Coming to counselling

Coming to counselling

Why would I need to see someone?

Life is full of ups and downs. It is inevitable that at some point you will encounter change, disappointment, sadness or anger about something in your life.

Very often, we bounce back from the challenges life throws at us, however sometimes things can affect us to the extent that we feel unable to bounce back, the way forward continues to seem unclear beyond what would be our normal, our minds struggle to find solutions to the problems we face, or our emotions overwhelm us to the extent that we may feel blinded. When we’re not bouncing back from what we’re facing this can be the time to seek counselling.

Some reasons that people might seek counselling are:

  • being unable to get out of bed in the morning
  • feeling unmotivated to maintain relationships
  • performing poorly at work or school
  • lacking a sense of joy, purpose or meaning
  • feeling pre-occupied by the problem
  • unsure of how to move forwards

What is the difference between a counsellor or psychologist?

A psychologist is someone who has done a psychology degree and at least two years post graduate training through a university or internship focused on exploring the science behind human behaviour. Their focus is often on therapeutic work with individuals with mental health problems and they enable people to understand how their thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact to impact upon every day life. They then help people develop skills and strategies to manage everyday life better.

A counsellor is a person who has done post-graduate qualifications in the field of counselling and  assists people to develop insight and understanding about themselves in order that they can make changes that might make their lives better. Counsellors will work with clients to explore issues of an interpersonal, intra-psychic or personal nature.

There are many similarities between a counsellor and psychologist, and ultimately what is most important is that you find someone who you can feel confident in and comfortable with.

Both counsellors and psychologists are accountable to professional bodies who ensure they attend regular supervision and training so that they can continue to develop their practice well. For psychologists this is the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and for counsellors this is the Psychotherapeutic and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

What happens when you go to see a therapist?

When you go to see a therapist, the first session will normally involve the therapist getting an understanding of what has brought you to seek support, and what your own expectations and hopes for counselling are.

The therapist may explain issues to you, such as your confidentiality and any rare circumstances where this might be breached.

People often ask how long counselling will take, and there is not a clear answer to this! Whilst there are no limits to how many sessions you can have with a therapist,  there are various ways that the fee for counselling can be subsidised. You can see more information about this on our FAQ page.