While some limited specialised counselling services are provided by Family Services, most counselling needs will be provided by church member private counsellors/psychologists or by other resources within the community.
How do I find a Counsellor?
To access a church member professional counsellor/psychologist you may approach your Bishop who has a resource list of the counsellors available in your area or you may contact the Melbourne Office of Family Services for counselling options. Lists of available counsellors are available for Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Riverina Stake. Members from other areas may access counselling via the internet or telephone.
Most of the counsellors on the resource lists are Church members. If you do not need or want to have counselling with a Church member professional counsellor, then you could seek a referral from your General Medical Practitioner (GP). Some challenges members seek professional counselling for include: depression, anxiety, grief and loss, marriage problems, infidelity, divorce, parenting challenges, autistic spectrum challenges, domestic violence, addictions or compulsive behaviours (i.e. drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography), eating disorders, self-harm, suicide risk, self-esteem, and other medically based mental health challenges.
The church member professional counsellors/psychologists have been screened by Family Services to determine if they have appropriate professional qualifications, membership of a professional counselling body, professional indemnity insurance, are respectful toward Church beliefs, and either have sufficient supervised experience to practice independently or are receiving ongoing professional supervision.
Members, with the help of family, friends, Church leaders or ministers, should prayerfully consider where to receive help. Contact the counsellor to request information about counselling costs and whether there are appointments available at suitable times. A Mental Health Plan and GP referral may be necessary when receiving help from a counsellor/psychologist who offers Medicare Rebates. Also remember that changing counsellors is an option if you are not comfortable with the one you commence counselling with.
If assistance is required to cover the costs of counselling, members should discuss their need for financial support with their Bishop or Branch President. Priesthood leaders will need to contact the counsellor directly to arrange the mechanics of fast offering payments in behalf of a member.
Family Services Counselling
Some counselling and consultation services are provided directly by Family Services. Primary areas of counselling and support focus on missionary services (i.e. pre-mission assessments, in-field and early release counselling), current sexual abuse case consultation (after the leader has consulted with the Area Leader Child Abuse Helpline), complex or sensitive sexual/gender matters, church leader orientation (including firesides and other presentations), and consultation (advice and support to church leaders). Requests for these services should be directed to the Melbourne Family Services Office.
Family Services (Melbourne Office) Contact:
Name: Peter Howell
Phone: 0415 694 646