Do we need to see a counsellor? Most parents ask themselves this question at some stage in their child’s life. More and more, people seek professional assistance or support with parenting.
Many people find it helpful talking to a professional who is not a family member or friend and who can provide confidential advice and assistance with parenting challenges and dilemmas. These could include relationship and communication problems, emotional, behavioural and psychological issues and concerns.
Counsellors are trained in different theoretical approaches and the type of therapy they offer, with some focusing on long-term issues and others more interested in the here and now. They will have different qualifications, such as social work, psychology or psychotherapy and belong to different professional or counselling associations. The cost of seeing a counsellor varies. Fees for some private practitioners (psychologists and social workers) are eligible for rebates from Medicare under the Mental Health Care Plan (with referral from a GP). Others work for government or not-for-profit organisations and can provide counselling for free or at a reduced cost for low-income earners. Most private practitioners or independent counsellors charge full fees for their services.
Currently in Australia, the counselling industry is not widely regulated. It is generally recommended to seek counselling from someone who is accredited or registered as a counsellor with a professional body or association, such as
Another major consideration is finding a counsellor that you can connect with and trust. Building trust with a counsellor as well as finding the right person can take time and effort.
Some questions you may want to ask a counsellor when you start counselling include:
What is your experience and qualifications in counselling?
What type of therapy do you use and what is the evidence for this therapy?
What professional association/s do you belong to?
What are your fees?
When and where are you available?
Do you have a waiting list?
How often and for how long will we see you?
What type of issues do you normally work with?
Please don’t hesitate to call our professionally qualified and trained Parent Line staff on 1300 1300 52 to talk through any questions or concerns that you may have about seeing a counsellor. We can also help to find appropriate referrals for counsellors in your local area.