Feeling the need for some extra support? Why counselling? Break-ups, hetero-normativity, aging, shame, stigma, body-image, relationships, coming-out and balancing culture and sexuality. Life as a gay man can be complex, and at times, overwhelming. For many, reaching out for support from a professional could make a big difference! A counsellor is a mental health professional trained in psychology and counselling techniques who is dedicated to creating an environment that is safe for you to talk, learn and explore challenging topics. For many, the idea of counselling can be intimidating, but often, talking to someone and having their expert perspective can lead to positive changes of mood, improvement in physical symptoms and shift your understanding of relationships with yourself and others. Counselling can provide insight, tools, guidance and information in a way that is sex-positive, non-judgemental, and affirming. Counselling at HIM: Counselling with HIM connects you with a therapist who has professional counselling, psychology or other related credentials. Our volunteer professional counsellors are registered mental health practitioners (Social workers, Counsellors, psychologists and registered interns) who employ a variety of styles of psychological interventions. HIM counsellors have lived experience or prior professional experience working with gay communities. Our counsellors aim to create a safe, welcoming environment where you can explore whatever is troubling your psychological/emotional well-being. Please note, that the HIM Volunteer counselling program is designed to support people who have low annual income or are otherwise marginalized. If your annual income is high, we are happy to provide you with a referral to see a counsellor through our HIM Helps Program, or another referral to a well-trusted counsellor in private practice. What topics are frequently addressed in counselling: Counsellors can work with many topics, but tend to be experts in working with certain topics and themes known to affect mental health. Counsellors work closely with you in some of the following ways:
How is the service structured? Counselling with HIM is 8 sessions (approximately one hour long) scheduled weekly. The process begins with an intake interview with a HIM staff or intern. The intake interview is a chance for you to talk about what you want to accomplish in your 8 sessions. After the intake interview there will be a waiting period which is usually about 8 weeks. When a counsellor is available, you will be matched with someone who matches your availability and/or preferences (when possible). Once you have made a connection with your counsellor, your session will be scheduled with HIM health centre receptionists and your counsellor. Your sessions will conclude within 8-10 sessions and your counsellor will help you connect to other services that match your needs. You are eligible for the counselling program approximately once per year. If you would like to star the process, or learn more about counselling contact the HIM office: Call: (604) 488-1001 Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I need to talk to someone immediately? If you are in need of counselling sooner than we can offer, there are some programs that might meet your needs. However, most programs have an approximate 8-16 week wait. If you are able to pay for counselling, you can use the resource on this website to connect with a counsellor that is connected with HIM. Click Here To Get Started What if I need to reschedule a session? We understand the need for being flexible with scheduling. We ask you to respect the time of our volunteer staff by letting us know about schedule changes as early as passible. Missing a session or not providing at least 24 hours notice for a schedule change may result in the loss of that session. What if I need more than 8 sessions? It is understandable that you might wish to continue with your counsellor at HIM and your counsellor may provide an additional two sessions if the need is great. The reason that HIM has an 8-10 session guideline is to keep the service available to more people over the year. In some cases, you can continue with your counsellor in their private practice (if they practice privately). What if I have a complaint or want to give feedback? You are welcome to make a complaint or give feedback at any time throughout your counselling program without repercussions or consequences. We will do our best to respond to your feedback in a way that supports your needs and preferences. If you would like to make a complaint or provide feedback, please contact: HIM program manager: Aaron@checkhimout.ca , or HIM executive director: Greg@checkhimout.ca What about confidentiality? You get to choose how much or little you share with your counsellor, though counselling works best when you share fully, openly, and honestly. Our counsellors are skilled at creating a safe and supportive space where no subject is off limits, and confidentiality is an important factor here. Our counsellors follow the current standards of practice for confidentiality in BC, and any documents about you are filed under a coded ID number, and stored with utmost security. There are a few specific circumstances where confidentiality might be broken. This would happen when:
A court issues a request for information.
Are you ready to make a change? Why coaching? Working with a coach can help you discover and clarify what you want to achieve and increase your chance of success by empowering you generate your own unique solutions and approaches. Coaches don’t give advice, share their opinions, or tell clients what to do. Through expert facilitation, listening and questioning, coaches help each client find balance between who you are (your values, beliefs, and desires), and what you do (your actions, behaviours, and performance). When all of these elements are understood and in alignment, making the change you want suddenly doesn’t seem so hard. That is why coaching works. Who are the coaches? HIM has identified various coaches who have the lived and professional experience to provide coaching for queer men. Our list of trusted coaches offers a variety of ages, ethnicities, languages, professions, experiences, personalities, skills and experiences. If you’re interested in figuring out which coach might be a right fit for you, please view our list of recommended coaches. What types of topics are suitable for coaching? Coaching can help increase awareness and understanding of virtually any topic. The most common areas we coach on include:
How does coaching look like? Coaching isn’t a quick fix. Making real and lasting change takes time, and your choice to work with a coach is a commitment. Most of the time with the coach is spent in discussion; exploring solutions, alternatives, potential outcomes, barriers to change, and connecting the client with their intrinsic motivation to succeed. At the end of each session, the client and coach typically collaborate to develop a plan of action and specific ‘homework’ objectives for the client to work on between sessions. Sessions are typically scheduled one or two weeks apart, to allow the client time to be in action and make progress on their goal. How can I connect with a coach? HIM offers a list of trusted coaches available on this website, where you can learn more about the coaches’ approach, experience, style, and other relevant information. Once you have gone through this information, you can contact the coaches that feel like a better fit for you. Coaches have different rates for their services. Please not that HIM makes a recommendation but is not involved in the process of coaching anymore.
What is the difference between counselling and coaching? Coaching Coaching helps a client tap into their own answers, values, and motivations. The process of coaching remains grounded in the present (what is going on right now) while exploring the many possibilities of the future. In coaching, the client owns the agenda, approach, action plan, and results. Counseling Counselling focuses on emotional difficulties, traumatic past events, and certain conditions, which show up both physically and emotionally. A counselor promotes psychological change based on well-researched therapies.
What if I have a complaint or want to give feedback? We ask all clients to support us in continually improving our trusted practitioners list, and let us know how their coaching experience went with a recommended coach, if they wish to do so. You’re welcome to submit your thoughts and comments to the HIM program specialist (Alvaro Luna, email@example.com). We’re ready to listen to any and all feedback you have, with out consequences, judgments or repercussions.
Want to connect with a counsellor? HIM wants to make that connection easier! In fall of 2017 HIM launched the HIM Helps Program. The HIM Helps program offers reduced-cost counselling to gay, bi, queer, trans, two-spirit and other guys into guys. This confidential and professional program is ideal for people with medium to high annual income, or people with insurance coverage. The HIM Helps program was created to:
HIM has offered the use of the Davie Health Centre to certain trusted counsellors free of charge. In exchange, the counsellors will work with guys for a rate between $50-80 per session. HIM Helps counsellors are mental health professionals with a minimum of a master’s degree, professional liability insurance, and registration with a registered professional association, and/or college. These counsellors may be: Registered Social Workers (RSW), Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC), Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC) and/or Registered Psychologists (RPsych). All HIM Helps counsellors have their own areas of expertise, but all are skilled and experienced when it comes to working with gay/bi/queer/trans and other guys into guys. If this program seems like it might be a good fit for you, and you are curious to get the ball rolling, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-488-1001
Why does HIM offer this program instead of offering free counselling to everyone? Over the last three years, interest in mental health programs and counselling has increased significantly. With increased interest, there are noticeably longer wait-times for the HIM Volunteer professional counselling program. The HIM Helps program was designed to offer an alternative, and a “middle of the road” option for guys who can afford to pay something for counselling (but perhaps not $120-$150 per session). By offering this program, HIM is able to support more folks and making sure that people are able to access programs that match their income. Can I use my insurance coverage to cover my HIM Helps counselling sessions? Yes! As opposed to our Volunteer Professional counselling program, HIM Helps counsellors can also issue receipts which can be claimed through extended health insurance plans, which helps you get the most out of your insurance plan. What if I want to see my counsellor for a long time? Since July 2019, we started offering 8-10 sessions under this program to allow space for new folks to come in. This means that if you participate in this program, you can see your counsellor for that period, and then if you feel a good connection with them, you can arrange long term counselling through their private practices. How do I know how much I have to pay?
How much will I pay if the counselling is for myself and my partner(s)?
We can offer relationship counselling in both the HIM Helps, and Professional Volunteer counselling program with limited availability. Many of our counsellors are trained in relationship counselling, though not all of our counsellors are available to work with couples all of the time. Please note, we use the term “relationship counselling” to create space for relationships that involve more than two people.
When counselling is for more than one person, the sessions are sometimes longer and there is often more work to be done during and in-between sessions. This means that the cost for relationship counselling is usually higher than individual counselling (Average rates for couples counselling is $180 per session).
Rates will be calculated by the following scale:
If the couple has insurance coverage from one or both members of the couple, the rate will be $120 per session.
What if my income is higher than $55,000 per year, and I still want to access the HIM Helps Program? We know that Vancouver is expensive, and so the answer to this question may be negotiable. We will do all that we can to make sure that you can access counselling when you need it. However, if your annual income is high, and you have insurance, the HIM Helps program may not be for you. HIM Helps counsellors are willing to offer the reduced rate counselling to those who need the opportunity. Our network of counsellors at HIM is strong, and we would be more than happy to help you locate a counsellor who will work with you in their private practice. In fact, you might want to check out our list of trusted counsellors/practitioners here Will I be paying HIM, or the counsellor? 100% of the fee that the counsellor charges will go to the counsellor. HIM takes no money for this program. Instead, we offer our lovely counselling rooms at no cost the counsellor in exchange for their charging a reduced rate. You will receive invoices and receipts directly from your counsellor. What if I don’t feel a good connection with my counsellor? No worries, this happens! We encourage you to speak about this with your counsellor first, and following this, HIM can help you connect with another counsellor. If you are not comfortable speaking about this with your counsellor, you can contact HIM to be re-directed to another counsellor.