Low-cost counselling now available in Valley

Through The Learning Program, master’s level counselling students, doing their practicum, will be looking for clients.

Through The Learning Program, master’s level counselling students, doing their practicum, will be looking for clients.

“It’s a win-win situation,” states Leslie Wells of Pacific Therapy and Consulting. “Many people feel that they would benefit from counselling. Often they don’t have funding for counselling from their work and/or don’t qualify for free government services. They simply can’t afford the cost of private therapy.

“We developed this program, with lower counselling fees, to benefit people in our community needing counselling, and master’s degree students in need of supervised practice.”

The Learning Program began in January and will continue as long as there are both people in the community in need of lower-cost counselling and students needing supervised practice.

Wells noted that people have many different reasons for wanting counselling — anxiety, depression, a need for more skills in communication, difficulty with parenting, trouble setting boundaries in relationships, to name just a few.

“Just as people have different counselling needs, students will have different needs in their learning. It’s a goal of the program to closely match clients’ needs with a student who has an appropriate level of skill and learning need, with a qualified supervisor.”

Given that the program has to suit the learning needs of the student, there is a possibility that some issues may be more complex than the student is ready for. Pacific Therapy and Consulting supervisors will be able to let potential clients know if an appropriate match is not possible at a particular time.

The Learning Program has operated in the past from time to time when one of the registered clinical counsellors at Pacific Therapy and Consulting was approached by master’s level students and agreed to supervise their practicum. The program ended when the student completed their practicum.

Now, a commitment has been made to more consistently keep the program operating.

To that end, Wells and Andrew Lochhead, both experienced and registered clinical counsellors, will dedicate some of their time towards the development and sustainability of this program.

“This is really exciting for us,” says Wells. “At Pacific Therapy and Consulting, we really appreciate being able to support students in their learning, as we have a wealth of knowledge and experience here. To be able to do this in a more systematic and sustained way, offering lower fee, and at times service without fees, just feels right.”

For more information, call Pacific Therapy and Consulting at 250-338-2700.

— Pacific Therapy and Consulting

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