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Local counselling service sees successful first year

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For a little more than a year now, counsellors at the Door of Hope Counselling Services have been helping their clients find ways to deal with the stresses of everyday life.

While providing a professional level of advocacy has evolved most successfully in terms of a client base, counsellor Ron Hagerty admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect when they first started out 12 months ago.

“We didn’t have any idea what would transpire. It was sort of like walking on the edge . . . a step of faith,” he said yesterday.

“And it has met and exceeded our expectations,” he added.

“Most months have been fairly steady, and there has been a growth of clientele,” echoed Ken Johnson.

“On a general level, you are always learning something and honing your abilities," he noted. ”It is really neat to see people make positive changes.

“Being a part of that is personally gratifying and rewarding,” he added.

Although Door of Hope has its basis in spiritual teachings, Johnson stressed it does not advocate a specific belief system, noting that above all else is a regard for the individual.

“We are a Christian counselling service, however, our clients don’t have to share our beliefs," he explained. "We respect the individual.”

“We are the only counselling service in the district which is based in a Christian or biblical perspective," echoed Hagerty. "It is a privilege for our community to have this and we have a big area to service.”

Although Door of Hope exists to help with a wide range of concerns, such as stress management, grief, depression and anxiety, one area stands out from the rest.

“There’s certainly a variety of [issues] but if I had to put my finger on what is most common with clientele, it would have to be relationships and the problems within [them],” he reasoned.

“Relational issues are primary.”

Johnson felt Door of Hope Counselling Services, located upstairs at 340 Scott St., was a good source for people because of the training he and Hagerty had, and because there aren’t many other channels out there in which to do that.

“It fits very well with our training and it’s what we enjoy doing,” he said.

But Johnson also stressed he felt Door of Hope had been readily accepted by other social services agencies here, and was pleased with the receptiveness.

“We were very pleasantly surprised at the openness and acceptance of other agencies and help professions,” he remarked.

Door of Hope also has prepared at least one marriage enrichment seminar where couples learn more about how to communicate, experience, and understand their love language.

And if Johnson and Hagerty have learned anything specific from their involvement in counselling, it is to take a second look at the blessings in their own lives.

“You always see people and think they have it all together on the outside but then you realize what it’s really like [for them],” said Johnson.

“Then I say I don’t have life so bad.”

“People’s pain is what stands out for me," echoed Hagerty. ”I admire people when they do come for counselling. We all have soul pain, it is common to us all.

“For the heart and soul, it is good to be able to go talk things over and perhaps put crisis in a different perspective and come to a fuller understanding,” he reasoned.

Door of Hope Counselling Services is currently working towards incorporation as a charitable, non-profit organization.

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