Feeling down, stressed or anxious? Maybe you just need to talk to someone. Our mental health therapists offer short-term, solution-focused counselling, as well as referrals to longer-term community resources.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis
Please contact Wellness Services at 403-320-3289 or the Employee Assistance Program (1-800-387-4765). You can also call the Distress Line of Southwestern Alberta (1-888-787-2880).
Employee and Family Assistance Program
A confidential support service, the Employee and Family Assistance Program from Lifeworks is intended to provide college employees and their families with a broad range of work, professional, family and individual supports.
We know it’s challenging to find the right balance between work and life. And we know we can all use a little support from time to time. Through workhealthlife, you have access to a variety of reading and self-help materials as well as professional assistance for:
- legal concerns
- financial concerns
- nutrition and dietary counselling
- career coaching
- enhancing your relationship
- separation and divorce
- elder care support
Use the appointment guide to book your face-to-face, online or phone counselling session or download the MyEAP app for quick, convenient access to counselling services as well as general health and wellness information.
For further information on your EFAP, drop by Human Resources (PA1120) or phone 403-320-3378.
At Lethbridge College Wellness Services, counselling involves collaborative meetings between a mental health therapist and a student. The therapist and the student work together to identify individualized goals and create a plan to address problems in the student’s life. Counselling could involve learning new coping skills, gaining self-awareness, or changing unhelpful behaviour patterns, among many other things. Overall, counselling is intended to improve the student’s wellbeing and quality of life.
Our counsellors can help you address your concerns, no matter where you are on the Mental Health Continuum. There are many reasons students may choose to seek counselling. Some common reasons include:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Eating and body image concerns
- Relationship difficulties
- Sexual assault
- Questions about sexual orientation or gender identity
- Loneliness and isolation
Like a close friend, a counsellor is a caring person who can listen and support you with what is happening in your life. However, unlike a friendship, the counselling relationship is all about you! While a counsellor may occasionally share some things about their life, the counselling relationship does not involve the usual back-and-forth of a friendship. Your counsellor will focus all their attention on supporting you and guiding you in creating change. Unlike many friends, counsellors do not offer advice or tell you what to do with your life. Instead, your counsellor will use their specialized training to help you take on new perspectives and reach your goals in the way that best suits your needs.
Like your academic success, counselling requires dedication. For counselling to be effective, it is important to be open to the process and build a trusting relationship with your therapist. When you find the courage to step out of your comfort zone, you and your counsellor can work together to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
It’s free! Counselling, workshops, and group sessions at Wellness Services can be accessed free of charge by all registered Lethbridge College students.
The Counselling Process
- First, you’ll reach out to our intake coordinator via email at email@example.com to express your interest in counselling.
- The intake coordinator will send you some documents to complete and you will be scheduled for a 15-minute phone intake, during which we will ask you some questions to learn more about you, your reasons for coming to counselling, and your goals.
- If counselling seems like a good fit for you, you will be scheduled with one of our Mental Health Therapists and asked to complete some initial consent forms and answer questions as part of the CCAPS.
- Soon it will be time to attend your first counselling session at Wellness Services!
- You can expect to do most of the talking when you meet with your counsellor.
- In your first session in particular, your counsellor will probably ask brief, clarifying questions to gain understanding of the concerns that brought you to counselling.
- They may also ask typical assessment questions about your symptoms, medication(s), past counselling, or drug and alcohol use.
- Your counsellor will evaluate your needs, work with you to establish specific goals, and help to identify possible strategies for making change in your work together.
- What happens in subsequent sessions will depend on your individualized goals and the plan that you and your counsellor have established to meet those goals!
Individual counselling sessions at Wellness Services generally last for 50 minutes. Sessions may vary in length depending on the student’s needs.
Wellness Services has a tight-knit team of Mental Health Therapists who are committed to continually developing their skills to best support Lethbridge College students. You can find more about our counsellors under the Meet Our Staff section of the Wellness Services website!
- It is important for you to be an active participant in your counselling journey. What you get out of the counselling experience is largely up to you.
- It is expected that you will be honest with your counsellor, that you will work collaboratively to establish your goals for therapy, and that you will be willing to work toward meeting those goals by completing mutually agreed upon tasks.
- For safety and consent purposes, you cannot attend sessions while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If it becomes apparent that your judgment is impacted by a substance, your counsellor may end the current session and ask to reschedule.
Absolutely not! We understand that opening up can be scary. Your story and your information belong to you, and you only need to share what you feel comfortable sharing in your counselling sessions.
It is completely normal to experience a variety of feelings after a counselling session. Counselling is meant to challenge you, and as you begin to try out new ways of thinking you may find yourself feeling annoyed, tired, or upset. Other times you may feel much lighter, more hopeful, and refreshed. Change can be uncomfortable and difficult in the short-term, but it is usually positive in the long-term. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to talk to your counsellor.
- Our counsellors offer short-term counselling. You and your counsellor can work together to determine the amount of support you need.
- Individual sessions are usually scheduled once every two to four weeks, but you and your counsellor may decide to meet more or less frequently depending on your individual needs.
- If you require long-term counselling support, our counsellors or our intake coordinator will help connect you with the appropriate supports in the community.
- Our counsellors use many different types of therapies, and the approaches used may vary between counsellors. We have training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Feminist Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Positive Psychology, Process-Oriented therapy, and Mindfulness-based approaches.
- Your counsellor may invite you to experiment with a variety of techniques to find what works best for you. If you have any questions or do not feel comfortable practicing certain exercises, it is important to let your counsellor know. You always have the right to stop any exercise at any time during any session.
- We understand that the school year can be busy! If you need to cancel or reschedule your counselling appointment, you can connect with our intake coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We request that you give us as much notice as possible if you are unable to attend your appointment.
- Please note that if you are more than 15 minutes late for any appointment, your session will be cancelled, and you will be asked to reschedule.
- At Wellness Services, it’s important to us that you feel safe with your counsellor. If you realize that you and your counsellor are not a good fit or that your needs are not being met, you have the right to request a referral to another counsellor. You are always invited to talk to your counsellor about connecting you to other supports that may better suit your needs.
- Your counsellor also has a right to feel safe in their work and request that your care be transferred. While this is a rare occurrence, this may happen if the counsellor believes their personal values, experiences, or reactions will interfere with their ability to provide you with the best possible care.
- If you believe that your counsellor will not be willing to hear and respond to your concerns, or that they behaved unethically, you can contact Carmen Guenther, the Manager of Wellness Services, at 403-320-3289 or email@example.com. We take every criticism and suggestion seriously and will be sure to respond with care and respect.
Privacy, Confidentiality, and Your File
- As professional counsellors, we are bound by strict rules of confidentiality and take many steps to protect your privacy.
- We rarely provide detailed information about a student’s situation and cannot confirm if they are a client with our office.
- We cannot speak to your friends, parents, teachers, etc. without your permission. If you would like us to share your information with other people, such as an academic advisor or a doctor, you must give us written permission.
- You have the right to change your mind and revoke that permission at any time.
Your counsellor is legally obligated to break confidentiality if:
- You are in imminent danger of harming yourself;
- You will harm another person;
- A child is being abused, neglected, or is a witness of abuse;
- A dependent adult is being harmed or abused;
- An animal is being harmed or abused; or
- Your file is subpoenaed.
- In some situations, you may wish for your counsellor to share information with others to expand your care team.
- By signing a Release of Information Form, you authorize Counselling Services to release information about you or your situation to a specific recipient. For example:
- To another agency for referral purposes, or
- To your counsellor to enable them to discuss your situation with another individual or agency.
- In these instances, your counsellor will only share the information that is necessary for continuation of care. You have the right to see any letter written by your counsellor before they are shared with other agencies or departments.
- Please note that others may not be bound by the same confidentiality rules as the counsellors at Lethbridge College Wellness Services. If you have any concerns about the nature of information being shared, please discuss it with your counsellor.
- Wellness Services utilizes electronic medical record systems called MedAccess and CognisantMD Ocean. These systems are on a designated secure internal server accessible only on office computers of staff at Lethbridge College Wellness Services. Computers are locked in offices and are password protected.
- When you complete the intake documents, a file will be created on MedAccess. Your file will include:
- Your intake forms
- All consent forms
- Assessments/tests (e.g., CCAPS)
- Between session communications (e.g., emails, phone conversations)
- Copies of any letters written on your behalf
- Session notes
- Consultation/supervision notes
- Case files from previous counselling contact if you are a returning client. Please note, if you are a returning client, your former file will continue to exist as outlined in your previous informed consent document.
- You have access to your file and may request it at any time. It is important to note that up to 30 days are required for copying files.
- A file is officially closed when you and/or the counsellor agree you don’t need to attend sessions anymore.
- Your file will also be closed if, following initial contact with us, we have not heard from you for a period of 30 days.
- Files will be destroyed after 10 years unless otherwise required by the Limitations Act of Canada.
- Your counsellor is part of a professional association that has rules about how they can interact with clients. A counsellor cannot:
- Be your therapist if they are related to you or if they are your friend;
- Be your supervisor, teacher, or evaluator while engaged in counselling with you;
- Have any kind of romantic or sexual relationship with a former or current client, or with any people close to the client;
- Have any other kind of business relationship with you besides the therapy itself; or
- Give or receive gifts from clients except tokens with personal meaning to the therapy process.
Our counsellors are dedicated to being present at a variety of events on campus, so you will likely see them outside of your counselling sessions. To protect your confidentiality, your counsellor will not approach you if they see you on campus or in the community. Of course, you are welcome to say hello and initiate an interaction if you feel safe to do so.
- When you request access to counselling services, you will complete our intake form. On that form, you can indicate if it’s okay for our office to contact you via phone or email. If it is, we may contact you in these ways.
- Phone – if your counsellor, our intake coordinator, or our admin team is phoning you, their name and extension number may appear on your phone.
- Email – please be aware that email is not completely confidential. Any email received or sent to your counsellor will be kept in your file.
Letters of Support
- Sometimes students experience extreme circumstances which are beyond their control and impact academic performance. In these situations, your professor or advisor may refer you to Wellness Services for a “letter of support” for accommodations due to a personal problem.
- The counsellor’s role in this process is to work with the student to:
- Explore and assess the student’s personal and academic situation,
- Explore all options available to the student, and
- Decide if they deem that the student’s request for a letter of support warrants consideration.
- If the counsellor agrees to write a letter of support, the student will need to complete a release of information form, allowing their counsellor to write the letter. It is the responsibility of the student to meet with their advisor or the involved faculty member to give them the letter, complete any additional paperwork, and to work out the details of the accommodation.
- The letter in no way guarantees that the student will be granted the accommodation, but simply argues that, in the counsellor’s professional opinion, the request warrants consideration.