some questions answered…
Do I need a referral?
No, you don’t need a referral - isn't that great! You simply contact me to book an appointment - you can ring, text or email - it’s that easy.
How long is a ‘session’?
My sessions are usually an hour long. Sometimes my clients prefer sessions to be 90 minutes or even 2 hours in length - I always try to make therapy fit the client’s needs and not the other way round! However I strongly encourage clients to allow 90 minutes for their initial relationship therapy. This allows me to gather information from both clients and for them to leave the first appointment with a few strategies they can use straight away.
How many sessions will I need?
No two people are the same - nor are their issues. As a rule of thumb, most people require at least 3 - 6 sessions but I have known some people to gain immediate relief and change from just one counselling session. If the problems are serious, complicated or entrenched ways of being, counselling may occur over several months. But together, we look at this after a few sessions. I shall always be transparent with you about what I believe is playing into a situation and what is required to relieve that problem. It is then your choice how we structure the counselling to help create the changes.
Do you have ‘after hours’ appointments?
Yes, I try to have a variety of session times to accommodate a variety of client needs. I also work Saturdays. If clients are extremely busy and time poor, I offer intensive weekend therapy, either in my home, their home, or at a relaxing destination of their choice.
Does it mean I am weak if I need counselling?
Do you know anyone who hasn’t needed some help, advice or support sometime in their life? Neither do I! It can take a lot of courage to admit you have a problem and even more to seek help for it. So if you are seeking counselling it means you are not only brave but also wise enough to ask for help - something to be proud of, don’t you think?
I’m scared I’ll break down if I start talking about all this stuff …
Lots of people are scared to be vulnerable and to talk about what’s bothering them. They often think something must be terribly wrong with them. Others just blame everyone else for their hurt rather than cry their tears of pain and frustration. We have all learned ways to cope with difficulties and not crying may be one of yours. But if you knew just how many people finally feel safe enough to let it all out in my counselling room … and just how better they felt for those tears shed … well if you knew that, you wouldn't be worrying at all about a few tears that speak what words can’t say.
What if I don't know what to tell you or have trouble talking?
That’s totally ok - I know this can be a huge step. It’s my job to help you understand what might be playing into your problem, to ask the questions so that we both feel sure we understand what is going on. When talking is just too difficult, I can use other therapies that allow you to express your feelings and needs clearly. Sometimes this might be the first time a client truly sees what the problem is - all they knew when they sought counselling was that they didn't want to feel like this any longer.
Do I need to bring anything?
No … just bring yourself. However if there are things you think are important for me to see, and that pertain to your issues or problem, by all means, bring them along.
What will a counselling session cost?
As well as my schedule of fees provided below, please know that I also provide discounts of 10% - 20% for those on a reduced income. Please don't hesitate to raise the topic of fees with me if you think this might apply to you, or if indeed, there is ever a difficulty paying the fee. In special circumstances I can provide pro-bono fees.
I do charge cancellation fees so please provide more than 24 hours notice if you would like to cancel or reschedule.
If you wish to pre book and pay for 6 sessions (to be used within a 3 month period) I offer a 10% discount on those fees. I do charge cancellation fees please ensure you provide 24 hours notice of cancellation or your need to reschedule.
What if I can’t get to see you face to face?
Face to face counselling does usually feel the most comfortable for client and counsellor alike. But phone, Skype, FaceTime, email and web counselling also have their place in supporting people to make changes in their life. I have used all these modalities to great therapeutic success. I have also received specific training and had extensive experience in phone and email counselling. For those who are house bound within my Melbourne locale, I can offer some home visits.
We live in rural Australia and getting regular good counselling is impossible … can you help us?
Yes, I can ensure you have access to good quality counselling. Sometimes it is easier and cheaper for me to fly to your family rather than everyone trying to come to me. This means you pay for my travelling and accommodation costs (I have lived in the bush and can handle most situations!) and that way I can work with several family members intensively. After the initial visit I can usual support change via phone, Skype or email.
Does anyone else see the notes you take?
Confidentiality is pivotal to successful counselling and that includes the notes of your session. I do not share your notes with anyone unless you request that I liaise with other medical practitioners to help you achieve optimal mental and physical health. On rare occasions my notes may be subpoenaed by a court. I am always mindful of what and how I write in my notes, protecting the welfare of my clients.
Do you offer a medicare rebate?
Unfortunately my fees are not eligible for a Medicare rebate. You can gain 6 sessions for specific psychological therapies (such as CBT) after gaining a GP referral to a psychologist for your diagnosed mental illness. You may receive a further 4 sessions by revisiting your doctor but from there on, you will be charged higher psychologist fees to continue counselling with that provider. Relationship counselling is not recognised within the medicare rebate scheme - My therapeutic focus is not on a mental illness but rather on holistic mental and relational wellness. Private health rebates for counselling are also rare but it is worth checking with your insurance provider as lobbying will be heard and changes will be made if we all keep asking! Or you can simply vote with your dollars and shift to a provider that does cover counselling?