Below are some questions you may have about counselling:
What is a trained counsellor?
A trained counsellor is a professional who has spent three or more years studying, often at postgraduate level. A counsellor can support and guide you though personal problems. The role of the counsellor is to clarify the issue, explore the options, develop strategies and increase self awareness. Counselling is usually short term treatment for a specific problem.
What is the difference between a Counsellor and a Psychologist?
The primary difference is in the length of education and the governing registration requirements. It is not essential for a counsellor to be registered with a governing body and as a result a client cannot use a mental health plan or Medicare to access services.
Overall the objectives of both a counsellor and psychologist are the same however their approaches may differ based on their training.
Are counsellors registered?
Not all counsellors are registered however those that choose to are governed by strict guidelines and ethnical responsibility. PACFA is the peak professional body for counsellors that provides national standards that a counsellor is audited through on an annual basis.
What should I expect from counselling?
A counsellor works with you, primarily through talking to help:
develop a greater understanding of yourself and your presenting problem
deal constructively with difficulties you might be experiencing
help to find changes you are looking for
The first few sessions may focus exploring what brings the person to counselling, what the goals are and how the counsellor can best support reaching these goals. Subsequent sessions focus on working towards achieving these goals using strategies drawn from a range of therapeutic approaches. The number of sessions is unique to each individual.
A counsellor does not give advice but rather helps to find new ways to think about things and find different frameworks that might suit better. This is done in a non-judgmental and empathetic manner.
What happens with the information shared?
All personal information gathered by a counsellor during a counselling session remains confidential unless:
It is subpoenaed by court
If you or someone else is in danger of being seriously harmed. Eg suicide or assault.
You have given permission for the counsellor to share your information
How do I know the counsellor is a registered professional?
You will be able to view their qualification certificate
You will be able to view their governing body registration
They will have professional indemnity insurance
Do I need a referral to see a counsellor? Can I use a mental health plan?
A referral is note required to see a counsellor unless you would like your GP to provide information about your presenting concern. Unfortunately a mental health plan cannot be used with a counsellor through Medicare however if you would like a discounted rate then please ask your GP for a referral to Aim For Hope Counselling.
Do I need to prepare before a counselling session?
Prior to your first visit the counsellor may request you to complete some simple paperwork about yourself and provide you with a sheet that outlines expectations of them and you throughout your time together. Some people find that making notes between sessions or writing questions you might like to ask or discuss can be helpful.