pillars of health

Counseling

Christina Wilson, MSW, RSW

“All of us have the capacity to be mindful or pay attention in the present moment in a manner that focuses the energy we need for living, problem-solving, and healing.”

-Jon Kabat-Zinn, co-developer of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.

Effective counseling, also referred to as psychotherapy, involves developing a helpful connection based on caring, trust, confidentiality, and understanding.  Rarely is it one issue or stressor that brings people to the point of seeking and accepting assistance from a therapist.  It is often the impact of cumulative, life stressors on one’s ability and skills to cope and persevere, which results in help-seeking.  Similar to the experience of physical pain or illness, it is ideal to connect with a counselor prior to arriving at a crisis point, but it is rarely too late to improve one’s life.  The connection between one’s mental or emotional state and their experience of physical pain and illness is well-established. Often the best way to heal from illness or live with disability is to develop a wellness plan including mental health support.

Solution-focused counseling offers the guidance and support needed to choose and follow through on real solutions to problems – even when life feels overwhelming and insurmountable.  Counseling instills hope and offers compassion in a safe, confidential manner.

What to expect from counseling:

1.The initial therapy session or assessment involves establishing the importance of confidentiality and exploring whether it would be helpful to have permission to release or receive information from other helpers such as naturopathic doctors, family doctors, or other involved helpers.  During this initial appointment which can last 1-1.5 hours, an understanding of the primary issues and related goal setting is also covered.

2.The Wellness Planning form which can be downloaded and completed ahead of time will be reviewed during the initial session with the objective of developing a plan that allows people to make changes in their own way and at their own pace.

3.Comfort and connection are very important to the change process so counseling sessions are offered in a manner that fits with diverse learning styles, personalities, and interests (i.e. talk therapy may work for some, while artistic expression and journaling are more comfortable for others).  The approach is developed on a personal level whereby the client is the expert and case manager with the counselor in a guidance and support role.

4.Individual therapy can be a very helpful mode of therapy, but often if the issues are relationship-based and “the problem” is in how we interact, not who we are as individuals, so family and couple sessions can also be offered.  We often do not get better alone and really benefit from the support of family, friends, and for some, their higher power or Creator.

Clinical social workers are masters-prepared therapists who are registered with the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers (www.nsasw.org) in order to offer private practice counseling in our province.  The current hourly rate is $97.95 and is covered by the majority of major insurance companies.  Direct billing and evening appointments are available.

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