Counselling – What Is It?

Counselling is a talking therapy where a trained counsellor (therapist) meets with a client individually to help them work through issues in a safe, confidential environment.

Generally, counselling is sought to deal with a number of different issues, including depression and anxiety, relationship problems, childhood traumas, family and financial pressures, addictions and phobias. Seeing a counsellor can also improve one’s mental health and overall well-being, leading to better quality of life and increased self-confidence.

The first session is often about getting to know the client, with a good counsellor/therapist identifying what the client hopes to get out of counselling and how the thought processes work. The counsellor/therapist may use a range of questions to assist in this, asking about past experiences and relationships, personal goals and values, and their current state of being.

It is important that the counsellor/therapist listens to their clients and takes into account non-verbal cues, such as a feeling of anxiety or sadness. They should also be able to explain the process of counselling, including the benefits and limitations, and how it may change over time.

For those struggling with financial pressures, it is worth checking with a counsellor/therapist to see if they offer concession rates or can negotiate a reduced fee. Many organisations, such as community health centres, family and relationship services and universities with counselling courses, have counsellors who are available at a lower rate than private practice counsellors. Some counsellors can be accessed via Medicare with a mental health care plan from your doctor.

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