Calgary Counselling Centre offers affordable virtual counselling services
by Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
In collaboration with the government of Alberta, the Calgary Counselling Centre (CCC) is launching a new division of their offerings called “Counselling Alberta” which enables people across the province to access virtual counselling services through a funding of $6.75 million over the next two years from the provincial government.
“We know that mental health supports are more necessary than ever, and so being able to expand our services by offering virtual counselling across the province will allow all Albertans to easily access effective and affordable mental health without a waitlist,” says Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, Calgary Counselling Centre CEO.
The funding will also make way for expansion of counselling services, both in-person and virtual, to rural areas of the province with no waitlist.
CCC started providing virtual counselling services at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Since then, the centre has offered 100,000 hours of counselling to individuals, couples, families, children, and youth. The centre shares that there has been overwhelmingly positive feedback from the clients and that virtual counselling is just as effective as in-person counselling.
Uncertainty and stress, anxiety, and depression are the top three requests and reasons for counselling since the start of the pandemic, with anxiety taking the number one place.
A press release from CCC says that the funding from the provincial government “comes at a critical time when mental health is still significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and need for supports is growing across the province.”
“Accessing affordable, local therapy options from my home is what first drew me to Calgary Counselling Centre,” says past CCC client, Robyn Ferguson in the same press release. “I would not have tried counselling if the virtual option did not exist. At a time when I felt very hurt and vulnerable, I was glad to have the option to learn healthy coping and healing skills from the comfort of my home.”
CCC is also committed to continue their outcomes framework and data-driven approach to counselling, which focuses on creating lasting results with the clients through rigorous research and training.
“When we began virtual counselling we expected clients would do well but there were no studies to tell us whether client results would be the same, better, or worse than in person counselling,” says Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, CEO of Calgary Counselling Centre. “Our outcome data tells us that client results were at minimum the same as with in person care and in the majority of times were in fact better than with in person counselling.”
From 2019 to 2021, CCC has almost doubled its number of counselling sessions, from 22,531 to 43,221 sessions per year.