Counselling is a short-term form of talking therapy that has many sub-categories. Counsellors can work in private practices, hospitals, schools and correctional facilities amongst other places.

The focus of counselling is to identify issues that are causing concern and affecting a person’s daily life. Rather than looking to the past to find the factors that lead to the current situation, counsellors look at what is happening now and what can be done about it straight away.

In more complex cases, counselling therapy can be used alongside other forms of therapy (such as cognitive behavioural therapy). This allows for the immediate issues to be dealt with, but also for the underlying thought and behaviour patterns to be identified to help prevent the situation reoccurring.


Types of counselling

The most common forms of counselling include: (link to respective pages)

Marriage or couples counselling

Couples turn to counselling for a variety of reasons both positive and negative. In the early stages of a relationship, a couple may want help to plan ahead for any issues that may cause them concern in the future and discuss potential ways of dealing with them if, or when, they occur.

Others may become aware that their relationship has become a bit stale or that they are not communicating as well as they used to so they want to explore ways they can refresh their relationship. Many couples also seek counselling when their relationship has reached a crisis point and they can no longer move forward on their own.

Family counselling

Families can encounter strain for many reasons. Sometimes there may be unforeseen events such as a death in the family or one member could have chronic health issues so they may need extra support and understanding from the others.

In some cases, the trigger issue can be easily identified and managed, however, sometimes there can be multiple triggers that have a domino effect. Often, family members can be so focused on their own daily life that they don’t notice the problems others may be having around them. Or, they may notice them but have no idea how to handle them.

The aim of family counselling is to help all members understand each other’s needs, emphasise with the others and make useful changes that will help make the family a stronger, happier unit.

Workplace counselling

More and more workplaces are recognising that to have all their systems and departments functioning at an optimal level, it is vital for individual employees to also be performing at optimal level and to be fully engaged.

Therefore, providing proactive interventions that help employees identify and resolve any issues that may be affecting their performance is in everyone’s best interests. Regardless of whether the issues are work-related or of a personal nature, individual and group counselling and coaching sessions can all be included in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Other forms include:


Counselling qualifications

The term ‘counsellor’ is often used by anybody offering a form of talking-therapy service. In Australia, there is no restriction on who can call themselves a counsellor or provide general counselling services. However, a professional counsellor is someone who has completed a minimum of 3 years of combined person-to-person and supervised contact, leading to a Certificate in Counselling or higher qualifications.

Health practitioners from other fields such as social work and general practice can complete the additional training to become accredited as a professional counsellor.

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