Frequently Asked Questions
What does VICCIR do?
Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees (VICCIR) provides counselling and mental health services to refugees and immigrants of all ages. VICCIR also offers training and consultation to members of the wider community working with immigrants and refugees.
How do I know if I need counselling?
Counselling is helpful for people who are affected by anxiety, depression, traumatic experiences, difficulties in adjusting to a new life in Canada, and troubled relationships. If you think we can help, contact us with any questions you have.
How much does it cost?
We charge on a sliding scale, depending on your ability to pay. One-hour sessions range between $20 and $100. See this table for details. We will discuss fees with you when you contact us. Refugees in their first year in Canada may be eligible for government funding for their counselling.
Do I have to be a refugee?
No, we offer our services to anyone born outside of Canada.
What if I don’t speak English?
We use specially trained interpreters, and our counsellors are experienced in working with interpretation. Some of our counsellors speak Spanish and other languages as well as English.
Can I come with my spouse or children?
Yes, we are happy to work with couples and families, and this is often a very helpful approach.
Who are the counsellors?
Our counsellors are highly qualified and experienced and registered with their professional bodies. They work in a range of modalities and have considerable experience working with multicultural issues.
How long will I have to wait?
We can usually arrange an initial appointment within two weeks of you contacting us. In emergencies, we can see people immediately.
How long will counselling take?
This varies depending on your needs and goals. Sometimes just a few sessions will be enough to start moving in a more positive direction. Sometimes you will want to continue longer. We generally review with clients after every ten sessions to decide together on next steps.
Can I refer someone else?
You are welcome to share our details with your friends and family, and, with the person’s permission, to contact us on their behalf. Doctors, therapists, sponsorship groups and teachers often refer people to us.
Can you help sponsorship groups?
Yes. We can help sponsors in setting clear boundaries and ensuring self-care. We offer guidance on culturally sensitive ways to support refugee newcomers with mental health concerns. We can meet with sponsorship groups to provide information about VICCIR services and to answer questions. The cost to sponsorship groups is $160 per session for 1–2 hours.
How do I get in touch with VICCIR?
Due to COVID-19, only those with an appointment may come to our office. Most of our mental health counselling services are provided online. Please contact us by phone or email. We look forward to meeting you.