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Site last modified Feb. 21, 2013
Counselling in Toronto: An OverviewIt's easy to get information about specific counsellors in Toronto, but we haven't been able to locate an overview of the counselling profession as a whole in this city.
In fact, given the vast number of practitioners in Toronto and the vast sum of money invested in mental health by government, we were surprised at how difficult it is to acquire this information.
Although we don't have a specific figure for Toronto, we know that in 2004, the Ontario government earmarked "an extra $463 million" for the provision of community mental health services. This is from CBC, which did not report the total amount, only the increase. (We're in process of getting more accurate and current information.)
The Yellow Pages Group is testing a new engine that allows keyword searches. In order to capture both "counselling" and "counsellor," but not "counsel" (which could apply to legal services), we searched for "counsell" and "toronto". Result: 329 entries.
But we know that there are many more counsellors than that in Toronto. The Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists alone has about 800 counsellor members in the city. We're in process of acquiring data for other counselling-related associations. Besides, there are many practitioners who do not belong to any professional organization at all.
Another way to approach this is to ask, how many people in Toronto are using counselling services. We're a long way from acquiring this statistic, but the Ontario government has released a fascinating report called "Population Health Profile: Toronto Central LHIN," citing the rate of hospitalization for mental and behavioural disorders for 2003-04. The rate is 500.3 per 100,000 persons, slightly over half a percent.
NOTE: Rate is age-standardized, i.e., adjusted for variations in population age distributions over time and place. Result is based on inpatient data.
LHIN stands for Local Health Integration Network, a new government initiative to "plan, integrate and fund local health services," including those relating to mental health. Toronto Central is a district that includes part of Toronto, borders on Lake Ontario, and presently includes 1,146,800 people. If the above rate were applied to the current population, it would suggest about 5,700 people were currently being hospitalized for mental or behavioural disorders. (This is hypothetical, but it gives an idea of the extent to which mental health services are being used.)
Given that (a) taxpayer dollars are being pumped into LHINs and (b) governments are typically pressed to justify expenditures, we anticipate that a lot of new data on consumption of health services in Toronto, including counselling, will become available in the near future. As these data become available, we'll report them.
If you are a counsellor and have information you think would be of interest to our visitors, please send us an rather than phoning. We are developing a "Resources" page. We will give credit and provide links to reputable persons and organizations that help us expand this section. However, modifications will be made at our sole discretion, in accordance with the editorial policy of this website.
Kennedy / Eglinton
Avenue / St. Clair
Our CounsellorsNOTE: This section contains information about two of our counsellors. For information about the third counsellor, located in midtown Toronto, please give us a call.
Our president, Howard Halpern, earned his MA in psychology from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. He has been in private practice in Toronto since 1990. He provides the following types of counselling: individual, relationship, couple, marriage, and family. Halpern has received supervision in relationship counselling from a registered psychologist.
We are honoured to count, among the distinguished members of our counselling network, former Toronto radio talk-show host Alan Mayer. A part of our organization since 2000, Alan won an ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) National Radio Award, or Nellie, for Best Program Produced by Private Radio.
Called "Radio Heartbeat," Alan's internationally syndicated show featured interviews with ordinary people who shared extraordinary secrets about the things they cherished most deeply.
Affordable Counselling ® is a network of professional psychotherapists and counsellors. As a member, Alan provides both personal and career counselling.
On June 23, 2006, he was awarded a Certificate of completion respecting 32-hours' training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Alan travelled to Ottawa in order to complete this program. EFT is a short-term, structured approach to counselling. It typically involves 8-20 sessions.
EFT's effectiveness is well-documented in scholarly publications citing a substantial body of scientific research. For details, please call us at 1 866-877-TALK (8255), and we'll let you speak with Alan directly.
Apart from his training as a personal counsellor, Alan holds the highly coveted Career and Work Counsellor Diploma from George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, reputed as the "Harvard" of career counselling.
He is qualified to administer a wide range of career-related assessments and tests. In addition, Alan is a certified leader of the popular True Colors workshop. His professionalism and ethical standards are representative of all our members.
Introduction to CounsellingJust talking seems to help. When people talk, they start to feel better.
Why, then, don't people just talk to their friends? The answer is that friends have emotions relating to the situation, and they don't have training that allows them to keep their own feelings out of the discussion. Even if they did, keeping their own feelings separate would be difficult. This is why therapists generally avoid accepting their friends as clients.
How I Counsel PeopleThe first thing I do is listen to a person talk about his or her concerns. Sometimes people don't have anyone else to talk with. Sharing the burden seems to bring immediate relief.
If the counsellor shares the burden, doesn't this have a negative effect on the counsellor? It can. This is why it is important for the counsellor to know how to detach, so that the client's concerns don't weigh the counsellor down after the session. Detachment does not mean not caring. It means not allowing other people's problems to become one's own. Because I have training in Eastern, as well as Western, psychology, I can do this. Consequently, after more than 20 years of counselling, I am as eager to assume new challenges as when I began.
To be listened to is good. But not good enough. You need to know you've been listened to, heard, and understood. You need to be acknowledged. I acknowledge my clients and communicate to them the fact that they've been heard. I accomplished this through the communication of empathy, a process developed by psychologist Carl Rogers and his followers. I underwent empathy training, attending a series of workshops in the early 70s.
For many, acknowledgement is also not sufficient. "Counselling" comes from the root word "counsel," which means to "advise." Ironically, most counsellors don't counsel. The reasons for this vary. One counsellor expressed concern that if clients followed his advice but did not get expected results, there would be complaints. Other counsellors simply do not like receiving advice themselves and therefore, in fairness, refrain from giving it to others.
I don't give advice to people who don't want it. But I've never met a client who didn't.
When I see a client, usually, by the end of the first session the following things have happened. The client:
Relationship CounsellingCouples like to tell stories. The stories serve a purpose by conveying important information. But they don't generally help me understand what caused the problem. This is accomplished by observing the parties interact. Problems are not caused deliberately. People hurt each other without understanding what they do that causes pain.
My job is to identify the things people do that hurt each other. If they love each other, chances are that once they understand, they will either stop or reduce the offending behaviour to a bearable level. Identifying such behaviour is the most important thing I do.
The second most important thing is to teach the parties to communicate empathy, in other words, do with each other what a good counsellor does with a client. Members of couples listen to each other, but do not communicate the fact that they have listened. From the point of view of the speaker, that's as good as not listening at all.
Fee for Counselling ServicesOur network of counsellors has six professionals whose fees vary according to several criteria (click here for details).
$60.00 the lowest per-session fee offered by the Affordable Counselling ® network.
The following information applies to people who elect to use my services (as opposed to those of another counsellor in my network):
During the initial meeting, you will receive, at minimum, three things:
The above-cited rate applies to all modes of counselling, including that involving relationships, regardless of the number of persons attending. Some ask whether the fee has to be paid by each attendee. The answer is no. The above fee covers all participants. Who pays is immaterial, as long as the agreed-on amount is received.
Here are some key elements of my policy:
When we talk over the phone, you will be given a tentative appointment. We send the policy to you, and you send it back to us. Then, you will have a definite appointment. We reserve the time slot just for you.
To get started, please click here.
The Affordable Counselling ® network includes six professionals. Of these, most offer therapeutic counselling. In this category, the lowest hourly rate is just under $64.00; the highest is $180.00. At the lowest rate, the minimum session length is 1½ hours, resulting in a per-session fee of approximately $95.00. This applies to individuals only (for both therapeutic counselling and career counselling).
The lowest per-session fee for couples is $60.00. This covers 45 minutes, at an hourly rate of $80.00our lowest for couples.
Employment counselling operates under a different fee structure: please call us at 1 866-877-TALK (8255) for details.
There are many factors to consider, including fee, location, counselling style, and professional orientation.
Affordability is a major consideration for most people. When choosing a counsellor, it is helpful to ask yourself whether it is important to receive the lowest per session rate or the lowest hourly rate.
Therapeutic professionals are at various levels of development, and their fees differ according to a several criteria, including the following:
Still not clear on why fees vary, or need help deciding which counsellor is best for you? Please give us a call anytime.
Some members' fees are taxable, in which case 13% HST is charged to Ontario residents. Fees are subject to change without notice.
How To Book an AppointmentBefore we serve you, we will need to talk over the phone. We ask a few questions to make sure you see the counsellor best suited to your situation. Meanwhile, if you prefer to communicate by email, that's fine too.
Please request an appointment in advance. How far in advance? It depends on many factors, some unpredictable, for example, how busy our counsellors are. It is best to call at least one week in advance, although sometimes a session is available within hours. And speaking of hours, appointments are available at our head office in Scarborough from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days. For hours at other locations, please call us at the number below.
Payment is accepted by Interac (debit card or email transfer), Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) card, and cash. If you would like to book an appointment with Howard Halpern in Scarborough (Toronto), please click here for further information.
Our telephone numbers are listed below.
About Affordable CounsellingAffordable Counselling is a network of psychotherapists, counsellors, consultants, and other professionals in greater Toronto. Our mission is to add a little warmth to a cold city and establish a centre of tranquillity amid the din and bustle of urban life.TM
About This WebsiteThe Affordable Counselling site was conceived, written, graphically designed, and HTML-scripted February 4, 1998, by Howard E. Halpern, M.A. (psychology), counsellor, webmaster, and president of Affordable Counselling. The site was developed in response to requests for written information by prospective clientele.
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