Below is a list of commonly asked questions when clients engaged with Life Supports Counselling. These may help support you when engaging with us.
How do I make an appointment?
Do I need a referral from my GP?
You do not need a referral (Mental Health Care Plan) to go to your therapy appointment with a counsellor or psychologist. If the therapist you’ve chosen offers a Medicare rebate (some do and others have flat fees instead) and you wish to claim the rebates through Medicare, a GP referral and Mental Health Care Plan can entitle you to rebates for up to 20 sessions per calendar year. The GP can give you the plan to take to your appointment or they can send it through to the therapist directly.
When do I pay for my appointment?
When you reserve your first appointment, you’ll pay a $20 deposit to confirm your attendance and hold the time. Once you attend your appointment, the therapist will process the remaining fee at the end of your session. You’ll be emailed all the details around payment methods (usually cash or credit card are both accepted) when you book your appointment.
Specific information about rebates, Medicare and private health will be individual depending on the therapist you choose, but our team will talk through everything and you’ll be emailed all the relevant information when you book your appointment.
How long is a standard session?
Session lengths vary according to the therapist you choose and the type of counselling you’re seeking.
A standard session is between 50-60 minutes long. Sometimes, therapists will offer a longer, 90 minute session initially to be more extensive in the first session.
What is the process of choosing the right therapist?
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry, our team can guide you through some of the common feelings or factors that you might want to consider to make it easier.
The details around choosing the right therapist are as different as people are, but there are some main elements we might start the conversation with and focus, starting with hearing a bit more about your story. People are the experts in their lives and where they’re wanting to put the work in, so we want to hear about your goals and knowing why or where you might be struggling. That will be a really important indicator to match with a therapist who has a strong background and training in evidence-based techniques that target these areas of struggle.
Obviously, you’ll need to create a long-lasting relationship with your coach or therapist, so someone who is convenient to get to regularly will matter- we will look at location and proximity as a factor, or even virtual options. Things like price points should always be clearly explained and taken into account- also accessibility, available appointments, perhaps gender preference. Different things make different people more comfortable to sit there and talk with a professional. If there are factors that are going to matter to you, then they really matter in the pairing process.
What are the waiting periods like for an appointment?
Across the Life Supports network, you can usually get an appointment within 48 hours – 2 weeks. Waiting times outside of Life Supports can vary greatly.
If you have specific dates or timelines within which you want to get your counselling started, let our team know and they can factor that into their recommendations for you.
How do I know if my therapist is any good?
Each of our counsellors and psychologists are fully qualified and registered, and are checked out beforehand to ensure that they:
- Are experienced and effective in their areas of practice
- Have gone through a rigorous selection process to be on our system
- Have obtained updated memberships and registration with relevant professional bodies
- Are required to participate in ongoing professional education and training within their areas of practice
- Participate in ongoing quality assurance, whereby regular updates are made and feedback is sought to guarantee that their service is of an exceptional standard and best practice
All of our therapists, regardless of qualification use evidence-based modalities, are regulated and accountable to codes of ethics and commit to ongoing professional development within their areas of practice and skillsets.
What questions should I ask on the call?
Everyone is unique, and we all have different preferences for what we’re looking for from counselling. See if you can answer some of these questions yourself, and they might help kickstart the thinking process for you.
- Do you have goals or aspirations for your life, your emotional self or your relationships?
- Has there been any barriers or blocks to these goals? Can you describe them?
- Are there any feelings or situations that make you particularly distressed or uncomfortable?
- Do you have any obvious or clear issues you want to work through?
- When you imagine talking openly and honestly to someone, do you imagine the person sitting across from you to be a certain gender, or age range? Maybe you have no preference, maybe you do.
- What kind of appointment times can you accommodate? Realistically, do you have parameters around certain locations or times of week that you could access the time for counselling?
- Think about the area where you live, but also think about the locations where you might work, or regularly see family or have obligations. Your openness to places you can regularly get to will allow the intake team to look around those locations for the best person they can source for you.
- Are there any things you know would make you very uncomfortable or you do not want to come into counselling?
How do I know who to choose?
Thinking about some of the above dot points will really help you finetune your radar for what you’re willing to give a go. The research supports that your sense of connection to the therapist relationship is one of the most important factors in determining positive therapeutic outcomes, outside of the therapist’s competencies. So trust your instincts here- our intake team can help by listening to you, and can translate/narrow down the options to some particularly relevant fits. From there, have a good read of all the information they send, read their profile and ask the intake team any questions you have.
This will give you a pretty great ‘idea’ of the therapist and how you might go connecting with them. ask all the questions you need to and elaborate wherever you think it is important- our intake team’s job is to help understand that and match it to the professional knowledge we have.
What do I do if I don’t like the counsellor?
When you talk to our intake team, they’ll ask you some key questions and they’ll invite you to elaborate on whatever you think might be important for them to know. From here, they’ll use their professional knowledge about everyone on the network to see if they could recommend a good therapist match.
Pluck up the courage to get to the appointment, and you can see for yourself how you feel about the therapist. If there’s no connection, or for whatever reason you don’t like them, you’re in control as to whether you book another appointment or not. You can call our intake team back and let them know how it went, and if you have any more information now that you’ve tried it.
Often once you’ve tried it, you’ll have a better idea of the things or aspects that will help you feel more comfortable in the counselling room with someone. Call us back and our team can happily have another look and recommend someone else- they’re here to help you find the best fit for you so that you can get the most out of counselling.
How much does an average session cost?
When looking at therapists in private practice, pricing can really vary according to several different individual factors.
Generally, a Life Supports qualified therapist can charge between $100-$200 per session- averaging around $150.
How do I prepare for my first counselling session?
There is no need to prepare anything specific prior to your initial appointment- It can however be helpful to think about what you might want to talk about in the sessions. If you have areas you’d like to target, have a think about describing these. If you have goals for improvement (in your relationships, work or self-esteem for example), these are great points to bring to your first session- as well as any clear obstacles or barriers you know of that are making it more difficult.
What will happen in the first session?
In your first intake session, your therapist will be looking forward to meeting you and getting to know who you are and what you want out of your life. Administratively, the therapist will also go through any forms or information they need, and will explain their professional duties around things like confidentiality and consent. Your therapist will likely structure out most of the first session getting acquainted with you, your goals and things like family background, mental health history and general environment. From there, they’ll probably work with you to create clear goals around what you’ll work on together in the sessions, to keep therapy focused on the right things for you.
How many sessions will I need?
How many counselling sessions you should have will vary hugely according to the individual, and your therapist will consult with you on how many sessions for treatments they may recommend. As a rule of thumb, meaningful life changes and genuine progress don’t occur within one 60-minute session, so think long term about how counselling can help dig into long-held life patterns and change situations.
We believe that long term behavioural change starts by 4-6 sessions but is enriched (on average) by 8, 10 and beyond as ethically necessary for your full care. Forming a positive relationship with your therapist, feeling ready for change yourself and feeling confident in your therapist’s skillset will maximise how much you can get out of sessions.