What is a Counsellor?

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Seeing a Counsellor can be scary, Australians, especially men, traditionally don’t often learn the skill of being vulnerable.

I think one of the main reasons why people are anxious about seeing a Counsellor is that they really don’t know what we do.

Good or bad, Counsellors are seen as a part of the mental health fraternity.

While that is partly correct, generally, Counsellors deal with people who don’t have a diagnosed mental illness but are instead struggling with general life issues.

Yes, people may come to a Counsellor and say that they are depressed, however, depression is a spectrum and for many, many people, feeling “depressed” can simply be the end process of:

  • Exhaustion
  • Chronic stress
  • Environmental fatigue (i.e. being in a hostile environment)
  • A lack of support

A Counsellor can work with you to help you clear the confusion and the fog that might be hanging around in your head.

I know from personal experience that I used to feel that I had depression.

Not really knowing what my treatment options were (perhaps clouded by my own exhausted state of mind/lack of life experience) I visited a GP who surprisingly quickly gave me a prescription for anti-depression drugs.

At that particular time in my life (early 30s Australian male) I don’t think I was ready to be vulnerable, to talk about my feelings.

I obviously wasn’t ready to really look at the issues that were making me feel like I did.

It wasn’t until my marriage fell apart (in my mid 30as) that I was willing to really find out what was going on (read more about this journey here).

The truth was I didn’t have “depression”, instead, in my case, my mind and my emotions were just all muddled up.

I realize now that I had no real idea about how to best handle the challenges of life and frankly its a bit scary knowing that I was negotiating my way through life almost with blinkers on.

Here’s a basic guide to what the different experts do:


Looks at current challenges or emotional problems and develops plans/strategies to help the client better cope.


These people work more specifically with mental disorders, often adopting a medical model.


Medical doctors specialised in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses.

If you feel that you could use a little help, please don’t hesitate to make a booking with me, or a fellow Counsellor in your local area.

You should be able to find a local Counsellor on the Australia Counselling website.

About Joel Helmes 75 Articles
I offer a person-centered and solutions-focused approach to my work as a Relationship and Adult Counsellor. I utilize skills from a number of modalities. I believe that we are all capable of change and I hope that I might be able to assist you in achieving this.