Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Student Support

AFTRS Counselling Service

Book an appointment with AFTRS on-site Counsellor:

Use of Services

COST - AFTRS provides students access to free individual student counselling. You will not be charged fees of any kind in engaging with this service.

NUMBER OF SESSIONS – Access to student counselling sessions is not capped, however at times of high demand sessions will be arranged so as to best to accommodate students based on need.

RESCHEDULING AND CANCELLING – You will not be penalised in any way for needing to reschedule or cancel a session. However, we ask that you consider your fellow students and make arrangements to reschedule or cancel a session with as much notice as possible so that students who may be waiting for sessions can be offered your slot.

REFERRALS TO SERVICES OUTSIDE OF AFTRS – Student counselling at AFTRS aims to support you with school-related or personal issues affecting your wellbeing. When an issue requires additional or specific support, the counsellor can assist with making appropriate referrals to professional services such as drug and alcohol counselling, doctor’s appointments to create a Mental Health Care Plan, and more.

Informed Consent

Before engaging in counselling, it is important to know what to expect, and to understand your rights as well as commitments. Counselling is a supportive and confidential collaboration between a qualified counsellor and client (AFTRS student) to promote mental health and wellbeing, enhance self-understanding, and resolve identified concerns. Clients are active participants in the counselling process at every stage.

Counselling may be short or long term, such as:

  • A single session where a student discusses a current concern and does not feel they need regular ongoing sessions for support at this stage.
  • A series of weekly or fortnightly sessions to give a student the time and space to explore and process multiple concerns.

How does counselling work?

Counselling is a profession with a strong evidence base. Counsellors use empirically supported interventions and specialised interpersonal skills to facilitate change and empower clients. Counsellors are fully present, using empathy and deep listening to establish positive working relationships. Counselling is effective when clients feel safe, understood, respected, and accepted without judgement.

Generally, a counselling session at AFTRS involved meeting with your counsellor in a private space on campus (or virtually) for approximately 50 minutes.

What can I talk about in counselling?

Counselling can be broad or focused. You might have a specific issue you know you need to discuss or a more general feeling of being out of sorts. We can explore aspects of identity, gender and sexuality, spirituality, relationships with self and others, past experiences, parenting, grief and loss, trauma, domestic and family violence, child abuse, use of alcohol and other substances, depression, anxiety, and more.

Changes facilitated by counselling include changes in perspective, new insight, new ways of thinking about situations, a new awareness of feelings, enhanced capacity to tolerate and regulate feelings, new actions or behaviours, and new decisions about life.

What are my rights when I engage with counselling?

You have a right to:

  • Receive services in a professional, courteous and caring manner that preserves dignity,
  • independence, and respects and appreciates individual difference
  • Be provided with adequate and accurate information regarding services provided in order to make informed choices about engaging in counselling
  • Receive counselling that is evidence-based, and responsive to individual needs and circumstances
  • Expect that your personal privacy is respected, and confidentiality protected
  • Make a complaint about your counselling experience, with the expectation that any complaint will be investigated appropriately and in confidence without fear of it affecting decisions relating to your experience at AFTRS.


Confidentiality is important in counselling. You should expect that your personal and private information is not shared with anyone, including AFTRS staff.

Granting permission to share information

At times, you may wish for certain staff at AFTRS or for health professionals outside of AFTRS to have access to specific information from your counselling sessions. In this case, you will be asked to provide written permission before any information can be shared.

Session notes

Your counsellor will keep brief notes on counselling sessions, and these notes cannot be accessed by anyone else without your written permission or court order.

Mandatory reporting

In Australia, counsellors are ‘mandatory reporters’. This means there are instances where counsellors are mandated (authorised to act) by contacting services with or without your consent. For example:

  • If you are deemed to pose a threat of harm to someone else or to yourself, your counsellor may collaborate with health services to take necessary measures to prevent harm from happening.
  • If it is believed that a child (under 18), elderly or disabled person is at risk for emotional, physical or sexual abuse, neglect or exploitation, counsellors are required to report to relevant services.