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Counsellors are health professionals who talk to you about issues in your life, and help solve them. There are different types of counsellors, with different approaches. It may be difficult in the beginning to talk with someone, but you should stick it out if you feel good about that counsellor.

This can help if:

  • you're thinking of seeing a counsellor
  • you need someone to talk to about everyday difficulties
  • you want to know how to get counselling through Medicare.
Boy student talking to teacher

What is a counsellor?

A counsellor is someone you talk to about everyday difficulties. Sometimes just the act of talking about what’s going on helps you to see solutions you didn't know were there. Counsellors often work in schools, universities, technical institutes, community health centres, family planning clinics and in private practice. Their level of training can vary, and the term ‘counsellor’ can be used to cover different mental health professional roles.

Why would I see a counsellor?

If you’re feeling stressed, having problems at home, worrying about the future, being bullied – basically, if anything is causing you difficulty – these are all good reasons to talk to a counsellor.

On the other hand, if you’re experiencing a mental health disorder or something more serious, you may need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on the issue.

What’s it like to see a counsellor?

Most people feel nervous about meeting with a counsellor for the first time. It might take more than one session before you feel comfortable enough to open up about everything that’s going on with you, or you might feel better even after your first visit. It’s different for everyone. If you feel a bit unsettled after your first session, it doesn't mean you should give up on the idea. Talk to your counsellor about it, and plan a way to deal with these feelings. It might take a few sessions before you start to see the benefits, so try to stick with it.

It’s also entirely possible that you don’t like the first counsellor you meet, or you don’t feel a connection with them. This is quite common. Finding a counsellor that is right for you is a bit like making a new friend, it won’t be with just anyone, but someone you trust and like. If you feel like you’re not connecting with the first counsellor you meet, keep trying news ones until you find one you like. You’ll know when it happens.

How do I make an appointment?

Making an appointment will probably involve contacting a counselling service directly. Ideally, you’ll want a counsellor you trust, whose approach and personality suits you. Obviously, you can’t really know how you’ll connect with a counsellor before meeting with them, but you can always change counsellors if you feel that a particular person or their approach isn't right for you.

What can I do now?