What to Expect When You Book a Session with a Therapist at ORCC

Note: If you are in need immediate medical assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital.
If you are experiencing severe depression or anxiety, contact the 24/7 Crisis Line at the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region immediately at 613-722-6914.

For immediate emotional support, help is available through ORCC’s support line: 613-562-2333.
We also offer free, confidential Chat & Text support for survivors of sexual- and/or gender-based violence from 12 pm - 12am, 7 days a week, at 613-544-6424.

The decision to reach out for support after experiencing sexual violence can feel like a step into the unknown. Therapists at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (ORCC) hold safe and compassionate spaces for clients seeking their services. They recognize the importance of moving with you to establish a connection that fosters empowerment and a sense of autonomy.

ORCC provides free counselling services, including individual counselling, crisis counselling, and group counselling, to cis women, Trans women, Trans men, gender non-conforming, and Two-Spirit survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Counselling services are offered to individuals 16 years and older who have historically or recently experienced sexual violence (including childhood sexual abuse) and/or gender-based violence.

ORCC's counselling services work from an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, survivor-centred approach. Our therapists use various therapeutic techniques as each client's lived experience is distinct and may require unique support strategies. Counselling sessions with ORCC therapists are led and directed by you. Individual counselling services are available for 8- 10 sessions and can be offered virtually, by phone, or in person. 

The initial counseling appointment presents an opportunity to get to know the therapist, complete intake documentation, create collaborative goals for the therapeutic process, review mutual expectations, and review your current coping strategies. The therapist then works with you to build coping mechanisms and a plan for healing and will book subsequent sessions as well.

Therapists working in ORCC's Counselling Team are registered with designated colleges and are required to be in good standing. They are all experienced in providing quality, client-centered care consistent with best practice, trauma-informed, and evidence-based approaches.

Below are a few key points that can inform your expectations of your sessions with therapists at the ORCC:

  • Counselling is trauma-focused. We recognize trauma affects various areas of a person's life, which the therapist can integrate into therapy, but treatment will primarily focus on the lived experience of trauma.
  • Accompaniment is held for those actively receiving treatment through ORCC (for example, accompaniment to court proceedings related to their experience of sexual violence).
  • Case management (i.e., locating or referring to a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist) is not a current service offered through ORCC.

While there is a waitlist for one-on-one counselling at the moment, ORCC's Counselling Services team is still accepting new clients. To get started, click here  to fill out our confidential self-referral form.

Services presently offered through ORCC are in English only. If you are interested in receiving assistance in French, please call Le CALACS francophone d'Ottawa at 613-789-8096, extension 25. Leave a message with your name and contact information, and a counsellor from CALACS will contact you to set the first meeting and schedule any following services.

If you would like to receive services in another language (other than French or English), ORCC can arrange for an interpreter to be present for your sessions. Please identify your language needs/preferences in the accommodation section of the intake form.