Our Counselling Program provides individuals who have experienced sexual violence with client-centred, trauma-informed counselling at no cost, no matter where they are at on their healing journey. 

What is sexual violence? Read more here. 

Want services for needs other than sexual violence? Click here to visit our Community Resources page. 

WSN’s Feminist, Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression framework guides our counselling model. In this model:

  • The client is the expert on their own situation; our counsellors are inclusive, nonjudgmental, and support clients’ choices as neither an advisor or authority figure.
  • An equal, teamwork relationship exists between the counsellor and the client. The client brings their knowledge and experience and counsellors bring knowledge, skills, and tools related to sexual violence, the impacts of sexual violence, coping skills, strategies for change, and helping resources in the community.
  • Our counsellors recognize that clients’ experiences are shaped and influenced by sexism and other forms of oppression such as racism, classism, homophobia, ageism, and other intersecting social locations

Counselling services at WSN follow a comprehensive 3-phase approach known as the tri-phasic model of trauma recovery.

1. Safety and Stabilization – Building the Toolkit 

The focus during this phase is the client’s immediate needs. The counsellor models attention to safety by promoting safe and secure living, healthy relationships, and bodily safety, in addition to other client-specific needs such as emotional regulation or sleep hygiene. 

In this stage, there is also psychoeducation and skill/self-care development. This helps to recognize triggers and symptoms and learn how to react to them which is why this stage is also referred to as “building the toolkit”. 

2. Processing of Trauma

Once the client has built their toolkit, they can begin to process the actual memories of trauma. This involves overcoming the fear of and coming to terms with these memories. 

3. Reintegration of Self and Community         

Clients form a new identity by learning how to relate to the world in a way that does not have trauma as a primary theme. During this phase, the focus is on present-day concerns as opposed to the past and trauma. 

Learn more about the tri-phasic model in Judith Herman’s book Trauma and Recovery, or you can watch this short video: https://traumapractice.net/tri-phasic-model 

Read more about the effects of trauma in our Resource Library.

Our ongoing counselling services offer a space for individuals who have experienced or are at-risk of experiencing sexual violence to work one-to-one with a counsellor for up to 24 weeks (renewable on a case by case basis if more support is needed). 

Clients can access a maximum of 1 hour of counselling per week or other configurations that are more appropriate for the client (e.g. one hour every two weeks, every month, etc.). The counselling process and relationship is flexible and directed by the needs and priorities of the client.

While clients direct the topics and concerns that will be discussed in counselling, ongoing counselling concerns, themes, and discussions ought to be connected to the client’s experience of and recovery from violence. Some of the topics we generally cover are:

  • Safety, boundaries, and self-care and strategies to get or stay well 
  • Identifying and managing triggers, coping skills 
  • Managing trauma symptoms
  • Processing memories of sexual violence

If you, or someone you love, may be interested in receiving counselling with us – please call our office: 905.895.3646 or email info@womenssupportnetwork.ca

Self-referrals are welcome!

Want services for needs other than sexual violence? Click here to visit our Community Resources page.

Clients who are not currently accessing ongoing counselling may schedule crisis appointments. 

Crisis counselling is for people in immediate crisis, or who have an imminent or time-limited need. 

Crisis counselling appointments are 1 hour in length and may be provided in-person or via phone. 

Clients can access 1-3 appointments within 4 weeks. 

Next Steps: Contact WSN at 905.895.3646 or email info@womenssupportnetwork.ca to refer or self-refer. A counsellor will contact you within 72 hours to schedule an appointment.

Drop-In Counselling

Walk-in counselling is available to survivors of past and recent sexual violence including sexual harassment, sexual assault, or commercial sexual exploitation who do not currently have access to a counsellor and/or other supports.

Our walk-in counselling takes place every Thursday from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at WSN’s office: 1110 Stellar Drive, Unit 109, Newmarket ON. 

Clients are seen on a first-come first-serve basis. The last appointment will begin at 7:15 PM and finish by 8:00 PM. 

For info, please call 905.895.3646 email info@womenssupportnetwork.ca.