The consultation appointment gives you the opportunity to ask questions about our services, our training and education. Ask the questions you need to know, so you can make an informed decision about working with North Bay Counselling Services. The consultation will be by phone, it is free, and will last 30 minutes. We honour the fact you are only asking questions, so nothing is recorded during the consultation. You can share any story or information and know it is confidential. It’s important to note this consultation is not about giving you recommendations, although if recommendations are where the discussion ends up, then clinical recommendations will be provided. After our conversation, you may wish to seek services elsewhere or your needs and concerns may not be within our area of expertise. That is alright. We will refer you forward to another service. If you wish, you will have the opportunity to book your first appointment at the time of the consultation or you can contact us after the consultation to book your first appointment. Please note, North Bay Counselling Services can offer only one consultation. The appointment times are pre-scheduled, so we cannot offer appointment options. If the consultation is missed or cancelled, another one will not be available. Consultations are requested by a self-referral process; you can find the link here ———-. 

Yes, you can still access services. The consultation is a professional courtesy, meant to give you an opportunity to ask questions. You can contact North Bay Counselling Services through the link on the main page under Contact Us. You will be contacted by the best method you marked off, and we will have a short discussion and an appointment will be made. 

Currently, North Bay Counselling Services does not have a wait list. Any wait will be dependent on when you contact us, as North Bay Counselling Services is usually completely booked for a ten day period then spaces become available to book you in. So appointments are usually booked 5 to 10  business days ahead. So, under normal circumstances, appointments can be booked within the first 10 days of contacting us. 

Our sessions are not held in person at this time. The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) continue to recommend we continue to meet clients through online services or by phone. This is especially important if our counselling space is small and might not allow six feet of social distancing or if the therapist feels they are physically compromised and have a higher risk of contracting the virus. North Bay Counselling Services has been assisting clients online since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you could talk to one of our clients, we are certain they would say they find online counselling just as effective as in-person counselling.  They appreciate the ease of getting on-line and the fact that they do not have to go out in the cold or the rain. 

First sessions can very between the way counsellors do their sessions and the needs and goals of the client. North Bay Counselling Services aims to have a standard approach for the first session yet a style that has some flexibility to accommodate the diversity of our clients. In order to provide you with the necessary information to feel properly informed, and to collect relevant information to establish a treatment plan and doable goals. The first session usually lasts approximately 90 minutes; this will allow time to discuss confidentiality, our roles, and possible methodologies for treatment. You can review the structure of individual sessions by clicking on this link (Link to MY CBT MODEL AND SESSIONS 2022).

This is a logical question and easy to answer. All treatment plans catered to the individual needs of every client who accesses North Bay Counselling Services. We will work together to design a plan that honours your financial status and will also allow you to advance therapeutically forward. While research indicates weekly sessions contribute to a positive therapeutic relationship, the frequency of session can be adjusted to fit your needs. North Bay Counselling Services also recognizes how evidence based best practice shows the scheduling and the time span of therapeutic treatments can be varied and also affected by different therapeutic interventions or models of treatment. So we will use that to our advantage, which will strengthen our relationship and we will develop a specific plan that will consider your financial situation as well as your goals and the complexity and chronicity of your concerns. In other words, if you are engaged and you want to keep moving forward – we will get it done. 

We have also heard stories and concerns from clients about working with therapists who were not helpful and your concerns and fears are honoured and respected. Accessing counselling is the most important thing you can do for yourself, and your decision will also be honoured. To minimize your sense of unhelpfulness, at the end of every session, a mini outcome measure will be completed and four questions will be asked:

  1. How was this session for you, was it what you expected?
  2. Was anything said or done  that you did not understand, or that you might have found offensive?
  3. Did you learn anything?
  4. Do you want to book another session?

These four simple questions can provide a lot of information about the process and content of the therapeutic relationship. My goal in therapy is to make you feel comfortable and safe. If you feel safe enough to speak your truth, I would be honoured to hear you and we can make sure you remain satisfied with the therapeutic relationship. There is another piece of this equation that needs to be addressed. That is the difficultly clients might feel when they are addressing pervasive and/or chronic patterns that influence your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. This work is emotional and painful, so the pain you feel may affect the client/counsellor relationship. We will do everything we can to prevent this.

Perfect question. However, there is not a perfect answer. That is why I offer a free consultation, so you can ask questions, you can determine safety factors, so you can engender a sense of trust. And that is why it is always recommended to shop around and “test drive” a potential therapist, just like you would test drive a car you want to buy. Ask more questions, for example, give an example of a situation, imaginary or real, and check out how they respond to resolving that situation. You can also observe them. What do they sound like – are they talking with their “social worker voice?” Are they talking down to you or are they demonstrating they are equal with you? You could ask about their education or training, or how long they have been practicing as a therapist? And lastly, you can ask them the same questions they will ask you, such as: 

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • What are you good at?
  • Have you ever had counselling? Did you find it helpful?
  • If I tell you my story, what will you do with it?