Counselling & Career Exploration

The John Abbott Counselling service helps students deal with personal, career and educational concerns. Individual personal counselling is available throughout the year. Career exploration groups and specialized workshops are also offered during the academic year.

John Abbott Students and Staff: For more complete information, please join our Portal Communities, Counselling Services – Resources for Students or Counselling Services – Resources for Staff.

Introduction to Counselling Services

John Abbott Counselling Services is staffed by five licensed professionals (counsellors and psychologists) and one counsellor-in-training and is available to any student enrolled at the college. Our role is to help students attain their personal goals in the areas of career, educational, social and personal development. We are here to listen to our students’ concerns and to help them develop insight and strategies to stay motivated and focused on their goals.

Our service provides short and medium term individual personal counselling as well as career counselling and exploration (small group format). In addition, we hold workshops on a variety of topics and administer the academic standing and advancement (probation) policy. Aside from a nominal charge for career testing, services are free and confidential.

Scheduling appointments and drop ins

John Abbott Counselling Services is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday to Friday when the college itself is open. In the summer, from mid-June to mid-August, we are open Monday to Thursday from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM and on Friday from 8:00 AM to noon. Counselling Services is located in Student Services, Herzberg 138. You can reach us at 514-457-6610, local 5292. Our email is

During the academic year, students who have not been seen in the Counselling Service are first seen at a drop in. After discussion with a counsellor or psychologist, further appointments can be made or there may be a referral to another resource. Drop in times are available on the student portal.

During the summer, our staff is available by appointment. Please contact the Student Services receptionist (H-138, 514-457-6610, ext. 5292) for dates and times of availability or to make an appointment.


Counselling is free for all currently registered John Abbott Students. There is a small fee for testing services which is part of career counselling.
Client (student) confidentiality is protected and everything discussed remains between the student and the counselling service professional. This means that parents, teachers, friends and others cannot be given any information revealed by the client without written consent to release information. For more information on the confidentiality policy, speak to a member of the counselling service.
When Counselling Services is open, students generally can be seen the same day by a counsellor/psychologist if necessary. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate assistance after hours and on weekends, there are a number of 24-hour telephone services (and other daytime services) that can help:
  • West Island Crisis Centre: 514-684-6160 24-hour confidential crisis line, available 7 days a week, for both a person in distress or concerned family/friends. Mobile Service - a member of the crisis team can meet with you to assess a crisis situation. Short-term residential stay.
  • Suicide Action Montreal: 514-723-4000 24-hour/7 day a week confidential support line for individuals contemplating suicide, concerned friends/family, as well as individuals affected by suicide.
  • Sexual Assault Centre: 514-934-4504 24-hour/7 day a week confidential support line for individuals of all ages who are survivors of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and/or incest.
  • SOS Violence Conjugale: 1-800-363-9010 24/7 phone line that can direct you to available shelters and support services in Quebec for situations of conjugal violence.
  • Tel-Aide: 514-935-1101 Confidential listening and support line for: loneliness, anxiety, stress, relationship problems, grief and loss, etc.
  • Batshaw Youth and Family Service 514-935-6196
  • CLSC Lac St-Louis 514-697-4110
  • CLSC Pierrefonds  514-626-2572
  • CLSC Lachine-Dorval  514-639-0650
Students come to see a counsellor/psychologist for many reasons. They discuss personal issues such as feelings of low self-esteem, depression, anxiety or stress, anger, grief, or because of family problems, or problems in their relationships with their boyfriend or girlfriend, or for issues such as sexual orientation, histories of childhood abuse or neglect, eating problems, alcohol or drug problems, and many other concerns. As well, many students come in to talk about lack of career goals or confusion about which careers may be right for them. Students also come in to discuss academic issues such as exam anxiety, procrastination, lack of motivation for school work, fear of failure and so on.
Yes. If you are a John Abbott student, you can certainly come see us in Counselling Services. If you are not, or if you are looking for outside support as well, the following organizations can provide assistance. AMI-Quebec Action on Mental Illness AMI-Quebec helps families manage the effects of mental illness through support, education, guidance, and advocacy. Most programs are free! Friends for Mental Health Facing mental illness is painful for families. It undermines their ability to cope with everyday living. Friends for Mental Health guides families towards new paths in learning to live with mental illness. We listen and counsel, we provide information and referrals, we offer self-help and respite, and we promote public awareness. Flexible and responding to changing needs, Friends for Mental Health works in collaboration with other professional mental healthcare providers. We are a non-profit, bilingual organization serving primarily the West Island of Montreal.
Counselling can help in a variety of ways. It can provide students with support and encouragement. It can help them to better understand and express their feelings and help them view their situation from different perspectives. It can help them understand their motivations and underlying conflicts. Counselling can also help students develop new skills such as problem solving, decision-making, communications, social skills and ways of coping with stress. Everyone has problems that they would like to talk over with someone. A counsellor or psychologist is a trained professional who will listen to students and help them express and explore their concerns. He/She will help them to understand themselves better to enable them to make important changes. Counsellors/psychologists don't provide quick or easy answers. Ultimately, students deal with their own problems, make their own choices and achieve their own goals. A counsellor/psychologist, by providing support, encouragement and a non-judgmental attitude, can help students help themselves. The main activity in counselling is the conversation between counsellor and client. The focus of the conversation is the client and the issues he/she chooses to deal with. Counselling conversations are conducted with maximum privacy and confidentiality. No matter what the problem, counselling has helped many students feel better about themselves and their experiences. Personal counselling is free and confidential. Come to Student Services, H-148 to speak with a counsellor or psychologist. How do I know that I need personal counselling? Students seek counselling for many personal reasons. While they may be able to overcome these problems on their own or by talking to a friend, sometimes it is helpful to have an empathic, trained professional to help deal with issues such as:
  • Depression, "the blues", feeling lack of energy and/or motivation, loneliness
  • Anxiety, fears, phobias, perfectionism, obsessional thinking
  • Relationship problems
  • Grief, mourning, loss, divorce or separation
  • Abuse (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional) histories and their outcomes
  • Eating disorders, bulimia, anorexia, over-eating
  • Anger, impulsiveness, domestic violence, aggression Low self-esteem
  • Drug and/or alcohol problems, addictions, gambling
  • Stress, "burn out"
  • Sleep problems
  • Suicidal feelings or thoughts
Many CEGEP students are undecided about their career choice and have questions about where to go from here. Career counselling can help students evaluate themselves, and the options open to them, which will give some basis to make decisions regarding their career path. This involves meeting with a counsellor or psychologist to discuss all the questions, plans, hopes and worries you may have about your future. Students will learn more about themselves and the world of work as well as a valuable decision making process that can be used to make that first career decision, as well as other decisions later on. Whether you are completely undecided or have some ideas but are not quite sure we'll be glad to see you.
Whether it's a question of motivation, confidence, or learning new skills, counsellors/psychologists are available to help students who would like to improve their performance in the classroom. The counselling staff is there to give help, support, and encouragement. Students can learn to increase their comfort with oral presentations, test taking, and procrastination among others.
What if a student does not pass the minimum number of courses? Each semester, students must pass half of the required courses for their program to remain in good academic standing. If they do not pass the minimum amount of required courses, they will be placed on academic probation and must meet with a counsellor/psychologist to sign a probation contract. Students are contacted by MIO (Messaging in Omnivox) with information on signing their contracts. There are two check-in periods during the semester for students to meet with a counsellor/psychologist to talk about how they are managing and to see if they need any additional help. At the end of the semester, those students who have passed the necessary number of courses stated in the probation contract will be able to continue as a full time student at John Abbott College. Students who have not done so will not be allowed to register as a full-time day division student for one academic year. In rare and extraordinary circumstances, students may be allowed to continue on probation after failing, if deemed so by the counsellors/psychologists.
We realize that some students would rather try to help themselves first before seeking outside assistance. Some would like more information or tips before or even during the time that they work with a professional from our Counselling Service. We have assembled a number of downloadable information and tip sheets in a variety of areas including transition to college, stress, sleep, depression, trauma, eating problems, sexuality, family, etc. These are accessible through the Omnivox student portal community “Counselling Resources for Students”.