These FAQs are designed to provide a better understanding of how I work

couples counselingpsychiatrist carindale

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems and have people who help me.

If everything in your life is going fine, you probably are handling life's challenges as they come up and probably don't need counselling.  But if you find yourself repeating patterns you don't like; stuck in a rut; indecisive and second guessing things; attracting the wrong kind of people into your life; often in conflict with others;  or avoiding full participation with people and activities, then these are signposts for looking deeper.   Perhaps you minimise or dismiss certain masking behaviours such as the amount of time you spend on partying, buying stuff, porn, gambling, alcohol, drugs, smoking, gaming, obsessions (with tasks, appearance, exercise, everything having to be in order) and it's time to evaluate if these things are really working for you?  Maybe you have great people around you who agree with you or give you their advice (wanted or unwanted), but you want an unbiased and objective person to assist you to evaluate choices and direction of life so you are sure they are your choices. If any of these things ring true, then have a few sessions and see what you find out about yourself!

How many sessions will I need to attend?

There is no minimum number of sessions and the frequency can be tailored around your schedule and budget and my availability, although it usually takes a couple of sessions to get to know you and work out what your needs are. I have both long-term clients and people who have come for a few sessions to sort out a specific issue.


Is my session confidential?

 It is normal to have concerns about your confidential information. I uphold the PACFA Code of Ethics in handling and storing personal information to protect your identity, privacy and confidentiality.

What you say to me is confidential and will not be passed on to anyone else without your consent except where:

  • There are risks to your safety or the safety of a third party (if the circumstances are serious enough to justify disclosure);
  • When required by the law e.g. reporting of child abuse
  • If I am subpoenaed by a court of law

Do I need a Mental Health Care Plan?

At present, Counsellors, even Clinical Level which I am, are not eligible to be providers under the Federal Government’s Better Access Scheme which provides a medicare number allowing clients to receive a rebate under a Mental Health Care Plan. However, I am registered with a number of Private Health Funds and it usually doesn’t cost more to see me than a Psychologist and you don’t need a Mental Health Care Plan. 

Are you covered by Private Health Funds?

As a clinical level counsellor, I am registered with the Private Health Funds my Registration body has negotiated arrangements with.  Depending on your Extras cover, I am registered with BUPA, Medibank Private,  AHM, AHRG (encompasses Police, Emergency Services, CUA, Phoenix Health, St Lukes’s Health).  Ring them to find out what you are covered for under your policy. 

What type of therapy do you do?

I am an integrative counsellor which means that I draw from a number of therapy orientations (humanistic/existentialist, cognitive-behavioural therapy, psychodynamic and post-modern approaches). However, my baseline is person centred therapy (PCT) and family systems and I use  techniques from the other modalities. This basically is talk therapy and is client centred (meaning it is your agenda, not mine, but I can be directive if you feel stuck and not sure how to start), but I’ll also sometimes set some homework activities (for example, a CBT thought tracking chart or mindfulness exercise) and may suggest trying some activities like an expressive therapy or role playing. I also integrate biological, social, and spiritual considerations into viewing the whole person from all dimensions that make up what I believe it is to be human.

How much does therapy cost?

My standard rate for a one-hour session for an individual is $100; and $150 for couples or a family of up to four. I can consider negotiating fees for an agreed time frame where there is evidence of hardship. Counsellors (at this stage) are not registered providers with Medicare under a Mental Health Care Plan.  This also means that your sessions will not appear on your medical record, which is important to some people in some professions. For more information, or to book an appointment please contact us.

What is the difference between a Counsellor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist?

A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor and can prescribe medication. They diagnose illness, manage treatment and provide a range of therapies for complex and serious mental illness.

A Clinical Psychologist has a strong focus on those with a psychosis or other serious mental illness, whilst a Psychologist has a focus on individuals who have fewer pathological mental problems. Both Psychiatrists and psychologists can be registered for a Medicare rebate through a mental health care plan (some social workers too). Under the medical model, most psychologists and psychiatrists work with evidenced based therapies, like CBT, and there is a set number of sessions where results should align with Medicare stipulations.

A counsellor is non-diagnostic, often working outside of the medical model (although a highly qualified counsellor should have training to be able to identify mental illness and be willing to refer to psychologists and psychiatrists in some circumstances). Many counsellors use evidence based shorter term interventions such as CBT, but they are also able to employ other styles of therapy to be more client- centred e.g. expressive therapies, talk therapy, mentoring, career counselling. Some clients would say that counselling is based more on the relationship with the person of the counsellor and working collaboratively rather than a diagnostic and treatment framework.

It is important to work with a counsellor who is:
- registered with a professional certifying organisation that has an outlined code of Ethics;
- covered by insurance;
- undertaken higher level tertiary study (including a minimum number of clinical client hours and clinical supervision).

I have a Master in Counselling and am registered with PACFA and CCAA and am fully insured. To become qualified, I had to undertake 200 hours of face-to-face counselling; 50 hours of clinical supervision; and 30 hours of my own personal counselling with a registered professional. My grade point average was 6.3 and I received a Dean’s Commendation Award. This rigorous training far surpasses shorter qualifications and is comparable to psychology training.

How to Write Letters to Resolve Conflict in Relationships

How to Write Letters to Resolve Conflict in Relationships

Reciprocal Letter Writing to Learn Calm Corrective Conversation Often we get stuck in triggered and heightened communication …

What Kind Of Relationship Am I In - Healthy Relationships

What Kind Of Relationship Am I In – Is It Healthy?

If you think about your relationship as a medical metaphor, which one best fits? Sometimes when my clients are stuck and …

Will My Relationship Survive

Will My Relationship Survive?

If you are asking yourself, “Will my relationship survive?”, it is well worth reading these relationship questions. …