By Grayson Bennett
It can be tricky working your way through life sometimes. From keeping a marriage harmonious to figuring out family matters to dealing with your own demons, sometimes you just need a little extra support—and that’s okay.
Going to counselling can help. Ahead, we round up a list of different foundations and centers offering the best counselling services in Calgary, so you can get the support you need there.
How Much Do Counseling Services in Calgary Cost?
Let’s start with the cost first, so you have an idea of what you’ll pay for counseling here.
Each year, the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta issues a recommended fee for counselling sessions. The most recent recommendation is $200 for a 50-minute session (individual, couple or family).
However, the exact fees vary from counsellor to counsellor. Here’s a price breakdown of the most common services charged by some counselling service providers in our list below:
|Living Well Counselling Services*||$140 to $200||$140 to $200|
|Skipping Stone Foundation*||$0 to $150, depending on self-determined ability to pay|
|Virtuous Circle Counselling*||$160 to $180||$200|
|Refresh Counselling*||$110||$160 to $190|
|One Life Counselling and Coaching||$200||$300|
These fees are exclusive of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Living Well, Skipping Stone, Virtuous Circle and Refresh offer sliding scale payment options for clients who may be struggling to meet their regular rates.
The Best Counselling Services in Calgary
Now you know how much counselling costs in the area, it’s time we get to our list of the best places to get counselling services in Calgary.
1. Living Well Counselling Services
|SERVICES||Addiction counselling, anxiety counselling, Christian counselling, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), marriage counselling, online counselling|
|ADDRESS||Suite 04 Lower Level, 4803 Centre Street NW Calgary AB T2E 2Z6 Canada|
39 – 35 Inglewood Park SE Calgary AB T2G 1B5 Canada
|CONTACT DETAILS||403 695 7911 |
Jennifer Dawn Watts, founder of Living Well Counselling Services, got her start as a therapist working with clients suffering from severe anxiety. Her counselling sessions integrate research-based behavioral therapy methods and a compassionate approach—both of which trickle down to the rest of the counsellors on the Living Well team.
All therapists are thoroughly screened and trained before being added to Living Well’s roster. At present, the team consists of 23 counsellors and social workers, all of whom have at least a master’s degree and thousands of hours’ worth of experience.
Living Well also offered consultations via telephone and video chat long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Their rates, which span 60-minute sessions for individuals and couples, remain standard for both in-office and tele-consultations.
Speaking of rates, Living Well Counselling Services’ empathetic spirit shines through in the way they charge their clients. While they do not directly bill to insurance providers, they offer a sliding-scale payment scheme for clients who cannot afford their standard sessions.
What makes Living Well one of the best places for counselling services in Calgary? Read some answers from previous clients below.
“It’s difficult for me to put into words how grateful I am for the experience. From our first session Katherine was warm, compassionate, caring and an incredible listener. She taught me some wonderfully effective techniques for managing my thought processes and physiological responses to stress that have significantly reduced my anxiety. Now, when anxious feelings arise, I have the tools to examine them, take the necessary steps to address them and/or let them go.” —Emily Taylor
“Jennifer is an all around amazing person. I’ve spoken with her many times now and she has a breadth of knowledge and experience and most of all a genuine passion for helping people. Everyone on the Living Well Counselling team I’ve met are extremely kind, respectful and caring. I can’t recommend Living Well enough!” —Brett Enns
2. Skipping Stone Foundation
|SERVICES||Individual counselling, family counselling, group-based counselling, mentoring, gender gear, expression, transport, recreation, food, income, work, ID changes, legal help, health care|
|ADDRESS||#1250 – 407 2 St SW Calgary AB T2P 2Y3|
|CONTACT DETAILS||587 333 4342 |
A 2011 survey conducted in Canada concluded that up to 18% of transgender folks had been denied an employment opportunity because of their gender. The same survey concluded that 13% were fired for their identity.
These statistics are expected to have bubbled during the pandemic. This is where the Skipping Stone Foundation comes in.
The Skipping Stone Foundation is a volunteer-run organization catering to trans and gender-diverse Calgarians. They’ve created a community for people who may otherwise feel like outsiders in society.
One of the ways they extend help is through counselling sessions. The sessions start off free, then adopt a sliding scale scheme wherein clients donate anywhere between $0 to $150, depending on what they can afford.
Like most counselling services in Calgary, the Skipping Stone process starts with filling up a form. The intake form does not ask any questions about the client’s salary or financial capability, by the way.
Thereafter, clients discuss their plans, coordinate plans, receive counselling and other services they might need. After counselling, Skipping Stone’s community coordinators stay in touch and check in on clients from time to time.
Check out some reviews from Skipping Stone’s clients below.
“Great place for the trans community with plenty of resources, I’ve found the staff I’ve met with to be very friendly and helpful. I feel comfortable and welcomed there every time I’ve been to the office, their expressions program has been very helpful for me with plenty of support.” —Amy Crawford
“The services are pretty good, but could be improved. Granted, they are a small organization. All in all, they provide great services that no one else does.” —Laura Balanko-Dickson
3. Virtuous Circle Counselling
|SERVICES||Individual counselling, adolescent counselling, couples counselling, online therapy, relationship counselling, occupational therapy|
|ADDRESS||WestMount Corporate Campus 4838 Richard Rd SW Suite 300, Calgary AB T3E 6L1|
|CONTACT DETAILS||587 856 8369|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday to Sunday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM|
One of the most important factors to consider in counselling is how well-matched the counsellor and client are. This is why Virtuous Circle Counselling offers a complimentary 30-minute session for first-time clients.
With a total of four counsellors on board, the Virtuous Circle team may be smaller compared to many other foundations. However, their small team of therapists and social workers is highly specialized.
Offering one-on-one, couple and online sessions, the team at Virtuous Circle specializes in anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD and depression counselling.
Virtuous Circle Counselling’s sessions are reimbursable under most private health insurance companies. For clients who may need financial assistance, Virtuous Circle Counselling reserves a few slots with sliding-scale fees.
Here’s what some of Virtuous Circle Counselling’s clients have to say about their services.
“Professional yet personal comfortable counselling. Tiffany is amazing as both an individual and couples counsellor. She gets right to the heart of the matter, is engaged and provides helpful strategies to move things along. Tiffany is genuine and cares. At times, worksheets, reading materials provided which can be referred to and helpful between sessions.” —Sandra Coulthard
“I have been working with Tiffany for over 3 months. I appreciate how she is emphathetic towards my past and current situations and is very attentive to my needs. She poses the questions you need to hear, she guides your path/journey in therapy in ways you would never expect and is very gentle yet unyielding with her approach.” —Maria Carreon
4. Refresh Counselling
|SERVICES||Cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, mental health therapy, play therapy, emotionally focused therapy|
|ADDRESS||224 – 4039 Brentwood Rd NW Calgary AB T2L 1L1|
|CONTACT DETAILS||403 991 7335 |
A five-man team of registered psychologists runs the show at Refresh Counselling. They use a variety of therapy methods to address conditions like addiction, ADHD, cultural issues, depression, grief & loss, parenting issues, career problems, and more.
One of the things clients like most about Refresh Counselling is how seamless their process is. Their online booking facility allows clients to schedule their own appointments and view billing documents.
Understanding that counselling may be an urgent need at the most unpredictable times, they allow clients to schedule appointments on mornings, evenings and weekends. While they mostly facilitate sessions online due to the pandemic, they are open to face-to-face sessions for especially urgent cases.
Refresh’s counselling services, which range from $160 to $190 for an hour-long session, may also be covered by insurance, depending on the provider. If you’re looking to get counselling services but don’t quite have the means, be sure to check if your insurance plan covers psychotherapy services.
Here are some reviews from Refresh Counselling’s previous clients.
“Robyn is an amazing therapist, so caring and compassionate. She does a great job of offering a new perspective to your situation.” —Christa Patzer
“If you are looking for a psychologist who not only genuinely cares about her clients but also takes time to think about and suggest pragmatic and appropriate ideas, Karyn is your person. She is comfortable in her knowledge and role to know when to advise and when to suggest other outlets to explore. She is easy to talk to, and not afraid of speaking up to challenge my thinking when the moment requires it. Highly recommend.” —Marlena Bova
5. One Life Counselling & Coaching
|SERVICES||Individual counselling, marriage counselling, psychotherapy counselling, video counselling|
|ADDRESS||8 Varsity Estates Cir NW Suite 300, Calgary AB T3A 2Z3|
The One Life Counselling & Coaching team may seem lean with only four therapists on board, but there’s no doubting their expertise. Each member of the team is a registered psychologist, hand-picked for their educational background and on-the-job experiences.
Among the services this four-man team offers, marriage or couples counselling is what One Life is best known for. Previous clients credit the team, most especially psychotherapist and coach Ken Fierheller, for helping them patch up broken relationships.
In addition to their counsellors’ skills, another reason One Life is considered one of the best counselling services in Calgary is their respect for their clients’ time. They have a strict 24-hour turnaround time for messages and appointment requests.
For clients who hope to be reimbursed by their health insurance providers, One Life Counselling & Coaching has select therapists whose services are reimbursable through most insurance plans.
Read through some reviews from previous One Life Counselling and Coaching clients:
“Ken Fierheller’s coaching and therapy had such a wonderful impact on me during a very difficult time throughout my marriage. His wonderful listening and unique gift of giving perspective into my situation was a blessing. Grateful from the bottom of my heart for his counsel and encouragement through this time to help me grow into a more authentic and aligned individual. Will always treasure Ken’s services in this journey.” —Kathleen Rand
“I highly recommend Ken’s services. He was professional, kind and is a great listener. He had some great insights on life, which I found helpful. I also found him to be quite compassionate, especially when one is working through an issue or a problem. The online booking and payment was convenient as well.” —Spencer Gallichan-Lowe
How to Choose a Counsellor
If you’re ready to take the leap and try out counselling, here are the factors to consider. Look out for the 3 C’s:
Anyone can lend you an ear, but not everybody is a good counsellor. Put your trust in someone who is qualified to help you out.
Find out if your prospective counsellor is licensed, certified or schooled in psychology or a related field. Try checking for initials after their name, like CCC (Canadian Certified Counselor) or RPC (Registered Professional Counsellor).
Therapy is a safe space for you to unload your thoughts, feelings and perhaps even past trauma. If you’re going to open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable, you’ll want to make sure your counsellor is someone you feel comfortable speaking to.
If your foundation doesn’t offer a trial session, make observations during your first few meetings. If you and your counsellor don’t quite click, there’s no shame in requesting another therapist.
Counselling can be a wonderful experience for you, but seeking your counsellor’s services regularly may build up the burden financially. Before committing to any single counsellor, take a good look at their price per session and packages, if any.
Frequently Asked Questions About Counselling Services
That concludes our list of the best counselling services in Calgary. We hope that this list helps you narrow down your prospects in case you find yourself in a tough mental or emotional state.
If you’re on the lookout for more therapy options, you may also want to take a look at our list of the best psychotherapists in Calgary.