The Elephant in the Room
I know that many people feel an awkwardness associated with discussing finances, especially right off the bat with a newly acquainted wellness professional, but I promise you, for many of us, our entire jobs revolve around supporting people, through everything and anything they can throw at us, with a genuine lack of judgment. We don’t take off our “Non-judgmental Hat” and put up our “Scrooge McDuck Hats” (your kids probably won’t get that reference, but I hope you do) when we suddenly are about to discuss payment options. To speak specifically from my experience, I am always more than happy to work together to create a payment plan that is comfortable for you (no invasive questions asked), and I would much prefer this option to the idea of a willing youth not receiving support. I know I am not the only one out there who feels this way and is willing to (no pun intended) put our money where our mouth is when it comes to standing by our ideals.
Many therapists, counsellors, mentorship programs and youth services, myself included, offer sliding-scale payment options. However, sometimes it gets buried in the fine print. I have found that a quick email or phone call is the best way to determine if a service has a payment option that is comfortable for you.
Our bank accounts do not determine our value (for realz), but they also do not always determine our ability pay, if by other means. There is always the option to ask if a service, particularly a private practice or privately run service, is open to the idea of a work-trade. You might be short on monetary gains, but you may be rich in skills, services, home-made wares or baked goods (I am not saying I will coach your kid in exchange for snacks… but I am partial to brownies). Becoming something of a brand ambassador may also be an option, although that would depend on the arrangement. While slightly unconventional, you might be surprised by who is open to negotiating an arrangement that is comfortable for all parties. Regardless, it can not hurt to include it as a possible option if you have something or some time you are willing to trade.
Community & Government Programs
I highly recommend reaching out to your local community services. In my experience, often local “woman’s” centers, libraries, recreation centers, churches, cultural establishments, high schools, support groups, and school clubs or after-school groups are incredible resources. They may have information to aid you in your quest or, even better, programs. Additionally, if you feel comfortable, the local Ministry of Child and Family Development often has some great information on community events, plus they have pamphlets… so, so many pamphlets.
Lastly, online or telephone options are always a fantastic tool to have in your “Aah, I need to talk to someone right now!” toolbox. Research your national or more localized helplines, crisis centers, remote therapy/counselling or remote therapy services. If you live in British Columbia a wonderful resource is Foundry (https://foundrybc.ca/ ) or, if you live in Canada, this great big registry of links and numbers of resources sorted by province: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/abo4579#:~:text=British%20Columbia&text=Call%201%2D800%2D563%2D,Health%20and%20Substance%20Use%20Services.
If you would like to book a consultation to discuses finding a payment solution that is comfortable for you, I would be happy to meet!
- Mallory Woods