Counselling

Adventists believe in emotional wholeness. The church provides various counselling services for its members and the general community.

Counselling is available for individuals, couples and families. Services cover areas such as -

  • family/couple therapy
  • crises
  • depression
  • grief & loss
  • pre-marriage, relationship issues
  • adolescent behaviour
  • the Bridge Street Centre also offers mediation, nutrition counselling, social work and psychological services.

The Adventist Counselling Services and the Bridge Street Centre are the two major counselling centres Adventists operate in New South Wales, Australia.

Adventist Counselling Services

Adventist Counselling Services is located in Sydney, NSW, and offers support to individuals, couples and families through counselling, mediation and education. Individual and relationship counselling, marriage and family enrichment, career assessment and counselling, mediation, pre-marriage education and counselling, and other courses and workshops are some of the activities in which Adventist Counselling Services is involved.

Contact Adventist Counselling Services on (02) 8876 5238.
The centre is open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm. After hours appointments are available Monday to Thursday.
Fax number: 9868 6533

Bridge Street Counselling Services

The Bridge Street Centre offers services to individuals, couples and families in the areas of counselling, mediation, advocacy and education. Located in Morisset, NSW, it is a venue for groups on relationship communication, parenting skills, drug education, domestic violence, separation, grief and loss.

Phone (02) 4955 5850 for inquiries or appointments.
PO Box 7 Wallsend, NSW 2287
590 Freeman Drive, Cooranbong NSW 2265

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How to Choose a Counsellor

In moments of crisis or distress, people often realise that a positive option in dealing with their trauma is to seek the help of a professional counsellor.

A couple who feel "stuck" in their relationship and don't know what to do to resolve their conflict or anger may decide that counselling offers real benefits and hope.

Deciding to begin counselling may have important life-long consequences. Individuals, couples and families are more likely to benefit from the experience of counselling if they have a clear understanding of what to expect.

Specific Qualifications

A professional counsellor may be a clinical or counselling psychologist, a certified social worker, a marriage and family counsellor, a pastoral counsellor, a child psychologist or a psychiatrist.

If you're referred to a counsellor or need to choose one, it's important to ask about the following:

  1. Are the counsellor's specific training, experience and credentials appropriate for your case?

  2. What are the counsellor's values in areas of special significance to you? (Is he or she a committed Christian? What are the counsellor's views on Scripture, prayer, marriage, divorce, lifestyle etc).

  3. What's the counsellor's particular treatment approach? Do you feel comfortable with this approach? Does the counsellor seek to facilitate change by improving your behaviour (behavioural), by giving you new insights into your problems (psychoanalysis/cognitive) or by helping you get in touch with your feelings (experiential)? Or is it a combination of all these approaches?

  4. Does the counsellor have an associate or a referral system for emergencies when unavailable personally?

  5. Is the counsellor a current member of any professional organisation?

    Most competent and qualified counsellors are members of professional organisations that have strict guidelines and standards in ethical and professional behaviour. These guidelines are designed to protect the consumer and uphold the quality of service provided.

Competent counsellors are trained to respect your wishes. They'll gladly make a referral if they feel they're unable to help you, or if they find your problems outside of the field of their professional expertise.

Counselling Responsibilities

  • The counsellor will take time to establish a working relationship with you.

  • He or she will take time to identify carefully the types and extent of your concerns.

  • The counsellor will assess your level of stress and your ability to cope.

  • The counsellor will then usually discuss with you a counselling plan that includes goals, methods and the appropriate length of time required to achieve these goals.

    Periodically, as you progress in this counselling process, you will jointly assess your situation to see if the desired goals are being achieved.

    Termination of the counselling process will occur when you feel that you have received what you wanted to achieve.

  • Competent counsellors must not reveal any information about a client to anyone.

    Strict confidentiality is guaranteed in all circumstances - except when it's clear that a person is a danger to themselves or to another person. The counsellor will take steps to protect individuals under such threat.

    A counsellor may also choose to report any knowledge of the abuse and neglect of a child or an incompetent or disabled person.

  • Erotic contact between a counsellor and client is unethical and immoral. It's always unacceptable behaviour. To take advantage of a vulnerable person who comes for help is an act of aggression and should always be considered a serious offence.

  • It isn't uncommon for some to feel frustrated with their counsellor. Any concerns about what happens in the counselling process should be raised first with your counsellor.

    If you feel you're not being heard, you probably aren't! If you're still feeling dissatisfied, you always have the option of ending the counselling contract and switching to another counsellor. Competent counsellors recognise their own limitations. They accept that they're human and are unable to be all things to all people.

 

Focus of Counselling

At times counsellors may choose to "treat" or work with an individual. Marriage and family counsellors generally prefer to work with a couple or, in some cases, the whole family.

Often the person who's identified as "the problem" (the symptom bearer) may not be the one with the problem at all. In both marriages and families, symptoms such as depression, anger, fear and anxiety can be transmitted to other family members, who become symptom bearers.


The Counselling Process

There's an adage that says, "Things get worse before they get better." This applies to counselling!

What we repress or deny needs to be confronted. As Jesus did with Nicodemus, a counsellor may need to confront a person's fears and game-playing to get to the heart of an issue.

Forgiveness is particularly difficult. We forgive others and trust in God who has forgiven us - but our pride and perfectionism make is difficult to forgive ourselves. A Christian counsellor, who understands that healing often begins with forgiveness, may need to help us face our pride before healing can occur. This may hurt, but it's still the truth that sets us free!

By Bryan Craig, Director of Family Ministries, Seventh-day Adventist Church, South Pacific

Adopted from an article published in RECORD

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