What is a registered clinical counsellor?  

Registered Clinical Counsellor is the designation of the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors.   As criteria for membership, counsellors must meet rigorous academic training (Masters-level equivalency), clinical experience and supervision requirements.   The BCACC permits members to identify themselves as “Registered Clinical Counsellors” and holds them accountable to the Association and to the public.

The BCACC has strict ethical guidelines and ongoing continuing education requirements.

What is the difference between a registered clinical counsellor, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist?

Registered clinical counsellors and psychologists are both trained in conducting therapy with adults and children who present with a variety of emotional and psychological problems.  Registered clinical counselors have a Masters degree, while psychologists have a Doctoral degree (more years of training).   In contrast, psychiatrists first train in medicine and then specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and behavioral problems.  Most psychiatrists offer consultation regarding diagnosis and treatment, and as physicians are the only ones authorized to prescribe medications.

Who pays for counselling?

The fees of counsellors are not paid by the government’s medical service plan.  The services of counsellors in private practice are generally paid by clients directly; however, some people have extended health insurance benefits that will reimburse for a portion of the cost.

How much does therapy cost?

Fees are based on guidelines set by the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors recommended fee schedule.  Most registered clinical counsellors charge approximately the same rates.  Payment is made by cash, cheque,  credit card, or e-transfer at the time of the appointment and a receipt is provided.

Fran’s current rates for individual sessions are $140 per hour, plus GST.   Sessions for individuals are generally one hour in length.  For those with modest income, please ask about her sliding scale according to family income.

How do I make an appointment?

Call Fran Ferguson directly to make an appointment.  She responds to all calls personally.  If you get her confidential voicemail, leave a message.  Typically, calls are returned within 24 hours.  Fran will chat briefly with you to ensure that she is an appropriate resource for you and if so, will arrange an appointment time.

How does videoconferencing work?

Call or email Fran directly to make an appointment, just like usual.  You’ll then receive an email with instructions.  At your scheduled appointment time, you click on the link to join Fran online and we have our session, very similar to the way we would do it in office.  The first 15 minutes of your first videoconference session is free, to help you experience and get comfortable with the technology.

Videoconferencing isn’t for everyone.  Some people are uncertain or uncomfortable with technology, and I certainly understand that!  As long as you have good internet and can access it through a computer, laptop, or tablet, and are willing to give it a try, Fran will be happy to test a session with you to see how it works.  People often report it being convenient, private, and easier than they think.  Like many things in life, often the hardest part is getting started!

Do I need a referral from my physician?

No, you may call directly yourself to arrange an appointment.

How long does it take to get an appointment?

An initial consultation can usually be scheduled within one to two weeks, and sometimes within a day or two.  The extent of your availability may affect how soon an appointment can be arranged.

What are your office hours?

Hours are typically 9am to 4pm  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and  Friday.   Evening or weekend appointments are not available at this time.

New clients are welcome.  Fran will do her best to accommodate the ferry schedules, for people coming from Quadra Island.

How many sessions are needed?

Some problems may require brief consultation (one or two sessions), or short-term treatment (anywhere from 6 to 12 sessions).  Some issues require longer-term treatment.  Fran will discuss your particular needs at your first visit, and make recommendations for treatment.   Progress is discussed and evaluated with clients as sessions proceed.

How confidential is counselling?

Confidentiality is taken very seriously by registered clinical counsellors.  All information is considered confidential unless you give Fran Ferguson your written consent to release information.  Exceptions occur in situations in which the client may pose a threat to themselves or to another person, or when information is subpoenaed by a court of law.