Holden Street Clinic counselling & psychotherapy FAQ

How do you structure your fees?

Fees are set by the individual clinician and are payable at the time of consultation. Some rebates may apply, including: Medicare, private health insurance, WorkCover, TAC, Victims of Crime and more. Fees are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

How many counselling sessions will I need to attend?

The length of counselling will vary depending on a range of factors, some of which include what a person is looking for, how intense and long-standing the issues are and how well supported a person is outside of counselling. Often some relief and new awareness will be experienced after only a few sessions, and some new skills developed shortly thereafter, involving weeks or a few months. Deeper personality and habit change and the consolidation of new skills can take longer.

What happens in the first session?

The first session has a number of important aims. This includes getting to know each other, discuss the process of therapy including aims and expectations, begin creating a safe and trusting connection and environment and begin the process of assessing the issues and possible treatment options. During the first session focus is drawn to the problem that brought you to counselling, as well as the story behind it, as the therapist seeks to understand you better. The first session also gives you an opportunity to assess whether you feel comfortable with your therapist’s manner, personality and way of working.

When can I expect to see improvement?

This will vary for people depending on the nature of the problems they are experiencing. Sometimes people will notice improvement after the first session, as simply talking about the problem and sharing it helps alleviate some of the confusion, pressure and isolation people experience. More significant improvement comes naturally with the time and energy investment people make in the counselling process. Significant change can sometimes be achieved quickly, though more often than not is equivalent to the time and energy invested, like with most things we do in life.

What do I need to do in preparation for attending counselling services?

Coming to counselling can be a big step, and can sometimes mean sharing very personal issues for the first time. It is normal to feel some apprehension and nervousness. It is important to give yourself time to get to know your therapist and to adjust to the counselling process.

What if I don’t know what to say?

This can be a common experience for people new to counselling, but don’t worry. Your therapist is experienced at helping people find words to tell their story, sometimes through talking, and other times through using more creative means like focusing on your body’s experience, and expressing yourself through movement or art.

What if I want counselling but my partner or family don’t?

You can’t force someone to attend counselling. Individuals can feel helpless in this situation and feel there is no way of changing relationship problems. However, it is still useful for an individual to come alone to work on relationship issues. When one person changes in a relationship, this can often bring about change in the other partner or family member. When you come in for therapy on your own you can hear a more objective point of view regarding your relationship and maybe gain a different perspective or new insight on the issues. Sometimes this also involves uncovering what lies beneath these issues and out of awareness.

My partner and I are thinking about separating. Is it still worth coming to counselling?

Counselling can be useful in this situation for couples or individuals, to help them think through carefully why they are considering separating. Counselling can help couples separate respectfully, which saves the couple and their children much emotional and financial stress. Acrimonious separations can take many years and create huge emotional and financial damage. The cost of counselling is only a very small fraction of the cost of engaging lawyers.

What do I tell my child about coming to counselling?

It is a good idea to talk to your child before attending our Fitzroy North child and adolescent counselling services for the first time. You might explain the things that you are currently worried about and suggest that you are going to talk to someone to find the best ways of helping. Reassure your child that you will be there with them to meet the clinician. For younger children, they may wish to bring a favourite comfort toy. Invite your child to share any questions or concerns they might have about the appointment and speak with your clinician if you need help responding to your child’s queries.