Phone Counselling

When face-to-face counselling is not an option or, does not appeal as an option, phone counselling can be a viable alternative.

When many people hear ‘phone counselling’, they think Skype, FaceTime or other similar teleconferencing options. In my practice, phone counselling means phone counselling – as in ‘old school’ telephone counselling. In order to guarantee privacy and confidentiality, I do not provide counselling via Skype.

Who Benefits Most From Phone Counselling?

Phone counselling can work for a number of situations including:

Small Town Concerns

  • You live in a small or remote community with no or limited access to face-to-face counselling
  • You live in a small town where you know many people, including the local counsellor
  • You live in a small town and value your privacy
  • You do not have the money to travel to another community to receive counselling

Depression or Anxiety-Related Concerns

  • Face to face contact with a counsellor feels too emotionally intense
  • Leaving your home is currently overwhelming, or you worry that you will have a panic attack when you’re out
  • Commuting or being in an unfamiliar environment is very stressful
  • You feel a greater sense of control over the phone and opening up is easier
  • You have a heightened sense of shame or stigma about receiving counselling or the issues you are needing help with, and the thought of phone counselling, where there is no office visit, just feels easier

Mobility Concerns

  • You have a physical disability which prevents you from travelling to an appointment or attending a face-to-face appointment
  • You would not be physically comfortable in an office environment
  • You have physical needs that could only be met in your own home

Other Concerns

  • You have limited access to childcare and can only spare the time for a phone appointment
  • You are a caregiver with limited personal time
  • Phone counselling is more convenient for your particular schedule
  • Phone counselling may be available sooner than in in-person appointment
  • Your work situation will not allow the time it would take to have an appointment and commute to and from that appointment
  • You do not want to worry about traffic or parking
  • You are moving to the city or town your prospective phone counsellor is in and you would like to start with phone sessions until you have moved and can then participate in face-to-face counselling

Policies

At this time I am only able to provide phone counselling to residents of British Columbia, the Yukon and Nunavut. This is due to the fact that social work is a highly regulated profession, and social work legislation currently varies from province to province and is province-specific. My social work registration (04462) is for British Columbia, and while I am consistently practicing in BC, social work regulators govern according to the province that the client is in. There are discussions at the national social work level regarding this issue and I will update this page should the situation change in future.

Areas in British Columbia which are currently served include:

  • Lower Mainland / Metro Vancouver – including Vancouver proper, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Delta, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack
  • The Southwest – including, but not limited to the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton
  • Vancouver Island/Coast – including, but not limited to Victoria, Nanaimo, the Gulf Islands, Powell River
  • The Thompson-Okanagan – including, but not limited to greater Kelowna and Kamloops
  • The Kootenays – including, but not limited to Cranbrook, Nelson
  • The Cariboo – including, but not limited to Prince George
  • North Coast / Nechako – including, but not limited to Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Terrace and Kitimat
  • Northeast – including, but not limited to Fort St John and Dawson Creek

While some of the major towns and cities in British Columbia have been cited here, this is strictly for brevity; I routinely provide phone counselling to people in both small towns and larger urban centres, alike.

Counselling is available in English only from my office in Vancouver, within the pacific standard time (PST) zone.

You will not incur long distance charges if you provide me with a valid phone number, which includes a Canadian area code. Rates for phone counselling are the same as my rates for in-person counselling and must be prepaid by PayPal or Interac e-transfer prior to your appointment time. The Fees/Funding page on my website provides the necessary PayPal links to make a payment. If you wish to pay by credit card, card payments can be made via PayPal.

Phone counselling works best with land-lines or with cell phones where there is good reception. Internet phone service (VoIP), dropped calls, poor voice quality or reception that cuts in and out will obviously have a negative effect on your counselling experience.

To maximize your phone counselling experience, please ensure that you have access to a quiet, private space with no distractions. Being interrupted by others often interferes with people’s ability to open up in a session, is distracting, and compromises your confidentiality. Avoiding computer use and turning off any other devices also ensures you get the most out of telephone counselling.

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for phone counselling. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, psychosis, mania, are actively self-harming or are engaging in other behaviour that compromises your safety, I am not able to provide phone counselling. I am more than willing, however, to assist in directing you to in-person counselling alternatives or crisis counselling services.

Getting Started

Currently, I am currently providing phone counselling on rotating weekdays, once a week. There is currently no waiting list for phone counselling.

If you would like to give phone counselling a try, I welcome you to contact me so we can discuss your situation and needs further. If you are committed to getting started, please contact me directly as I have a separate intake process for phone counselling.