What is counselling?
A counsellor is a type of service provider that specialize in mental health. According to the National Counseling Society (2021) in the United Kingdom, “Counselling is a type of talking therapy that allows a person to talk about their feelings, needs and problems in a safe, structured, confidential setting. The foundation of effective counselling is providing clients with a professional therapeutic relationship based on non-judgmental respect and offering empathic understanding.”
Who can become a counsellor?
Counsellors in Nova Scotia are regulated by the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists (NSCCT). To work as a counsellor in this province, a person must be registered with the NSCCT in one of the two following categories (Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists, 2022):
- “Registered Counselling Therapist-Candidates have completed a graduate degree in counselling or related field and are licensed to practice under supervision of a fully licensed Registered Counselling Therapist who has undergone approved supervisor training.”
- “Registered Counselling Therapists are licensed to practice independently after successful completion of their candidacy period (2 to 5 years).”
- Some people may perform roles that are similar to counselling in some ways, like responding to hotline calls. However, a person cannot be referred to as counsellor unless they are registered with the NSCCT.
- If you are wondering whether someone is a registered counsellor, you can go to the NSCCT’s “Public Access Registry” that lists all the registered counsellors in Nova Scotia: https://nscct.ca/public-access-registry/
Is counselling confidential?
Counsellors must keep what their clients share with them confidential, with a few exceptions related to keeping people safe (for more information on this, see our definition of confidentiality).
What kinds of counselling are available?
- There are many different forms of counselling. If you are interested, you can read about some of them here: https://nationalcounsellingsociety.org/counselling-directory/types-of-therapy
- While counselling most often involves talking with a trained professional one-on-one, other approaches are also sometimes used. For example, in group counselling, a number of people dealing with similar situations explore problems together and with the counsellor leading the sessions.
- Counsellors often have profiles online that tell you about the areas in which they are most knowledgeable. Some counsellors specialize in supporting victims/survivors of sexual violence.
- It can be possible to receive counselling in person, online, or by phone.
Is counselling free, or are there fees involved?
Most if not all universities across Canada provide counselling to students free of charge.
There are also many counsellors who work outside the university, although these services can cost money.
Counselling outside the university may be provided for free or at a reduced rate with private health insurance coverage.
[~] Private insurance may cover sessions with some categories of professionals who provide counselling, but not others. For example, psychologists may be covered while social workers are not.
[~] Some universities provide private health insurance for students.
[~] Private health insurance can cover the cost of basic Canadian healthcare for visitors, including international students.
[~] Health insurance packages vary, so it is important to check your coverage before using a service you hope your insurance will cover.
Services may be provided free charge by non-profit organizations. For example, the Colchester County Sexual Violence Centre, Antigonish Women’s Centre & Sexual Assault Services, and Avalon Sexual Assault Centre are all non-profit organizations that provide supports for victims/survivors of sexual violence free of charge.