Counselling

Counselling

Family and Community Services is pleased to offer professional walk-in counselling sessions.

  • Walk-in sessions are available during the day and some evenings
  • "Pay what you can afford" service starting at $0
  • Our team includes registered psychologists, social workers, credentialed volunteers and graduate students

Hours

Monday

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Last session at 2 p.m. - please arrive by 2 p.m.

Tuesday

1 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
Last session at 8 p.m. - please arrive by 8 p.m.

Wednesday

8 a.m. to 12 Noon
Last session at 11 a.m. - please arrive by 11 a.m.

Thursday

1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Last session at 8 p.m. - please arrive by 8 p.m.

Friday

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Last session at 2 p.m. - please arrive by 2 p.m.

 

Counselling Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Where is counselling located?

    Strathcona County Family and Community Services is located on the second floor of the Community Center next to the Library, #200, 501 Festival Avenue, Sherwood Park.

  • 2. What is counselling?

    Sometimes life is complicated.  It takes courage to ask for help and guidance.  Meeting with our professional counselling team, you can focus on an area of your life you would like to change.  We also talk about your abilities and strengths. You will leave the session with some ideas or strategies to try, and a deeper understanding about the changes that you want to make for yourself.  As you work toward making change, you are welcome to come back until you feel you can cope on your own.

  • 3. What happens in the counselling session?

    To create useful changes, our counsellors use a team approach, so you may have more than one counsellor in your session. Initially, you and your counsellor(s) will have an open conversation to understand your goals and what is important to you.

    And your goal can change from one session to the next or stay the same goal for a number of sessions, it is up to you to choose what is best at this moment in time.

    After 30 to 40 minutes, the counsellor(s) will leave the session to take a quick break. They will meet with the counselling team and together create a written plan of action that recognizes and builds upon your strengths, ideas and abilities. After the break, the counsellor(s) will rejoin you in the counselling room to share strengths and provide suggestions. These ideas are shared both verbally and in writing.

    You will walk away with an action plan tailored for you. Sessions take between 60-90 minutes. Time expectations will be discussed and agreed upon when you first meet with the counsellor(s).

  • 4. Is counselling confidential?

    Yes.  Your information is kept confidential to the counselling team and is only accessed on a need to know basis. We strictly adhere to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIP).

    There may be times where the counsellor is required by law to include external resources to help maintain the safety of either yourself or others you may know. It is required by law to report identified abuse to a child under the age of 18 or if there is concern to believe that a person’s life may be at risk. In addition our counsellors are legally obligated to break confidentiality if court ordered by a judge to appear in court through a subpoena. If you have questions or concerns about these limits to confidentiality, please bring them forward to your counsellor(s).

  • 5. Why should I come in, and do I need to be in crisis?

    People come to counselling for a wide range of reasons. We all experience difficulties from time to time. You do not need to be in a crisis to choose counselling. Some individuals visit before they are overwhelmed. If you are distressed, we encourage you to visit us. 

    Frequent reasons people choose to meet with the counselling team:

    • I have something I am trying to figure out.
    • Lots of people are giving me advice, and I trying to sort out what to do.
    • I really need someone to talk right away.
    • I don’t know how to get back on track.
    • I wish I knew more about ….
    • How can I cope better with my situation?
    • Is counselling useful for me?
    • How can I help a friend or family member?
  • 6. Why did Family and Community Services (FCS) make changes to the counselling program?

    People struggling with every day challenges want useful strategies to help themselves sooner than later. Now people can walk in at a variety of times during weekdays and evenings. In the past, individuals frequently had experienced a delay, sometimes weeks, before an appointment became available. This is no longer the case. By moving to walk-in counselling, FCS offers professional, confidential, affordable, accessible and timely counselling services.

  • 7. Why should I come in, and do I need to be in crisis?

    People come to counselling for a wide range of reasons. We all experience difficulties from time to time. You do not need to be in a crisis to choose counselling. Some individuals visit before they are overwhelmed. If you are distressed, we encourage you to visit us. 

    Frequent reasons people choose to meet with the counselling team:

    • I have something I am trying to figure out.
    • Lots of people are giving me advice, and I trying to sort out what to do.
    • I really need someone to talk right away.
    • I don’t know how to get back on track.
    • I wish I knew more about ….
    • How can I cope better with my situation?
    • Is counselling useful for me?
    • How can I help a friend or family member?
  • 8. Do you offer counselling to children?

    Yes, our counsellors do meet with children over the age of 6 years and will involve parents or family support whenever possible. Some older youth may be involved in counselling without their parent’s participation. The youth’s age and maturity is important to determine how we offer our counselling services. We encourage the first visit to walk-in for the parent(s) only, as meeting with the adults is our preferred way to start.

  • 9. What will you leave a counselling session with?

    You will leave your counselling visit with an action plan. This plan will have at least one idea that we hope will be useful in helping you meet your identified goal.  You may also gain information about resources including apps, websites, workshops, counselling groups, and more.

  • 10. Can I book an appointment?

    No.  Instead, you can access counselling every weekday, and some evenings by walk in.

  • 11. What are your hours for walk in counselling?

    • Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.……Arrive before 2 p.m.
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.……Arrive before 8 p.m.
    • Wednesdays from 8 a.m. until 12 Noon……Arrive  before 11 a.m.

    To provide enough time for the counselling session, participants must arrive at least ONE HOUR before walk-in counselling closes for the day.

  • 12. What can I expect when I first arrive?

    When you arrive at Strathcona County Family & Community Services, let our receptionists know that you are here for counselling. You will be asked to complete a counselling questionnaire designed to learn about you and your goals. The counselling team then reviews your information – this typically takes about 15 minutes.  If there is an unexpected wait, you will be informed.  Sometimes, two counsellors may see you together. We also provide training for graduate students and they may join the session. The counsellors will then invite you into a confidential counselling office for your session.

  • 13. How long should I plan to be at my counselling session?

    It is best to plan to be here between 1.5 to 2 hrs, although this varies. On average people meet with the counselling team between 60 to 90 minutes.

    Your time is valuable and we are committed to meeting with you as quickly as we can. We want to thank you in advance for understanding that counselling times vary and are difficult to estimate at times. Much like a walk-in medical clinic, the wait time for counselling will depend on how many people arrive before you, the complexity of situations, and the number of available counselling teams. You can ask questions about the wait, and inform our receptionists about your schedule. 

  • 14. I was here first. Why might someone who arrived after me be seen before me?

    Occasionally, a person with an urgent situation (as assessed by the counselling team) may arrive after you and require an immediate response. In other cases, the counselling team member that is most able to respond to your issue may be busy with someone else when you arrive. Our goal is to give you the most suitable counselling team for your situation.

  • 15. Who are the counsellors?

    The counselling staff are professionally qualified and trained to provide counselling services. Our team includes Psychologists, Social Workers, Certified Counsellors and graduate level counselling students.  In order to address what is important to you and what result or outcome you would like, our counsellors work together as your team. The team’s purpose is to share ideas to co-create a plan with you and, if needed, facilitate your connection to other resources that will help you reach your goal. The counselling team approach helps achieve results for participants in a way that is collaborative, responsive and effective.

  • 16. What paperwork do I need to complete?

    When you arrive, our front office team will welcome you and explain what paperwork is needed.  This includes consent forms and participant information. Please take time to answer all our questions, as they are important for us to start understanding your need(s). The counselling team uses your answers to determine who is best suited to work with you. 

    At the end of your session you will be asked to complete a written feedback form about the session.  Your feedback is important to us, as it helps us to understand what worked in the session and what might be the focus of the next session.  It also helps us make adjustments to our counselling services to ensure quality and successful outcomes. 

  • 17. How much does counselling cost?

    The cost of our counselling services is based on if and what you can afford to pay. It is your choice about payment, and this includes the option of no fee for the counselling. The counsellor will discuss our pay-what-you-can approach and you will decide at the end of your session.

    All clients are given a receipt at the end of the session with information on the counsellor’s professional credentials. Those participants with a benefit plan may use this information for their own records.

  • 18. What kind of counselling is provided?

    Our counselling objective is to provide effective, useful, affordable counselling in a timely way. Our mandate is prevention and early intervention. Whether coping with a stressful situation, looking for direction, or wanting understanding, our counsellors use a strength-based, action oriented approach to explore solutions with you. Your goals can stay the same or change from one visit to the next.You can also use counselling as an opportunity to gain information, get advice and seek support without having to commit to ongoing counselling.

  • 19. Are counselling services offered in rural Strathcona County?

    Not yet. This is something we would like to explore if there is a sufficient need. If you are interested in receiving counselling in a rural location please email us at familyandcommunity@strathcona.ca or call our office (780-464-4044).

  • 20. Can I visit counselling more than once?

    Yes. You are welcome to return for as many times as necessary to continue to move forward on your goal(s).

  • 21. Do I see the same counsellor each time I come?

    Not necessarily. We thought this may be problematic, however, feedback from participants is showing that they appreciate the ability to walk-in when needed, and use the counselling plan developed each visit.

    Our counselling service uses a team approach and the counselling team you work with each session depends on your situation, the expertise of the counsellors to respond to your situation, and the availability of team members. It is possible that you will be seen by someone was on your counselling team previously, although perhaps not in the counselling room with you.  At another time, you may be seen by people you have not seen previously.  Research and evidence strongly indicates that successful changes are not dependent upon seeing the same counsellor each time.

    Information from your last session assists your counsellors to continue to respond to your situation. No need to worry about ‘starting from the beginning or retelling your story because we have access to detailed notes from your last visit.

  • 22. What about coming to counselling as a support person?

    Our counsellors encourage people’s supporters, loved ones and family to consider attending counselling sessions.  Due to our team of counsellors, we can often provide more than one session at a time, so everyone can gain information, learn coping tools and be provided with support to help each other. 

Family and Community Services also offers free, facilitated education & support groups for adults.

  • Open weekly to new participants designed for adults to gather together for support and encouragement

  • Professionally facilitated weekly format provides opportunity to discuss and strategize how to navigate life's challenges

  • Registration occurs upon arrival

To find a full description for each group check out our listing page here.

Volunteering

If you are a credentialed counsellor (certified counsellor or masters level social worker) and are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact us. Practicum experience is also available for counselling and social work practicum students.

For more information:

Phone: 780-464-4044
Fax: 780-449-1220
Email: familyandcommunity@strathcona.ca

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Last updated: Friday, April 13, 2018
Page ID: 38559