Most couples and families encounter some difficulties on a regular basis. Most of the time they find a way through it together. Occasionally a problem or a situation comes along that is more difficult to deal with than usual. It may be that no matter how hard each person tries to improve things, it just stays the same, or even gets worse! It may be that an individual is struggling with something that requires their partner or their family’s involvement but this is not yet recognised ...or their family is not quite sure how to get started.
Ideally , in situations like these, it is possible to talk about what is going on and sort it out. If this is not happening for what ever reason, then couples or family therapy might be what is needed to have the right sort of conversation.
After making contact with me, you can expect a telephone call to briefly explore what the main reason for therapy might be and who would be most useful to invite to the first meeting. You will also be given an opportunity to choose the best location to meet, whether that is at our room in West Vancouver, an alternative location in North Vancouver or in your own home.
A different conversation
During your sessions, you will be encouraged to have a different conversation to the one that normally happens about the problem. It is assumed, that if the conversation that is usually held was working, then there would be no need for therapy. I will do this by asking lots of questions from different points of view. It is important that everyone feels safe enough to participate in the conversation and you may notice me working hard to ensure that this is true for everyone.
Family therapy values multiple perspectives. This could include the perspective of different family members, your therapist, friends, or even the society and culture we live in. If appropriate, you may be offered the chance to video record a session so that we can get a new perspective on the therapeutic conversation that is taking place (this will never happen without the consent of everyone present).
Does the Whole Family have to come along?
The short answer is "No". The long answer is, it depends on the problem, who in your family or social network is connected to the problem and who would be most helpful to have involved in the conversation.
At certain points in the therapy it may be more appropriate for just the adults to be seen without children so they can talk about adult topics. At other times, specific family members might need to come together to specifically work on their relationship without other family members around. The focus will always be on what seems to be most helpful at a point in time...
For the first meeting, whoever is making contact can us to figure this out together over the telephone beforehand.
All meetings are confidential and any records of the meeting are stored securely. In situations where there is a concern of immediate and serious danger to someone, including child protection concerns, all therapists are bound by law and ethics to share this information with the relevant agency. This will always be done with your knowledge, and ideally with your consent where this is attainable.
A Message of Hope
How often do we meet?
Ultimately, family therapy is about helping family members to help each other. This happens in your real life outside of the therapy session. As a result, couples and families need time between meetings to try out or experiment with more helpful ways of living together. Generally this means that there will be 2 weeks or more between sessions to allow this to happen. There is no prescribed duration of therapy. We will only meet for as long as it remains useful.
I mainly work out of our comfortable and discrete counselling room in West Vancouver, close to Eagle Harbour. However, depending on the difficulty, other locations (including sessions in your own home) may be possible by agreement.
The current rate to be seen at our room in West Vancouver* is $120/hr (concessions available) and most sessions last 1,5hrs.
Sessions are normally held once every 2-4 weeks.
Certain extended medical plans cover counselling as one of the benefits.
*Rates may vary if seen in other locations
All registered counsellors are bound by a code of ethics that governs the special type of relationships they have with their clients. Follow these links to view the AFT and ACCT code of ethics.