2014 proved to be another year that tested our resilience and our commitment to each other as a community. We continued to show our determination and passion toward rebuilding our cities and towns following the Southern Alberta flood of 2013. And though we celebrated many accomplishments, we also began facing the effects of a downturn in the economy that has created and will continue to create hardships for many families, friends and the community as a whole.

Difficult events can bring people together and have proven to strengthen our sense of community. They have underscored the fact that we are all in this together. And most importantly, they have got people talking about mental health.

There has been a profound and welcome shift in the conversation about mental health in Calgary. We are beginning to see a new frame around depression and mental health issues. As this sensibility continues to emerge – where people are more open and frank discussing mental health – there is a tremendous opportunity to go deeper, bring our community closer and ultimately reach more people who need help.

At Calgary Counselling Centre, we see people every day who have found the courage to reach out and ask for help. But for many more, seeking help can be an almost insurmountable obstacle. As you read through the pages of this annual report, you will learn of our achievements and read of our many successes throughout 2014. We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, but as we look ahead to 2015, we know that we can do more.

We know that together with a growing group of vocal, active and engaged members of our community we can achieve even greater outcomes and ensure even more people can get the support they need when they need it.

We’re all in this together and together we can create a better future. What are we waiting for?

Elizabeth Carson, Board Chair

Message from the Board

I am honoured to have served for the past two year as Chair of the Calgary Counselling Centre. It is truly a privilege to be involved with a community organization that has such a relentless focus on providing the best outcomes for its clients.

Through effective counselling backed by extensive research, education and training, the Calgary Counselling Centre has become a leader in mental health in Calgary, and beyond. The Centre is recognized across the country for its innovative programs and impressive client outcomes. I am confident the Centre’s stature will only continue to grow with the tireless dedication of its staff and supporters.

Together we are making a huge difference. With its innovative programming, agility and responsiveness, the Calgary Counselling Centre is able to positively impact the lives of thousands of people. It responds—quickly and effectively—to events that adversely impact mental health in our community.

The Centre is also helping to lead a crucial conversation around reducing stigma over mental illness. Together, the more we are able to have open discussions about mental health the more encouragement we offer to people in need to reach out. This is hugely important. On behalf of all the members of the board, I can say that we are very proud to stand behind an organization that assists so many people. On a personal note, I find I am inspired by the Centre’s unwavering commitment to its clients and the community.

I am humbled to be able to serve the Calgary Counselling Centre and honoured to welcome our incoming Chair Nancy Laird. As you read the following pages, I sincerely hope you too will be inspired and motivated to learn more about the work the Centre does, and what you can do to help.

Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, CEO

Message from the CEO

For 2014, we organized our thoughts for the annual report around the theme of “we’re all in this together.” It is, I think, a powerful lens to examine not only the year that’s past but the years of work that lies ahead for the Calgary Counselling Centre and our community. At the Centre, we come to work with the belief that we’re all working toward the best results and outcomes for our clients.

Together, we’re building and maintaining an internal work culture that supports excellence. Together, we are increasing capacity in the community. And together, with our supporters and clients, we’re helping alleviate distress, depression and domestic abuse that affect some many individuals and families in Calgary.

Within the community, we’re all in it together as we turn whispers about mental health into an open and honest conversation that includes talking about the growing need for mental health counselling in our city, and region.

In High River, we are working with many government and community partners to support the town as it continues to recover from the 2013 flood.

In 2014, Canadians came together to support, applaud and honour Olympian Clara Hughes as she rode her bike more than 11,000 kilometers across the country openly talking about her struggle with depression and helping reduce the stigma around mental health. The Centre is proud to have been selected as Calgary’s community champion for Clara’s Big Ride.

We are also working together with a global research community in finding the most effective treatments for our clients. International experts have affirmed the approach Calgary Counselling Centre is taking, and we’ve been invited to work with a community of researchers and practitioners focused on improving the results of counselling services. Meanwhile, the results of our programs continue to improve and exceed published benchmarks.

Everything we do is focused on generating the best results for our clients. We relentlessly work for and with our clients. They give us feedback before and after every counselling session to keep us informed about their progress. In 2014, Calgary Counselling Centre provided more than 25,580 counselling and group sessions for more than 6,836 people.

But only by collaborating with people and organizations in our community can we ensure that we’re providing our clients the best possible treatments, treatments based on solid, reliable research and evidence.

We couldn’t do any of this on our own. Donors, community partners, funders, volunteers, dedicated staff and our courageous clients—quite truly, we’re all in this together. Thank you for being part of the team.

Our Mission

Improving the well-being of individuals and families and strengthening communities by delivering best practices in counselling, training and research.

Our Difference

Calgary Counselling Centre delivers the strongest client results in the mental health services industry in Calgary, Alberta.

We push boundaries and we get results. For more than 50 years, our compassionate, professional and affordable client-focused counselling services have helped individuals, youth and families achieve better outcomes and build better lives. Our expert team consists of psychologists, marriage and family therapists and social workers, who deliver counselling services backed by extensive research and training.

We have leading-edge group programs in five areas—depression, domestic abuse, relationships, children and youth and eating disorders. These programs support and complement individual counselling – a proven method that yields the most positive client results.

Our Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) tracks the progress of our clients at each session through the use of a questionnaire and allows us to make treatment adjustments based on the results. Similar to taking someone’s vital signs, this questionnaire allows us to accurately assess the individual’s well being so we can provide them with the right treatment.

Our accessibility is representative of our client-focused philosophy. There is no wait list. We offer a sliding-fee-scale. We see clients in the evening, on Saturdays and we offer translators, where necessary, to ensure language is not a barrier to treatment. We’re proud of the results our clients have achieved and the how they have changed their lives for the better.

Our Difference


In the past year, our resilience and our commitment to each other as a community was tested once again. The Southern Alberta floods of 2013 continued to weigh on the hearts and the minds of our community. Despite these difficulties, Albertans banded together and our sense of community strengthened.

The Centre continues to experience increases in service requests every year. In 2014, the highest demand for counselling was as follows: couple and marital issues, depression, stress, domestic abuse, and family. The demand in these areas has been consistent and we consciously track the needs of the community in an effort to stay current and responsive for our clients.

Our Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) approach is grounded in real-life research and unparalleled in our industry. At Calgary Counselling Centre, we monitor client progress on a session-by-session basis and can adjust treatment to meet the needs of the client. Progress is evaluated every time a client attends a counselling session. Through our Feedback Informed Treatment, we continue to see impressive results. In 2014, 73 per cent of clients improved their overall level of mental health and well-being.

High River Counselling Centre

High River Counselling Centre opened its doors in January 2014 to offer free counselling to hundreds of people in the area who were affected by the June 2013 flood.

Individuals, couples, parents, children and entire families struggled to cope with emotional and social problems in the disaster that wiped out much of their community.

Our highly trained counsellors are using our proven methods backed by extensive research and training to provide more than 1,800 hours of counselling.

But while we are on the frontlines talking with clients in High River in scheduled or walk-in appointments, it was an entire team that made the High River Counselling Centre possible. The Centre is a partnership between Calgary Counselling Centre, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) High River, Town of High River, Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. The Calgary Foundation Flood Rebuilding Fund, RBC Foundation, Cenovus and a number of private donors also contributed generously.

We know there is a link between flooding and mental health issues, and we know that people in Southern Alberta will feel the effects of the flood for many years to come. But we also know that with proper care and counselling, people can overcome their vulnerability and find their resilience. People can and do recover.

In 2014, the levels of distress for clients in High River decreased to the non-clinical range by the end of counselling. The data reveals that clients are significantly benefiting from the service and are reaching established benchmarks for change. Over 93% of clients from town reported levels of wellbeing which were stable, improved or recovered by their last counselling session.

While evaluations of our clients at the High River Counselling Centre indicate that the levels of distress are decreasing, we are finding the demand for counselling in Calgary and the High River area continues to exceed our expectations.


Education and Training

In 2014, Calgary Counselling Centre had 78 intern and resident positions throughout the year. The Centre continues to be recognized as a national leader in professional training in counselling, specifically in the fields of psychology, social work, and marriage and family therapy.

The Haskayne Learning Centre for Graduate and Post-Graduate Counselling Studies provides students with fully accredited Post-Graduate and Graduate Training Programs building experience in both individual and group counselling best practices. We value a culture of learning and development. Last year, we continued to offer training for staff and students with Dr. Scott D. Miller, author and founder of the International Center for Clinical Excellence, and co-creator of Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) practiced at the Centre.

We also offered workshops with Dr. Michal Yapko, esteemed clinical psychologist, author and expert in the areas of depression, family therapy, and hypnosis; we hosted workshops about the treatment of depression in children and adolescents and a 100-hour comprehensive training program in clinical hypnosis and strategic psychotherapy.

We capped 2014 off with our Research Conference, titled a Spotlight on Outcomes. The two-day conference in December focused on transforming client and organizational results in mental health and human service practices. The purpose of the conference was to increase knowledge, share practice models, and provide tools to improve: policy making, research and practice. International experts in outcome measurement in mental health and human services gathered in Calgary to present to Alberta policy makers, academics and practitioners.

Our Research


Research is the foundation of the services and programs offered at Calgary Counselling Centre. It grounds us, informs us, and it propels us. Our research allows us to measure the success of our counselling services through Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) and to analyze effective treatment options and strategies.

In 2014, our research department presented results, published our findings, generated new partnerships, hosted a conference and worked on special projects. We initiated a literature review on counselling for the treatment of depression with recommendations for policy development as the basis of a policy agenda.

In December, we hosted a two-day conference "A Spotlight on Outcomes: from Outcomes to Impact." The conference brought together a group of renowned outcome research scholars who presented a practice-based and evidence-based method of producing, measuring, and reporting outcomes to Alberta policy makers, academics and practitioners.

Other projects included a long term follow-up study of the participants in our female perpetrators of family violence groups, a detailed analysis of outcome results from the depression program, reporting on outcome results of our flood-affected clients and developing a statistical algorithm that predicts expected treatment response trajectory for our newly developed signal system.

Calgary Counselling Centre has now established research partnerships with the following institutions: International Centre of Clinical Excellence (Chicago), University of Alaska (Fairbanks and Anchorage), Mount Royal University (Child Studies), University of Calgary (Social Work), Marquette University (USA), and University of Rhode Island (Pro-Change Systems).


Calgary Counselling Centre is very much a part of the community we serve, which is why it’s one of our pillars.

This year our Centre had the opportunity to be part of many activities including: presentations and media interviews on mental health and well-being, attendance at resource fairs, participated on community committees, and attendance milestone celebrations.

Some of the highlights from our community activities include:

Clara’s Big Ride

We were thrilled to host Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk in May, with six time Olympic medalist and mental health advocate Clara Hughes. Clara rode her bike across Canada in an effort to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health. We are grateful to have been chosen as the Community Champion for Calgary and we were pleased to host a community and youth event for Clara to share her story.

W. Brett Wilson’s Garden Party

We were honoured to be a part of a fundraising initiative to raise awareness for mental health. The garden party event was held by one of our dedicated long-term supporters, W. Brett Wilson. Several prominent community leaders and philanthropists attended and helped raise funds for mental health programs in the local community. Calgary Counselling Centre was one of four mental health organizations that received proceeds from the event. Thanks to W. Brett Wilson for bringing attention to mental health awareness.

Spruce Meadows

The Centre was pleased to be chosen as one of 20 not-for-profit organizations to participate in Spruce Meadow’s “Horses Jump to Give a Leg Up” program. The concept of the program was to create an innovative design on a life-size fiberglass horse to be displayed at Spruce Meadows and auctioned off. Funds raised went to not-for-profit organizations that provided support during the flood in 2013.


Depression is a complex disorder that inhibits healthy thinking. It affects one emotionally, physically, behaviourally and cognitively. Over 350 million people globally will experience depression in their lives.

Fortunately, depression is highly treatable. Early detection significantly improves the effectiveness of treatment. Depression is consistently one of our top two reasons clients request our service at the Centre.

Every year, Calgary Counselling Centre along with our community partners host National Depression Screening Day in October. It is a day dedicated to raise awareness of depression and encourage those suffering from it to seek help. The screening test is an anonymous, short, and free online survey that points out to participants the presence or absence of depressive symptoms and offers referrals for further evaluation if needed.

In 2014 over 5,400 people took the screening test. The results indicated 41 per cent were recommended for further evaluation of depressive symptoms while 15 per cent were strongly recommended for further evaluation.

Children and Youth

Children and youth are an integral part of our work at Calgary Counselling Centre. Families have been seeking our help for individual, group and family counselling as well as play therapy for over 50 years. The Centre offers two children groups – Responsible Choices for Children and Children of Divorce. Additionally, we offer two youth specific groups for depression and self-esteem.

Unique in our training, these two children’s groups are tailored for children and their parents or caregivers. Our research has shown working together with both the child and parent(s) / caregivers provide significant client results. At first counselling sessions, most of the young people scored within the “clinically distressed range” on the youth outcome measure, and by their final session, results from just over half of participants showed clinically significant improvement and reductions in distress scores.

We continue to be one of leading organizations in Calgary to incorporate play therapy – a specialty in the psychology industry – into our counselling techniques and will continue to use this effective method for years to come.

Children and youth are the future of our community and our hope is to ensure every child that needs help will receive it.


Calgary Counselling Centre has been helping couples have deep, meaningful, and healthy relationships through couples counselling and marriage workshops since 1962. Couples counselling is one of the top reasons clients visit us at the Centre. The counselling helps couples – both individually and together – work through a range of issues including: stress, depression, grief, sexuality, self-esteem and separation or divorce.

Couples seek counselling for a variety of reasons and often individuals within the couple have different expectations for their relationship. The Centre helps couples manage these expectations and provide an opportunity for them to work on specific needs and issue areas.

In 2014, over 100 couples participated in our Marriage Workshop. The Workshop engages couples at any stage in their relationship in important conversations about expectations, communication skills, conflict resolution and more. It also provides couples with insights and tools to set the foundation for a supportive and healthy relationship for years to come.

This year we updated our Marriage Workshop materials to integrate the work of John Gottman and Nan Silver. The new materials will provide couples with more tools and takeaways.

W. Brett Wilson

Calgary Counselling Centre is an international leader in the field of domestic abuse with one of the largest databases in North America. The Wilson Centre for Domestic Abuse Studies (named for W. Brett Wilson) has developed programs in the area of domestic abuse for both individual and group treatment and has achieved results for our clients.

Our continuous research and community involvement results in cutting-edge treatments and high client results in the area of domestic abuse. This year our scope expanded to our High River Counselling Centre, where we were able to provide support to the community in the area of domestic abuse.

In early 2014, we completed Strengthening Families – a three year pilot project for a couples domestic abuse program. The external evaluation suggested that the number of significant improvements for the program was impressive and included changes in respect to individual and relationships issues, including domestic violence. The program offers a promising alternative to partner violence and substances abuse, especially when neither issue is significant and when couples choose to remain together and are parents.

In 2014, our domestic abuse program received several awards. The Centre was recognized for our commitment to the City’s High Rise Management Committee. Our own Alex Cameron won the 2nd Annual Bhayana Family Foundation Award for innovation and creativity for the Centre’s Male Domestic Abuse Outreach program which provides counselling, advocacy, social service referrals (housing, financial aid, legal guidance, support) to men and their families experiencing domestic abuse of all forms.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can affect anyone, at any stage throughout their life. Unfortunately, many suffer in silence. Developing a healthy relationship with food is important to maintain both mental and physical health.

Calgary Counselling Centre offers individual support to clients, both male and female, with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and preoccupation with weight. We also offer our clients the opportunity to join group programs focused on two separate areas of eating disorders. Towards Healthy Eating is for clients struggling with risky dieting including food restriction and binging and purging. Towards Balanced Eating is a program for those struggling with overeating, binge eating or compulsive eating.

The Centre recognizes the courage needed to seek help and the importance of involving the support of family and friends for the well-being of our clients. Calgary Counselling Centre offers workshops for family and friends of those suffering with eating disorders. The workshop provides a better sense of understanding and gives them the tools to offer support to their loved ones through this challenge.

Our Finance
Revenue 2014 2013
Grants $1,931,401 $1,783,281
Fees for Services
Counselling $1,879,041 $1,677,046
Workshops and conferences $33,350 $152,995
Fundraising revenue
Donations $202,351 $157,143
Annual campaign $167,448 $46,167
United Way of Calgary and Area donor choice $139,921 $40,710
Other $45,704 $75,845
Special events $7,586 67,584
Membership Fees $335 $420
Recognition of deferred contributions related to property and equipment $104,384 $96,920
Revenue Total $4,511,521 $4,098,119
Expenses 2014 2013
Salaries and benefits $2,554,095 $2,347,905
Bursary and residency payments $476,359 $503,624
Occupancy costs $461,665 $458,503
Consultant fees $346,573 $468,883
Miscellaneous $268,513 $146,197
Amortization $175,772 $176,647
Advertising and promotion $88,482 $30,4587
General and administrative** $146,197 $205,644
Accounting Fees $33,750 $22,996
GST expense $33,750 $27,064
Repairs and maintenance $30,406 $31,231
Printing $28,378 $31,364
Interest and Bank Charges $28,056 $32,088
Workshops and conferences $23,923 $14,984
Legal and other professional 2,056 1,189
Bad debts $13,618 -
Fundraising $4,337 -
Legal Fees $2,054 $2,056
Contract employees $1,680 $15,533
Expense Total $4,568,578 $4,309,533
Deficiency of revenue over expenses $(57,057) $(211,414)

18.8% adminisrative costs

For more information, or to receive a copy of the 2014 audited financial statement, please contact Calgary Counselling Centre.

Our Donors

Our Donors

Last year, your support demonstrated that together we are stronger. Support from the community helps individuals break free from depression, stand up after being bullied, or finally begin to grasp the emotional impact the Southern Alberta Floods of 2013 truly had on their mental health. With your help, Calgary Counselling Centre is changing lives.

What you may not know is that your support not only benefits vulnerable individuals and families who would not otherwise be able to afford counselling, but also the training and education of future counsellors. Supporting Calgary Counselling Centre not only changes lives today, but ensures that our community will be supported by quality mental health care professionals for years to come.

Here are some of the priority areas that were supported through your generosity and donations in 2014:

  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Children and Youth Programs
  • Financial Subsidies for Counselling Vulnerable Citizens
  • Family Violence
  • Flood Emotional Recovery
  • Training and Education
  • Research
  • Marriage and Family Problems
  • Group Counselling Programs
  • Marketing/Advertising to Let the Community Know We Are Here to Help
  • John Chambers, CEO and Jim Davidson, Executive Chairman

    For almost 20 years FirstEnergy Capital has been contributing to Calgary Counselling Centre, making it one of our longest standing donors. FirstEnergy’s contributions have supported a variety of areas at the Centre including essential services, training and education, providing a welcoming space for our clients and sharing our story with a larger corporate and philanthropic audience.

    “From day 1 it was our desire to give back to the community, and we chose this philanthropic viewpoint before we even had a name for the firm. We actually wrote it in stone in our mission statement,” says FirstEnergy Capital, Executive Chairman, Jim Davidson.

    Since their initial contribution in 1995, FirstEnergy boldly supported domestic abuse programs and services. Support like this has helped the Centre to become a leader in the field of domestic abuse.

    The Centre has a commitment to providing counselling services to all Calgarians regardless of their ability to pay and FirstEnergy has helped us maintain that commitment. Through FirstEnergy’s giving, Calgary Counselling Centre has been able to provide financial assistance and subsidize counselling fees, making the Centre unique. FirstEnergy’s support has helped the Centre to change lives in our community by ensuring those who need emotional, social and psychological support can access it.

    In 2005 FirstEnergy supported our capital campaign, giving the Centre the opportunity to renovate our current office space to better meet client needs. The Centre’s renovations have created a welcoming atmosphere, allowing clients to feel safe and secure in a professional and comfortable environment.

    FirstEnergy chose Calgary Counselling Centre as one of four local charities to receive funds from their annual FirstRowdy Stampede charity event. This event raised substantial funds, while at the same time introducing the Centre to a new philanthropic audience. The funds supported our post-graduate student bursaries, helping us to educate and train the next generation of counselling professionals.

    In 2013 when the Southern Alberta floods showed Mother Nature at her worst, the response showed humanity at its best. FirstEnergy, with help from their clients, stepped up immediately to support the Centre’s demand in services after the flood, making a significant donation to flood related counselling services. This kind of support allows the Centre to adapt to the mental health needs of our community.

    At the heart of Calgary Counselling Centre is our people. Our people are passionate, dedicated and creative individuals, who not only believe in our values, but live them. Whether it is at the Board level setting our strategic direction, a counsellor meeting with a client, a greeting from reception, a student in training or a volunteer in the Call Centre, these people represent who we are.


    • Elizabeth Carson (Chair)

      Community Volunteer

    • Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner

      Calgary Counselling Centre

    • Roman Cooney

      TransAlta Corporation

    • Jocelyne Daw

      JS Daw and Associates

    • Bruce Edgelow

      ATB Corporate Financial Services

    • Nancy Laird

      Community Volunteer

    • Mary Lougheed

      Alberta Health Services

    • Rod McKay

      Community Volunteer

    • Jennifer Pendura

      Cenovus Energy

    • Dr. Jeanette Nicholls

      Nicholls Consulting Ltd.

    • Dilan Perera

      Perera Consulting Group Ltd.

    • Bill Smith

      Barrister and Solicitor

    • Richard (Rick) Whitley

      KPMG LLP

    • Barbara Zach

      B.A. Zach and Associates Inc.

    • Wendy Tynan

      Centrica Energy


    • 34

      Full and PT-time Staff

    • 47


    • 31


    • 8


    • 7

      Summer Students


    • 93

      Total Volunteers

    • 17,893

      Total Volunteer Hours

    Our Funders