We offer a FREE single-session counselling session with a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. The counselling session is usually about 50 minutes and is open to all persons 18 years of age and older, who live or work in the GTA. No appointment is necessary and no health card or identification is required. Clients are expected to complete a service agreement form and a questionnaire that enables staff to best meet your needs.

Service is offered on a first-come, first served basis and after two appointments returning clients might not be seen, depending upon capacity.  We regret that we are not able to open sessions to children or provide child care. Ongoing counselling and therapy are not offered.

If you would like to arrange for ongoing counselling, please call our Service Access Unit, Tel: 416.595.9618

Some of the counselling team are able to offer services in other languages; please call (416) 595-0307 ext. 269 to inquire about the times when service is offered in languages other than English.

When: Wednesdays from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Last registration: 6:15 p.m.
Where: 128A Sterling Road, second floor, suite 202.

Registration begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 6:15; last appointment starts 6:30 p.m. Note that our capacity varies week to week.

What is single-session counselling?

Single-session counselling can provide you with the emotional support, feedback and ideas on how to make positive changes in your life. Each counselling session is treated like a distinct counselling session with no expectation that you come back for a subsequent session.
At the walk-in you may receive handouts specific to your particular concern (e.g. communication tips on dealing with conflict, working with your anger in a positive way, thought records to monitor thinking patterns).  You may also receive referral information to other community supports and resources, websites, apps, books, articles or groups).

Who can come?

The FST single-session counselling service is appropriate for adult individuals, couples, family and friends of all genders and sexual orientations. This includes people of all cultures, races, religions and beliefs. People come to the walk-in wanting help with a variety of issues that may include but are not limited to: anxiety; depression; social isolation; interpersonal conflict; personal stress; trauma; relationship issues; parenting concerns; general emotional upset; internet addictions and other addictions; coping with abuse.

Who cannot come?

People who have criminal charges before the Courts are not eligible for service at the FST walk-in.  (FST does offer the Partner Abuse Response Service, a group-based program for men who have been charged with partner assault.)  People who are highly psychotic or suicidal are advised to go directly to their local hospital or a psychiatric facility.

Will the walk-in staff provide ‘Letters of Attendance’?

No, we do not provide any form of documentation or communication confirming that a person came to the walk-in.

May I request a certain counsellor?

People can request to see a particular counsellor though that counsellor may not be available and we cannot guarantee that you will see the same counsellor if you return to the walk-in. Walk-In single-session counselling is not the same as on-going counselling where you see the same counsellor on a regular basis.

Can walk-in single-session counselling really help?

There is a growing amount of research that shows that single-session counselling has a positive impact for many people because they get the help they want when they most need it.   Walk-In counselling has been proven to decrease emotional distress in the short-term, and may have positive long-term impact as well.

Some people only need one or two counselling sessions to significantly improve their emotional well-being. Single-session counselling can help a person enhance their personal insight, access their healthy emotional resources and develop useful coping strategies.  The single session can help people develop helpful coping skills which may assist in the wait for more long-term services.  The counsellor works collaboratively with each person to co-create a plan for support.  With very few accessible counselling resources in the City of Toronto, the walk-in counselling service is a valuable service for those who want the help now.

Who are the counsellors and what is their training?

Almost all counsellors have a Master’s degree in a counselling-related profession (e.g. Social Work, Psychology, Adult Education).

What will happen when I arrive at the walk-in?

Upon arriving at the walk-in a receptionist will give you some paperwork that includes a one-page client information form, a brief questionnaire and a service agreement.  You will also be asked to read some information about your rights as a client and the FST privacy statement.

What is the walk-in questionnaire?

The questionnaire is to help people focus their thoughts on a single issue that is of most concern to them at the time they are at the walk-in.  Some of the questions are:

  • What concern brought you here today?
  • What would be important for us to know about the background of this concern?
  • What would be one thing that would make you feel that things will get better?
  • What things have you tried in coping with this concern?
  • What made you decide to seek counselling support now?
  • Have you ever had counselling support in the past?

How long will I need to wait before being seen?

Registration for the Walk-In begins at 3 p.m. for first and second time clients. Wait time is based on the volume of clients. Our last appointment starts at 6:30. Please be aware that due to capacity issues, it may not be possible to see all people who come to the walk-in on a given day.

Is childcare/child-minding provided?

Family Service Toronto is not able to provide child-care/child minding services during the walk-in.  If you have young children who require supervision, please ensure that you make arrangements for their care before you come to the walk-in.  Children are not allowed to attend counselling sessions with their parents/guardians due to the sensitive nature of the sessions that are held.

What if I don’t want anyone to know that I was here?

Counselling at FST is strictly CONFIDENTIAL. The limitations to confidentiality include (1) If there is a safety or abuse concern about a minor (16 years old or under); (2) If client indicates that s/he may be an immediate physical threat to her/himself or another; (3) If the counsellor is subpoenaed by the court.

Can I return to the walk-in service for more than 2 sessions?

People who have had two walk-in consultations within one 12-month period can only register for the walk-in at 6:15 p.m. and will be offered the last time slot only if capacity allows.

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