Availability of Counselling

Glendon Accessibility, Well-Being and Counselling (AWC)Centre serves the entire Glendon community, including students, staff and faculty. Priority for on-campus service is given to students, while staff or faculty may be assisted in obtaining a referral to another appropriate counselling service. AWC centre affirms its commitment to human rights, and in particular to the principle that every member of the Glendon/York University community has a right to equitable treatment, without harassment or discrimination on the grounds prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Code, including: race, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability.

AWC centre provides short-term individual and group personal, career and learning skills counselling and accessibility services. In some cases a client may be referred to an appropriate resource in the community. Ordinarily, clients requesting or needing long-term treatment are referred to appropriate services off campus.

Personal Counselling

In a counselling relationship, the client and counsellor work together to achieve the client’s goals regarding possible means of change or improvement. Counselling helps you to come to your own well-considered decisions about courses of action. Counselling is intended to be change-oriented and relatively brief. You will be encouraged to collaborate actively with your counsellor in a process that emphasizes your competence, strengths and possibilities, rather than your limitations.

While counselling is meant to be a helpful experience, this cannot be guaranteed, with regard to either the process involved or the eventual outcome. It is not uncommon for clients to experience an increase in symptoms or emotional discomfort prior to any potential improvement. However, the potential benefits of counselling include: changes in problematic behaviour, the removal or reduction of symptoms; improvements in self-esteem and overall mood; problem resolution; improvements in one’s ability to perform academically; or positive change in personal relationships, depending on the nature of the difficulties addressed.

Accessibility Services

Accessibility services provides support and resources to students with learning , mental health, physical, sensory and medical disabilities and consultation to the university community on related matters. Registration with the accessibility services aspect of AWC centre is voluntary and students are free to withdraw at any time.

Staff Supervision

In addition to our permanent staff, we may have graduate students pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees and serving internships as part of their professional training. These trainees are supervised to ensure a high quality of service. Supervisory staff holds advanced degrees (Ed.D. M.A.) and have extensive experience in mental health services. The supervisory and training process is greatly facilitated by the use of audio recordings. Therefore, it is departmental practice to record interns’ counselling sessions. The recordings are kept in locked, confidential files and are typically erased within two weeks.

Flow of information

Client records are maintained in locked file cabinets in the AWC centre. Occasionally, consultation may be necessary between counselling and accessibility staff and other professional staff within our services and CDS, on the York campus. This sharing of relevant information may result in other staff in Counselling Services sometimes having access to the information in the client’s file. All staff who do have access to client files are required to maintain strict levels of confidentiality as outlined above and to refer only to information relevant to the services they are providing. The accessibility counsellor has access to the York University Student Information System, including student grade records. In an attempt to monitor the progress of students who are registered with us for accessibility services, the academic performance record of all students may be periodically verified.

Appointments

AWC centre tries to meet the needs of all clients. As the school year progresses, there is an increasing demand for our services and, consequently, waiting lists rapidly develop. In order to accommodate many students, we need to ensure that every available space is used. Therefore, please keep your appointments as scheduled. In the event that you are unable to attend, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance.

Please note that messages on voice mail are checked ONLY Monday to Friday during business hours, excluding holidays.

We have a maximum waiting period of 15 minutes past your scheduled appointment time. After this grace period, you may be asked to reschedule.

Unless warranted by exceptional circumstances, if you miss two (2) appointments without notifying us at least 24 hours in advance, you may not be allowed to book an appointment for the rest of the academic term. Clients cancelling repeatedly may also be refused additional service. AWC centre reserves the right to make decisions about services on a case by case basis.

Email and Internet Policy

Email is not a confidential form of communication and therefore AWC centre does not conduct counselling by email and discourages the use of email communication between clients and counselling and accessibility staff. Counselling Services practitioners do not accept invitations from clients to participate in their online social networks, nor do they invite clients to participate in their own personal online social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace).

Letters

Please Note:

Petition or deferral letters will only be provided to students who have been seen on an ongoing basis during the time at which they were experiencing difficulties.

Counselling Services practitioners are unable to provide letters of reference for students unless they have supervised the student in a work, volunteer or academic capacity.

Confidentiality

All information disclosed within sessions is confidential and may not be revealed to anyone outside the AWC centre without your written consent, except in very rare circumstances as follows:

  • Where there is reasonable suspicion of abuse of children.
  • Where you are in serious and imminent danger of hurting yourself or another person, we may need to reveal to an appropriate third party enough information to help you.
  • If you are involved in a legal proceeding, the court may subpoena your records. This is a rare occurrence, but you should be aware of the possibility.
  • If you reveal to us that you have been sexually abused by a health care provider who is covered by the Regulated Health Professions Act (e.g. physicians, psychologists) we are required by law to report the name of the offending member to his or her governing body, although we will not reveal your name unless we receive written permission from you to do so. It should be noted that the current legal definition of sexual abuse includes both touching of a sexual nature and demeaning remarks of a sexual nature.
  • If one of the other counsellors within the office has some special expertise relating to your concerns we may, from time to time, consult with that person if we feel it will be helpful for you. In addition, the interns are required to discuss the people they see with their supervisor.

Should you have any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding the information provided above or any other aspects of the counselling process, feel free to discuss them with your counsellor at any time. You may also ask to meet your counsellor’s supervisor at any time.