THIS week Labor called for counsellors to be available in all local hospitals across the electorate to provide basic mental health support in the community and the peak body, peak body for counsellors and psychotherapists the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PCFA) has come out in support of the proposal.
Dr Di Stow, president of PACFA said the proposal was an “absolutely excellent” idea, where counsellors could provide an important piece of the puzzle, having herself worked in hospital oncology units.
“It’s an absolutely excellent and completely great idea and we are releasing data indicating a huge percentage of practitioners are available to work in regional and remote areas, which much shorter waiting times,” said Dr Stow.
“Counsellors would in fact be part of the puzzle to add value to the mental health area, in a triage scenario in hospitals and while the counselling model is different to the psychology model and psychiatry model, and we work alongside our colleagues,” she said.
“Particularly in hospital settings where counsellors can engage with patients, hear their story and provide strategies, tips and techniques that works really effectively short term and long term,” she said.
“Counselling can be very effective for couples counselling, family counselling, grief and loss, family violence, after natural disasters and of course anxiety and depression,” Dr Di Stow said.
“There are nearly 3,000 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,” said Dr Stow.
“Psychologists are also a valuable resource for people in need of mental health treatment, however demand at the moment is causing serious delays for people seeking help,” she said.
“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,” she said.
“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,” Dr Di Stow explained.
To find a local counsellor visit: Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.
Read candidate positions on the proposal: Candidates respond to call for counsellors in local hospitals.
For more information on where candidates stand: Voting 101: Upper Hunter by-election.