and Individual Counselling
Family, Couple and Individual Counselling
The impact of war, loss, migration and settlement can result in symptoms that are uncomfortable, painful and sometimes intolerable. The symptoms may surface long after the traumatic event and often are on-going.
The range of these symptoms is broad. Some people find it impossible to concentrate or feel part of the present. Others may experience chronic pain or body tension. Emotions can become uncontrolled, either intense or flat – and often hard to describe. The traumatic event or events may be re-experienced, and agonizing memories might surface with or without triggers. Sleep disturbances can become chronic. All these symptoms can put intense stress on family and social relationships.
Together, the client and counsellor determine what program is most appropriate for the presenting problems. Individual counselling is chosen when the focus is primarily on the symptoms of the client. Couple and family counselling is chosen when a couple or family want to address the consequences of those symptoms in their relationships.
The VICCIR approach is collaborative. Counsellors work closely with professionals from other disciplines who work with our clients, wherever appropriate, and only when the client provides written consent to do so. All counsellors have regular supervision and access to physician and psychiatric consultations.
VICCIR does not provide couple counselling when physical, sexual or psychological abuse is a presenting problem between partners. While we are committed to working with couples experiencing such difficulties, we are directed by research which demonstrates that couple counselling is not only ineffective but could also be dangerous.
We welcome the opportunity to work with each partner in individual counselling, and will assist with referrals to groups designed for women and men.
If requested, couple counselling is offered after the matter of abuse is addressed.
VICCIR works closely with community agencies and the police in the matter of domestic violence.
The teen years are a natural time to discover who you are and who you want to be. It is also a time when human development and maturity are influenced by a sense of belonging, being understood, and by friendships. The impact of war, migration and resettlement can have a huge impact on these critical years. VICCIR offers groups for youth who come together to support each other in enriched, nurturing and healing ways. The groups are led by a counsellor.
Children’s Counselling and Therapy
Counselling is helpful to children who have witnessed war, or felt its impact on those they love. They may suffer the symptoms of night terrors, anxiety, learning difficulties, poor concentration, irritability, depression, pervasive sadness and hopelessness, self-injuring, or aggressive and bullying behaviours. They need a safe place to tell their stories.
Our specialized counsellors work with children of all ages using a variety of therapeutic styles and techniques. The primary way of working with children is most likely to be either through play therapy, art therapy,or with a combination of both.
<h5 class=”p1″><span class=”s1″><strong>Why Play Therapy?</strong>
<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Playing is the normal day to day way for children to understand, learn about and explore their worlds. It is often an experiment of the real world and the pretend world. As well, it allows children to explore the adults’ world, and to safely test boundaries, limits and rules.
<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Play Therapy is a specialized form of psychotherapy that takes place in a play room containing many objects that represent the real world. In the play-room, a child may use objects to explore life experiences, objects like the doll’s house, the fire station, the police station, the hospital, war toys, people and places that represent safety and rescue.</span></p>
<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>In play therapy, child and therapist enter an “as if” world of make believe. They play out stories or themes suggested by the child, which most often are what has been worrying them or frightening them. Over time, healing can take place as the child experiences both safety and resolution.</span></p>
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<h5 class=”p1″><strong><span class=”s1″>How does making art help promote healing?</span></strong></h5>
<p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Since the dawn of time, art has been used to express ideas and thoughts, feelings, dreams, fears and hopes.</span></p>
Art allows stories to emerge on paper or canvas without the need for words or language. When a picture is completed in art therapy, the therapist acts as a gentle and supportive guide to important discoveries. What is seen in the image? What is most important in the picture? Is there a story? Do emotions emerge? There is opportunity for new understanding and insights to develop. This is the healing process.
The atmosphere in VICCIR’s support groups is relaxed and comfortable. Our groups are intended to reduce social isolation, increase opportunities to share with others and to learn how to ask for help. Frequently friendships begin in the group, and continue after the group work has finished. Participants often reflect that it is valuable to talk with others who have common experiences. “No one else can understand better than the people in my group” is a common refrain. VICCIR offers support groups for women, men, children and youth.
VICCIR’s therapy groups are modeled after those that are conducted by The Center for Victims of Torture in the Jordan. Counsellors guide group members through the following stages of healing:
Safety and Stabilization: Orientation, creating a safe space and establishing trust.
Grief and Mourning: Processing the trauma.
Reconnection: Getting back to community, restoring life purpose, developing and repairing relationships with friends and family.
Please feel free to contact us, we are here to help. We maintain offices in Victoria and in Duncan.
Join Our Team
We welcome your contribution to our family of volunteers, and to our team of counsellors and translators.
Your contribution will help us enrich Vancouver Island’s integrated communities and strengthen those who live in them.