Counselling is expensive, but there are many options available

The questions about how to engage in therapy when money is in short supply are likely questions fielded by all counsellors and all counselling offices. There are a number of answers to this question and I will briefly outline the standard options for this community and more fully explain a recently available option.

At Pacific Therapy & Consulting Inc, some of the most frequent questions we are asked are, “Do you have a sliding scale for fees?” and “What can I do if I don’t have enough money for counselling?”

Although this question didn’t come to us via, I think it is as important as it is frequent, and will address it here.

Counselling is expensive. The BC Association for Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), the registering body for Registered Clinical Counsellors, recommends rates of $110 to $150 plus HST per 50-minute session. Currently, fees for counselling services in the Comox Valley run between $80 and $150 plus HST per session.

The questions about how to engage in therapy when money is in short supply are likely questions fielded by all counsellors and all counselling offices.

There are a number of answers to this question and I will briefly outline the standard options for this community and more fully explain a recently available option.

Many people have access to counselling services through their work benefits plan. Check to see if your plan includes EAP (Employee Assistance Plan) or EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Plan). If so, call the plan number to access a local counsellor. Depending on the plan, you may or may not be able to choose your counsellor.

There are free counselling services available through community agencies such as Comox Valley Transition Society, Comox Valley Family Services, Child and Youth Family Services, Ministry for Child and Family Development, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Military Family Resource Centre, and Courtenay Mental Health and Addictions.

These are first-rate services and are available to people based on specific criteria or issues. If you are not able to receive therapeutic assistance from these programs, there are still a few options.

If you are seeking therapy for coping in the aftermath of a crime, a motor vehicle accident, or a workplace accident, you may be eligible for funding from one of the following sources: Crime Victim Assistance Program, ICBC, or WorkSafe BC.

For many people, none of these options are available and private counselling is not affordable. Recently, the Learning Program began providing low-cost counselling.

The Learning Program was developed in recognition of the community need for low cost counselling and also the need to assist in the training of new counsellors. In this program, students working on a Master’s degree in counselling see clients under the supervision of one of the Registered Clinical Counsellors in practice at Pacific Therapy & Consulting Inc.

Counselling through The Learning Program is available to anyone who does not have access to an alternate source of funding and for whom paying regular counselling rates would make counselling impossible.

Student counsellors are able to deal with a wide range of issues with the following exceptions: substance use, family violence, and adult offenders. Couples’ counselling and family counselling may not be available.

The fee for therapy through the Learning Program is $30 (including HST) and is payable at the time of booking. In some circumstances, fees may be refunded to you following your session.

Like all therapy at Pacific Therapy & Consulting Inc, service provided in this program is performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the BCACC.

Confidentiality is an essential part of counselling and student practitioners adhere to the same limits of confidentiality as do Registered Clinical Counsellors.

Student counsellors are required to review their work with their immediate supervisor, however, clients’ identifying information is altered for supervision so that confidentiality is maintained.

Please call Pacific Therapy & Consulting Inc for more information.

If you would like to ask a question of the counsellors, for a response in future columns, e-mail them at Consult a Counsellor is provided by the registered clinical counsellors at Pacific Therapy & Consulting: Nancy Bock, Diane Davies, Leslie Wells, Andrew Lochhead and Karen Turner. It appears every second Friday.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox set to apply for two infrastructure grants

Sanitary sewer, sidewalk extension in the town’s plans

The number of reported assaults in Courtenay jumped from 302 in 2019 to 364 in 2020. File photo
Assaults up in Courtenay, according to police statistics

The number of assaults increased significantly in Courtenay from 2019 to 2020,… Continue reading

Sawyer, a northern saw-whet owl that became synonymous with Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society, passed away peacefully over the weekend. Sawyer would make numerous public appearances with MARS staff in and around the Comox Valley and Campbell River. Photo supplied.
Popular MARS ambassador owl dies

Submitted MARS Wildlife Rescue has lost one of its mightiest ambassadors. Tiny… Continue reading

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox assisted in helping an injured hiker down from the top of Mt. Benson near Nanaimo Jan. 23. Photo by 19 Wing Comox
With video: 442 Squadron assists mid-Island mountain rescue

The crew on the Buffalo hand-launched 15 flares

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
In <em>Forbidden Reel</em>, Afghan-Canadian director Ariel Nasr crafts a thrilling and utterly original story of modern Afghanistan. Photo supplied
Director crafts thrilling, original story of modern Afghanistan

For most of us, Afghanistan is not synonymous with film culture. Ariel… Continue reading

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read