Jim Farley at his Nelson Community Services Centre office. The longtime counsellor retired from the job today after 21 years of service.

Farley leaves impressive footprint in Nelson

After 21 years of service and counselling 7,500 families and individuals, Jim Farley is retiring from the Nelson Community Services Centre.

After 21 years of service and counselling 7,500 families and individuals, Jim Farley is retiring from the Nelson Community Services Centre.

Farley’s retirement is the first for the centre, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. NCSC runs several programs, including the Aimee Beaulieu Transition House and Cicada Place Youth Services & Housing, but most area families will know the centre for its counselling services for children, youth and adults.

And that’s where Farley entered the picture in 1991, after working in Victoria with autistic children and later at the Jack Ledger House, a youth treatment centre there.  Like many “refugees from the Vietnam craziness,” Farley’s life in Canada involved community work.

From Victoria, he and his wife, artist and special educational teacher’s assistant, Karen Guilbault, moved to Nelson – sight unseen – 21 years ago, looking for a healthy place to raise their son and daughter. Within months, they each had jobs.

Farley first worked at NCSC one-on-one with children and families and taught parenting courses, the job which is now Liz Amaral’s. For the past 15 years, he’s been the centre’s general counsellor for individuals and couples.

How has counselling changed in two decades?

“We’re trying to bring science and proven research techniques to the job,” he said. “We use the techniques of John Gottman for couples’ work, and cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety and depression. It’s talk therapy with tried and true techniques, not just philosophy.”

Farley sees some people for just two or three sessions; some unusually lengthy counselling lasts for three or four years, but on average he sees clients for ten sessions.  For the last five years he’s had wait lists, sometimes up to 30 people. As a long term counsellor, what is it like, seeing people so intensely hour after hour?

“I love my job,” he said.

“It feels amazing that people talk from the deepest part of their heart, their deepest feelings. But it also takes a toll, as you walk with a lot of pain and suffering. You have to take yourself not too seriously or think you’re in charge of their lives. You have to believe in resilience and the healing power of the individual.”

A big part of a counsellor’s wellbeing also comes from working with like spirits: supportive co-workers.

“In staff meetings, the expertise and shared information, the discussion of techniques and treatment, is crucial. It’s hard to imagine working alone this long with such complicated lives.”

Lena Horswill, NCSC executive director, said Farley came at just the right time in the agency’s evolution and growth, and his dedication and loyalty will be missed.

He confesses he may — way down the line after months of blissful retirement and adventures with family and grandchildren – well, he may just consider doing a bit of counselling.

Farley expresses his appreciation to those who have trusted him over many years, and wishes them well in their lives.


Just Posted

Here we go again: Mamma Mia! set to open at the Capitol Theatre

The ABBA-inspired musical runs Thursday to Sunday

Nelson holds the line on property taxes

No increase this year thanks to deal with RDCK on park funding

25 years of Nite Trek for West Kootenay Scouts, Guides

Annual adventure hike is hosted by the 107th Baden Powell Guild

Company granted leave to appeal Lemon Creek charges

Executive Flight Centre won a decision in the BC Court of Appeal

Police: cougar still wandering Nelson

The cougar was seen in Lakeside Park

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Most British Columbians agree the ‘big one’ is coming, but only 50% are prepared

Only 46 per cent of British Columbians have prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need

B.C. man to pay Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party $20k over lawsuit

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Survey finds 15% of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

B.C. man killed in logging accident ‘would have done anything for anyone’

Wife remembers 43-year old Petr Koncek, father of two children

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research on health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Most Read