FAQ : Empathic Counselling

What services does Empathic Counselling provide?
Empathic Counselling provides online holistic, trauma-informed and evidence-based counselling for women, including non-binary, gender-diverse and transgender women.

How much does it cost?
Please see the fees page for details.

Why do I need to pre-pay for my appointment?

  • It confirms your commitment to yourself in making the courageous first step in accessing counselling support.
  • It avoids wasting appointment time settling payments and reduces my administration time following up on late payments. This allows me more time to focus on the important stuff, i.e. therapy with you!
  • I am committed to supporting your mental health and emotional wellbeing and pre-payment just guarantees that we are both equally committed to the therapeutic process!

How do I pre-pay for my appointment?
Pre-payment is required when booking your appointment through the bookings page. Payment is via PayPal or credit card (processed by PayPal). If you need to reschedule your appointment and give at least 24 hours notice via email, your payment will be carried over to your rescheduled appointment time. If you give less than 24 hours notice, your payment will not be carried over and you will forfeit the fee. Any exceptions to this policy will be at the discretion of Empathic Counselling.

Is what I say during my counselling appointment confidential?
All personal information gathered during counselling appointments will remain confidential and secure apart from the following exceptions:

  • if it is subpoenaed by a court;
  • a child is at risk of harm; or
  • you present a risk to yourself or someone else.

What exactly is Counselling?
Counselling is talk therapy which involves the collaboration between the counsellor and the client in order to promote the client’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. Counselling enhances self-understanding and helps resolve identified concerns. Counsellors use empathy and deep listening to allow clients to feel safe, understood and accepted without judgement. Counsellors are trained in a range of therapeutic modalities designed to facilitate change and empower clients.

What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychologist?
Psychologists adopt a medical framework to their approach and have specialist training in research, diagnosis and assessment. Psychologists tend to support clients with more severe mental health conditions. Counsellors adopt a more person-centred approach, which means that the focus is more on empathic listening and supporting client goals through talk therapy. Both are trained in a range of therapy styles such as Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). In practical terms, I am qualified in all aspects of counselling and talk therapy, with the exception of diagnosing mental health conditions. For a formal diagnosis, you would need to see a GP, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. It is important to keep in mind that regardless of whether you have a diagnosis or not, counselling can be helpful for people going through difficult life events as well as for people with mental health issues. In other words, counselling can be beneficial for everybody!

What qualifications do counsellors have?
Unfortunately counselling is not fully regulated in Australia as yet. Therefore, some people without the appropriate qualifications can call themselves a counsellor. It is important that when you engage the services of a counsellor that you check that they have the appropriate qualifications. Rest assured that I have a Master’s qualification in counselling, which means that I have been trained in empirically supported interventions and specialised counselling training. In addition, I am currently registered with the Australian Counselling Association (ACA), which is the largest peak body for counselling in Australia.

Can I use a mental health care plan from my doctor?
Unfortunately there is currently no medicare rebate available for counselling services in Australia. Therefore, a mental health care plan from your doctor is not required, as it is not possible to receive a rebate. Empathic Counselling’s fee is often comparable to the amount payable to see a psychologist, even if you have a care plan.

What can I expect at my first appointment?
It is perfectly natural to feel a bit nervous before your first appointment. After all, you are about to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with a stranger! The aim of the first appointment is to get to know you and find out what you would like to gain from attending counselling. It is important that you feel comfortable and safe, so all of your questions will be answered and your concerns addressed. We will decide together how you would like to proceed and how I can best support you and your therapeutic goals.

How many counselling sessions will I need?
The amount of counselling sessions you choose to attend varies depending on your specific circumstances, such as the duration and severity of issues that you have been experiencing, your specific counselling goals and of course, your finances! In addition, each person goes at their own pace, and the amount of time it takes to feel better and make positive changes is different for everyone. In general terms, I would recommend at least 4 or 5 counselling sessions to begin with, in order to start making progress towards your therapeutic goals. Making changes takes time, commitment and perseverance. It is similar to when making changes to improve physical fitness: we can’t go to the gym once or twice and expect to increase our fitness levels dramatically. It is important to have realistic expectations when it comes to counselling.

One thing to also keep in mind is that one of the greatest predictors of positive therapeutic outcomes, is the quality of the relationship and rapport you develop with your counsellor. Building trust and developing that relationship can take time. Ultimately though, it is important to remember that it is completely your decision as to when you stop counselling. Remember to discuss your goals and progress regularly and voice any concerns you may have. After all, as a client, you are the most important part of the counselling process!

If you have any further questions, please email Sasha or use the Contact form.