Interview with a CFSSC Clinician – Royce Tucker

Royce Tucker has worked with CFSSC for close to 3 years. He holds an Honors Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Counselling Psychology and has certification in Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. Royce is a registered Psychotherapist and a Canadian Certified Counsellor.

Tell us your story of how you became a clinician

During my undergraduate studies, I started to develop a passion for psychology. This stemmed from my passion for helping people and society as a whole. I was in school for law, after my first semester I decided to switch into psychology and never looked back. After completing my undergrad in Psychology, I applied for my masters at The University of Calgary, where I went on to complete a Masters in Counselling Psychology.

I did my field practicum with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. This involved helping out adolescents with a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, and school stress.

I started working with CFSSC almost three years ago now. I heard many great things about Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County and how they had a reputation of being one of most reliable services in the area. When I noticed they were hiring, I applied right away.

Seeing the need for counselling services and wanting to improve the quality of life for people in our community holds a great deal of importance for me. Waking up being able to do a job that I love, is a dream come true.

What are some of the types of struggles clients are dealing with in the community?

Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and grief are the most common presenting issues that clients are dealing with when they come in for help. There are a variety of others, but I would say those are the most common.

Tell us about the importance of Free Walk-In Counselling and the impact it has in the community

We see a very high number of people attend our free walk-in counselling clinics on a yearly basis. It is great to hear all of the positive feedback from our clients and how helpful the service was for them. There is no referral needed from a physician and we serve everyone in the community.

From the data I’ve seen, there appears to be a significant impact in terms of the diversions from the Emergency Rooms at the hospitals. I believe this service helps save costs in our health care system and open up space in our local emergency rooms for other patients. Without the service we offer and the generosity of our funders, I believe that many people, who are in need of affordable counselling and want to change, may not get this help.

Without services like ours, people would have to go into private practices and pay $120-180 per hourly session.  Most people cannot afford that especially those without health benefits through their employer.

In 2016 1,714 clients attended our Walk-in Counselling clinics.

I believe the walk-in opens up an avenue for change and is a great way to access further affordable counselling.

What types of training do you and other clinicians do to stay current with mental health strategies?

There is funding offered that allows us to do individual and in-house training. Personally, over the last year, I have been training in Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy training out of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City. I have completed my introductory and advanced certificates in this, and am currently working on my fellowship at the Institute.

In this field of work, we are not only encouraged, but required to participate in continuing education to maintain our licenses to practice.

Self-care is vital for well-being, especially in your profession. How do you practice self-care?

I can’t stress the importance of self-care enough. We are fortunate to have professional development readily available for us on how to take care of yourself.

I personally utilize mindfulness practices. I even have an exercise ball and yoga mat in my office. In between sessions, it is important for me to mentally unwind and be fully prepared to help my next client.

I make sure I have fun in my life and keep a good work-life balance.

Ending the stigma associated with mental illness is a collaborative initiative but the stigma can restrain people from coming forward and getting professional help. What advice do you have for people who are nervous to go in for counseling?

Remember that our services are confidential. We’re bound to keep our client’s attendance and counseling and everything they say in that session to ourselves, within the limitations of the law of course. Clinician’s at CFSSC are all masters level and participate in peer supervision/consultation on a regular basis. If there is a concern that you have, bring it up with the clinician and hopefully we can address the worry.