Common questions about counselling
How can counselling help?
Working with a counsellor may help you to see an issue more clearly or from different perspectives, get some insight into its origins, and think about how to move forward. Counselling can equip you with new ways to think about your situation, while helping you to make use of your resources and feel more in control.
The counselling process begins with you and your counsellor developing a clearer understanding of your problem and thinking together about how you might move forward.
In counselling, the learning is about yourself, who you really are and where you are going with your life, how to manage emotions, or how to resolve or cope with what's going on in your life. Counselling can help you feel more in control and goal oriented while renewing a sense of active engagement in learning and life.
If you need specialist help, or help we are unable to offer, we can help you consider how to access this.
When should I seek help?
Any time life changes, whether it's with relationships, work, study or just within yourself, you may find it useful to discuss with these changes with a counsellor. Some students seek counselling when they feel they have tried everything else and have run out of options, but students generally find the earlier they see a counsellor, the better and easier life is for them.
How long are these sessions?
Sessions are usually for 50 minutes. Shorter sessions are booked according to your need and following discussion with your counsellor. In most cases you will need to contact the service ahead and book a scheduled appointment.
What can I expect?
When you attend counselling you can expect a professional, responsive and respectful service. Our counsellors are fully qualified and experienced psychologists and social workers with extensive knowledge and understanding of the mental health, personal, family and work problems of students. Counsellors aim to be independent, good listeners, and do not blame or pass judgements.
What kind of things can I see a counsellor about?
Students can see a counsellor for different issues. They can include:
- study issues
- motivation issues
- family matters
- grief and loss
- identity issues
- suicidal thoughts or self-injury
- adjusting to Uni or living in Melbourne
- exam stress
- presentation performance stress and anxiety
- anything else you would like to talk about in confidence.
How long can I see a counsellor?
Counselling is provided to students on a short-term basis which usually involves one to six sessions. If you need more sessions, depending on your needs and the type of issue you are going through, your counsellor will discuss this with you as well as possible referral options.
I am an international student. Is counselling right for me?
Yes. We are committed to providing culturally sensitive counselling for all local and international students at Victoria University. Our counsellors have been trained to be highly effective in communicating and collaborating with clients. For students who are making the transition from another country to study in Australia, our counsellors are particularly familiar with issues of adjusting to a new culture.
Counsellors have been trained to be aware of their own worldview so that they do not impose their personal and cultural assumptions on their clients. They also have been trained to respect cultural differences and to work collaboratively with individuals and different cultural groups.
I am from a different culture. Is counselling right for me?
Culture can be defined as the patterns, traits, and products which are the expression of a particular period, class, community or population. In terms of its people, Australia has a high level of cultural diversity. Similar to Australian society, our counsellors come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. They are experienced with a wide range of people and work to put people at ease so that trust and confidence in the counselling process can be built.
Cross-cultural counselling occurs when the cultural patterns of the counsellor and the client differ. Counsellors have been trained to be aware of their own worldview so that they do not impose their personal and cultural assumptions on their clients. They also have been trained to respect cultural differences and to work collaboratively with individuals and different cultural groups.
In addition your counsellor will ask you questions about your own interpretations of your cultural background and general life experiences as they affect you, in an endeavour to more clearly understand you and your concerns.
Is counselling confidential?
Yes. The information gathered by the counsellor about you and your situation will remain confidential and secure within the service and will not be shared with parents, faculty, or staff without your permission.
There are a few exceptions:
- subpoena by a court or if disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law
- to protect your safety and/or the safety of others
- your prior approval has been obtained to:
a) provide a written report to another person or agency; or
b) discuss the material with another person.
How do you collect and store my information?
Counsellors are required to keep records of each counselling session. They will generally take notes during or after a counselling session to keep track of your progress, to follow up on any discussions in previous sessions and to determine the best solution or strategies for you.
Some of the details we collect will also be used for general statistical analysis of our services. We will not use your name, contact details or other identifiable data in these statistics. We may use data to determine the number of students who attended counselling and services, the average number of sessions for each student and the types of issues students present with.