Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Counsellors and counselling

3-minute read

If you are struggling with issues like relationships, money, or the loss of a loved one, counselling might help you to cope and move on through life.

What is a counsellor?

A counsellor is a person who you talk to so they can help you overcome difficulties in your life and make the changes you want to make.

What do counsellors do?

Counsellors help people who are facing problems such as stress, financial stress, domestic violence, divorce or relationship breakup. Counsellors also support people with mental illnesses like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In combination with nicotine replacement therapy, counselling can also help people quit smoking.

Types of counsellors

Counsellors work with individuals, couples, families and groups. Some of the most common types of counselling are:

There is also counselling to deal with issues such as:

Some counsellors can offer a range of approaches, which means they might find one that suits you. Other counsellors offer only one approach. Make sure that the type of counselling the counsellor offers suits you and the issues you face.

Do I need a counsellor?

Counsellors can help if you are struggling with stress or painful emotions. By talking through your problems or concerns, counsellors can help you to see solutions you didn’t know were there. They can also help you find ways to cope better and move on in life.

How to find a counsellor

You can find a counsellor for yourself, or you can talk to your doctor about your concerns and ask for a referral.

You don’t need any special qualifications or training to be a counsellor in Australia, although most do have qualifications and training. It is a good idea to check that any counsellor you want to see is registered with a professional body like the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

Fees vary depending on the counsellor and the number of sessions you need. Medicare does not cover counselling unless it is carried out by an allied health practitioner such as a psychologist under a mental health care plan, or done by a doctor such as a GP or psychologist. Some private health funds may cover a portion of the fees of seeing counsellors.

Free or low-cost counselling may be available through community centres, charities and religious organisations. You can also find a counsellor in your local area via the Australian Counselling Association website and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia website.

Need help now?

If you are in immediate danger of harming yourself, call triple zero (000).

Are you having a tough time and you need to talk to someone? The helplines and services below are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Further Information

  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) — call 13 11 14 or chat online
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2019


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Counsellors | Professional help | ReachOut Australia

Counsellors are health professionals who talk to you about issues in your life, and help solve them. There are different types of counsellors, with different approaches.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Counsellor: guide for families | Raising Children Network

You or your child might see a counsellor if you need emotional support. A counsellor can help you with relationship problems, grief, anxiety and more.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Counselling - Women's Health Queensland Inc

Counselling is an individual process it is important to feel safe and comfortable with your counsellor

Read more on Women's Health Queensland website

Dimity talks about seeing a counsellor | Professional help | ReachOut Australia

It isn’t always easy to seek help. Read how Dimity found the courage to talk to her school counsellor.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Counselling

Got a question about our services, getting involved with Carers NT or supporting our efforts to help the thousands of Northern Territory carers?

Read more on Carers NT website

Why genetic counselling is sometimes necessary, not just nice | Know Pathology Know Healthcare

Genetic testing opens up exciting prospects, but it's a complex field requiring genetic counselling

Read more on Know Pathology Know Healthcare website

What are mental health professionals? | ReachOut Australia

Learn about mental health professionals and the differences between doctors, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, youth workers and social workers.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Carer Gateway Western Australia | Carer Support Packages | Carers WA

Carer Gateway is dedicated to supporting family carers by providing access to services including counselling, online coaching, skills courses and support.

Read more on Carers WA website

Psychologists & other therapists - BluePages

Non-medical professionals can provide help for depression, including psychologists, mental health social workers, counsellors and mental health nurses.

Read more on e-hub Web Services - Australian National University (ANU) website

When you're at school

It can be hard at school if you have a parent with a mental illness. But you can get support from your teachers and school - and no one has to know.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo