When life prevents you from getting on with what you think you should be doing.

We have all been there. We set out with wonderful plans to achieve an incredible amount of work. Maybe it is in our job. Maybe it is at home. Maybe it is with study. Maybe it is with family. Maybe it is with friends. There are no shortage of areas in our life where we feel we need to be achieving.

However, life frequently gets in the way and we struggle to achieve our goals. Or we are prevented completely from achieving them. So what do you do when that happens? Maybe you get angry with yourself for failing to ‘work hard enough’. Maybe you push yourself harder and feel dispirited when that fails to achieve your goals. Maybe you feel ashamed because you ‘haven’t tried hard enough’ or you have ‘let the family down’. Maybe you lost motivation. There are myriad ways you can be affected.

So what do you do about it?

Maybe you race to a counsellor to identify the blockages that are preventing you from achieving your goals.

That is not a bad idea, and if you came to me I would certainly explore that with you. But what if not being able to achieve your goals is actually the right thing to be doing now?

When I see someone struggling to achieve goals that just aren’t happening, I also look at how to cope with the ‘not now’ of goal achievement.

Not now encompasses many things.

First, it may be that the timing is wrong. You need to achieve this work at another time.

Or it may be the goals are not your goals, but are imposed by the expectations of others.

It may be impossible to achieve these goals because the life circumstances currently affecting you are too great to allow those goals to be completed.

There are many other possibilities.

So if you come to see me we will also explore the possibilities of ‘not now’ and how you can live with that and accept it.

And when the time is right for you to pursue those goals, then I can assist you to devise a plan of action to achieve them.


What are counsellors and is there any benefit in seeing one?

Who are counsellors?

There are no regulations governing who can call themselves a counsellor, so a counsellor could be anyone who wants to put up a sign calling themself a counsellor. However, without proper qualifications, a counsellor cannot get insurance. Without proper qualifications a counsellor cannot belong to a professional organisation. These are all things you need to check with a prospective counsellor.

There are two professional organisations Counsellors can belong to: Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) or Australian Counselling Association (ACA). Both require members to have formal counselling qualifications. Counsellors are also required to undertake a minimum number of professional development training hours each year to maintain currency of their skills. It is important a counsellor has formal counselling qualifications because an untrained person can cause a lot of harm.

I have been a counsellor for 8 years and I have Bachelor and Master degrees in Counselling. I am also a member of PACFA.

Counsellors opted out of the Medicare funded Mental Health Care Plan scheme so you cannot see a counsellor on a Mental Health Care Plan and there are no Medicare rebates. This has led to doctors being more inclined to refer people to Psychologists then Counsellors. This has also led to a perception that Counsellors are inferior to Psychologists. But this is not so. We have different roles.

What is Counselling?

When you come to see a counsellor, and you have identified the person is suitably qualified and a member of a professional organisation, then you can be assured that you are seeing a person who is highly trained in the field of counselling. In fact, our professional organisations and our insurance cover do not allow us to work outside our area of training. So if you have a specific need, and the counsellor has agreed to see you, you can be assured the counsellor is trained in that area.

Counselling is a process where you can make changes in your life. Where you can talk through and make decisions. Where you can change the way you approach the world, think about it, behave or feel. A counsellor is there to help facilitate these processes. Counsellors can also teach you ways to cope with life and all its difficulties. People can come to counsellors for issues that are very complex, such as childhood trauma. A suitably trained counsellor in trauma can help work through those issues.

What about the cost?

Many people don’t realise that there is usually always a gap when seeing another mental health professional. Frequently the money a counsellor charges is similar to that gap amount. So seeing a counsellor is not necessarily expensive.

I see clients who will think nothing of spending $100 or more on an alternative therapist. Some will see clairvoyants and happily pay for that. It is all relative. There are a lot of people we see in life that have to be paid for. It would be nice if all mental health support was low or no charge but sadly that is not how life is. Sometimes it is a case of making the decision to put your mental health first. Remember, what happens with your mental health has an impact on your physical body and therefore on your health. Poor health can cost a lot more than preventative care from a counsellor.

It is important to remember that counsellors have to pay rent and services for their room, professional memberships, continuing education and insurance. As with any other therapist you see, they need to earn enough to pay those costs and make a living wage. This influences how much they charge for sessions. In line with professional policy, you will not often see charges listed on websites, but a counsellor will always tell you if you ask.

What can I expect from sessions?

Your counsellor should:

  • Explain how he/she works.
  • Ask you what you want to achieve from your sessions overall and from this particular session.
  • Be willing to listen to you and check in with you to ensure you have been heard and understood.
  • Leave you feeling heard and understood.
  • Treat you with respect as the expert in your own life.
  • Help you to explore options for moving forward, not tell you what you must do.
  • Maintain professional boundaries, which includes not talking about him/herself unless it is essential to the counselling session.
  • Always treat you as an independent, capable person. The last thing a counsellor wants for you is that you become dependent on him/her. That is not good for you.
  • Discuss with you the treatment plan and gain your assent to follow that. Also to monitor that treatment to ensure it is still the best fit.
  • Maintain confidentiality within explained safety boundaries.

Can I get what I need from my family and friends?

Sometimes you can, but people usually seek counselling because they are not able to get the help they need from their social networks. Remember a counsellor is an objective person, trained to understand human behaviour and how best to assist, who can listen without judgement. You can safely disclose things in a counselling session you may not feel comfortable disclosing to your social networks. What the counsellor provides is a place that is safe and without judgement.

It is important to look after yourself. That can often mean you put yourself first and seek the help you need. If you are struggling with life then you are not able to be the best parent, partner, friend, colleague you want to be.

You are more than welcome to email or phone to make an appointment.



One thing we all forget to do when we are under extreme stress is to breathe. Yet breathing is the best way to bring ourselves to a point of calmness. When I am stressed there is nothing worse than being told to “take a deep breath” by some well meaning person. I explain to my clients the benefits of breathing and will often read them one of the following two poems that express the difficulty of that breath but also the benefits.

The first one is one I wrote. The second is one written by Daniell Koepke that I added extra lines to:


Because to breathe is to live.
Because your body cries out for it.
Because no matter how much you may want it otherwise, your body wants to live.
So breathe.
Breathe even though there is pain.
Breathe even though there is darkness.
Even though the pit is insurmountably deep.
Breathe even when your exhaustion for this life is overwhelming.


Because you have strengths you have forgotten about.
Strengths that will pull you through.
Like a banking engine they wait in a siding to push you over the mountain.
To push you into the light.
To reach the mountain top.
To rejoice with you in victory fought for and won.
Breathe and trust in you.


It’s okay. You’re going to be okay.
Just breathe.
Breathe and remind yourself of all the times in the past you felt this scared.
I know you are in a dark place right now.
Where the light cannot penetrate.
I know you wonder how you will get out.
Remember all the times you have felt this anxious and this overwhelmed.
All of the times you have felt this level of pain.
And remind yourself how each time, you made it through.
Life has been hard.
Life has thrown so much at you,
yet despite how difficult things have been, you have survived.
You have the strength to survive this too.
It won’t be easy.
It will hurt.
Trust that this struggle is part of the process
and trust that as long as you don’t give up and keep pushing forward,
no matter how hopeless things seem,
you will make it.