Informed consent is a core component of counselling. Informed consent is composed of two things: it is informed, and it is ongoing. Informed means you, the client, fully understand what you are agreeing to and have the chance to ask any questions you have about the counselling process. Ongoing means you, the client, can withdraw your participation at any time and your counsellor will not force you to keep going. (Court-mandated counselling is a rare exception to this rule. If you are involved with the legal system, you will be referred to a different practice).
Risks and Benefits
The goal of counselling is always to get better, but it is important to recognize that choosing to start counselling has some risks. As you begin to talk about things that are uncomfortable or upsetting, your symptoms may seem to worsen at first. This is normal and should resolve within the first few sessions. You may notice changes in your mood and behavior, which can impact your relationships, work life, and/or daily activities. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to talk to your counsellor before starting therapy.
Confidentiality and Privacy
What you say during counselling sessions will be held in confidence and will not be disclosed to anyone without your written consent, including specific details on what will be discussed.
Your Counsellor cannot be held responsible for how your information is handled by a third party, family doctors, EAP providers, or other healthcare professionals. By agreeing to release your information to other healthcare professionals, you accept this risk.
Exceptions to Confidentiality
There are rare exceptions to confidentiality that are mandated by provincial law and regulatory requirements. This means that at certain times your Counsellor is required to break confidentiality to protect yourself or someone else, or to comply with the law. The reasons confidentiality may be broken include:
- If your Counsellor or clinical file is subpoenaed by the courts, or if a legal warrant is produced.
- If you are deemed to be at risk of harm to yourself or others.
- If your Counsellor believes there is an imminent risk or reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person, or vulnerable person.
- The Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA), Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists (NSCCT), and/or approved clinical supervisor has the right to audit a Counsellor’s files if they deem there is a need to protect the public.
To maintain a level of professional integrity and ensure best practices in client care, your Counsellor may consult with other Counsellors and/or an approved clinical supervisor. No identifying information will be shared under these circumstances.
Your Counsellor uses use audio recording during all sessions (in-person and online). Audio recordings are used to aid with file maintenance (e.g., making notes, reviewing progress). These recordings are handled in the same secure and confidential way as your file and will not be shared for any other purpose.
Information Transmitted via the Internet
Any information (e.g., email, forms, etc.) transmitted via the internet cannot be guaranteed to be secure. By consenting to take part in counselling, you accept these risks.
The counselling hour typically allows for 55 minutes with the Counsellor and 5 minutes reserved for file review and notations. Fees for this service, as well as for consultations, reports, and letter writing, are $110.00 per hour. Payment can be made by cash or e-transfer ONLY; we cannot accept debit or credit cards as there are no payment options on site. Online appointments are payable by e-transfer ONLY.
Payment is due immediately before (no more than 3 hours) or immediately after the appointment. If late payment is not received before the next appointment, your appointment will be rescheduled.
We do not do direct billing, but a receipt is provided when payment is received. Please check with your insurance provider regarding coverage. If services are refused your Counsellor will be happy to intervene on your behalf.
A note on tax-free therapy: counselling therapy/psychotherapy is not tax-free in Canada at this time (services provided by registered psychologists are different). For tax deductions or expenses, please check with an appropriate professional such as an accountant to determine the expenses.
To avoid being billed for a missed appointment, we require at least 24 hours’ notice for cancellation or reschedule. Missed appointments or short-notice cancellations will be charged at half of your expected session rate. Short notice cancellations will only be in emergency situations (inclement weather, family emergency, etc.). Appointments can be cancelled by phone or email only please. If you arrive late or leave early, you will still be charged for the full session. Please call if you expect to be late.
Insurance law states all missed appointments must be clearly indicated on the receipt. Most insurance companies do not provide coverage for missed appointments.