Counselling can be provided directly by Victim Support ACT staff members or by private practitioners (external providers) in the community. Where counselling is provided by an external provider, Victim Support Act assists to make linkages between clients and counsellors and covers the payment. Clients are given as much choice as possible in selecting their preferred counsellor. All counsellors available through Victim Support ACT have appropriate qualifications (Psychology, Social Work and Counselling).
When and why do people have counselling?
- There may be times when you really feel the need to be heard. Bottling up feelings is very draining and counselling allows you to explore your feelings and express them in a safe way. You don’t have to worry about the person you are talking to or how what you are saying might affect them. The counsellor is trained to handle these issues.
- People deal with stress in different ways. Some times stress responses can make people think they are‘going mad’. Counselling can help normalise these feelings and reassure you that you are experiencing normal responses to extraordinary events.
- Counselling is a positive experience for many people.It may bring up upsetting things at times which means you can deal with these issues safely in your own time.
- Counselling is confidential. The specific counsellor you see will explain the boundaries of this confidentiality and exactly who will have access to the information discussed (eg team members,supervisor). If you have questions about others accessing information please discuss options with your counsellor.
Choosing the right counsellor for you.
- It’s OK to take time to establish feeling comfortable and safe with your counsellor and discuss only what you want, when you are ready. One way to do this and use the counselling time effectively may be to explore concerns about your current functioning.(For example, sleep patterns, stress reduction, etc.)
- Asking potential counsellors questions on the phone about how they work, may help to see if they sound like the right person for you. It’s alright to call a few providers before making an appointment.
- Feeling accepted and not judged by your counselloris important.
- Victim Support ACT offers a choice of trained counsellors, psychologists and social workers who can provide you with counselling. These providers of counselling all work from different approaches and frameworks, some fit better for some people than others, everyone is different.
- If you start counselling and you are not getting what you want out of it or feel that the counsellor is not the right one for you, talk to your Victim Support case manager and let them know so you can try a different counsellor.
Practicalities of counselling
- Length of session time can vary, but is approximately 50 to 90 minutes.
- Frequency is negotiated with your counsellor. At first it may be weekly then less frequent over time.
- After a counselling session you may be tired from processing thoughts and feelings. It can be useful to have some free time after a session, (for example,have a cup of tea, etc) before returning to work or picking up kids etc.
Getting what you want out of your counselling
- Generally counselling will work better if you seek it out yourself. You may not get the best out of it if you don’t really want to be there. It’s up to you whether or not you have counselling.
- It is okay to know what you want to get out of counselling, or not know. Counselling is not about what others expectations may be, but about being able to explore the things that may be worrying you.
- When feeling overwhelmed especially if there area lot of things going on, writing down the things that are worrying you or possible reasons for going to counselling can be useful to take with you to counselling.
- Self-care (decisions or actions you can take to improve your health and well being), can be useful to identify or build upon in counselling. For example;exercise, good nutrition, rest and relaxation, how to manage anxiety or depression.
- Let your counsellor know if you want a break from counselling or you have had enough at a certain point. If you have hours remaining it’s okay, and can be useful, to go back in the future if further things come up for you later on.
- It might be that therapies other than counselling,(such as massage therapy, acupuncture and naturopathy) would be more useful for you at the moment. As people experience stress in different ways including physical ways, these alternate therapies may be helpful and if they match your current needs, advise your case manager so Victim Support ACT can best meet your needs.