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Navigating the Challenges of Finding Counselling in Melbourne

So it’s time to get some help… perhaps you are experiencing anxiety or stress, or you are having difficulties in your relationship or work place.

Naturally, you turn to your trusted old friend, Mr google and type “counselling in Melbourne”. However, we point out why this search term is not ideal and suggest other ways of searching the internet for help.

  1. “Counselling in Melbourne” does not define the profession. When you search “counselling in Melbourne” you are searching for anyone who delivers counselling, and this can range from counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers. In this way, searching “counselling in Melbourne” is a very broad search and may not be targeting what you specifically need.
    • First, the term “counsellor” can be used in a general way to describe anyone that provides support via talking, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and qualified counsellors. Therefore, the term “counsellor” does not give much information about the type of qualifications the individual has undergone.
    • A qualified counsellor has undergone at least a bachelor in counselling or graduate diploma. Their study focuses on the delivery of professional guidance in resolving psychological problems. Counsellors usually engage clients short-term to address a specific problem.
    • A psychologist, social worker and psychiatrist may refer to themselves as “counsellors”, but they have usually undergone postgraduate level study.
    • To become a psychologist or social worker in Australia you need to complete a 6 year (minimum) sequence of study, which entails: a 4 year undergraduate degree, followed by at least 2 years of study and/or training focused on professional practice.
    • Postgraduate psychology degrees focus on the mind, assessment and treatment of mental health. Psychologists are experts in human emotions, behaviour and mental processes.
    • Postgraduate social work degrees focus on treatment via social change and the broader community.
    • A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specialising in the treatment of mental health problems who can prescribe medication.
  1. Counselling versus therapy. More confusing terms! Counselling and therapy are loosely used terms that overlap and are often used inter-changeably. By searching for “counselling in Melbourne” you may not be getting what you need.
    • Counselling is typically short-term support (e.g. less than five sessions) focused on addressing specific problems or issues. Therapy (or psychotherapy) is typically a medium to longer-term process focused on shifting thoughts, behaviours and feelings. Therapy is often considered ‘deeper’ than counselling and the outcomes are often more significant and long standing.
    • Therapy and counselling overlap, as therapy includes counselling skills. Counselling skills are fundamental to the therapy process and have been proven to create positive change.
  1. Medicare rebates and fees. By searching for “counselling in Melbourne” you are not guaranteed a Medicare rebate. A qualified counsellor cannot provide a Medicare rebate. A psychologist, psychiatrist and social worker can provide a Medicare rebate. However, it is worth noting that some therapies, like couples therapy, are not rebated by Medicare. It is also worth noting that fees can significantly differ between professionals.

So, what do I search for?

Here are some simple steps to help in your internet search for support.

  1. Specify the profession – psychologist, counsellor, social worker or psychiatrist? If you are seeking a psychologist, read How to Find a Good Psychologist in Melbourne. Speak to your GP if you are unsure what type of help you need.
  2. Write the issue you are seeking help for instead of specifying “counselling”, “therapy” or “psychotherapy”. Someone trained in the issue you need help for will know when to use counselling or therapy, or both, and in what combination.

Here are some examples of some good Google searches:

  • Psychologist for anxiety in Melbourne
  • Counsellor for couples therapy in Melbourne
  • Psychiatrist for depression in Melbourne
  • Social worker for family conflict in Melbourne
  • Psychologist for eating disorders in Melbourne

What does Peaceful Mind Psychology help with?

We are warm and empathic psychologists based in Melbourne, who are experienced and trained in delivering therapy and counselling. We can support you with issues that may require short or longer term support, including mood-related issues, relationship counselling, eating disorders, low self-esteem and more. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.