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. I also believe that phone counselling is more personal than teleconferencing: it’s a voice-to voice experience that is not competing for our attention with a screen.
Phone counselling can work for a number of situations including:
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.
Counselling is available in English only from my office in Vancouver, within the pacific standard time (PST) zone.
Rates for phone counselling are the same as my rates for in-person counselling and must be prepaid by PayPal or by an Interac e-transfer prior to your appointment time. Clients now also have the option of storing a credit card on file that can be used for payment at the end of the session. You incur no long-distance charges as long as you provide me with a Canadian telephone number. I call out to Canadian phone numbers only.
In the event that we become disconnected, I will call you back immediately at the number you have provided. Please ensure that your ringer is on. If there is a phone malfunction on either end and I am not able to reach you, please check your email for further instructions.
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. Please ensure that you have phone service with good reception as dropped calls will have a detrimental effect on your session.
It is important to note that phone counselling lacks the visual cues that are particular to in-person sessions, increasing the possibility that both you and I may miss some non-verbal cues and communication. If you feel that this has happened, please bring this up with me right away.
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. 1-800-SUICIDE is available to help all British Columbia residents, round the clock.
Currently, I provide phone counselling on rotating weekdays 3-4 times a month, between the hours of 9am and 3pm, PST. A first appointment for a phone session is typically available between 1-3 weeks unless I am out of the office.
If you would like to give phone counselling a try, I welcome you to fill out an interest form so we can discuss your situation and needs further.