What is counselling? and what can it do?
Counselling is about talking with clients. This talking can take on many purposes, such as; identifying goals and potential solutions to problems; working on strategies to overcome obstacles and personal challenges that clients are facing; to have someone to hear what is happening without judgement or quick advice. Through the therapy relationship counselling looks to develop a person’s self understanding and uncover ways of making changes in their life.
Examples of what counselling can do:
- Help you overcome challenging issues or events.
- Help you manage issues which seem too big to deal with.
- Help you learn how to trust yourself and understand when to seek extra help in the future.
- Help you break negative cycles so that you create new opportunities for yourself.
- Help you find focus in areas that feel 'out-of-control'.
- Teach you skills such as resilience so you are prepared when challenges arise.
- Help you manage your study or day to day workload.
- Help you to better communicate with others, family, work mates, boss, the public etcetera.
- Help you overcome traumatic or critical incidents.
- Help you resolve problematic behaviours, beliefs, feelings, and related physical symptoms.
See: a brief summary of what counselling may involve.
How do I know if I need counselling?
Some of the most common reasons for speaking with a counsellor are for treatment of depression, anxiety, grief and loss, relationship difficulties, low self-esteem or lowered motivation. People often ask, 'do you think I need counselling?' A better question is, 'what might I benefit from trying counselling?'
Many people, whatever their situation, have found counselling helpful. It tends to be more useful, more effective and more successful if you have chosen to come because it feels like the right thing for you, rather than someone else telling you to go because you 'need' counselling.
If you are struggling with how to support a friend or loved one there are some helpful links to be found by clicking here, and some helpful things to say by clicking here.
What sort of topics or experiences is it ok to talk about in counselling sessions?
Any subjects or experiences, from an everyday concern to a unique circumstance or situation are suitable for a counselling session. Counselling addresses concerns across many lifestyle and life stage events and circumstances.
Common reasons why people seek out counselling include, but are not limited to:
- Relationship difficulties, e.g. frequent fights, extramarital affairs, sexual worries, loss of intimacy.
- Illness, grief and loss.
- Life transition and adjustment issues.
- Personal growth and understanding.
- Addictive behaviours.
- Sexuality and sexual identity.
- Anxiety, stress or depression.
- Individuals or couples considering marriage.
- New parents facing change.
- Raising children and/or teenagers.
- Separation or divorce issues.
- Adjustment to step-family arrangements.
- Violence and abuse in the relationship.
- Workplace problems, retrenchment or retirement.
What appointment times are available?
How long will it take to see someone?
Morning, afternoon and evening sessions are available, as are Saturday appointments by special arrangement. We endeavour to provide you with a time that best suits you. During your first phone call we can make an appointment for you to see a counsellor usually within 7-21 days. Most appointments are offered on the same day at the same time each period, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Alternatively, we can schedule a time that best suits you.
Make a Booking
Or ust call/text/email and make a booking. Please be aware that phoning in you may reach the answering service if the counsellor is in a session (session times listed below). Please leave a message and the counsellor will return your call when they are next available.
Please Email your query, or call/text
Session times are Monday to Friday; 7:30 am; 9:00 am; 10:30 am; 12:00 pm; 1:30 pm; 3:00 pm; 4:30 pm; 6:00 pm.
By special appointment only Monday to Friday late night sessions are available at 7:30pm or on Saturdays at the above same times between 10:30 and 4:30
What happens if I need to change my appointment time or if I wish to cancel my booking?
When you book your counselling appointment that time is reserved specifically for you and not offered to anyone else. You are welcome to cancel or change your counselling appointment at any time. However, please be sure to give a minimum of 24 hours notice, as this enables the time to be made available for someone else. Please note that the full session fee may be charged for late cancellation, changes and missed appointments.
There is the option for reminder texts to sent out the day before your session.
How long does counselling go for?
And how often?
And how many sessions will I need?
This is an individual decision and is worked out with your counsellor. Sessions are usually held no closer together than weekly, and in the beginning no further apart than fortnightly, increasing with different stages of the counselling process until it has been completed.
Most appointments at Walking Life's Path Counselling are 45 minutes to one hour as we find this best meets the therapeutic needs of our clients. However, this time is flexible depending on your needs/wants and may be as short as 30mins or as long as 2 hours. The length of your sessions will be determined in the first sessions, and are able to change as/if your needs change, however the length needs to be determined at booking, not in session so as to not run into time booked by other clients.
Sessions are usually once a week with the final sessions spaced further apart. However, the frequency, as with the duration, is up to you, some opt to have sessions fortnightly in order to stretch their budget further.
There is, no 'set number' of counselling sessions as every person attending counselling does so for different reasons, on average people begin to achieve sustainable positive change after 8-12 sessions (15-20 for couples/families), while others will continue therapy for a number of months, or even years. This variation occurs for several reasons, firstly the nature of people's problems; secondly the amount of time the problems have existed; and thirdly the effort and willingness people are prepared to apply to resolving the problems. This will be discussed with you in the first sessions.
It is important to understand that counselling is not a 'quick fix' , in fact it can be very challenging. It is a very healing process that takes time and patience.
Why does counselling take so long, is there a quicker way?
Yes and no, it is important to understand that counselling is not a 'quick fix', in fact it can be very challenging. It is a very healing process that often takes time and patience. For this reason, Walking Life's Path rarely uses the 'quick fix' Brief or Solution Focused Therapy.
Solution focused therapies focus only on your strengths and capabilities in an attempt to overcome your current situation, however this almost always ignores the reason the issue exists in the first place. It can be argued that brief therapies work, however, if the cause is not sufficiently dealt with, more often than not an issue can rise back up and once again cause trouble.
How will I know if counselling has been successful?
Counselling is successful when you are empowered to take good and constructive action on your own behalf. At the end of counselling you should be left with a sense of being better able to manage your personal circumstances and a greater sense of personal 'agency' to influence the events in your own life, with an enhanced emotional 'tool kit' to help you make decisions and to see things more clearly. If this is something you fail to see growing throughout the counselling process please discuss it with your counsellor ASAP.
Do I need to prepare before a counselling session?
No, though it does help to think about what you want to talk about and make notes about things that you want to discuss in the session if you feel comfortable. Throughout the counselling, your Counsellor may invite or encourage you to think about (reflect) on the things that are being discussed in the counselling sessions. This reflection is often given as 'homework' among other tasks depending on what is discussed in session.
What are the fees?
How can I pay?
Can sessions be bulk billed?
Unfortunately, counselling is not covered under Medicare. However, in order to keep sessions affordable for clients Walking Life's Path Counselling Services offers a low fee of $70 per session (45-60 minutes), and $90 per supervision session (45-60 minutes).
Payment can be made by cash or direct deposit/internet banking.
Payments via Square coming soon.
Is counselling kept confidential?
There are indeed situations where total confidentiality is not at all possible as required by law, these are:
- When a counsellor is subpoenaed to attend a state or federal court and disclose information provided during a counselling session.
- When a counsellor feels their client is a danger to themselves or others, and sometimes when others are in danger from a third party.
It is a breach of ethics for a counsellor to practice without regular supervision and support. The purpose of this is to monitor both the counsellor's and your welfare, and to ensure the counsellor is complying with all relevant legal, ethical, and guidelines for professional practice. During these sessions your case may be discussed, but without sharing any identifying information, for example, your name, please note that the supervisor is also bound by the above confidentiality laws.
Your counsellor is ethically bound to discuss privacy issues with you. If you have any particular concerns let your counsellor know so they can addressed.
How is information about me stored?
Counsellors hold basic information about you, name, address, phone number etcetera, and are required to keep records of each counselling session. They will generally take notes during or after a counselling session to keep track of your progress, to follow up on any discussions in previous sessions and to determine the best solutions or strategies for you. This information is held securely in files only accessible by your counsellor. Any audio recordings made during a session must have your consent prior to recording and are destroyed immediately after use.
How do I know if the counsellor is a professional?
1. Do you abide by a code of conduct (ethics) that outlines my rights? and
Can I have a copy?
2. Do you have professional indemnity insurance?
3. Are you a member of a national professional body of counsellors?
Check the ARCAP register
What is the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor?
Is a psychologist better than a counsellor? No, whilst they are effectively in same field they simply offer different approaches to the same service.
There are many who believe psychology is a better profession for aiding people with their mental health, because, it is said, the industry is more highly regulated and the professionals more highly qualified. However, while there are many registered counsellors with less qualifications than psychologists, there are also many with equal or higher qualifications.
In Australia, the counselling industry has been working on more stringent regulations around the unqualified calling themselves counsellor. To avoid those with mere certificate qualifications – or even none at all – calling themselves counsellors, the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (ARCAP) was introduced. The ARCAP register, www.arcapregister.com.au, only lists those counsellors who have completed professional qualifications in counselling or psychotherapy, as well as, meet ongoing professional development requirements including clinical supervision of their practice, and also abide by the ethical guidelines of the profession according to the association to which they belong, ensuring they provide a quality service to clients.
Psychology has been regularly described by those using the service as feeling "cold" or “clinical”, where as, counselling is described by those same people as being a more user friendly and warm environment - this may be due to counsellors using a more person-centred approach vs a marked and measured psychological approach, this is not to say that both professions use strictly one or the other method. Whichever profession you choose you as the client have the right to direct your therapy where and how you want it to go. In other words, if you are not liking something, or you feel uncertain that the service is helping in the way you need, tell your therapist, they are there to help you not hinder you.
What good qualities should I look for in a counsellor?
Research shows that the most important factor in promoting psychological change and growth is the relationship between you and your counsellor. It's a good idea to be aware of the qualities you would like your counsellor to possess, some good qualities may wish to look for are as follows;
- An accepting, caring attitude.
- Good listening skills.
- Respect for you and your beliefs.
- A sense of humour in everyday life.
- Maintenance of confidentiality.
- Unshockable responses.
- Skill in challenging clients to grow and other basic counselling techniques.
- Confidence (from knowledge and experience).
- Commitment to counselling excellence and ethics, integrity and accountability (supervision).
I cannot find an answer to my question
We understand it can be frustrating to not have your questions answered straight away, please if you have a query you would like answered do not hesitate to contact us directly and we will endeavour to get back to you as quickly as possible.