What Is Counselling


Counsellors at Sydney Women’s Counselling Centre (SWCC) all have professional qualifications, work with an integrative style and holistic approach. They may use a range of techniques that are drawn from different counselling models, which are utilized within the framework of the Social Determinants of Health and Trauma Informed Care.

At the commencement of counselling, you can expect your counsellor to discuss with you the counselling process, your goals and your readiness to make a commitment at this time in order to come to a plan that can meet your needs.

Counselling is a professional relationship between a counsellor and a client where the client is treated with respect and positive regard and where the client can freely discuss their concerns in a safe and confidential space.

Counselling may include the following:

  • Being listened to in a non-judgemental manner.
  • Being helped to find your own solutions to your problems in a
    supportive, collaborative way.
  • Being helped to explore and understand your life and your circumstances.
  • Being helped to increase your self acceptance and self care.
  • Being helped to build social and support networks in your life.
  • Being helped to achieve the specific changes and personal goals you identified for yourself.
  • Being helped to reduce unwanted symptoms such as anxiety or depression with anti-anxiety medicines.
  • Being helped to cut back or stop addictive behaviours.
  • Being helped to cope and rebuild your life after a specific event such as a significant loss (through death or separation from a loved one), or series of events or traumas that have left you feeling stuck and unable to manage your life anymore.
  • Being helped to rebuild your relationship with yourself and others.
  • Being helped to understand how childhood issues currently impact on your relationships and emotional well being.
  • Being helped to cope with a wide variety of family problems.


MYTH : The counsellor has all the answers and will instruct you how to live a more satisfying life.

FACT: The counsellor will help you to find your own answers to your issues and goals.

MYTH : You have to have a very serious problem and must be really weak/mad person to be seeing a counsellor.

FACT: Anyone can be affected by emotional distress or stressful events at any time. It takes courage and commitment to overcome personal issues and many people can do this much faster and effectively with a qualified helper.

MYTH : The counsellor and/or counselling will make you feel immediately better and happy.

FACT: Counselling is not a quick fix and often involves tolerating painful emotions both during and after a counselling sessions.

MYTH : You can only talk about negative feelings and experiences, not positives one or your strengths.

FACT: It is beneficial to discuss your personal strengths and accomplishments in counselling and see how they have helped you cope
in the past and hoe they may help in the future.

MYTH : You are inadequate if you can’t solve your own problems.

FACT: A lot of people need professional help in a range of different areas- financial, legal, health etc. Your emotional health and well being is important too.

MYTH : The counsellor client relationship is like a friendship relationship.

FACT: The counsellor client relationship is a professional relationship with clear boundaries and a duty of care.

Counselling is not meant to be:

  • About being ‘rescued’ by the therapist.
  • Advice giving.
  • Therapist giving answers or solutions.
  • Psychiatric treatment.
  • Social chit-chat/lonely hearts club.
  • Always “warm and comfortable” (although we always strive to be respectful and non-judgemental).
  • A friendship relationship, even after therapy finishes.


Some women who have come to the Centre have reported positive benefits such as:

Feeling less isolated, more empowered, more confident to make decisions and the healing power from being heard non judgmental. However you may feel worst before you feel better, or have unexpected, unwanted responses such as feelings of anger, hopelessness, fear or sadness coming to the surface.

Its important you discuss these feelings with your counsellor so that you both can work towards management of feelings and safety within the process.

Ethically, as a professional, your counsellor will not attempt to assist you in areas beyond her expertise. In such cases, your counsellor will, if appropriate, refer you to another professional with the relevant skills.