Greater Victoria Citizens Counselling Centre
Our Impact Why We Exist
It is estimated that at least 20% of the general population live with a debilitating mental illness. A great many more struggle with mild to severe depression, anxiety and stress. Many suffer to the point that their ability to work, parent, learn, engage in their community or even entertain the thought of living a life with some contentment is beyond their grasp.
We help to relieve this suffering.
The Greater Victoria Citizens’ Counselling Centre was born from our belief that every person has the right to a socially and psychologically satisfying life. We also believe that counselling can have significant effects in a person’s ability to break through the emotional and psychological barriers that are between them and such a life. We believe this because we see it happen every day.
Citizens’ Counselling exists to assist all people in accessing quality counselling services, regardless of ability to pay. We believe that people are resourceful and capable of making choices and decisions for themselves and if supported by their community, they are better able to make healthy choices for their lives and the lives of their families.
The impact of our work is felt not only in the lives of our clients, but in the lives of their parents and teachers, their children, their partners, employers and their community. Our impact is also felt in the community capacity that we add with our training and mentoring programs. Our trainees often refer to their experience in our training program as life-changing. We would describe our graduates as active, concerned and engaged community members.
We exist because we believe that our community is a happier, healthier place when quality counselling is available - for everyone. We also believe that these experiences add to the client’s and the counsellor’s ability to actively engage with their community.
Our Story What We Do
Way back, in 1969, a few caring, passionate people sat around a kitchen table and said what if…
The vision they shared was a community that had the capacity to provide quality emotional support to each other when life’s challenges presented themselves. The vision was, and still is, a resilient, supportive and inclusive community.
Every year we provide counselling to over 1,200 people in Greater Victoria. Almost one third of our clients are young adults (18-29), and a growing number are seniors. Over 70% of our clients are at or below the poverty line.
Over 85% of our clients say that their lives are better because of the services that we have provided.
The Centre provides two services to our community.
First and foremost, we offer quality, affordable counselling. We offer individual, couples, and group counselling to youth and adult residents of Greater Victoria. Counselling is available days, evenings and weekends in a safe and comfortable environment. All of our direct service is provided by volunteers, trained and supervised by professionals.
The other service we offer to the community is counsellor training.
Each year the Centre offers a volunteer counselling training program. Volunteers receive over 160 hours of training with professional counsellor/educators in an intensive ten-month, evening and weekend training program.
In return, they commit to offering the Centre 250 sessions of counselling once they graduate. The training involves both personal growth work and the development of counselling skills in a variety of counselling approaches.
We also provide practicum placements for students enrolled in Master’s level counselling programs.
All volunteer counsellors receive regular, ongoing supervision of their counselling through the Centre.
Citizens’ Counselling Centre has been the recipient of the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors President's Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Discipline of Counselling Through Teaching and Advocacy.
Our Programs How We Do It
The Centre offers individual, couples, and group counselling to adult and young adult (18-29) residents of Greater Victoria. Our volunteer counsellors are trained to work with the following life issues:
- stress, anxiety and depression management
- relationship and communication
- changes in status or roles (grieving/loss, divorce, marriage, career changes)
- situational depression
- conflict resolution
- self esteem and assertiveness
Our popular groups on Self-Esteem, Anger Management, Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Mindfullness are offered three times each year.
All counselling and group sessions are offered by qualified volunteer counsellors.
The Centre also offers an intensive ten-month counsellor training program. The Training Program consists of over 200 hours of training with professional counsellors and educators in a ten-month, evening and weekends program. In return each of our graduates commit to providing the Centre 250 sessions of counselling. The program includes reading assignments and many hours of co-counselling practice and involves both personal growth work and the development of counselling skills in a variety of counselling approaches. Counsellors receive regular, ongoing supervision of their counselling through the Centre.
Many more people apply to our Volunteer Counsellor Training Program each year than we can accept, with only 18 of the most suitable chosen to participate from those interviewed.
Our Training Program alumni often describe their training year as life-changing, a time of immense personal growth where life-long friendships are formed.
What You Can Do
Citizens’ Counselling is funded mainly by our fees from clients, the United Way of Greater Victoria, the Province of BC Gaming Commission, grants from the Provincial Employees Community Services Fund, and the Victoria Foundation, and by the generosity of the community through individual monthly and one-time donations and our fundraising events.
Increasingly, we depend on the support of people like you.
Please consider becoming a Friend of the Centre by signing up for our monthly donor program, or by making a generous one-time donation.
We depend on the wisdom of individuals to understand the value to the greater community in having counselling services available and affordable when our friends, neighbours, sons, daughters, and parents need them most.
Your help can ensure that Citizens’ is able to continue to provide both accessible counselling and volunteer counsellor training to our community in a clean, safe and suitable environment. Your donations, large or small, will be put to work providing counselling, training, and the upkeep and updating of our now-beautiful building.
Here are some examples of how your donation can be directed:
- $100 will subsidize the cost of providing 10 counselling sessions to a client
- $550 will cover the cost of offering one eight-week group on Mindfullness or Anger Management
- $1000 will provide a day-long training workshop for 80 of our volunteer counsellors
- $2000 will cover the cost of training one student in our ten-month Volunteer Counsellor Training Program
- $5000-$30,000 will help underwrite the costs of some or all of our radical renovation
100% of your donation goes toward benefitting our clients.