Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy Services

What Is Counselling?

Counselling and psychotherapy involve an appropriately trained specialist helping one or more clients through the application of proven skills, therapies and education. Both counselling and psychotherapy are specialised therapeutic services that seek to create an empathic and safe environment for clients while empowering them to identify and address negative factors that adversely affect their quality of life. The objectives of the counselling relationship will vary according to the client’s needs: it may be concerned with addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insight and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict, or improving relationships with others.

Counselling or Psychotherapy?

In popular terminology, counselling is a broad term which usually incorporates psychotherapy. If a distinction were to be made between counselling and psychotherapy: one might say that counselling tends to be more educational and situational in its focus; is concerned with problem solving with an emphasis on the client’s present; and is typically of shorter duration than psychotherapy. Psychotherapy tends to focus more on reconstruction and personality issues with an emphasis on the client’s past and the unconscious, and is usually of longer duration.

Counselling is not just about giving advice - it is not a counsellor’s role to simply tell the client what to do. The counsellor’s role is to facilitate the client’s own work in ways which respect the client’s values and world-view, personal resources, and capacity for self-determination. Counselling is an active process that invites the client to become pro-active in resolving his or her own issues of concern. Counselling therefore requires a commitment to change and a desire for personal growth on the part of clients for therapy to be most effective. This is especially the case with marriage and relationship counselling. Nothing changes if nothing changes!

Professional counselling is non-judgemental and strictly confidential (subject to legal limitations).

Important Consumer Information

Counselling is not a government regulated profession in Australia and counsellors are not required by law to meet any specific ethical or educational standard. Therefore, you will find people practicing as counsellors in the community that range from those who hold no formal qualifications in counselling to those who are highly qualified with postgraduate degrees in counselling. It is important therefore that consumers be aware of their right to deal with properly trained and professionally accountable counsellors and psychotherapists. CarePoint recommends that you deal only with counsellors who hold current membership in an association affiliated with an Australian counselling peak professional body such as PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia) or ACA (Australian Counselling Association). A counsellor’s membership in a counselling association that is affiliated with one of these peak professional bodies ensures that you are dealing with a legitimate Counsellor who is appropriately trained; is accountable to a professional code of ethical conduct; and is engaged in both professional supervision and ongoing professional development as a counsellor.