Information for clients

UNE Student Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

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Will my counsellor be professionally qualified? 

All counsellors are professionally qualified psychologists or social workers and are registered or accredited with their professional associations. All counsellors spend considerable time maintaining and updating their professional skills in order to ensure a service of a high professional standard is maintained.

How long are appointments?

Counselling appointments last up to 50 minutes (or up to 90 minutes for a couple) and usually start on the hour.

How many times will I need to come?

For some people one appointment is enough to deal with their issue. Other people need to come several or many times. If counselling is likely to be more than 1 or 2 sessions then your counsellor will usually make a contract with you regarding your goals in counselling and a time frame for counselling. This will be reviewed after 3 – 4 sessions. In this way expectations are made clear to both counsellor and client.

What if I can't keep my appointment?

f you are unable to keep an appointment please give as much notice as possible. Our phone number is 6773 2897. Normal reception hours are 9.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday.

What if the purpose of my visit is to ask for support for special exams, special consideration or special extension of time?

If you wish to be assessed for 'specials' please tell your counsellor early in your session. Counsellors assess each request on merit. You could be asked to seek support elsewhere.

Will my counselling session be confidential?

The counsellors are bound by a professional code of confidentiality. It is only under very extreme circumstances (e.g. to protect the personal safety of someone) that counsellors may be required to break confidentiality. This would be necessary in order to conform with certain legal/ethical requirements. As far as possible the counsellor would seek approval from you before doing this.

If you need your counsellor to consult with someone outside the service about your situation then your counsellor will ask you to sign a Release of Information form. Any letter written on your behalf will be emailed to you and you then take responsibility for who sees it. At times it may be necessary for your counsellor to discuss information about you with another UNE counsellor so that the best possible service can be provided.

All staff of the service are bound by a Confidentiality Undertaking which also covers them when they leave their position. Our staff give the utmost respect to your privacy at all times. If you have a particular concern about this, please discuss it with your counsellor.

Does my counsellor keep notes on me?

Yes, the counsellors make brief notes on each session which is kept in secure storage. Apart from helping to clearly remember your last session, the notes are a necessary reference if you ask your counsellor to write a letter on your behalf. These notes are only available to counselling staff and you may have access to notes kept about you.

What happens if I need to see a counsellor urgently?

The counsellors will endeavour to see clients in distress on the same day, but this is not always possible as the Service is not a crisis-service. That said, the Service will respond to UNE critical incidents. If the matter is life threatening, please call 000. Please note that your regular counsellor might not be available for urgent or crisis appointments.

How is my relationship with a counsellor different from my relationship with a friend?

The counselling relationship is different from other relationships and counsellors follow certain ethical principles.

Within the counselling session there may be a high level of friendliness and closeness. However, counsellors do not have a friendships with clients outside the sessions as this may interfere with the counselling process.

Clients should not feel coerced by their counsellor into taking any particular action. Counsellors are non-judgemental and are prepared for you to discuss any issue, including concerns you may have about the counselling relationship.

Counsellors are not permitted to have romantic or sexual relationships with their clients.

What happens if I'm not making progress?

Counselling is meant to be a positive experience and collaborative in nature. We encourage you to discuss the process, your progress and any concerns you may have with your counsellor. For example, if you are not happy with your progress there could be several reasons for this. If you think there is a miss-match of counsellor and client, it is possible to change counsellors.

What if I need assessment for legal purposes?

The Service does not provide "assessments" for legal purposes, but can provide a record of your contact with this Service.