This site provides you with brief and clear explanation of what counselling is along with resources based on best available evidence about mental health and mental illness. We are continuing to update this site and grow it to fill the needs of our visitors. Please feel free to send us an email in regard to what you are looking for and we’ll see work to improve it.
In simple terms, counselling involves one person (the counsellor) helping another person (the client) to work through some difficult or painful emotional, behavioural or relationship problem or difficulty. That is the form of individual counselling. Mental disorders (also referred to as mental illnesses) are disturbances of brain function characterised by difficulties in thinking, mood, behaviour, perception, physical functioning and/or signalling mechanisms that help us decide what to do day by day (or some combination thereof). These conditions almost always lead to significant impairments in day-to-day work, home, social, and school life. Mental disorders are very common, at any point in time approximately 20 percent of the population suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder. They are the second leading cause of disability after heart disease. Despite this significant number globally impacted by mental conditions, it still seems like a taboo to talk about with those around us. There the subject is often only discussed behind closed doors. The best way to change this discussion is through education of yourself and others about mental health and mental disorders.
In the last decade or so we have made remarkable scientific discoveries in beginning to understand how the brain functions. While we are still unclear about the exact causes of most mental illnesses, we do know that mental illnesses arise as a result of complex interaction between genes and the environment. We do know that mental disorders are not caused by the usual unexpected stresses of everyday life. The stresses of everyday life can cause a number of negative emotions that can be understood as distress or demoralization. It is important not to confuse normal distress with a mental disorder.
This website will provide you with some background information but to make a diagnosis a trained health professional (such as a family doctor or psychiatrist) must be consulted. The health professional may conduct interviews, behavioural evaluations, psychological testing and rule out medical causes. They will match the findings from their analysis with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and provide a diagnosis. From this diagnosis, treatment options will be provided and the family, patient and health professional will determine which approach best fits the needs of the individual in question.
Counselling may be helpful in a number of ways. It can enable you to develop a clearer understanding of your concerns and help you acquire new skills to better manage personal and educational issues. The psychologist can offer a different perspective and help you think of creative solutions to problems. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone not personally involved in your life can be most helpful.
Your psychologist treats all the information you share as confidential material. The psychologists are involved in case consultations and supervision for the purposes of best practice. These meetings involve discussion of clients concerns with the aim of formulating the best possible assessment and intervention plan. Where possible, the identifying personal information is removed from the discussion.
Restrictions on the release of information
Information that you share with your psychologist will not be released to anyone outside Vision Psychology without your prior written permission, except under certain unusual and rare circumstances as indicated by relevant State and Commonwealth legislation to which the Clinic complies. For further details please consult our psychologists. Please feel free to discuss with your psychologist any concerns you have regarding confidentiality.
The process will depend on the individual psychologist, the individual client and the specific issue. However, there is a general counselling process that the psychologists will follow:
- Background information collection
- Identification of core issues
- Case formulation
- Goal setting for the therapeutic process
- Implementation of intervention
- Evaluation of intervention
Prior to the initial interview, reception staff will ask you to complete a personal data sheet. During your initial interview, the psychologist will discuss your concerns with you, and explore with you alternative services if needed (such as medication or GP’s referral). By the end of the initial interview you and your psychologist may decide on one of the following options:
- No further counselling is required at this time, if during the initial interview you have been able to clarify your concerns and plan an appropriate course of action.
- Further appointments are needed to continue to explore the issues before reaching a decision. A second appointment will be made with you by the psychologist.