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Counselling FAQ

Here are some common Counselling FAQs

Q: What is counselling?

Counselling (also called therapy) is a way for people who are having personal or interpersonal difficulties to find help from a trained professional. A person goes to a counsellor because he/she can’t find the answers to a problem. A counsellor will listen to the problem and ask probing questions to get at a deeper level of what is going on. There are many types of counselling. The common thread is that the main element is talk.  Counsellors provide a confidential, non-judgemental environment for clients to explore ways to address personal and/or interpersonal challenges in their life.  This safe space helps to gain perspective, evaluate possible courses of action, and identify the next steps for moving forward.


Q: What is the difference between counselling and therapy?

Both have a similar objective, which is to assist the client to work through personal or interpersonal difficulties by means of exploring the concerns with an qualified professional who is trained to ask probing questions, assist in reflection, and facilitate identification of possible courses of action that may benefit the client.


Q:  When should I look for a counsellor?

Speaking with an impartial professional who is trained in facilitating communication can be helpful in many situations..

For individuals:

  • experiencing difficulty in their workplace
  • struggling with a personal issue
  • seeking greater clarity or motivation in setting or achieving personal goals
  • in conflict with another person.

For couples:

  • experiencing friction in their relationship
  • seeking to develop more positive communication

For families:

  • going through cross-generational conflict
  • adjusting to changes such as separation, divorce, new life partner, or blending


Q:  Do you offer evening and weekend appointments?

Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged.  Please speak with one of our professionals at A Better Way Mediation & Counselling about your preferences and we will do our best to accommodate you.


Q: Do we come in together or separately?

This may depend on the circumstances of the individuals involved.  Some couples may come in together from the start.  For others, it may be helpful for each party to have an individual intake session with the counsellor prior to a joint meeting.  Generally, it is better to have some meetings together, as it allows each person to hear the other’s perspective of the situation, and because the way we speak to an impartial outsider about our case is different than the way we speak about it with one another.  Because of this, it is usually very illuminating for each partner to hear what the other says to the counsellor.


 Q. Are sessions held weekly?

Frequency will be established in consultation with the parties involved.  Generally, weekly sessions seem to be a good fit for most individuals as it is frequent enough to keep the topics fresh in mind, but not so frequent that the they don’t have time to process what took place in the consultation or practice the recommendations offered. As time goes on, the parties may wish to change to a bi-weekly or monthly format.


Q. How long are counselling appointments?

Counselling time is counted by the hour.  The initial session may take longer than follow-up sessions due to the need for familiarization with background information and so on.  In general,  sessions last one hour.


Q. How long is the process altogether?

This depends on the circumstances and the number of issues of each individual couple, their own pace, and their willingness to work with one another and respond to the process.  However, the therapy model that our counselling is built on is specifically designed as brief therapy. Typically, a couple may attend between 4-10 sessions.


Q. What is the cost?

The regular fee is $120/hour. However, at A Better Way Mediation & Counselling, we believe that professional services should be available to as many individuals who require it as possible.  Because of this, we are flexible in cases where this poses a financial hardship for clients.


Q. Will my insurance cover the cost of counselling?

This depends on the details of your particular policy.  You can inquire with your representative whether you have coverage for counselling with a licensed marriage and family therapist.  We provide a receipt, and it is up to you to submit it for billing and reimbursement.


Q: What are the benefits of counselling?

Counselling can help alleviate emotional pain and suffering. It can teach you new skills with which you can successfully deal with the problems at hand. It can save a marriage. It can help increase your self-esteem. It can give you hope that there is a better way, or a way out. It can do all these things and more. The only thing it can’t do is change you. You have to do that by yourself. What does successful counselling look and feel like? Successful counselling feels like something has changed, something is different. You feel more hope and self-confidence. You are trying out new behaviors and they are working. The way successful therapy looks is other people begin to comment that something about you seems different. Maybe they don’t know what has changed in you, but you feel better to be around. You will also notice that you are having different results from actions that in the past would not have gone so well. In the end, you will always be the one to make the decision about whether therapy has been successful or not.


Q:  Are counselling sessions confidential?

Yes.  The goal of counsellors  is to provide an environment in which clients feel safe to talk about personal matters, so in general, the information shared in a counselling session will remain completely confidential to anyone outside that session.  There are a few rare exceptions to this, such as when a client him- or herself chooses to sign a written release of information for a specific person or agency. There are also some rare circumstances in which counsellors are legally required to report information such as knowledge of intent to inflict serious harm to oneself or others.  However such circumstances arise very seldom, and the majority of counsellors will go through their entire career without have to deal with such a situation.


Q:  What is your cancellation policy?

We ask that clients provide as much advance notice about cancellation, and at least 24 hours.  For less than 24 hours notice (unless it is an emergency or circumstances beyond the client’s control) we charge for half an hour’s fee.  If a client does not show up for a scheduled appointment and gives no notice, a full hour’s fee is charged.