Counselling can be a very helpful tool for families and children during divorce. This is particularly the case for families experiencing a high conflict separation or divorce. Often two parents are simply not on the same page when it comes to parenting time and parenting decisions for their children.

Michael Butterfield agrees: “When deciding on a child counsellor, it is important to recognize that the purpose is to support the child. Sometimes high conflict parents try to use counsellors to gather evidence or further their agenda. Registered professionals are more likely to be impartial.”

What Can a Counsellor Do?

If parents are having a difficult time creating a parenting schedule, they can get input from a counsellor. A judge can order a section 211 report, to ascertain the children’s views and family dynamics. These are usually called a “Views of the Child Report“.

There are professionally educated and trained counsellors who are Psychologists, Social Workers, or Clinical Counsellors. However, the terms “counsellor” and “psychotherapist” are not regulated, and anyone can use those terms to sell their services.

How Do I Know a Counsellor is Qualified?

On July 25, 2020, CBC reported a story about a Psychotherapist in Kelowna, who had listed questionable degrees on her website. Dr. Sharon Pham, a Registered Psychologist in Alberta, told the CBC: “She looked good on the surface, but when you actually dig a little bit deeper, it unravelled”.

“You have all of these people in B.C. that are putting out shingles calling themselves counsellors and they have absolutely no accountability to anybody at all,” said Dr. Pham.

For this very reason, we recommend you find a counsellor who is a registered/certified professional. Check their website, verify their areas of practice. Find out what their experience is, and how much they charge. Call a few counsellors and speak with them on the phone. This way you can get a sense of how they will interact with you and your child. Trust is an important quality in any therapeutic relationship.

Professional Organizations Can Help

Check if the counsellor registered with one of the following organizations: BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), BC Psychological Association (BCPA), or BC College of Social Workers.

In Victoria B.C., there are also some free family focused services for you, and other community resources you may find helpful.

Jayne Embree, M.A.

Jayne holds a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria. She is currently Mr. Butterfield’s Paralegal and the Mediation Coordinator at Butterfield Law.

Blog Article Updated October 22, 2022