Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be a Christian to see a Christian counsellor?
Not at all. Counselling is first & foremost about you, the client. If you are a Christian, you may want someone who can respect and affirm your Christian worldview. If you are not a Christian, you may just be seeking good counselling -- someone you feel comfortable with, who listens to you and respects your autonomy. I never impose my own worldview onto my clients and only utilise a faith-based approach if it is important to you.
What can I expect at the first session?
The first session is about us getting to know each other and helping me understand what brings you to counselling and what your primary concerns and goals are. You are in control of how much information you wish to share. After hearing you, I will let you know how I feel I could be of help and invite you to ask any questions to may have. It is important that you feel comfortable working with me and feel I have understood your concerns, so I encourage you to be as honest as you can.
I recommend that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment to allow time to complete some initial paperwork and administration.
What about subsequent sessions?
Counselling will cover emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects and may sometimes be distressing and difficult. However, your counsellor will endeavour to provide a safe environment for you to work through your concerns. I may give you relevant tasks or homework in between sessions to help you with your learning process. I encourage you to be curious and reflective about the things you are learning and to bring in material that you would like to work through. This provides us with direction and allows you to make the most out of your sessions.
How many sessions will I need?
This varies between individuals, as the process of self-awareness, problem-solving, and change often takes different people different lengths of time to achieve. In general, counselling usually requires fewer sessions than in-depth psychotherapy. Some may find resolution within a couple of sessions, while others may require a more extended period of time, depending on personal circumstances and what changes they desire to work towards.
As a client, you are in control to end the counselling relationship at any time. As the counselling relationship is collaborative in nature, I encourage you to provide feedback to me if you feel that something is not working for you, as it provides opportunities for us to work through it together.
What if I need to change or cancel my appointment?
I ask that you provide me with as much notice as possible should you wish you change or cancel your appointment so that the time can be made available to other clients. Except under exceptional circumstances, the full fee will be charged if less than one day notice is given or if you fail to turn up for your appointment. Read more.
How long does a session last?
One session lasts for 1 hour. Please allow some time for admin and payment. Occasionally, I may suggest longer sessions of up to 90 minutes for couple work or more in-depth work.
Is Skype (online) counselling for me?
I understand that it is not always easy to attend a face-to-face session. Although I offer Skype counselling, I find that it is not a complete substitute for face-to-face sessions. Skype counselling is available for clients under special circumstances or who are not living in Sydney. Where possible, I recommend face-to-face for the first session and interspersed throughout the course of therapy. Please chat to me about how we can meet your needs.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy and Counselling are professional activities that utilise an interpersonal relationship to enable people to develop self-understanding and to make changes in their lives. In general, counselling is usually shorter-term and focuses on specific issues, life adjustments, and fostering clients' wellbeing. Psychotherapy is usually longer-term and more in-depth and complex, as it is concerned with the restructuring of the personality or self and the development of insight.
For more information, refer to PACFA.
Do I need a GP referral?
No, a GP referral is not needed.
Can I obtain a rebate from Medicare?
At this point in time, counsellors are not eligible for Medicare rebates. If you are under the mental health plan from your GP, you may choose to see a psychologist. However, it must be noted that a ‘gap’ between the Medicare rebate and the psychologist fee may be incurred. This is often similar to what you would pay when seeing a counsellor. Also be aware that mental health plans only cover a maximum of ten sessions. Following these sessions, you will be required to pay the full psychologist fee (which can be over $150p/h). Seeing a qualified counsellor can, in the long run, be a more cost-effective way of seeking the help you need. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please chat to me to see how we may be able to assist you.
Can I obtain a rebate from my health fund?
It depends. If you are with Bupa & Medibank Private, check if your level of extras cover includes counselling and advise me when you make your initial booking.
What are the fees and payment methods?
The current standard fee is $130 p/h for bookings before 4pm on weekdays, and $140 p/h for after 4pm on weekdays and Saturdays.
I am willing to negotiate a discount for special circumstances, only for sessions before 4pm on weekdays. Concessions may be given to students or concession cardholders. Please chat to me for more information. I hope that cost will not be the deciding factor that deters you from seeking help.
Payment by credit card and EFTPOS is my preferred method of payment, although cash is also accepted. If you would like to pay by bank transfer, payment is due the day before your appointment. My bank details are:
Ref: <first initial><surname>, e.g. A Smith
For online and phone counselling, payment is required at least one day in advance.