1. Why should I choose a registered counsellor?
A counsellor or psychotherapist who is a registered member of a professional organization such as QCA has to be highly qualified and must receive ongoing professional development and supervision every year in order to remain a member. These high standards ensure that practitioners are well qualified to work with you. Dealing with registered and accredited counsellors provides members of the public with an accountability process should anything go wrong. It is also important to note that registered counsellors are obliged to carry professional indemnity insurance which provides you with a measure of protection. Unqualified and therefore unregistered counsellors do not qualify for professional indemnity insurance which could leave you vulnerable.
2. What is the difference between a counsellor and psychotherapist?
This is quite a complex question which requires quite an in depth answer. The answer given below is a direct quotation from PACFA which is the Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia:
“Although Counselling and Psychotherapy overlap considerably, there are also recognized differences in terms of aims, approaches and training. While the work with clients may be of considerable depth in both modalities, the focus of counselling is more likely to be on specific problems or changes in life adjustment. Psychotherapy is more concerned with the restructuring of the personality or self. At advanced levels of training, Counselling has a greater overlap with Psychotherapy than at foundation levels.”
3. What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychologist?
Counsellors provide a service for a very wide range of relationship and lifestyle and emotional issues and operate with many different modalities and tools to help their client. Seeing a counsellor can remain confidential and is not recorded on your medical health record. If you elect to see a counsellor, you may be able to receive a rebate from your private health fund but you will not be eligible for a Medicare rebate.
4. What kind of issues could I bring to a counsellor?
Any lifestyle issue. Any problems that you would like to talk through with regard to areas such as -Relationship issues, Couples counselling, Family and Parenting, and Emotional issues.
5. Will a counsellor give me advice?
It is not the counselor’s role to give you advice. He or she will help you to work through issues so that you can feel confident to make good decisions for yourself.
6. How much recognized training/further education do counsellors have to do in order to be registered?
To register as an Associate member of QCA which is the basic entry level, counsellors need to have completed either a bachelor’s degree or a post graduate qualification (diploma or masters) in counselling or psychotherapy. In order to maintain registration, members must then complete a minimum of 10 hours of supervision and 15 hours of approved professional development every year.
7. What may be the risks of going to someone who is not registered as a counsellor with QCA or any other counselling registration body?
Please refer to the answer provided for question 1 above.
8. What is the range of fees I might be charged for counselling sessions?
There are no set fees for counselling and psychotherapy services and this varies across counselling organisations. Some charge by the hour and fees may range from $70.00 to $130.00 an hour. Others have quite different rates for different services dependent on the level of expertise or training involved or on the clients level of income.
9. Can I have a rebate on the fees from a Private health fund?
Some counsellors and psychotherapists are registered with private health funds to give rebates. The best way to find out is to ask the individual practitioner.