Welcome to Esther Oh Counselling Services
Hello! I’m Esther.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Canadian Certified Counsellor based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Prior to becoming a counsellor, I was a tax and estates lawyer at one of Canada’s leading law firms.
As a Korean Canadian cisgender woman and former lawyer, I draw upon my lived experiences in helping clients come to a fuller expression of who they are. My contexts have taught me the value of inclusivity, authenticity, and connection, which I bring to my practice.
I strive to provide a safe space for clients of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, and religious affiliations.
Since I was young, a lot of my identity and sense of worth was based on what I achieved. I held onto this way of being throughout high school and university, which led me to a career as a lawyer. I thought that once I attained a certain level of success, as defined by the world, I would be accepted by others and truly happy. However, the higher I reached, the more miserable I became. I had become a person I did not recognize. I was living a life that was not my own, in accordance with the values of others.
I knew that what I truly desired from my career was to help and support others. I have always felt enriched by genuine encounter and have a deep capacity for listening to others without judgment. I am also naturally curious about others and their stories.
I realized that I would be more fulfilled as a counsellor, but it would be several years before I took that leap of faith, with the encouragement and support of my husband.
Today, I am so grateful to be able to do what I do. I find my work incredibly meaningful and am continuously inspired and moved by my clients.
I have a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.
As a therapist, I work from a psychodynamic and trauma-informed approach that incorporates Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Therapy (AEDP), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), and feminist theory. I have completed my Level I AEDP training.
I work relationally and collaboratively, providing a caring and supportive space for you to work through your emotions, thoughts, and behavioural patterns. I will support you in deepening your understanding of yourself and how your experiences and life contexts are impacting you today. My hope is that you can come to greater clarity, agency, and self-acceptance, and ultimately, a greater sense of meaning in your life and your relationships.
I offer both in-person and online individual counselling. Counselling is an invitation for you to strengthen your identity, clarify your life’s purpose, and find transformation and healing.
Here are some of the issues that I specialize in working with:
- Career or life transitions
- Stress and burnout
- Anxiety and depression
- Relationship difficulties
- Perfectionism and low self-esteem
- Identity (professional, cultural, parental)
- Grief and loss
One of my passions is to increase mental health awareness and understanding through public speaking engagements. I am an approved CPD provider with the Law Society of British Columbia. I am available to present to your workplace or organization on a variety of topics, including:
- Managing stress and anxiety
- Diversity and inclusion
Please contact me for more information.
How much are your fees?
My fee is $135 for a 50 minute session.
I offer a free 15 minute telephone call if you have any questions about me or counselling.
I offer a sliding scale to a limited number of clients in acknowledgment of the financial barriers that exist in accessing mental health services. Priority is given to individuals who identify as trans, non-binary, Black, and Indigenous. Currently, all of my sliding scale sessions are taken. Please contact me if you would like to be added to a waitlist.
How do online sessions take place?
Please ensure that you are in a private space for your appointment, free from distractions or interruptions. I recommend that you have a fully charged device and strong internet connection to minimize technical difficulties. You may also wish to test your microphone and speakers prior to the session.
Are your services covered by third-party insurance?
My services may be covered by third-party extended health benefits. I recommend contacting your health insurance provider to determine this in advance of your first appointment.
What can I expect at my first appointment?
The first appointment will focus on getting to know you and what you are hoping for by attending therapy. I will ask you questions to better understand you, your history, and your contexts, but you are not expected to share personal details that you feel uncomfortable sharing.
Most importantly, the first appointment is about building a connection and establishing trust and safety. You should feel comfortable, safe, and respected with your counsellor. I will not be hurt or offended if you determine that we are not a good match.
How often should I attend counselling?
What do counselling sessions look like and how will I know I’m making progress?
Counselling is not about giving advice or problem solving. After the first session, counselling together will be quite conversational and relational. I will ask you questions to deepen your understanding of a situation and to notice what is happening for you emotionally and somatically.
Progress in counselling looks different for everyone, and it is not a linear process. For example, you may find that: your day-to-day functioning has improved, you’re practicing different behaviours outside of therapy, you understand yourself more fully and have greater self-acceptance, or you’re able to manage challenging emotions and situations effectively.