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Adult Counselling
adult clients
individual adult counselling sessions
clients accessed in-person counselling
clients accessed counselling online via telehealth

Our Adult Counselling Program provides no-fee, trauma-centred individual and group counselling and psychoeducation for clients ages 18 and up, as well as information and support for family members.


Adult counsellors recognize that a client’s path to healing varies greatly and that it may move through different stages along the way. The counselling offered at SACE is client-led, which means that the client is in charge of what they choose to incorporate into their own healing process. Adult counsellors work with clients to determine what therapy might look like. There is no perfect or ideal way for someone to heal. Our counsellors understand that this process is not linear and will support clients where they are in this process.

Reporting Priorities: Where Have We Been and Where Do We Go Next

It has never been a simple process to capture the totality of the work completed within the Adult Counselling Program. Statistics represent numerical indicators of client-reported change, but not what is required to create the environment and relationships that foster this growth. While words cannot adequately capture how it feels when you can trust that there is enough safety in relationship to show up as you are, we work to demonstrate this in our reporting. Safety serves as the foundation of all our clinical programs. The psychological environment that clinical staff work in directly informs the psychological environment we expect clients to heal within. Thus, we report on the ways in which adult counsellors are supported in their roles. This has included sharing about professional development, the addition of quarterly check-ins, and acknowledgment of the emotional and psychological cost of the work the counselling and broader clinical team does.

The moments of common humanity will continue to be an element of reporting as we move forward. They are integral to understanding the work done within the adult counselling program. Over the next year SACE will be undergoing substantial changes, including a new location and expansion of the adult counselling team. Our hope is to report on how an environment focused on building the safety necessary for learning supports a larger and stronger team, and how this in turn impacts the length of time that clients are waiting for services. We also plan to develop more robust reporting on the experiences of Masters and Doctorate practicum students.  

Team Transitions and Moments of Learning

At the start of 2023, SACE made the decision to split the Clinical Director role into two Registered Psychologist positions: Clinical Director, Adult Services and Clinical Director, Child and Youth Services. The Clinical Director, Adult Services provides supervision and support to the adult counsellors, and focuses on the development of the adult counselling and group counselling programs. The Clinical Director, Child and Youth Services focuses on supervision and support for the child and youth counsellors, and on the development of the Child and Youth program and the Police and Court Support program. This division of the programs within the clinical portfolio creates the opportunity for both directors to focus attention on the policies, practices, and growth of the clinical team. The clinical directors look forward to ongoing learning within their roles.

SACE counselling office
SACE counselling office
SACE counselling office
SACE counselling office
of clients felt their counsellor understood the impact sexual violence had on them
of clients reported increased understanding of the effects of sexual abuse/assault
of clients had a reduction in trauma symptoms
of clients had increased scores on the Index of Well-being and Coping

Adult Counselling Program Development Highlights

In April 2022, the students who participated in the pilot year of our re-developed practicum program completed their placements. Feedback from these students informed the ongoing development of this program. Practicums now begin with a week of training that includes documentation training, mock sessions, and observations of live and recorded sessions. Students’ early sessions are observed by supervisors, and video recordings are utilized to facilitate clinical skill development and ensure client care. As the students build their caseloads, they engage in 90 minutes of individual supervision per week, formal and informal clinical consultations, and are encouraged to reach out to their supervisors as needed. As the students shift into the second half of their placement, they engage in group supervision focused on the development of ethical practice and expanding their understanding of therapeutic modalities.  

In the fall of 2022, the Adult Counselling Program welcomed two new practicum students completing the placements associated with their Master of Counselling (MC) and Master of Social Work (MSW) from Yorkville University and the University of Calgary respectively. Collaborative supervision was offered to support the MSW placement, which included support from an external supervisor to provide guidance on holding space for Indigenous healing practices alongside western models of practice. We hope to continue to work alongside external partners to support diverse learning opportunities for students and staff.   

Community Impact

Hearing the impact that individual counselling has had on a client’s relationship with friends, family, and community is one of the ways that we learn about the community impact of the adult counselling program at SACE. When we support one person to move toward mental and emotional wellness, their community is positively impacted. A parent who can better soothe their emotions can be more present for their child. A partner who can extend compassion to themselves can better extend compassion to their partner. A friend who understands that their own experience of sexual violence is not their fault can help their friend to understand the same for themselves. By supporting individuals through this part of their healing journey, we create the first ripple that moves out into the world. As one adult counselling client said, “I feel as though I have a stronger mind and that my self love has become stronger. This has helped me to accept and love people in my life more, too.”  

Supporting our adult counsellors and practicum students to maintain their own wellness while doing this work also creates ripples in our community. One way we do this is by creating a strong internal community for our counsellors. This work is unique, and having an internal community of support is paramount to the sustainability of our adult counselling team. The outcome of the pressure of this work can be a very real feeling of uncertainty. When left unaddressed and unsupported this can grow into burnout, a decrease in capacity, and an increase in counsellors choosing to exit this specific area of expertise. By working to create space for counsellors to learn and speak about the impacts of their work, they are being supported in accessing the tools they need to do the work they are tasked to engage in. The importance of this internal community is reflected by feedback from a 2022 practicum student who shared that “the welcoming environment SACE has makes it conducive to true learning. Knowing it is okay not to know everything and being able to lean on others is instrumental in developing skills to help clients in a culturally humble and sensitive way.”  

Feedback from clients of our Adult Counselling Program

“It has been such a gift, it has changed my life. I wasn’t expecting to feel this way. When I first started coming, I hadn’t realized how bad of a place I was in – it’s scary now to think back to that time. And now I just feel like there is hope, I have hope, I have plans for the future. I’m living my life, I feel so lucky and to have you as my therapist, you’ve been so caring. My life has changed, and I actually like who I am now.”

“I am much more aware now of what trauma has NOT taken from me, all the of the positive things I have to offer others still, by being me. My counselor has helped me to identify certain things and believe in myself again. She has helped me to find my voice again and I feel more comfortable with my memories and how I feel about them.”
“… I think I’ve come a long way through my healing journey and I know this by the way I can verbalize my assault to others and still be okay. Once I was a part of SACE, I didn’t have to face anything alone. SACE supported me through so many obstacles, court and the healing journey.”


Your donations help SACE offer no-fee services and support to thousands of individuals affected by sexual violence in Edmonton every year.

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