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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Who are ASCO staff?

  • ASCO staff are skilled professionals with both educational qualifications and field experience. Our staff receive regular training and supervision in order to ensure that the quality of services to our clients meets professional standards.
  • ASCO staff that belong to a regulatory college are required to adhere to that college’s Code of Ethics along with the agency’s Code of Conduct.

Is there a waitlist for services?

  • We now provide a free, single session counselling service that allows people to connect with a professional counsellor, generally within a couple of business days.
  • Some of our other programs may have a waiting list. Our intake department can provide up-to-date information on waiting lists for our various programs.

How long are the sessions?

  • Many programs will allow 8 to 12 counselling sessions. Individual sessions typically last 50 minutes and group sessions typically last a maximum of two hours.
  • Sessions are currently available virtually and can be accessed through a computer or smartphone using a secure and confidential video link sent by email, or over the phone if that is preferred.
  • The frequency and number of sessions are based on a number of factors including the structure of the agency’s program and your needs.

Do I have to pay for services?

  • Most of our programs are funded by Ontario Health or the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and are therefore available to our clients at no charge.
  • We also offer specialized programs, such as the Ontario Remedial Measures (Back on Track) Program for which there is a cost.

What are the benefits and risks involved in counselling?

  • There are many different approaches to supporting someone who would like to make changes to their gambling or substance use.
  • Some people might find it sufficient to attend self-help groups or to get support from their friends or family.
  • Research shows that counselling supports the change process, although there is no guarantee with respect to success. We use standardized provincial assessment tools and review each client’s current or related past life situations.
  • It is important to know that there may be times during or following treatment or counselling sessions when you experience some emotional distress and/or uncertainty, or physical symptoms due to change in patterns of your substance use/gambling behavior.
  • Your counsellor will support and help you through this process.
  • You have the right to withdraw from the program anytime should you decide to do so. Your decision will not affect any services you may receive from our agency in the future.

What can I expect in counselling sessions? 

  • Generally speaking, ASCO provides virtual one-on-one and group counselling, case management, peer support and some medical services for our clients.
  • Our team of professionals support our clients in meeting their treatment goals through a comprehensive assessment. A treatment plan is then developed with the client’s needs and goals at the centre. The plan is regularly reviewed with you.
  • A number of treatment approaches may be used including:
    • Solution-Focused Therapy
    • Narrative Therapy
    • Emotion-Focused Therapy
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
    • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
    • Experiential Therapy
    • Motivational Interviewing
    • Family Systems Therapy

What is a treatment plan?

  • If you are receiving counselling, in the first two to three sessions, you and your counsellor will collaborate in developing a clear treatment plan.
  • It is important to know that your treatment plan will be based on your recovery needs.

What program is right for me?

  • The Intake Department will refer you to the appropriate program within ASCO.
  • Some programs may have a waiting list. Many programs will allow 8 to 12 counselling sessions. You may decide that the program’s service is no longer needed or desired and exit the program.
  • You may also decide, in collaboration with your clinician, that you have successfully completed the program.
  • You and your clinician may decide that upon completion of one program, you may be eligible to be transferred to another program within ASCO or referred to an external agency.

What about confidentiality?

  • The information that you discuss with our staff will be treated as confidential and will not be disclosed outside the professional relationship without your informed consent.
  • However, while ASCO staff will make every reasonable effort to safeguard your privacy and confidentiality, it may not be possible to maintain absolute confidentiality in all circumstances.
  • ASCO may disclose your information in any circumstances in which it is legally or ethically compelled to do so, including the following:
  1. If you present as a danger to yourself or others, including ASCO staff.
  2. If there are reasonable grounds of suspicion of child abuse under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act 2017 or, if you are under 16 years of age if you have been the victim of child abuse. (For example, the witnessing of violence in the home or risk to children due to the caregiver’s use of alcohol or drugs).
  3. An order, subpoena or summons is served by a court or other legal authority requiring disclosure.
  4. If there is a legal duty to report to a professional organization. (For example, when it is suspected that you have been the victim of a professional who has breached their profession’s Code of Ethics.)
  5. If you present a risk in the operation of a motor vehicle. (For example, a person arrives at a session impaired and insists on driving; the police will be notified if alternative arrangements are refused).

Where is my information stored to ensure privacy?

  • Your personal information is protected by privacy legislation: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents (PIPEDA) Act, 2001 and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), 2004 and will be collected, used and disclosed by ASCO only for the purposes of facilitating your treatment.
  • We may also use your information internally to evaluate our own effectiveness and performance over time.
  • ASCO employs reasonable security arrangements to ensure that your personal information can only be accessed by agency personnel and is not inadvertently or accidentally disclosed to third parties.
  • Except as specifically described above or as required by law, ASYR will not release your personal information to other organizations/individuals unless you first give permission for us to do so.
  • If you have any concerns or questions about the privacy or confidentiality of your information, you may contact our Privacy Officer at our main office, 14785 Yonge Street, Suite 210, Aurora, ON L4G 1N1.

How do I get started?

Where can I find more details about client and counsellor rights and responsibilities?

For more detailed information about our policies and procedures, see our Guides Section section with links to ASCO’s Client Handbook, Consent to Services, Client Rights & Responsibilities, Counsellor Rights & Responsibilities and Family & Friends Navigation Guide.

Looking for detailed information about our Policies & Procedures?

See our Guides section with links to ASCO’s:

  • Client Handbook
  • Consent to Services
  • Client Rights & Responsibilities
  • Counsellor Rights & Responsibilities
  • Family & Friends Navigation Guide