Who comes to see you for counselling?

The people who come to see me for counselling are looking for some kind of change in their lives. They may just be struggling with an emotional or behavioural challenge (like depression, anxiety, anger, etc.), a relationship challenge (communication problems, sexual problems, etc), or an existential problem (feeling stuck in their lives, looking for meaning or spiritual fulfillment). Whatever it is, they are ready to make some kind of change to the condition they are living with.

What is the difference between a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist and a Clinical Counsellor?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who focus their practice on the biological foundation of behavior. They try to find out how the functioning of the brain is affecting behavior. They usually use medications to alleviate particular psychological problems such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. While psychiatrists were the originators of talk therapy, most of them today see patients for short periods of time to assess them and administer medication.

Psychologists look at human behavior from an environmental perspective. They look at how factors such as political, social, economic, personality, and family structure/dynamics affect people's behavior. In BC, psychologists have attained one of two degrees, a Ph.D. or Psy.D. and are addressed as "Doctor." However, psychologists are not medical doctors. In practice, psychologists often can be seen in the field of research, on college campuses as professors, and in clinical settings doing therapy. Because of their particular training, only psychiatrists and psychologists are licensed to conduct and interpret psychological tests such as IQ tests and personality tests.

Clinical counsellors focus primarily on working directly with people to help them experience personal change. They are consumers of data produced by researchers (psychiatrists and psychologists). Their job is to put into practice what researchers have learned. Clinical counsellors have the education of a master's degree. Through their education they are trained to work with individuals, groups and families, regardless of their educational or cultural background. In a clinical setting, clinical counsellors delve into the client's past, present and future in their work with the client to remove barriers that prevent the client from realizing the client's goals as set forth by the client. One of the main differences between a clinical counsellor and a psychologist who does talk therapy is that the fee for a psychologist is from one and a half to two times the fee for a clinical counsellor for an hour-long session.

What can I expect from our first session?

My first session with a client involves information gathering and relationship building. You will read and sign a consent form and fill out an information sheet. We will then have an informal discussion about why you have come into counselling. After hearing your story I will usually give you an idea of what I think might be going on and the approach or approaches I will take to work with you. If there is time during this first session we could start actively working on the issue or issues that brought you into my office.

What's the best way to set up an appointment?

The best way to set up an appointment is to either email, text or call me and let me know you would like an appointment. You don't have to say why you want to come in, as we can discuss that when we meet. We can talk about a time that works for you and also fits in with my schedule.

Will the counselling be kept confidential?

With some exceptions, everything you say within the counselling session is kept confidential and I will not talk to or write about any information you give me unless you give me permission. There are, however, some exceptions to confidentiality: 1) I am required, by law to take appropriate action if there is danger that you may physically harm yourself or another person, or if there is an indication of child abuse. 2) I do not have the right of privileged communication in a court of law; under a subpoena a Clinical Counsellor must disclose information pertaining to therapy. 3) If you accept third party coverage, the third party may require you to agree that they receive confidential assessment, treatment, and medical-legal reports.

I'm not sure if counselling is right for me, can I ask you some questions about it before committing to a session?

Yes. I am happy to spend some time on the phone with you answering any questions you have about counselling. Just give me a call or send me an email.  I will either be able to talk to you right away, or we can set up a time at a later date to talk.

Is there anything I should do to prepare for our session?

If your funds are limited and you can only do short term counselling, you should come into your first session with some clear goals about what you want to work on. If you are prepared to do longer term counselling, just bring an open mind. Once therapy gets started I may ask you to do homework after some of our sessions.

What types of clients do you work with?

I work with adults, and teenagers, men and women, couples and individuals. I work with people of any race and sexual orientation. I work with people who are seeking to maximize their potential in life and I work with people who are just struggling to psychologically survive, and everything in between. I believe that people experience different states of "being" simultaneously, so it is difficult to put clients into types. If you are over the age of 12 and my web site appeals to you, you are likely the type of client I work with.

How many sessions will it take?

That's a good question and a difficult one to answer. If your funds are limited, please let me know and we can talk about how to use sessions to most effectively meet your needs. Ongoing counselling is a wonderful luxury, and can help people make significant changes in their lives, but with limited time and money we can target and work on specific issues and get results in one to four sessions.

I can't make it into your office, is there any other way we can do a session?

For people who can't make it into my offices, I can do sessions through Skype, Facetime, telephone or email. I feel like it is important to have at least one session in person to start things off, but there are always exceptions.

I don't know if I can afford counselling at your rate, do you have a sliding scale?

I do not advertise that I have a sliding scale. If you are a full-time adult student I can give you a discounted rate. There are instances when clients have demonstrated a commitment to ongoing counselling but have financial constraints. In those circumstances I have made other arrangements with them.

How long have you been doing this?

I have been working with people's change processes for over twenty-four years. I have been registered as a Clinical Counsellor since 2001 and have been operating a private counselling practice since then.

What forms of payment do you accept?

While I prefer cash or cheques, I accept Paypal payments through my web site, and also credit card at my office.

Ben Kotler Counsellor

Ben Kotler, MA, RCC

Victoria Address: 1517 Amelia St, Victoria, BC V8W 2J9
Duncan Address: 111 Station Street, Suite 202, Duncan, BC V9L 1M8
Ph: 250-634-1634 ( iPhone Texting Available )
Fax: 1-888-684-6922
Email: info@feelchange.ca