How long are counselling sessions?
Counselling sessions are 30 – 45 minutes for young children and 50 – 60 minutes for adults.
Is face-to-face very different from phone/online counselling?
A large amount of what we say is in our bodies. Knowing that we do recommend face-to-face counselling so we can explore what is happening under the surface – and what your words may not be able to express. Online sessions can also work and facial expressions are really helpful for both you and the therapist in reading what’s being said.
What is the difference between counselling and psychology?
There are lots of overlaps between counselling and psychology, which can make things really confusing.
The main difference is that psychology involves more study around the brain and how this impacts our emotions and behaviour. Psychologists offer a range of knowledge, assessment tools and are able to provide diagnostic and assessments for you in relation to the brain and behaviour/emotion that can help provide or commence diagnosis and treatment plans.
Counsellors have knowledge and skills regarding the brain but do not have the ability to assess or diagnose for mental health concerns. Counsellors can work with some mental health issues, but ensure they work with specialist team directives to ensure the client is receiving the most appropriate interventions. Counsellors ensure you are the expert and use their knowledge and tools to help you find the solutions and answers within you.
What makes counselling so helpful?
Counselling is evidenced based, meaning there is research that supports it is beneficial for people. It is a safe space to voice things that you may have never been able to acknowledge. You can do this safely and you make a plan on how you intend to address your feelings and your experiences. An example of this is sharing a neglect that may had occurred in childhood. Giving that hurt part of you a voice and acknowledging the pain with someone who is trained to explore hard things with you is extremely healing. Giving time and space for what you experienced is what that pain deserves, and in turn may mean that you put a plan in place to care for yourself for poor decisions you have made as a result of this neglect. Having someone be by your side in this process can be much more helpful than friends or family telling you to stop particular behaviours you know are making life more difficult.
Finding out why we do what we do is the key to counselling. Often we have no clue what drives us or why we are so awful to ourselves. Often we just need someone to show us things we can be doing differently that make us live more healthy and fulfilling lives.
What if I don’t like my therapist?
You are not obliged to stay with your allocated therapist, and it is helpful to share this to ensure we can connect you with someone you feel is a good fit. We are here to support you, and like any service you pay for, you as a customer are entitled to feel safe and supported. Often, there may be things your therapist can do differently that may assist you – an example of this may be letting your therapist know particular things they may ask or say that cause you to feel overly challenged because it is painful for you. Your counsellor is a professional and very aware that it can take a few counsellors to find a good fit for you and will not take this personally if you wish to change.
How do I know if counselling is working?
Your counsellor will ask you what you want to gain from counselling and assist you in achieving this. The goal posts may change, and that’s normal and OK. You will know counselling is working if things in your life are shifting and changing. If it is not, you share with your therapist what barriers may be in place and ways to ensure you are getting what it is you came to counselling to achieve. As humans, we will always face challenges and have personal healing to work on. You won’t expect to leave ‘healed’ but do expect to leave with a number of insights, skills and strategies you can draw on that are unique to you. The aim of counselling is resilience, and that takes time so do not panic if you find the same thing pops up again in your life. It may mean you need more support, or just more time to be patient in learning new ways of approaching life’s challenges.
Is it confidential?
Yes, we are bound by relevant laws that ensure your right to privacy and confidentiality.
We need your permission to share any of your personal information with other services and will not do so without your written consent. Information and consent forms are given to you before counselling and will be discussed with you with your allocated counsellor as well.
When does my counsellor have to break my right to confidentially?
When you, someone else or a child is at risk of significant harm. We pride ourselves in upholding your right to confidentiality, however if your or another life is at risk we must share this information as a duty of care to protect you and others of experiencing significant harm. You can ask any questions during counselling for more clarity on what this looks like, and help you feel comfortable in sharing concerns you may have with a counsellor.
What if there’s something I don’t want to share?
You do not have to share anything you do not want to and will never be forced by a counsellor to disclose information you are not comfortable with. Counsellors are there to help you reach your therapy goals and have a duty of care to keep you safe. We are not detectives, and do not write reports on you. Our notes are brief, objective and clear. We do not make assumptions and our hope is building a safe and trusting space for you.