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Student Kit

This interactive kit includes animations, activities, and resources to help you explore why you may find learning hard, and discover ways to help yourself learn.

Helping Myself Learn

Find a Counsellor or Therapist

Finding the right counsellors or therapists to support you is not always easy, but it is possible. It will be different based on who you are, where you live and what your life is like (for example if you can afford to pay for counselling or not, or if you have the time/childcare/transportation you need to do counselling).

There are many types of therapists. Some do one on one counselling, others work with groups, or in programs, and some combine these. They may use different approaches and deal with different issues. Some may have a feminist or anti-racist approach, understanding that things like sexism, racism, homophobia, poverty and violence are an important part of the picture. Some may use creativity like drawing or acting things out. Some may work with different techniques, like talk therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy or harm reduction.

In looking for and meeting a therapist or counsellor, you may want to explore different options and ask a lot of questions. Does the therapist see you as the expert in your life? Are they open-minded? A learner? Perhaps also a survivor? Is their office accessible to you? Whatever is important to you, ask.

If you meet with a counsellor one or two times and it doesn’t feel right, there is nothing wrong with starting over with someone else. It is not rude, insulting or even anything personal. Remember, this is about you, not someone else.

Here are a few places to start if you are looking for a counsellor:

  1. Ask around – ask friends, neighbours, teachers and community members to find out what services are available in your community, which ones they recommend, and why.
  2. Crisis lines - Check the front of the phone book (or the Internet) for local help services. There may be rape crisis lines, distress lines, and suicide prevention help. Call to find out what services they provide. Is their counselling phone only, or in person? How often and for how long can you call? Can they help for immediate crisis only or also help for past trauma? Can they help you find a counsellor?
  3. Health services such as community-health centres, hospital counselling services, and family doctors may offer short or long-term counselling or keep lists of places offering counselling for free or on a sliding scale.
  4. Community agencies may have counsellors on staff who could work with you regularly – such as agencies that work with different cultural communities, age groups, sexual orientation, or abilities.
  5. Search the Internet using key words related to your needs – for example, counsellor + family violence + your location. Look for community resource sites such as 211 in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
  6. Find therapists in private practice through local registers, advertising, or referral services. Some may donate free sessions or offer sliding scales.
  7. Think creatively – it might be helpful to look at other places where artists, musicians, or drama or dance classes might create opportunities to heal and express yourself. Elders from different cultural groups might offer workshops that help people of all cultural backgrounds to heal.  Self help groups can provide a great deal of ongoing support and information.

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