Edge of Counselling Resources

Transformative Inquiry (TI) can engage you in ways that you may not have experienced before in other classroom settings. The process offers time and space for you to explore personal worldviews, reflect on past touchstone experiences, and delve into affective aspects of your inquiry pursuits. The depths of these explorations are left up to each individual, and sometimes, your choice can lead to complex and challenging emotional landscapes. We call this the edge of counseling because it is unfamiliar terrain for many educators.

As you are be~coming a teacher within our program: you may find that your comfortable patterns of beliefs; values and attitudes are disrupted; your personal dispositions might be put into question; you may be asked to think outside your familiar box; and you may begin to see the world from a new perspective that you hadn’t imagined before. There is room within the TI course to hold much of this important process, but some inquirers have found they need more support. The process of TI can be therapeutic, but it does not replace formal counselling. While we have had some exposure to the process, the instructors in this course are not certified counsellors. Hence, formal counselling can be very useful, supportive and congruous with the process of be~coming a teacher.
This section outlines information and services for students at UVic who would like to pursue counselling or further support. Understanding the resources that are available to you can engage you as a more mindful teacher.

UVic Counselling

UVic provides confidential free professional counselling to all UVic students who are enrolled in a degree program. There are a number of individual counselling appointments including:

  • regular appointments
  • urgent (30 minute sessions)
  • check-ins (15-20 minute quick sessions)
  • walk-in sessions
  • Emergency appointments

Link to UVic’s counselling: http://www.coun.uvic.ca
Phone number for booking appointments: 250-721-8563

Your Health Plan

As a UVic student, If you haven’t opted out of the UVic Student Society’s Health Coverage, you will be able to claim basic rates for registered psychologist sessions outside of the campus-based ones. Look at the website: www.ihaveaplan.ca for more information.

The Plan covers 80% of the cost of a psychologist, up to a maximum of $500 per calendar year. Please note that you need a referral by a medical doctor to be covered for visits to a psychologist.

Vancouver Island Crisis Line

Crisis phone lines with trained counsellors are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The mission of the Vancouver Island Crisis Line says:

The Vancouver Island Crisis Society is committed to providing an accessible, 24-hour, telephone crisis and suicide prevention, intervention service, including postvention programs. We endeavour to provide emotional support during times of crisis, information about community resources, education intended to promote community wellness, and reduce the incidence of suicide. We value the principles of confidentiality, non-judgmental acceptance, respect for diversity, personal empowerment, and cooperation.

Three phone options are available from the Mission of Vancouver Island Crisis Line

Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888

Other BC crisis lines

Anywhere in BC:
http://www.crisiscentre.bc.ca/ • 1-800-784-2433

Various other crisis lines in BC are updated at the Crisis Line association of British Columbia:

Common issues you can talk about include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Depression
  • Health and Wellness
  • Loss and Grief
  • Family
  • Self-esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Panic attacks
  • Learning difficulties
  • Drug or alcohol problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Career direction
  • Self-awareness and values
  • Academic performance
  • Procrastination
  • Time management
  • Transition and adjustment

Choosing a counsellor or therapist

Therapy has a social stigma that can cloud its value. Often people entering counseling or therapy for the first time can feel alienated or uncomfortable. Sometimes this can be the result of tension or lack of connection with a therapist. Some things to consider when choosing a counsellor or therapist:

  • Does the counsellor’s general philosophy or approach to her/his work make sense or feel good to you?
  • Does the counsellor provide expectations of what he/she can and cannot accomplish or practice?
  • Does your counsellor ensure confidentiality excepting life-threatening or legal limitations?
  • How does it feel to work (or even sit) with the counsellor?

The answer to these questions should give you a sense of understanding your connection to a particular counsellor. Know that relationships are co-built and that connecting immediately might not be possible. The connection with a particular counsellor can be fruitful over time.

Guidelines for a safe-enough space

This course is designed to support students who choose to be vulnerable, explore touchy subjects, and be open about their intentions and ideas. With this in mind, this course also helps you to witnesses each other in with compassion and mindfulness - which can sometimes trigger emotions. In Interactive 4.1, we explore some basic guidelines for helping create a classroom that feels safe-enough. The idea is that there is never truly a “safe” space, but that there are places that can be safe enough to share deep or vulnerable thoughts.

Combined with these guidelines comes a few classroom principles that we ask everyone to follow in order to strive for ongoing safety and wellbeing:

  • If you feel the need to leave, skip, or not engage in class, please communicate this to your mentor by email or in person.
  • Expect follow up emails from your mentor if you are distressed, quiet, or un-engaged in class.
  • Before sharing personal stories, vulnerabilities, or deep thoughts please consider the following questions:
  • What is your intent in sharing this story?
  • What would telling this story mean to you?
  • How do you believe it is valuable for the group?
  • How can your story impact how the group learns to be better teachers?

Supporting you and each other beyond the course

When you leave the program, you will be teaching in situations that can be highly emotional. You need to think about what you can realistically offer and what your self-care should look like. Do not offer what you cannot deliver. What systems are there to support you? What resources are available for your students? Is there a printed list of phone numbers and tips in the school? What is the procedure for students feeling anxiety, depression or being “off”? What should be in place for students in need?

This is true of the TI course as well. It is your responsibility to set up a structure for staying in touch with your colleagues. Think about how you can build methods for communication so that they work for you. Some pieces that could be offered as support beyond this course are the following:

  • Facebook/self created groups
  • Keeping in touch with your instructor
  • Continue to develop self care practices where compassion for self is central
  • Return to the iBook to read sections about emotion and support