It is expected that they “work within a clearly contracted principled relationship that enables individuals to explore and resolve issues of an interpersonal or intra-personal nature” SOURCE: Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia
Psychologists are experts in human behaviour, human development and the process of defining how people think, feel, behave and react. Psychologists help with the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Most psychologists also help mentally healthy people to find ways of functioning better. SOURCE: Adapted from Australian Psyhcological Society.
Empathy, Empathy and more empathy! People are often a little nervous about attending their first appointment. This is well understood. In fact, one of the requirements of a Masters in Counselling is to undergo the counselling process.
“Generally speaking I would say the Australian culture sees it as a weakness if someone seeks help (unlike the American culture where seeking a counselor is the first thing people think of when they feel stuck in their lives). However, I don’t view seeking help as a weakness at all. In fact, I have tremendous respect for anyone who has the courage to look at those areas of their lives that are impacting on their emotional wellness.
It takes guts to reach out and I am frequently inspired by my clients. It is why I do what I do.”
The first session is called an Assessment Interview and this is where a counsellor will work very hard, not only building rapport, but to begin to explore what is concerning the client and how their concern is impacting on their thoughts, feelings and behavior.
By the end of the first session, a pathway forward is established. If a counsellor assesses that the client’s concern is outside their realm of expertise they will express this to the client and do their best to find a practitioner who specializes in dealing with this client’s area of concern.