Counselling psychotherapy

What is it all about?

“Psychotherapy” and “counselling” are terms that are often used interchangeably. Although they are very similar, there are some subtle differences as well.

Technically speaking, “counsellor” means “advisor.” It involves two people working together to solve a problem. It is a term that is used in conjunction with many types of advice giving. The term counselling may also properly be used to refer to what occurs in a relationship with a psychotherapist.

In the context of mental health, “counselling” is generally used to denote a relatively brief treatment that is focused most upon behavior. It often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation and offers suggestions and advice for dealing with it. “Psychotherapy” on the other hand can be a longer term treatment which focuses more on gaining insight into more entrenched physical and emotional problems. It’s focus is on the patient’s thought processes and way of being in the world rather than specific problems. Some of these issues can take longer as they have become learnt due to repetitive practice and it can take a while to learn and establish new habits.

From my perspective, most of my clients contact me with some issue, concern and/or experience that they believe they would benefit from observing differently, understanding at a broader level and learning how to change their response. The tools I use to help them get there are really of no major interest to them, except that they are engaged in a respectful conversation that is based on trust, understanding learning and action.

 What is my approach?

My aim in working with a client is to provide the best service I can by aiming to work with them to address their concerns and enable their learning and capability so they don’t need me in the future. Generally I don’t see my clients longer than 6 sessions. After 6 sessions they have usually reached the point where they have addressed the issue they came in with. Over my years of practice I have been delighted with the progress of my clients and their willingness to refer me to their friends and family. This is the highest compliment I can receive from one of my clients.  Most new clients will contact me and ask if I am the person they should work with? My response to all of them is that I hope I am, but they need to make sure that I am the kind of person they choose to work with. We all have met health professionals who we just don’t get on with. I don’t take offence if I’m not the person they choose to work with. For these clients I try to help them find someone they do get on with.

What type of issues do people go to a therapist for?

A UK study in 2010 by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy concluded this categorization of the main reasons to seek therapy;

Over my 20 years of practice, the main issues people have contacted me for fall into the following areas

  • Lowered mood and depression
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Dealing with loss or trauma
  • Intimacy and sexuality concerns
  • Stress reactions
  • Anxiety and fears
  • Loss of self confidence and self esteem
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Coping and recovery from health problems
  • Personal Growth,
  • Living with a disability,
  • Pain reactions
  • Alcohol and drug problems
  • Workplace and career issues
  • Anger control
  • Sleep and overload issues

Making an appointment to see me. 

There is a number of ways you can make an appointment to see me. I have listed all of your options and pathways below. Rest assured all contact is treated in a strictly confidential manner*. (*some exceptional circumstances apply)

Self-Referral

At any time you can refer yourself to come and see me. Usually I will be able to make an appointment to see you within one week of your contact with me. If you make a self referral please be aware that you will receive no financial support towards the cost of each session. You will have to meet the full fee yourself. You need to consult your private health fund (if you are insured) to see if they will cover services provided by a Medicare registered Mental Health Social Worker.

 Referral by your General Practitioner.

You can request your GP to make a referral to me under the Better Access Mental Health scheme if your Doctor believes it is necessary and would be of benefit to you.

More details about this scheme can be found at the link below.

Better Access Mental Health Scheme

ONLINE Skype or telephone Consultation

 For those clients who may not live in Melbourne or who face to face contact is not possible, I am happy to have consultations using Skype video conferencing or telephone consultations. My preference is Skype consultations which I have had considerable experience with. These consultations will be offered at reduced rates that maybe preferable for those who finances may not stretch to face-to-face consultations.  Please be aware that Medicare will only subsidize face-to-face consultations.

Taking the first STEP

On the far right of this screen you will see two GREEN buttons. Push either one and put in your contact details and we can being the conversation about how I might assist you.

My Professional Qualifications

I completed a Graduate Bachelor of Social work degree at the University of Melbourne in 1986. I have been and am currently a registered member of The Australian Association of Social Workers (Professional Body) and have been since 1986.

I completed a Masters In Social Work Degree at La Trobe University in 1996.  I am currently registered with Medicare as a Mental Health Social Worker since 2009.  Provider No 290114X