On this page:
There's a time to seek help | Conditions for effective counselling | Types of counselling
Initial sessions | The counselling process | Confidentiality | Policies
Benefits and risks of counselling | Location | Emergencies
Most of the time, we can cope with the problems and stresses that we encounter every day. But sometimes they pile up and overwhelm us. A family crisis, unexpected illness, accident, the loss of a significant person, communication problems, relationship difficulties, transitions through a different stage of life, chemical dependency, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem - professional guidance can help with any of these.
Participating in counselling does not mean that a person is abnormal or has mental illness but rather it means that the client wants to take responsibility for his or her own life and health, to grow, to adapt, to learn how to cope and to reach his or her full potential in life and relationships.
Counselling is most effective when the client's presenting concern is described in specific and concrete terms, a supportive relationship is formed between the client and therapist, specific, objective and measurable goals are agreed on, a suitable method to reach these goals is found and client commitment to resolving the presenting problem is demonstrated through the completion of homework assignments between sessions. Asking family members or partners to actively participate also contributes to effective therapy.
Personal counselling helps individuals experiencing difficulties in emotional, interpersonal, educational, spiritual, and vocational areas of life.
Pre-marital, marriage, family, sexual, and addiction counselling are offered to help resolve conflicts, establish open communication, and foster personal growth in relationships. Couples and families usually find working with a therapy team with a male and female therapist helpful.
Vocational counselling for career choice or change includes personal counselling, and may involve personality and vocational interest testing. Separate brochures outlining the format for pre-marital and vocational counselling are available.
Clients can choose to see a therapist, Dr. Chu, Dr. Yeung, or Dr. T.K. Wong, or a multi-disciplinary therapeutic team led by Dr. T.Y. Wong with family practice physicians or residents, family therapists and interns. The team setting allows for more creative interventions, multi-level input, training, consultation and supervision in many situations.
New clients are asked to fully complete an intake information sheet, medical review and list of concerns before scheduling a short interview to familiarize you with counselling and answer your questions. You will be asked to sign a consent form and to choose your individual therapist or team of therapists. Some therapists, like Dr. T.Y. Wong, work exclusively in a team setting.
A clear written description of the specific presenting concerns, the outcome desired and indicators of resolution of the problem facilitates progress initially and sets a positive tone. Some clients are also asked to complete instruments to assess their personality, temperament, relationships, or family environment. These instruments are not covered by O.H.I.P. and cost around $40 each.
The counsellor or team will spend two sessions after the introductory interview as part of the intake process, at the end of which feedback is given regarding the cause and resolution of your concerns and the best approach for working with you. Sometimes, referrals can be made to appropriate professionals or agencies in the community.
Once the client and therapist or team have agreed to work together, the client is helped to set specific goals towards resolution of the presenting problem and a contract for a specific number of sessions is negotiated. Counselling is a collaborative effort in which the client participates actively in setting goals, working through the problem, overcoming obstacles, doing homework assignments and giving honest feedback. The therapist or team empowers and provides structure, guidance, education, skills, and insight to help the client reach his or her goals. A combination of cognitive, experiential and behavioural approaches will be used in the context of a systems framework. Since the counselling approach integrates the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of personhood, medication will be recommended whenever indicated. Evaluation of progress and discussion of feedback will be provided at regular intervals. Clients are urged to write down and discuss any questions or concerns arising from counselling at the beginning of each session.
All discussion with your therapist or team is strictly confidential and all information is held in confidence, subject to any legal requirements placed on the therapist by law and professional training, supervision or consultation. Strictest confidentiality is maintained by all members of the team, the supervisor, consultant and office staff. Sessions may be monitored via audio or video for training, supervision or consultation purposes only. This ensures that you receive the best possible care and the benefit of the experience of supervisors or experts.
- The counselling sessions are normally 46 minutes. Some extended multi-disciplinary team counselling sessions may be 76 minutes long. You are responsible for booking sessions with the receptionist and informing her that the appointments are for counselling. Once you have negotiated a specific number of sessions, you are encouraged to book them all in advance to prevent any scheduling difficulties in the future since we have a long waiting list. Please book appointments for team counselling on the same day of the week so that you stay with the same team.
- Your sessions are paid for by O.H.I.P. since at least one of the therapists or team member is a physician. If you are in team counselling and have extended health coverage, please give this information to the registered marriage and family therapist on the team. It is important that you maintain up to date health care coverage. Otherwise, you will be billed for the cost of each session*. You will be asked to sign a health care number release form on your first visit. You are responsible for informing the secretary of any changes in your address, coverage, marital status, health card version code and extended health benefits plan coverage.
- If testing is recommended, there will be an additional charge to cover the costs. Similarly, you will be charged for any reports, letters, etc. which you request your therapist or team to prepare and send. Likewise, third party services are also not covered by O.H.I.P. and will be billed.
- Appointments are considered to be confirmed at the time that they are booked. If you have to cancel a session, a minimum of 24 hours before your appointment time is required so that other clients from the waiting list can be scheduled to take your place. Otherwise, you will be charged for the missed interview since O.H.I.P. will not cover this*. If you are more than 15 minutes late, the first half of your session cannot be charged to O.H.I.P. and you will be charged*.
- We normally retain your file for a maximum of two years after the last interview.
- Please complete thoroughly the client intake forms with basic information about you and your family, a medical review form, and list of concerns. This helps speed up the process of gathering the basic demographic, personal, and family data and leaves more time during the first few sessions to deal with your presenting concerns.
- Since there is a high demand for O.H.I.P. covered counselling resulting in a long waiting list, it is only fair that clients who act irresponsibly, miss sessions or terminate prematurely will be placed at the end of the waiting list.
Persons who are contemplating counselling should realize that clients frequently make significant changes in their lives. For example, people often modify their emotions, attitudes, and behaviours. Also clients may make changes in their marriages or significant relationships such as with parents, children, friends, relatives and supervisors at work. Because of counselling, clients may change employment, begin to feel differently about themselves, or alter significant aspects of their lives. If you have questions about the benefits and risks of counselling, ask your therapist or team for specifics.
The Grace Health Centre is located in the Keele Medical Centre on 2830 Keele St. in Suite 402. We are a block north of Wilson and highway 401 on the West side of Keele St.. We are easily accessible from bus routes on Keele or Wilson. Free parking is available on the south side of the church.
For emergencies after regular office hours, clients should go to the emergency department of the nearest local hospital where a physician can assess the situation and refer to a psychiatrist if necessary. For emergencies during office hours, please ask the receptionist for an urgent short appointment.
If you need to see your therapist or team for non-emergency situations in between sessions, you can book a short appointment with the same therapist or team for a brief consultation. We have a tight schedule and can not discuss non-emergency situations with clients over the phone.