The Full Circle Program is my way of addressing two issues close to my heart: making high quality psychological services accessible and contributing to the training and development of those wanting to serve others in their journey to become their best selves. Why? Because we all need a helping hand to design our lives, both professionally and personally. And when more people have the opportunity to become their best selves, we all benefit.
Here’s how it works: I give my time and expertise to the therapist and the client from behind the scenes, the therapist in training gives their services under my guidance, and the client receives the benefits of two trained clinicians for a minimal cost of $20/hr. Although receiving needed services, the client also gives the clinician the opportunity to further hone their skills, thus completing the circle of giving.
Introducing Gabrielle Iwaskow – Psychotherapist in Training
I credit Gabrielle for getting this program off the ground. It was because of her request for supervision to fulfill the requirements for her Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology that I entertained the idea. It was her infectious personality, passion and determination to develop her skills that motivated me to put in the effort to make this happen. In truth, I saw in Gabrielle reflections of myself when I was just starting my career, and recognized that now was my time to give back.
I encourage you to read below to learn more about Gabrielle and what it is that drives her to pursue a career in counselling.
Why are you pursuing a career in counselling?
As a society, we are moving towards recognizing how central mental well-being is for overall health. A career in counselling is a natural fit for me and the best way I can think of to be part of that movement.
I was raised in a family where discussing emotions was commonplace, which has allowed me to have a natural comfort with exploring them. I have also been told throughout my life that I am a people-person. So, as I continued my undergraduate courses in Psychology at the University of Guelph, it came as no surprise that I felt a sense of belonging in discussions about mental health. The more I learned, the more devoted I became to learning more. I am driven to understand why we do the things we do, feel the way we do, and think the way we do. The clarity and ease that comes from understanding my own thoughts and emotions has lead me to want to help others to do the same.
Why did you choose to pursue training at this clinic?
I share many of the same philosophies of this practice. I believe that every person has the right to readily available mental health services. I want to have the ability to share evidence-based tools and skills that can serve to empower people to become their best selves and design their lives.
I also really like how approachable and comfortable this clinic is. I appreciate that I will be trained by someone who has expertise not only with people who are suffering, but also with those who are striving as well. This is important to me. While the focus of my training at this stage is to hone my general counselling skills, my ultimate goal is to work with a wide demographic and to combine my love for mental health with another passion of mine – sport. My hope is to one day expand my general counselling skills to help athletes address their mental health needs and coach them in the use of mental skills to optimize performance.
Who is your ideal client?
Adults who are struggling with general mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, grief, and anger and who could otherwise not afford private mental health services, either because of limited income and/or lack of access to extended health benefits for psychological services.
Dr. Stacy’s Full Circle Program FAQs
Why is there a fee for service if the clients you want to serve have limited means to pay?
Believe it or not, paying something for services leads to better outcomes. It is a meaningful exchange which increases the client’s perceived value of the services and their motivation to do the work.
Do I need a referral?
Yes. A referral from a health care provider who is licensed to practice in Ontario is required. This can be a family doctor, nurse practitioner, naturopath, chiropractor, massage therapist..or any other licensed health professional (I think you get the idea).
Click here to access the referral form
How does the therapist’s supervision work?
The therapist in training meets a minimum of once/week with Dr. Thomas for supervision. At that time, the student therapist will review her notes from the sessions with each client with the Dr. Thomas and Dr. Thomas will provide feedback and guidance as needed. Audio recordings of the sessions will also be shared with Dr. Thomas for her to review as needed on a case by case basis. Therefore, all clients involved in the program will also need to consent to having their sessions audio recorded. These recordings will be kept confidential and shared only with Dr. Thomas.
In some cases, some clients might be asked to allow the therapist to share a recording of their session with course colleagues and professors within his/her training program if required to provide recordings of sessions to fulfill course requirements. The purpose of the recordings are to evaluate the therapist’s skill level in delivering services not an evaluation of the client. Please note however, that the sharing of recordings with course colleagues and professors is not a requirement of participation in this program and there is no pressure at all to comply with this request.
How can I be assured that my concerns will be addressed if I am being treated by a therapist who is still in training?
I can tell you from my experience as a student and as a supervisor of others, that there is no one who is more motivated and focused on your case than someone who is training to become an excellent therapist. They are not only super keen (which means that they are likely to read more, think more, and work harder to make sure they serve you well), our best research on psychotherapy outcomes shows that students often outperform seasoned professionals when it comes to delivering standardized, scientifically validated, treatment protocols. This is largely because they are more likely to actually follow tested protocols than those who have become comfortable with their own style (ie., those who have been practicing for many years). They also have the benefit of being more in tune with the latest technologies in their field, which is a value add.
Part of my own reasons for taking on practicum students within my practice is to ensure that I am constantly upping my game. There is nothing like a student watching you work and asking questions to make sure that you are on point and are operating with full awareness at all times.
So, the beauty of this program, is that each client will have the benefit of, not one, but TWO trained therapists, who are motivated and focused on helping you become your best.
If needed, can I meet with Dr. Stacy directly?
Yes. I will always be available to meet with clients if and when needed. However, you will always be encouraged to discuss any issues with your therapist directly.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Credit card, cash or etransfer. Payment is due at the end of the session and an invoice will be mailed to you after the session for your records.