Counselling FAQ's

See some of the common questions people ask about counselling.

Have a question you don’t see answered here? Find out more about counselling or contact us for answers.

What can I expect?

Counselling is different than talking to a friend, family member, or partner. For one, there are specific goals for your counselling sessions. Also, counsellors often don’t share much about themselves personally, and while they may provide direction, they don’t often give advice.

A counsellor’s job is to first establish a safe space, so you can feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings. Your information is kept confidential – except under rare circumstances required by law, nothing will ever be shared with anyone else.

How does it work?

In an environment of trust and sharing, you and the counsellor gain an understanding of the barrier you’re facing. Together, you’ll establish goals, talk about the changes you want to make, and create a plan.

To do this, you’ll probably talk about how you’ve been coping so far, what has worked before, and what hasn’t. Your counsellor will help you add new skills and resources to the strategies that may already be working for you.

What will I get out of it?

Through the counselling process, expect to learn a great deal about yourself and grow as a student, artist, and person.

What’s the difference between counselling and academic advising?

Counsellors may assist you with academic decision-making (whether to drop or add a course, or take time off to reduce stress, for example), but program-specific decisions should be discussed with someone in ACAD’s Academic Advising office.

How is counselling different from learning support?

Counsellors can help you with time management, procrastination issues, attention challenges, and test anxiety. They can also provide support to students, registration, and faculty regarding withdrawals from ACAD, grade appeals, and readmission following a withdrawal.

ACAD’s Learning Assistance Office is also an important resource for tutoring, writing skills, study skills, test-taking, time management, and organization. Learning Assistance also manages classroom accommodations for students with identified disabilities

What’s the difference between counselling and career advising?

ACAD counsellors can and will support you with career-related decisions. However, what ACAD students often look for is direction on how and where to apply the skills they’re learning at ACAD. For these types of concerns, ACAD provides career advising as well as several courses and workshops designed to assist students to create their careers.

How is counselling different from peer support?

Remember that informal support your from peers at ACAD can be invaluable. Just knowing that other student artists and designers are experiencing some of the same challenges (and successes) as you are can make all the difference in the world.

Find out about student groups and clubs to meet other ACAD students.

Often by the time I can see a counsellor, my problem has passed. Is it still worth making an appointment?

Yes. Sometimes the high levels of emotion you experience when dealing with a problem can interfere with finding a lasting solution. In counselling, you’ll learn ways to alter the behavior patterns or circumstances that led to the challenge, so you can deal with similar problems more easily in future.

If I’m having an unpleasant feeling, that is definitely a time to see a counsellor, right?

Possibly, but not always – feeling bad is an appropriate reaction to something bad happening. Although seeking counselling to work through a difficult time is appropriate, counselling is not about making these bad feelings go away. Counselling may sometimes be directed at building your tolerance for unpleasant feelings and helping you become more resilient.

What’s the point of counselling if my counsellor isn’t going to give me advice?

Counsellors might help you find options and come to decisions, but we rarely tell you what to do. Instead, we support you as you come to your own conclusions. We’ll help you find options and weigh decisions, but people often take more responsibility for their lives and grow most when they make their own choices.

How long should it take for me to feel better?

That depends on many factors, but usually it takes a few sessions before substantial change happens. The first appointment is mainly for information gathering. For the counsellor to gain a real understanding of you, more sessions are usually needed. The average number of sessions attended by ACAD students is about three, and the most recent data indicates that in 94% of cases, symptoms were reduced or at least prevented from worsening in that time.

How long are appointments?

Appointments typically last 50 minutes in order to give the counsellor time to prepare for the next student. Please be punctual so we can spend as much time as possible on your concerns.

What is expected of me as a client?

Change can be a tough process, but your role as a client is pretty straightforward. Come to appointments. Be on time. Be as honest and open with your counsellor as you feel comfortable. Try the things you and your counsellor come up with in your sessions. And give your counsellor feedback about how you feel your sessions are going.