The majority (63%) of counsellors and psychotherapists reported they could see a new client within 7 days whilst twenty-three per cent (23%) could accommodate an urgent request within 48 hours according to a recent survey conducted by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).
At a time of peak demand for mental health support, counsellors and psychotherapists are offering flexible, accessible and affordable services for people seeking support with stress, relationships, domestic violence, parenting, grief and loss, abuse or job loss. These issues often emerge as triggers for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
PACFA, Australia’s peak body for counsellors and psychotherapists, is aiming to increase awareness of mental health services that are available to many Australians.
Dr Di Stow, President of PACFA says
‘Counsellors and psychotherapists are highly skilled but currently under-utilised mental health professionals. Like other health professionals during Covid, our members pivoted to work remotely, using technology to enable talking therapies to continue during an intensely stressful period. And even with current increased demand, the majority of our members still have capacity to step up and assist more people.
‘There are nearly 3000 registered PACFA members working across Australia, many in regional areas or accessible via telephone or video services. Clients are often able to get some reimbursement from Private Health Insurers. No referral from a GP is required.
‘Psychologists are also a valuable resource for people in need of mental health treatment’ said Dr Di Stow ‘however demand at the moment is causing serious delays for people seeking help’.
‘For many people counselling and psychotherapy can be an accessible and affordable option to deal with immediate concerns regarding stress, family relationships or grief and loss. Counsellors and psychotherapists also specialise in supporting people with problematic behaviours such as drug and alcohol use or gambling’.
‘Just like other health professionals, PACFA counsellors and psychotherapists undertake accredited training, which in our case involves intense, long-term hands-on work which can include a Bachelor degree, a Masters degree, or PhD in counselling or psychotherapy. All PACFA members must abide by the PACFA Code of Ethics, undertake Professional Supervision and complete at least 20 hours of continuing professional development each year.
Currently counsellors and psychotherapists cannot participate in the Better Access scheme which offers 10 sessions funded by the government, however they are usually much more affordable once this rebate expires. And with waiting periods exceeding multiple months in some regions, counsellors and psychotherapists are well placed to step in to meet demand and support the community.
To find a counsellor or psychotherapist near you search www.arcapregister.com.au (Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists). For more information about counselling or psychotherapy go to www.pacfa.org.au
For more information, or to speak to Dr Di Stow,
please contact Johanna de Wever on (0487) 698 218