A Guide to Finding Counselling Services Melbourne Has to Offer

Finding a good therapist, whether it’s a psychologist, psychotherapist or counsellor has many challenges. Will they have my best interest in mind? Will they ‘get’ me? Will they truly be able to help? With information overload, the last thing you want to do is navigate numerous websites, only to find yourself feeling needing a therapist just for the nonsense out there! We are all vastly unique, and having someone who can truly see us, and what lays beneath the surface is so important. Essentially, we want to be seen. Here, we’ll explore what Melbourne Counselling Services are available, to help you navigate and find the perfect person for you.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to me directly, and I will find the right person for you.

It’s worth finding the right therapist

There are an estimated 7,000 psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors in Melbourne.

I wrote up this guide in finding the right Counselling Services Melbourne offers, because a few of my clients expressed how frustrating it was, to get the right help.

For some, it takes courage to make that first call, or send an email asking for help. Hopefully, this guide helps makes things a little easier.

We hope you take the time to find the right therapist. Whether it’s here, or somewhere else.

The most important factor in successful therapy, is the relationship you have with them.

Find someone you connect with.

What’s the difference between a Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Psychiatrist, and Counsellor?

A Psychotherapist is a trained professional who is specifically trained to help treat clients with emotional challenges, often called talk therapy. It can be liberating, challenging, and sometimes painful, but the effects are long-lasting and creates fundamental changes to one’s core being.

Psychotherapists  are trained in a number of theoretical orientations, such as CBT, ACT, Person Centred Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Focusing Emotional Therapy, Gestalt, and so on.

Clinical psychologists are traditionally more research focused and are particularly skilled in diagnosing mental disorders.

Psychologists may focus on areas such as developmental psychology, education, and occupational psychology.

Traditionally, psychologists are trained primarily in just CBT.

A Psychiatrist is a doctor who has specialised in psychiatry. This allows psychiatrists to assess, diagnose and may (not always) treat mental illness using prescribed medication. Often clients see a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist at the same time. This is primarily because the medication can alleviate the symptoms, but psychotherapy is needed in order to integrate change.

* Not all, but some psychologists and psychiatrists, can also be trained in psychotherapy.

A counsellor is an umbrella term for all three. It’s meaning in Australia in the mental health sphere is perhaps best seen as short-term focused solutions. Some clients begin with counselling and move to psychotherapy. Others begin with psychotherapy and may need a “top up” ever now and then. This is counselling.

Essentially, if you’re looking for a good therapist, the title doesn’t matter.


Have a chat with them first

At the Melbourne Counselling Clinic we offer our clients a free 30 minute telephone consultation.

Moreover, if client’s aren’t happy after the first session, we offer a money back guarantee, no questions asked.

Our business model is based on helping people.

After speaking with 2 or 3 therapists, you should have a good sense who is right for you.

Qualities to look out for in a Therapist

When trying to find the right counselling service, there are a few things to look out for. Perhaps the most important attribute is that the therapist makes you feel completely accepted.

Second, do you feel that they are truly empathic?

And third, are they a pushover? It’s vital that your therapist isn’t just going to say yes to you. 

You can get a general sense of this in the first phone call, or first couple of sessions.

Some questions to ponder and ask your therapist:

  • Do you feel comfortable with them?
  • Do you feel they get you?
  • Do you feel they will challenge you?
  • Ask them: Are they qualified/licenced?
  • Ask them: How much do they cost?
  • Ask them: Where did they get their training? Online?
  • Ask them: What kind of insurance do you accept?
  • Ask them: Do you bulk bill?
  • Ask them: Are you registered with PACFA, APS, or ACA?
  • Ask them: What experience do you have with depression/anxiety, relationships
  • Ask them: If I go away on holiday, can I still have a session with you over skype?

Theoretical Orientation

Does the theory a therapist adopts make a difference to the outcome of therapy? Different interventions, have very different styles and approaches.

Traditionally, psychologists are trained in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Here, the emphasis is on changing negative thoughts, with healthier ones. It’s an evidence-based treatment, and depending on the issue, can offer fast effective results. However, it’s widely criticised as being too mechanistic.

It’s worth familiarising yourself a little bit about the different approaches that therapist use. You’ll usually find something on their website about it. For example, here’s my approach, and the different theories I implement

Lambert, a researcher ran a multi varied analysis on different therapeutic interventions, and found that the biggest cause for change, was due to the therapeuic alliance, i.e. the connection the client and therapist had.

Asking recommendations from friends

Getting a good recommendation from someone you trust, can be one of the best way’s to find a great psychotherapist, counsellor, or psychologist. Your friends care about you, and sincerely want the best for you.

Just make sure that your friend has actually had first-hand experience with them. While your friend cares about you and of course wants the best for you, they may simply recommend someone who they met recently, or might just be a friend of a friend.

Be weary about getting recommendations from Doctors

Getting a good recommendation from someone you trust, can be one of the best way’s to find a great psychotherapist, counsellor, or psychologist. Your friends care about you, and sincerely want the best for you.

A referral from a doctor, must be met with scrutiny. How does the doctor know this psychologist is actually good? If it was merely networking it pays to be a little cautious.


What about Free services?

There are some other great Counselling services Melbourne has to offer that are free. If you’re struggling financially, these services are truly fantastic.

Contact your local community service centre, or council. Depending on your financial situation, some municipalities offer affordable therapy for those who can’t afford it. Some of the therapists may be interns studying at placement. Don’t let their beginners status think they’re not capable. Their fresh eyes, may offer something else

  • EDVOS– Support for women and children who experience violence. A fantastic organisation.
  • DHHS – Another fantastic Counselling Melbourne Service, that isn’t limited to Melbourne, but Australia wide. Sexual abuse, battery, crisis accomodation, homelessness and domestic violence.
  • Mental health and wellbeing support for LGBTI people (Better Health Channel)
  • LGBTI Support: LGBTI people are also frequently subject to discrimination and can have problems accessing healthcare that’s right for them. If you or someone you know is LGBTI and needs support, help is available. Also, check out my own personal LGBT counsellingpage
  • Mental health services (Better Health Channel) Victoria has a range of mental health support services that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These services can provide treatment, information, tools and advice on how to deal with a range of mental health issues.
  • Parentline Victoria (Department of Education and Training, Victoria)
    Parentline is a confidential and anonymous phone counselling service for parents and carers of children and teenagers in Victoria. We offer counselling, information and support around a range of parenting issues.
  • Camcare
  • Cairnmillar Institute
  • Doncare
  • Headspace

Staying Alive

Let’s tackle the most important counselling service first, staying alive. If you,or someone you know is in immenent danger, call triple zero (000) immediately.

If it’s not an emergecny, but you are having thoughts of suicide, there are a number of helplines that can offer counselling services:

  • Lifeline– 13 11 14 for this free, 24-hour Australia-wide crisis support and suicide prevention service.
  • SuicideLine – 1300 651 251  support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week across Victoria
  • Suicide Call Back Service– 1300 659 467 free counselling service with suicidal thoughts or support for friends and family who have been affected by suicide

Teletherapy & Melbourne Counselling 


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St Kilda
+61 488 858 688


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