Counselling in General

Perth Counselling and You



What is counselling?

Counselling is a ‘talk therapy’. By talking and engaging with a skilled counsellor, counselling is both an experience and a process in which clients can discover, explore and understand themself and their concerns. Through this understanding and experience it is hoped there will be greater freedom and choice and the ablity to live in a more fulfilling way.

Why do people come to counselling?

People come to counselling with a variety of concerns including, academic worries, bereavement, eating problems, self-harm, pregnancy, anxiety, depression, homesickness, family problems and so on. There is no particular ‘problem’ that you have to have – some people, for example, might simply want some space to take stock of their life or think about the future.

What about confidentiality?

The issue of confidentiality is taken very seriously in counselling and is framed by a strict code of ethics. Both the fact that a person sees a counsellor, as well as the information given to a counsellor, will not be divulged to anyone else outside without your specific written permission. The exceptions to this are where the law applies, such as the  Prevention of Terrorism Act, and in very rare situations where someone may pose a risk of causing serious harm to themselves or others. In this last case steps would still be taken to obtain your permission.

What is expected of a counsellor?

Clients can expect confidentiality, a non-judgemental attitude and respect from a counsellor. A counsellor should  respond to a client sensitively and honestly, and work together with them to build up a trusting and supportive relationship. A counsellor will make a commitment to sessions at mutually agreed times, usually weekly, and they will contact the client if they have to cancel a session.

What is expected from a client?

It is expected the client to make a serious commitment to counselling and to take responsibility for their own growth and change. A  client should be on time for their appointments and inform the counsellor with the best possible notice if they need to cancel. Appointments not kept are time that might have been used by someone else. Finally counselling is conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect and non-violence.


Perth Counselling & You

What is the process you follow with a brand new client?

The client usually makes an appointment by phone or e-mail so this will be my first opportunity to make contact with the client. We will briefly discuss the problem to establish if I will be able to help with their particular problem or circumstances. We then organise a time suitable for a session.

My first session with a client(s) can take up to 90 minutes. The reason for this is to get to know background information, help the clients feel relaxed and comfortable enough to be able talk about their problem and help build a good rapport between us. Each subsequent session after that is 60 minutes.

When a client comes for a session, we usually start with warm introductions. I will then take a some general details such as name, address, contact details, background history, family of origin and reason for seeking counseling ie history of the problem and circumstances surrounding it.

We will spend most of our time together talking but it won’t be like the conversations you are used to. As my job is to understand you and your problem as much as possible so I will spend most of my time listening while you talk, I will also set guidelines in the case of a couple or family so that each person has an opportunity to be heard and listened to by all parties.

There is no pressure to have to talk for a certain period of time. You may find that there are times when you don’t really know what to say or you may want to think about something for a while before you say it. This is all fine by me and I am happy to wait until you feel comfortable and want to talk.

During our interaction I will be trying to understand how you are experiencing your world and what is happening for you and remain sensitive to your circumstances. I will often reflect back to you my understanding of the problem and maybe offer another perspective that you may not have considered before.

A very important point in our counseling relationship is that I am not interested in judging you, the type of person you are or your behaviour. My only interest is in helping you understand better and help explore how you can make your life more satisfying and workable for you. There is no doubt about it, change always occurs during counselling and that change will be because you want to, not because I think you have to. Everthing discussed remains completely confidential.

I believe that expressing emotions can be a healing process, so that you don’t have to use up all your energy trying to keep old hurts and pain buried. During counselling, options can be explored and you may decide to change some things that are not helpful in your life.

I will always try to encourage you to recognise and take responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

I always bring human qualities to the counselling session and a dash of humour when appropriate. I believe the best way to promote growth and change for my client is by example of who I am and how I continually make decisions about the kind of life I want to live.

When can clients see you?

My hours are very flexible, many couples find it easier to make appointments in the evening due to work commitments or child care problems. My last appointment in the evenings is 8pm I am not available weekends after midday.

What type of people do you mainly work with?

Predominately couples. Often one partner comes first to see if counselling would be helpful to their relationship.

What sort of problems do you prefer helping people with?

Relationship issues ranging from A-Z:

  • tension in a relationship
  • lack of respect
  • unresolved conflict
  • anger management
  • fair fighting

Lack of emotional well being:

  • stress
  • guilt
  • frustration
  • isolation in the relationship
  • loneliness
  • insecurity
  • over dependence on partner
  • Poor communication
  • lack of intimacy

intrusions to the boundaries of the relationship:

  • in laws
  • extended family
  • friends

Addictions that impact on the relationship.

Illness or trauma that may affect the relationship.

Sexual issues:

  • fear of intimacy
  • low libido and desire discrepancy
  • Common sexual concerns:
    • low attraction to partner
    • poor sex education
    • negative sexual attitudes
    • Infidelity

Helping couples heal and rebuild trust and respect following an affair:

  • work on the health of the relationship and opportunities for growth
  • If they need to dissolve the relationship, assist them with a healing separation

What kind of outcome can a person expect from working with you?

It is usual at the beginning of the counselling session for the client to set goals or objectives on what he/she would hope for the best outcome.

It is the clients responsibility to tell me about the changes they wish to occur and my responsibility is to ensure that their goals are attainable and concrete enough so that the client and myself (the counsellor) will know when we have got there.

The client will understand what they did to find a solution to their problem, and it may be something that they can apply to other situations in the future.

They will have a clear idea about what may be the early signs that things have started to deteriorate and will know what to do if it were to happen.

The client will feel empowered. (empowering the client means equipping them with the tools to solve their own problems as far as possible).

How many sessions can I have?

The average counselling contract lasts for six sessions and this is generally the contract that will be offered to you. There is some flexibility to work longer but this depends on the demand that I am currently under. Some people also find that they may not need all six sessions. I recommend that you discuss this with mer rather than simply stop coming.

Is there a waiting list?

At times of high demand I have to operate a waiting list. It is more difficult to find an appointment for someone if they have limited availability so it is worth contacting me if you are on the waiting list and you find yourself with more time. Please also tell me if you urgently need counselling.