Individual Counselling

Clinical counselling is a process. Clients attend a series of sessions to explore current and past issues, and develop strategies to overcome the hurdles they are facing. During sessions, the counsellor will ask questions, make observations, and make recommendations for next steps in order to move clients closer to their goals. Since it's hard to see solutions from within the maze, counsellors help to get a bird's eye view of current problem so clients can understand the impact of the past and what may be keeping them from the future they envision.


Why Work With Dr. Saira?

Insight is an important component of counselling, where clients make internal connections about why they believe certain things or act in certain ways. To facilitate insight, counsellors provide personal observations and also psycho-education, using the latest research in psychology and neuroscience to balance personal progress and the client's soul-level journey.

Another critical aspect to the counselling process is catharsis, or emotional release. This may occur during the session or between sessions, and help to remove emotional blockages from the past. A counsellor may encourage certain practices between sessions to help support clients to have experiences of catharsis, followed by a process of integration.

Finally, for counselling to be most effective, clients must engage in self-disclosure. This means you have to be willing to talk about yourself. The more the counsellor knows about their client, the easier it is for the counsellor to make connections, develop a robust treatment plan, and monitor progress. We want to walk beside you as you get to know yourself better, and cheer you on as you become the person you want to be throughout the counselling experience.

So why should you work with us? Our approach is not for everyone, but if you are someone who wants to incorporate your cultural values and spiritual beliefs into therapy, you are in the right place. We want to help you feel better about your past and see your future more clearly. We want to teach you how to manage your mind so you have smoother and more long-lasting relationships with the people in your life. We want to support you in making the inner changes you need so you can step into the life that has been waiting for you. We want to teach you skills that will be useful throughout your life when you face difficulties, and we want you to know you are not alone. Most importantly, we want you to be able to hear that soft, still voice inside that nudges you toward your spiritual destiny. And if we don't think we are the right match, we want to help you find a therapist that will be able to provide you with what you are looking for.

Once you decide you want to work with Dr. Saira, here are the steps:

First, you will go to our online calendar and book in a free 15-20 minute telephone consultation with one of our counsellors. This is a mutual interview process where you decide if that counsellor is the best fit for you and the counsellor decides whether she is the best professional on our team for your particular set of problems. You can ask questions and tell us a little bit about yourself, and we will do the same.

If you feel and we feel it is a good fit, the next step is to book a first session. You will then receive a Consent Form and and Client Information Form which will need to be completed before the first session, which will help your counsellor to begin developing a treatment plan for you.

Depending on what you and your counsellor decided during the free consultation, you will either meet online (the link will be emailed to you before your session) or in our offices in Surrey. You will work with your counsellor as frequently as your treatment plan requires, booking in sessions at the frequency and cadence that your counsellor suggests.

You will attend sessions as booked, and ensure you complete the home practice your counsellor suggests between sessions. This could be anything from practicing a new skill, reading a book, watching an informational video, or logging information in a log book or journal. It is best to be upfront with your counsellor if the home practice seems too difficult or is ineffective so your plan can be modified accordingly.

At some point in your work together, it will become clear that you have reached many of your goals and you don't need to work that closely together anymore. At that point the counsellor will either change the frequency of sessions or begin moving you to Graduation.

Once you Graduate, you can always come back to your counsellor for a Tune-Up if needed.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if I need a therapist?

A: If you have tried everything you can think of and still aren't getting to your wellness goals, it's time to bring in someone from the outside. It's like working with your dentist. You don't need your dentist to brush and floss you teeth with you every day, but when you have a cavity, you need an expert to help you. Bottom line: when it comes to mental health and well-being, you don't want to give your self a root canal! However, don't wait until you are in crisis to reach out.

Q: How do I know which therapist is right for me?

A: Trust your gut. The relationship you have with your therapist will be a huge factor in how effective counselling is going to be. Ask your therapist about what their ideal client is, and what they do would do if no progress is being made. An ethical therapist will be willing to refer out to another professional. Your therapist should also be working with a supervisor, continuing to learn, and getting support for their own mental health and wellbeing. If it doesn't feel like a good match after the first session, it probably isn't. For more specifics on what to ask, watch this video.

Q: How long will I have to be in therapy?

A: Most people work with us for anywhere from 5-10 sessions. Therapy is a process, and getting to know you and your problems takes time. We will work together week by week to evaluate your progress, and will decide on a graduation date together. Some people choose to continue working with us on an as-needed basis after the initial 5-10 sessions, while others prefer a quarterly Tune-Up session. There are some clients with chronic mental health concerns who work with a therapist for longer segments when they are in crisis.


Q: How much does therapy cost, and is it covered by my insurance?


A: Depending on the practitioner you decide to work with, our therapy sessions can range from $125 to $225 CAD per session. The diffference in rate reflects the type of training and years of experience of each of the mental health professionals in our team. Check with your insurance provider to see if they will cover a portion of the fees - many extended health plans do have an allowance for mental health counselling. You may have to ensure your therapist belongs to certain profesional associations in order to be covered by your provider. You can ask about this during your free telephone consultation. (Some of our practitioners also offer a sliding scale for those in financial hardship.)


Q: What is the difference between therapy and coaching?


A: In a nutshell, therapy is about the past and present and coaching focuses on the fture. To get into some more details on the differences, watch this video.

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira (she/her) provides mental health support through individual counselling, groups, immersive workshops/courses, and free educational content. Over the last 14 years, we have helped men and women of many backgrounds find answers to their questions about work, life, love, and meaning. Much mainstream psychology overlooks spirituality, family values, and community context, so we have decided to specialize in serving clients who are ready for change and also want to include their cultural values and spiritual beliefs into therapy.

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