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    What can counselling do for me?

    Often people need someone outside themselves and their situation to help them gain perspective. A counsellor can provide expertise regarding the situations with which they are having problems.

    Sometimes it helps to think of the counsellor as a facilitator of improved relationships, enhanced communications skills and a guide for personal growth. At times the counselor is like a fitness trainer or a dance instructor, the counsellors' experience in behavior analysis, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and effective communication allows them to give expert feedback, correction and direction.

    At other times the counsellor is like that teacher who provides a great environment for learning but allows you to discover the answer for yourself. Counsellors also model healthy relational skills as a way of both teaching these skills, and creating a safe environment. This safety with your counsellor is a critical ingredient for you to be heard and understood in the areas of your life where you need it the most. Like a good fitness trainer who understands your injuries and your weakness and focuses their effort into helping you heal and become physically fit, the counsellor understands where your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and relational skills need to be changed in order to help you attain you treatment goals.

    Prospective clients should keep in mind that like any skill or goal, personal change and growth requires time and hard work. Sometimes this work is uncomfortable. People who continue with the process often experience increases in confidence and in the quality of their relationships. These changes often lead to a higher level of life contentment and success.
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    Will my benefits cover counselling?

    This depends on your insurance provider. Please check with your provider to see if they cover the services of a Registered Professional Counsellor.

    Tax deductable receipts for payment are provided at the end of each session. These can be submitted to your provider when you request reimbursement.
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    How can talk help?

    This is a great question. We spend our lives talking with many people and change doesn't always seem to happen. In the counselling process the counsellor encourages you to talk about the parts of your life story that would be difficult or unacceptable to talk about with most other people.

    In order to create a safe place for you, the counsellor must always value you as a unique irreplaceable person. The counsellor may be concerned about your thoughts, disagree with your actions, and dislike your words but they must find a place to value and encourage and respect your humanity. The counsellor must also believe in your ability to grow and change.

    When this safety is created the counsellor is also able to provide expert feedback, coaching, and training from new perspective. No matter what the skill is, people take time to change and develop.

    In counselling one of the activities that helps change is learning to build healthy relationships.

    The interaction with your counsellor is relational and for many people this relational experience becomes (for a time) one of their safest relationships. Talking combined with listening and non verbal communication is how this and almost every relationship is created and developed.
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    What is CBT?

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that seeks to understand how an individual's thoughts, emotions, and beliefs directly affects his or her behavior and what they believe to be true about themselves, people, and events around them. Sometimes people have thoughts, beliefs and emotions that seem to be real and reasonable to them but they cause significant distress in the individual's life.

    Upon closer examination it can often be determined that these "ideas" that people have are not completely true. A common example of this can be seen in phobias, people without phobias can easily see that not every instance of a particular stimuli (for example spiders) is worthy of panic attack. Some people believe that everyone should like them or others believe that they should experience immediate success with any activity or skill.

    Some unreasonable beliefs are more subtle and require more training and experience to recognise. Nevertheless, when we believe something to be real when it is not or vice versa this belief can often be very distressing. Understanding, challenging and replacing these beliefs with reality can often provide relief and transformation for the client.
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    How does prayer help?

    Prayer introduces the power of God into your healing and change process. One of the criticisms of cognitive behavioral therapy is that being aware of irrational or unhealthy thought does not make it easy to stop thinking or acting on that thought pattern. There are of course extensive exercises techniques that can help the client work out the change they need.

    With prayer there is still much work to be done in creating change, however, God's power to renew our mind (Romans 12:2) is introduced. After people pray they often experience the sense that they are getting more out of their work on change than they would expect. Some people feel lighter and some people feel a greater sense of freedom.
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    What does the prayer experience look like?

    Client prayers are written jointly by the counsellor and the client. The counsellor will suggest a focus for the prayer and provide phrasing and biblical references. The client provides honest responses to how they are feeling and responding to the topic, phrasing, and biblical references as they are writing them down.

    As the process continues the counsellor and client find a fit in the words that make the prayer very personal. This can sometime take more than one session. When the prayer is complete sometimes the counsellor will suggest finding a prayer partner or may know someone who is available.

    Often due to time constraints praying the prayer may take place in the next session. The counsellor usually opens the healing prayer session with a prayer; the client will then pray their prayer. Afterwards the counsellor will pray a prayer of blessing specifically for the client and their needs as reflected in the prayer. For clients who wish to participate in communion the elements are available to be served.
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    What can I expect on my first session?

    Introduction: Session 1 :

    Please come prepared to complete basic intake forms that are used to keep record of personal information. After a friendly greeting and collecting the forms, Chester usually will start the session with a short prayer. He then reviews his professional commitment to the client's confidentiality and the most common exceptions to confidentiality.

    Chester then summarizes the process that he uses in counselling. These include history taking, identifying and changing dysfunctional thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, as well as reviewing relationship/communication skills and prayer. Chester then asks the client why they have come.

    Gathering info and getting to know: Session 1 to 3

    Chester gathers information about the client's situation and history. Usually the significant relationships such as spouses, children, sibling and parents are discussed. As required extended family relationships, work, and social relationships may also be discussed. This helps Chester develop a picture of how the client participates in those relationship and what types of difficulties might exist.

    Feedback and mutual agreed course of treatment: Session 3

    Chester will provide the client with feedback on the most important challenges and suggest a course of treatment. Treatments include prayers, understanding personal patterns, practicing new patterns, modeling relational skills within the counselling relationship, communication skills teaching and practice. Assignments may also be given.

    Ongoing treatment: Sessions as required.

    Completion of treatment:

    Treatment is complete when the client has accomplished the goals of treatment.
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    What is a Registered Professional Counsellor?

    Registered Professional counsellors may have different levels of formal education; however, all are recognised by the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association for "demonstrated knowledge of counselling modalities, supervised experience, [and] natural ability specific to their chosen scope of practice.

    Within that therapeutic framework, these professionals effectively and efficiently assess client needs, develop and maintain a therapeutic alliance, employ appropriate counselling interventions, and manage client cases. Additionally, our counsellors are committed to continued professional development, excellence in communication skills, and purposeful self-care and wellness practices."

    CPCA. (2013). Counselling Profile. Retrieved from:
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    Who needs a counsellor?

    Anyone with an abuse history (physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual or other abuse) needs help processing and resolving their memories, beliefs and relational patterns. Anyone in heighted and sustained emotional condition or dysfunction such as depression or anxiety. Anyone who has anger (theirs or someone's) that is causing pain and negativity in their relationships. Any couple that can't seem to get past arguing and misunderstanding each other.

    Anyone who has tried to change and somehow can't seem to change. Anyone who cannot obtain reasonable personal and relational goals (relative to their age and experience) may need help understanding why they are blocked. If you tried the self help books and everything else that you could think of any you still are struggling with change it's time to take the next step and find someone to help you attain your emotional and relational goals.
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    Will what I say be kept confidential?

    The counsellor is always committed to protecting your privacy. This is part of what makes the counselling relationship safe. However there are circumstances where the counsellor may be required to reveal confidential information. These include (but are not limited to):

    • revealing clear intent to harm yourself or someone else • revealing that child abuse or neglect is suspected • your treatment records can requested by subpoena for legal proceedings. When permission is given by the client counselors may also consult other counselors to discuss best treatment practices for individual situations. For more information about exceptions to confidentiality please review check out the links below.
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    How will the therapist’s beliefs affect me? Do you need to be Christian to see Chester?

    The truth is the therapists' beliefs always have an effect on the counselling process. One of the therapists most important jobs to recognise this and take appropriate steps to ensure that the client is not unduly influenced or compelled to accept beliefs and actions that they are not comfortable with.

    Chester approaches this problem by simply stating, "I have my beliefs and you have yours, let us listen and discover what the other thinks." Chester endeavors to speak and listen from the heart. Although the parties in a conversation may disagree each one needs to be heard without judgment or condemnation. They must be free to choose their thoughts, actions, and words without fear of any form of coercion. From this perspective Chester is willing and able to speak with people from any background.
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    How long will counselling take?

    Counselling can be brief if the client is successfully achieving their treatment goals. However it is more common to see treatment goals take longer. Often clients have spent many years becoming the way they are and it takes time to change.

    Learning to communicate or relate better or even learning to be less anxious or angry is like learning a skill such as dance or gymnastics, or attaining a fit body with little prior fitness experience. These and other similar skills are worthwhile achievements but they take time practice and commitment to improvement.

Search well and be wise, nor believe that self-willed pride will ever be better than good counsel.

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

Words are the physicians of a mind diseased.

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Proverbs 15:22

By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10