services and to be advised of any of the consequences of the refusal. Clients have a right to access their counselling records. These rights extend to minor clients as well. Kindred Counselling has specific policies around accessing minor records when parents/guardians are going through a divorce and may be wanting to subpoena these records (This is outlined in the Informed Consent Form). Disclosure to third parties about minor client information only occurs with the written consent of the minor client, or when required by law.
Clients are responsible for coming to their scheduled session on time as we cannot extend the appointment due to tardiness. Clients must inform themselves of Kindred Counselling policies outlined on the website. Clients are responsible to read and understand all forms related to their counselling before signing them.
The Risks of Counselling
It is important to know that there are risks to engaging in counselling as it can elicit strong emotions which may temporarily upset you or disrupt your regular daily routine. This happens as you address and process thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to the issues that bring you into counselling, or newly discovered insights during the process. It is very important to keep this in mind and allow time to adjust or accommodate these changes.
Extra self-care at this time is important. You may also notice some people in your life may not react the way you expected them to regarding you making positive changes, it will be important to surround yourself with a genuine support system.
The Benefits of Counselling
Counselling offers many benefits and can help you restore or grow the relationship with yourself and other important people in your life. You can learn to overcome debilitating moods, behaviours or thoughts that seem out of control, or confusing, and help you learn new coping skills.
Counselling can help you turn life transitions into new opportunities for growth and help you find meaning, balance, wellbeing and purpose in life. The client-counsellor relationship can provide that safe place to share stories of pain, or discouragement and where those stories can transform into narratives of healing, joy, success, hope and encouragement.
Confidentiality is very important for the integrity of the counselling relationship. Counselling for children, youth, adults and families are confidential with a few legal limitations.
The law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and counsellor. Information about counselling sessions (Verbal, written) will not be released to anyone without you, your child/youth’s informed, voluntary, and written consent according to PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) guidelines . For more information, click here.
Exceptions to Confidentiality for Adults
Counsellors and social workers are required by law to report to local authorities, or to the person in imminent danger, when we become aware of, or suspect the following:
Client is serious about harming another person including homicide
Client is in imminent danger to themselves, or others (suicidal, homicidal). If clients are assessed as “low risk to suicide” a safety plan will be made and authorities do not need to be alerted
There is suspicion of, or disclosure of, abuse (sexual, sexual exploitation, physical, neglect, spiritual, emotional) of vulnerable persons, such as a child (under 18), elderly person, or person with a disability.
When records are subpoenaed by court order, we must comply
Clients’ insurance company and or other third-party payers involved in your care may request information regarding services to clients. Information that may be requested includes, but is not limited to: types of service, dates/times of service, treatment plan, description of impairment, progress of therapy, case notes, and summaries. We must comply with these requests.
Confidentiality + Minors
Typically, parents/guardians will sign consent for their child who is coming for counselling. However, in special circumstances it is with-in the law for RCC’s and RSW’s to use their discretion for children aged 12 years and older (Infant Act) to determine whether the child can provide consent for their own therapeutic services. This means their privacy is protected in the same way an adult client would be and all information during the counselling sessions will remain confidential, besides the exceptions to confidentiality as described below. The child would also have the right to not give consent for parents/guardians to access their files. This is typically recommended in adversarial situations with strained child-parent relationships. Just because parents pay for counselling does not mean they have the right to access their child’s records, or push their child or the counsellor to disclose information the child has disclosed in therapy. This issue is discussed in more detail in the Minor Informed Consent Form.
Although you may be eager to know about your child’s progress it is counter-productive for counsellors to disclose information to parents about their minor clients unless given assent (permission) by the child. At times the therapist will use their clinical judgement to encourage your child to disclose certain things to you if they think it will help with their progress, or your parent-child relationship. The therapist will attempt to form an agreement with your child that some general information will be shared with you in the mid-way therapy reports and shorter progress reports as therapy progresses.
The relationship between your child and therapist is based on trust, if they perceive that their therapist is relaying information to you this will likely cause irreparable damage. Respecting their privacy promotes positive therapeutic outcomes. Your child will respect your decision to protect their privacy and, in my experience, may actually disclose information to you because you respected their boundaries.
Exceptions to Confidentiality for Minors
As counsellors and social workers, we are obligated by law to report to parents/guardian and local authorities (Police, MCFD), or to the person in imminent danger, when we become aware or suspect the following:
Our minor client is in imminent danger to themselves or others (E.g.: Suicidal, homicidal)
There is suspicion of, or disclosure of abuse (E.g.: sexual, sexual exploitation, physical, neglect, emotional) of vulnerable persons, such as a child (under 18), elderly person, and person with a disability.
Insurance company and or other third-party payers may request information regarding services to clients. Information that may be requested includes, but is not limited to: types of service, dates/times of service, treatment plan, description of impairment, progress of therapy, case notes, and summaries. Counsellors and social workers must comply with such requests.
When records are subpoenaed by court order, we must give them what they require
Minor’s parents or legal guardians of non-emancipated minor clients have the right to access the clients’ records except in the case of mature minors who have signed their own informed consent form. This is strongly discouraged by therapists at Kindred Counselling and our policy is that parents/guardians must agree to not do this before entering their child into a counselling relationship
Storage of Information
All client information is stored either in a locked filing cabinet, or in a secured PIPEDA approved computer storage. This includes all forms, assessments, information requested from other health agencies (with permission) and session notes. Also, any art that was created during sessions are considered confidential information and will also be stored in a safe location and unless the child takes it home. However, at times children like to display their art and with permission we will allow some art to be displayed in a designated area in the office.
Social Media Policy
It is no secret that in our day and age social media and electronic communication has become commonplace. It is a more convenient and often preferred way of communicating. However, in counselling situations it is important to keep your information private and confidential which is not guaranteed in these forms of communication. For this and other reasons, we do not engage in social media with our clients.
Assessments are an important part of getting to know our client's treatment needs. Assessments provide baseline information so progress can be tracked.
It is important to know that RCC’s and RSW's do not provide extensive formalized assessments that lead to a "diagnosis" from the DSM. That classification of assessments is designated for Psychologists or Psychiatrists. However, RCC's and RSW's understand the symptoms related to mental health diagnoses and work with our clients to develop a customized treatment plan..
Having said this, there are many non-formal and formal assessment that RCC's and RSW's are qualified to administer. Some include screening tools (Eg: depression/anxiety, ACES), measuring the quality of relationships or personal functioning, impacts of trauma, tracking clinical themes and many more. We will discuss what assessments will be important in your particular case the intake session.