What is Counselling?
Counselling is a process of talking about and working through your personal problems with a qualified professional counsellor. Counsellors at Women Assist help women address their problems in a positive way by helping them to clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness. For some people, just the process of telling their story, and being listened to, is very helpful. Counselling provides confidential support. This means that everything you discuss is private. The exception is when a counsellor has a duty of care to report something that threatens your well being or the well being of others. This legal requirement will be explained to you in your first session.
What can I expect in my first Counselling session?
Whatever your reason for seeking help, you will be more at ease and get better results if you know what to expect. In your first session, the counsellor will usually ask certain questions about you and your life. This information helps to make an initial assessment of your situation and to better understand the problem. Counselling is a team effort. If you do not take an active part in the session, then you may not find the counselling experience valuable.
Here are some things you can do to make your first session as successful as possible:
Be open – A counsellor is trained to ask the right questions, they are not mind readers. Therefore it is essential to answer the questions openly and honestly. That way the counsellor can do their job effectively.
Be prepared – Before you get to the session, know how to describe “what’s wrong,” and to describe your feelings about your problem. One way to prepare is to write down the reasons you’re seeking help. Make a list and then read it out loud. Hearing yourself say it a few times will help you describe things more clearly to the therapist.
Ask questions – The more you understand the counselling experience or how counselling works, the more comfortable you will be. Ask questions about the therapy process, and ask the therapist to repeat anything you do not understand.
Be open and honest about your feelings – A lot will be going through your head in this first session. Listen to your own reactions and feelings, and share them with the counsellor. Both parties will learn from these insights.
Be sure to go to your first session with realistic expectations. Counselling is not a quick fix solution, it is a process. With some effort on your part and a strong therapeutic relationship with the counsellor, it can be a successful tool toward resolving problems.
Do I need a referral?
No, you do not need a referral.
How often do I need to come to counselling?
This is an individual decision and is worked out with the counsellor.
How many counselling sessions should I have?
There is no ‘set number’ of counselling sessions. Every person attending counselling does so for different reasons, so the number of sessions is determined by the topics you wish to discuss and depends on your individual needs.
How will you know if counselling has been successful?
Counselling is successful when you are empowered to take good and constructive action on your on behalf. At the end of counselling you will 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. You will have an enhanced emotional ‘tool kit” to help you make decisions and to see things more clearly
What sort of topics or experiences are suitable for a counselling session?
Any subjects or experiences, from an everyday concern to a unique circumstance or situation (like a separation) 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:
- 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
- Separation or divorce issues
- Violence and abuse in the relationship
- Workplace problems, retrenchment or retirement
Will counselling be confidential?
Yes, anything discussed within the counselling session will remain private and confidential. However these confidentiality provisions are limited where there is a need to:
- Protect a child or children.
- Prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to life, health or property.
- Prevent the commission or likely commission of a crime.
- Prevent violence or a threat of violence to a person or property.
Does the Counsellor take notes from the session?
Yes, the Counsellor may take notes during the session to assist in the process and for reference in future sessions. These written notes are confidential and stored securely in LifeWorks’ locked and secured case records system.
Do I have to prepare beforehand for 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.
What’s the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?
Psychologists are experts in human behaviour and mental processes, and often assist clients in the management of mental illness over an extended period of time, or to attain deeper insight into their personality. Registration as a Psychologist in Australia requires a minimum of six years of study in the field of psychology, including undergraduate and post graduate degrees along with supervised practice.
Counsellors assist people to understand issues they are facing in their lives and to develop solutions or coping skills. Counselling is usually provided over a short term for a specific problem. Counsellors are not required to complete the same level of qualifications as a Psychologist, although it is recommended that they acquire formal training, such as a diploma or degree, in order to provide clients with sound advice and accredited counselling techniques.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction, to help a person change and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to improve an individual’s well being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills.