Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I know if I need counselling help?
A. Most individuals seek counselling because they recognise that they need some help in being able to face a certain challenge or they find themselves stuck in a particular dilemma. You know you need help when you feel unhappy most of the time, you find it challenging getting along with people, and/or you depend on alcohol, drugs, or some other substances to get through the day.
Q. Why can’t I just talk to friend?
A. After talking about the things that are bothering us, we can often feel better – for a while. However, talking rarely results in a fundamental change, and as such the same problems are likely to occur again and again unless we actively find the root cause and change it
Q. What does a counsellor do?
A. A counsellor is trained to listen and guide you through a process to help you resolve your issues and problems. We create a safe environment that helps you explore your problems and issues without judgement. Your counsellor can also provide you with tools to help you change your life.
Q. How can counselling benefit me?
A. The counselling process is designed to assist individuals who have the capacity to resolve their own problems with some assistance.
Q. What can I expect at the first session?
A. In your first session, the counsellor typically will ask certain questions about you and your life. This information helps him or her make an initial assessment of your situation. Questions asked may include:
- Why you sought counselling
- Your personal history and current situation
- Your current symptoms
During the counselling sessions, be prepared to:
- Be open
- Ask questions
- Be honest about your feelings
Q. Is the Olive Branch counselling place open to everyone?
A. Yes. We provide counselling services to individuals, couples, families, schools and corporations. Our clients and counsellors come from ethnically and culturally diverse populations.
Q. Who will know if I come in for counselling?
A. A professional code of ethics guides counsellors in matters of confidentiality and the release of information. Information gained in counselling sessions will not be disclosed outside the Olive Branch with the following exceptions: (1) you give written permission to your counsellor to discuss a matter with another party, (2) your counsellor determines you are a danger to yourself or others, (3) in the unlikely event that your counsellor is ordered by court of law to do so, or (4) if you are under the age of 21 and are experiencing abuse (the law requires abuse of minors to be reported.) In situations 2-5, your counsellor will make every effort possible to inform you of the situation prior to making any such disclosure. Your work with your counsellor will be managed in a competent manner and consistent with accepted ethical standards.
Q. How often do I need to go for counselling?
A. The number of sessions you will need depends on you, your counsellor and your concerns. There is no fixed number of sessions. However, it is important to keep in mind that counselling is a therapeutic process that takes time to reap full benefits. At your first meeting, you and your counsellor will discuss your initial goals for counselling and negotiate an initial number of sessions to which both of you will commit. The Olive Branch does not limit the number of counselling sessions that a person can access; this allows clients to work in-depth with their counsellor through a variety of issues.
Q. How long is a counselling session?
A. A counselling session normally lasts 50 minutes. For example, a session scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. will end at 3.50 p.m.
Q. Can I re-schedule my counselling session?
A. Regular attendance at counselling sessions and payment are a sign of your commitment to the counselling process. However, if you are unable to keep your reserved appointment time, you are responsible for contacting your counsellor at least 24 hours before your appointment start time. (For example, if your weekly appointment is Monday at 2 p.m., you will need to contact your counsellor via email, phone or text before 2 p.m. the previous day (Sunday) at the latest.
If you do this, your counsellor may be able to offer you an alternate appointment that week at no extra charge. Unfortunately, if you contact your counsellor with less than 24 hours notice, you will be charged the full cost of your appointment and you will not be offered the option to re-schedule the missed appointment free of charge. In the case of emergency, please contact your counsellor as soon as you know that you will miss an appointment.
Q. Why do I need to do homework?
A. Depending on the situation, clients can be assigned homework. We give homework for a reason! It can increase the effectiveness of your sessions and can accelerate the counselling process.
If it is any consolation, we do homework for you too. We write case notes in order for us to understand what is happening, and it gives us a chance to reflect on the session and identify any areas that need addressing that may not have been so obvious during the session. We also plan for your next session, so we can try and help you as much as we can.
Q. What are the charges and methods of payment?
A. Olive Branch is a registered private entity and not funded by any agency. Our Counsellors are professionals in the field of their expertise and independantly operate on their professional skills and experience. Our professional fees are S$150 per session of 50-60 minutes for Individuals and S$ 190.00 for Couples, payable by cheque or cash. Payment is expected at the end of each session, paid directly to the Counsellor. If you need a receipt, please request your Counsellor
For those who wish to seek our services but have financial difficulties, we are willing to consider on a case by case basis. For more information about fees and alternative payments, we encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.