Consultations with the Counselling Service are free and confidential within certain limits (see Privacy and Confidentiality).

All our counsellors are registered psychologists or provisionally registered psychologists under supervision. We are all specialists in the psychological issues student face and keep up to date with RMIT academic issues and administrative processes like special consideration.

When you attend your first appointment

When you attend the first appointment you will be asked to complete a set of forms that includes:

  • contact details
  • enrolment information
  • questions about the issues you wish to discuss with the counsellor.

You will be asked to complete a psychological questionnaire of 45 questions that the counsellor will discuss with you in your first session.

How does a counselling session work?

Counselling sessions generally go for 50 minutes. Together, you and your counsellor will set goals to address your primary concerns and every few sessions will review your progress towards those goals.

Before each session, you will be asked to indicate the issues that are currently affect you on a rating scale as a starting point for discussion with the counsellor.

Towards the end of each session, you will be asked to rate how helpful the session has been for you.

Your feedback is important as it ensures that our counselling service is effective in addressing your concerns and helping you progress towards your goals.

Many issues that students bring to the Counselling Service can be satisfactorily resolved in one to three sessions. Some issues may require further sessions, with regular reviews, and/or referral to other services which your counsellor will discuss with you, including community agencies and other RMIT services.

When preparing to come to see a counsellor ask yourself

  • What is the problem – how would I describe the issues or symptoms?
  • How long has it been a problem?
  • What have I done to help solve the problem?
  • What has worked? What hasn’t worked and why?
  • Who else knows?
  • What would they notice about me?
  • What do I want to get out of seeing a counsellor?
  • How will I know things are getting better?

While you are waiting for your first appointment there are things you can do to help manage stressful situations

Self care

  • Establish a daily routine—eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of sleep, relaxation and activity.
  • Avoid mood-altering drugs including alcohol.
  • Think before you act or react to things that upset you.
  • Problem solve: define the problem and weigh up options

Build inner strength

When you are going through a rough time it is easy to focus on the negatives and not value other parts of yourself and your life that are still positive.

  • Reassure yourself that you will get through this.
  • Accept yourself – do not criticise or blame yourself.
  • Do something every day that makes you feel good about yourself, more in control and capable.
  • Notice positive experiences.
  • Hold on to the GOOD as well as the not so good.
  • Remember other times you have solved a problem successfully.

Managing distress

Accept your situation and reassure yourself that you can deal with this. Identify what parts of your situation you can change for the better.

  • Feelings are not to be feared.
  • Remind yourself you are not your emotion.
  • Experience feelings as waves that come and go.
  • Do not try and hold on to or amplify emotions.
  • Consider consequences before acting.
  • Remember times when you have felt different to now.
  • Try not to ACT on emotions without thinking things through.
  • Do not judge your emotions.
  • Limit viewing distressing events and television programs or movies.
  • Choose to be with people who are positive and care about you.
  • Recognise that you may not be able to support others just now.
  • Say no to unwanted demands.
  • Let someone know you may need support.
  • When you are irritable, try not to push people who care away.
  • Do not assume that other people cannot cope with you or will not be interested in your wellbeing.
  • If you feel unable to be alone, ask a friend or family member if they can stay with you.
  • It is sensible to ask for help.