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Individual Therapeutic Counselling
Hello Avalon community & collaborative partners/service providers, Friends of Avalon Centre, Service users, and community members. On behalf of the counselling team staff, we want to provide the community with an update regarding accessing counselling services at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre and our service parameters.
Important: How to access therapeutic counselling services at Avalon Centre
Our specialized therapeutic counselling program is available to women & Trans/gender non-identified individuals 16 years and older, who have experienced a recent or historical sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, and/or sexual harassment. We also provide individual information sessions to the non-offending parents of children who have disclosed sexual abuse, and to supportive partners of clients accessing services.
If your call involves a recent assault within the past three months and you would like to speak with an Avalon counsellor, your call will be prioritized and every attempt will be made to return your inquiry within 24 business hours.
- An initial consultation and support session will be offered to you within 7-10 business days. Also, if this call is in regards to a recent sexual assault, we can share with you the phone number for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
We offer 1-10 therapeutic counselling sessions to those who are currently experiencing a heightened time of distress or crisis following a recent sexual assault or are experiencing strong flashbacks and immediate distress stemming from a past sexual violation.
- These ‘Foundations of Safety’ therapeutic counselling sessions are intended to assist people in moving through an immediate crisis. Individuals who have experienced a recent sexual assault are prioritized for Foundations of Safety Sessions, and there is no waitlist for receiving services.
If you have experienced a historical abuse, Avalon therapists try their best to return calls as soon as possible. However, depending upon the volume of service request calls and the number of people coming in for booked sessions, it may not be possible to return your call right away.
- All calls are returned within 72 business hours unless this call is in regards to a recent sexual assault.
- Clients who have experienced a historical abuse, will be offered an initial consultation within 4 – 6 weeks of the counselling request.
- We offer 1 – 20 ‘Relational Healing’ services for those addressing historical sexual abuse and/or past sexual assault.
- Unfortunately, current resource limitations require that we operate with a wait-list for our historical sexual abuse/assault stream of counselling. The length of the wait list varies overtime. The therapist that you meet with for the consultation session will discuss this with you.
- We do offer 1-3 quicker to access bridging sessions to those on the waitlist who are seeking some immediate support in addressing current trauma related triggers and concerns.
We understand that it can be challenging to be placed on a waitlist, and do not want to deter people from calling in to meet with a counsellor. We work hard to ensure each client receives a high level of specialized service.
Avalon Centre’s goal is to ensure that our client population has access to information, support, and specialized counselling services after sexual assault/abuse. Please contact us for information about our programs and services, and for referrals to other appropriate services.
|Avalon Centre’s goal is to ensure that our client population has access to information, support and specialized counselling services after sexual assault/abuse. Please contact us for information about our programs and services, and for referrals to other options and supports.|
Program Parameters and Referral Process
- Counselling services are on a self-referral basis and begin with a client initiated phone contact.
- All callers seeking to speak with an Avalon therapist regarding a recent sexual assault are prioritized and are responded to with 24 business hours (Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m). All other calls are returned within 72 hours (3 business days), depending upon the volume of calls and service requests.
- Individuals who have experienced a recent assault are prioritized for a quick access initial consultation and support session offered within one week of a counselling request.
Individuals seeking crisis phone support through the Counselling Program:
Unfortunately, due to resource limitations, our Counselling Program is not able to operate a dedicated crisis support line and therefore, we are unable to guarantee that a therapist will be available to immediately respond to a crisis call. Those who are feeling very overwhelmed or individuals who unable to keep themselves safe from immediate self-harm, are directed to contact emergency crisis supports including: the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Unit, 911 or proceeding to their hospital emergency departments. We are also unable to provide a same-day emergency or guaranteed “walk-in” appointment service due to the volume of individuals seeking services from the Centre and our small staff base. As we are not able to ensure therapist availability, we ask service providers to inform potential clients that it is best to call in and book an initial consultation session. This helps to protect individuals from undue frustration or discouragement.
Initial Consultation Sessions
Each potential client new to Avalon Centre is provided a consultation session within one to six weeks of their call. The initial consultation session provides support while mutually exploring the fit of our specialized counselling for each individual’s most important current needs. Those who identify a serious present life safety concern including: a harmful or life threatening coping pattern, a mental health difficulty or ongoing violence by a partner, continue to be referred to appropriate specialized services in our community and may re-access our services at a time of greater safety. Individuals who have experienced a recent sexual assault are prioritized for quick access to initial consultation sessions.
Foundation of Safety Sessions
We offer from 1-10 therapeutic counselling sessions for those who are currently experiencing a heightened time of distress or crisis following a recent sexual assault or are experiencing strong flashbacks and immediate distress stemming from past sexual violation. These “foundation of safety” therapeutic counselling sessions are intended to assist people in moving through the immediate crisis. Individuals who have experienced a recent sexual assault are prioritized for Foundation of Safety Sessions.
Relational Trauma Healing Sessions: for Historical Childhood Sexual Abuse and/or Past Sexual Assault
We offer from 1-20 therapeutic counselling sessions for those who have established sufficient emotional safety and support to work through past childhood sexual abuse and/or past sexual assault experiences. Former clients are able to access additional relational healing focused counselling after taking a mandatory break, which allow us to serve others who are waiting to begin.
Wait List: for Relational Trauma Healing Sessions
We currently have a wait list for counselling sessions addressing historical sexual abuse and/or past sexual assault. The length of this waitlist varies over time. We want to validate that it takes much courage in seeking specialized sexual abuse/assault counselling and that having to wait can feel discouraging. We encourage those who are seeking more immediate support and have access to an E.A.P or personal benefit program to consider using this option while continuing on our wait list for this specialized counselling.
Safe Practice Guideline
Avalon Centre therapists are required to follow a Safe Practice Guideline to ensure that sexual abuse/assault focused work is not re-traumatizing to individuals. Our therapists explore key internal and external safety considerations with each individual and may recommend preliminary stabilization with key outside supports prior to, or in concert with, initiating sexual abuse/assault trauma counselling at Avalon Centre.
We offer follow-up sessions to those who have completed Foundations of Safety or Relational Healing focused sessions and are no longer requiring ongoing contact. Follow-up sessions are offered on an individual basis depending upon need and are intended to assist our clients in maintaining the gains they have made. These sessions are spaced out between longer intervals. They can be helpful in supporting a transition phase for practicing skills and integrating new knowledge into daily life while having the reassurance that follow-up contact is available should individuals experience a resurgence of trauma responses. The number of follow-up sessions provided varies according to each person’s needs. Clients can also be offered these sessions during a mandatory break to help maintain the therapeutic connection and a sense of hope and safety.
Information Sessions for Parents and Partners
We offer 1-3 quick to access information and support sessions to the non-offending parents of children/youth. These sessions are intended to help parents understand and respond to the aftermath following disclosure including: validating parents feelings and needs for support, naming possible impacts and trauma responses for both themselves and their child and supporting the healing journey. We also offer an individual or joint information session to partners of clients coming to Avalon Centre to provide education related to the effects of sexual assault/abuse trauma, secondary impacts for partners, and possibilities for supporting healing and recovery.
Groups and Workshops
We presently offer group programs within three broad areas of focus including: ‘Safety Building Foundational Group Programs’, ‘Relational Healing Focused Group Programs’ and ‘Living Fully in Present Life Group Programs’. In a general sense, the safety building foundational programs help prepare people for the relational trauma healing focused programs which in turn help prepare individuals for later stage, living fully in the present programs.
All group programs are co-facilitated by Avalon Centre therapists, which ensures a high standard of safety. Individual counselling sessions are offered as a preparation for group work. Not every person who comes to Avalon Centre for individual counselling chooses to participate in our specialized groups as we understand this work can be more triggering and requires a high level of commitment. Avalon therapists are responsible to take great care when making recommendations for group work to ensure that an adequate level of safety is present. We do not recommend group work when people are in a place of crisis to ensure that this significant step is manageable. Pre-group meetings are offered to each person who is exploring whether a group program may be a good fit at this time in their healing process and lives. For more information regarding our group programs, please inquire with your individual therapist at Avalon.
There is no fee for individual counselling sessions at Avalon Centre. We do require a minimum of 24 hours notice for cancellations so that we can offer this time to another client who is waiting for our specialized counselling services. We really appreciate everyone’s cooperation to ensure that as many people receive services as possible.
Download: Counselling Brouchure