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About Counselling

How does the counselling process really work? Is it all about how “bad and mad” I am?

Counselling is a process whereby a person in a safe, private and confidential place has the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about all areas of life. People often feel stuck when they seek counselling. Counselling can be an effective and insightful tool to help a person better understand their style of problem solving, decision making and the consequences of those choices. Through counselling, the person will be equipped with new skills and become more resourceful in dealing with their presenting issues. Sometimes, adopting a different way of thinking or viewing the situation can help us feel unstuck and free to make more favourable life choices.

What are the key elements so I can determine that counselling is effective for me?

Research and clinical experience universally highlight the significance of the client-counsellor relationship. Our counselling model focuses on building a relationship with the client first and foremost.We do not rush to judgment and make a quick assessment on what is wrong but instead we keep focusing on what more do we need to share and gain insight on? Thus, if our client experiences unconditional positive regard, genuine empathy, active listening, cultural sensitivity and a sense of collaboration from our counsellor, then the challenging work ahead has been greatly reduced. We believe that under the right therapeutic conditions, the client will feel empowered and aware of the challenging steps they need to take to be able to live meaningfully and have the courage to take those steps forwards.

What activities can I do during my counselling experience to assist me in achieving my goals I set in counselling?

We encourage our clients to work on the following positive behaviours as it may take some time before a good mood arises. Those good behaviours include: daily 30 minute brisk walking, walking and talking with someone to share your thoughts (our brains work better when we walk and talk), being mindful of diet and sleep, daily journal writing, and each night before bed spending ten minutes with an attitude of gratitude for the things in life that you have experienced. We will share many more techniques in counselling that also relate to your specific concerns that are CBT and positive psychology based.

Can counselling be a quick fix?

Counselling is almost always never a quick fix.Professional and effective counselling is a process that requires going through six key stages ,(pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and relapse/aftercare), before change and sustainment of that change can occur. Every client has their own pace to open up, listen, learn, experiment and change and we make sure the counselling pace is just the right mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

How is it in a counselling room? Do I get to lay down on a couch and talk like they portray it in the movies?

Our counselling rooms are well known in Hong Kong for their abundance of warmth, flowers, plants, art work and comfortable, modern furniture. Not all rooms have couches and today it is quite normal for clients to sit in a chair or couch and pursue their well-being goals.

Is there a limit to the number of counselling sessions I can attend?

We do not place any limitations on a person who desires to seek health and well-being at our counselling service.

How often do I see a counsellor?

There are several factors we consider when setting the frequency of your appointment,. For some clients, it is weekly, whilst for others, it is twice a month.

Are there handouts and materials received from counselling?

We believe that when assigned readings, homework and other self-development materials are given, there is a greater chance of sustaining new and healthy behaviours.

Fees and Payment

How can fees be paid?

Payment for the counselling session can be by cash, personal cheque, credit card (VISA or MASTERCARD) and EPS.

Do you accept insurance?

All counselling sessions require the client to pay for the counselling sessions. Some insurance providers accept psychotherapy provided by registered psychologists. Clients should contact their insurance company to inquire on their benefits and reimbursement procedures for counselling.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Do you ever release information about me and our counselling sessions to my employer, my family, or friends?

A counsellor will disclose only information with the written permission of the client, or which is required by legal or ethical mandates. The same principles of client confidentiality shall apply to group, marital and family therapy, bearing in mind the problems of keeping confidentiality in these modes. Marital, family or group members are encouraged to keep a contract of confidentiality with one another. Both SJCCS clinical supervisors and supervisees are required to maintain confidentiality, having first explained this to the client.

Counsellors accept the limitations of confidentiality when human life is endangered as stated in SJCCS Duty to Care and Self-Harm policies. Disclosure will be necessary first to the Director if there is a threat to any person in the case of suicide, homicide, and/or the abuse of children, elders, and dependent persons. Protective action should be taken when the counsellor has:

  • reasonable suspicion that a minor (under 18 years), older person (over 65), or dependent adult has been harmed by the client; or
  • direct or implied client admissions of harmful acts or threatened action that is serious, imminent, and attainable against a clearly identified person(s).

Disclosure in situations, as described above, shall be made to the Director of SJCCS, and if and when appropriate, to the intended victim, to their family or friends, and/or to law enforcement personnel. In the case of child abuse, the counsellor and Director shall report to child protective services or any other designated agency established for protective services.

If a supporting letter is required from my employer or insurance company and I approve of this action, can I see this letter before it is released?

Any and all supporting letters and/or documents requested by our clients requires a signed consent form and once processed, any and all supporting documents are only given to the client for his or her use.

Setting an Appointment

Can I walk in anytime to see a counsellor?

All counselling sessions are by appointment only, we do not have stand-by counsellors for walk-in. You can call 2525 7207, or email or complete an intake form here.

How long is each appointment?

Counselling sessions are fifty (50) minutes in duration, some relationship, couple and/or family counselling sessions can be as long as ninety (90) minutes each.

Does the receptionist make appointments for the counsellor and client?

Each counsellor is solely responsible for setting the appointment for a client. The counsellor will always coordinate with the client for the appointment date and time.

Is there a fee charged for a late cancellation or not showing up for an appointment?

We understand that sometimes there are unplanned events that cause a change in our daily schedule. We require 24 hours notice for all appointment cancellations. Those who fail to cancel their appointments without giving 24 hour notice or do not show up for an appointment are charged the full fee for that missed appointment. Special circumstances can allow a waiver to the cancellation fee.

What if I need to make an urgent appointment because I am in crisis or an emergency?

We do not provide emergency or crisis counselling services. Individuals are encouraged to attend to their urgent counselling needs by visiting the nearest hospital A&E, medical clinic or calling 999 for emergency support services. Please refer to helpful links for information.