What is my philosophy? During my over 25 years as a social worker, I have discovered the importance of looking at difficulties and problems using a holistic approach. We are much better equipped to deal with the struggles and changes we encounter if we feel whole and healthy in our body, mind and spirit and as a result, we become more resilient to life’s challenges. I believe that living well means making conscious decisions to honour ourselves with healthy and life-filling choices. Wellness counselling involves addressing issues by putting together a plan that supports the “whole person.” It involves assisting a person to begin to recognize and make choices that increase a sense of vitality and of well-being.
What kinds of problems might I assist with? You may come to counselling to address a specific personal event, or challenge (emotional, spiritual, physical, etc. that may be impacting your relationships, work/life balance, daily living, etc.) in your life with which you are struggling. You may work in the ‘helping profession’ and be struggling with Compassion Fatigue. You may come because you want to feel emotionally and spiritually healthier and improve your overall sense of well-being.
What can you expect? During the initial session we explore the issue(s) that has brought you to counselling. We set goals based on what you see the challenges to be and how you envision change towards healthy living in your life. We engage in talk therapy and possible complementary techniques. This is done within your comfort level and ability. Sessions are one hour in length. During these sessions we use a variety of techniques to work toward meeting your goals.
What are complementary strategies? Talk therapy is the traditional therapy used in counselling. It involves exploring issues and solutions through discussion between the therapist and client. Complementary techniques include visualization, meditation practices, and techniques that involve unblocking your personal and physical energy. Any of these practices may be used to the comfort, willingness and ability of the client.
Is there a fee? Wellness counselling is fee-for-service. While it is not covered by OHIP, some insurance plans and a number of workplaces do cover the cost of counselling by a registered social worker. Please consult your employee benefits package. As well, counselling services provided by Registered Social Workers (RSWs) can be claimed as medical expense tax deduction when you file your income tax return. Registered Social Workers are now recognized “medical practitioners” for the purpose of claiming medical expenses.
Valerie Spironello, MSW, RSW, a registered social worker, has a private practice Choose Wellness offering wellness counselling. She assists others in dealing with life’s challenges in a holistic manner looking at “whole-person” health. She uses talk therapy incorporating the use of mindfulness along with complementary practices such as transformative mindfulness, visualization, meditation and energy techniques to assist people who are interested in health of body, mind and spirit. She has a special interest and is trained to assist those in the ‘helping professions’ to identify and create plans to address Compassion Fatigue.
Along with individual sessions, Valerie provides workshops, wellness courses; runs meditation classes, and retreats.
In addition to her private practice, Valerie is an Assistant Professor (PT) with the Department of Family Medicine and teaches in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, Hamilton. She is also an instructor in continuing education at the University of Toronto.