Frequently asked questions
Our team of therapists at Maple Tree Counselling are glad to be of assistance helping you find ways to successfully deal with your concerns. We understand that you may have questions about what therapies we offer, how it works, and the range of areas are clients are experiencing and circumstances they are faced with.
Below we have provided a list of frequently asked questions to help you know what to expect when seeing a therapist at our practice.
Counselling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably and are both forms of talk therapy aimed at helping a client develop greater self-understanding and facilitate change. Counselling may be used to refer to shorter terms of therapy focusing more on immediate issues and wellbeing. Psychotherapy may be more long term and involve a deeper exploration of the past to develop deep insight and profound change. Our counsellors are all trained in various evidence-based psychotherapies which you can read about here.
A psychotherapist is any professional trained to perform mental health therapy and can include counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Counsellors are trained professionals who provide support for clients wishing to make change, resolve turmoil or manage personal or interpersonal issues. Counsellors do not diagnose or treat mental illness but instead focus on all areas of a person’s wellbeing.
A psychologist is trained in psychology and is usually qualified to perform psychological testing and psychotherapy for mental disorders. A psychologist may work with clients suffering from complex mental health conditions including personality disorders and major depressive disorders.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating a full range of mental disorders including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who may prescribe medication, and they may also provide psychotherapy.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a longer-term talk therapy that works with repressed thoughts or experiences, often from childhood, to better understand, and seek release from, patterns of behaviour or emotions that are holding us back. It believes in the power of ‘free association’ – allowing expression to whatever is in our unconscious mind – to help unlock these negative states of being. Psychoanalytic therapy pays careful attention to the particularity of language – why we use a certain word or phrase – and can be a rich and rewarding experience for the client.
The first session generally serves as an assessment and consultation during which we will collect some information about your history and briefly explain our counselling and practice procedures. The counsellor and client will spend most of the session getting to know each other and moving at the client’s pace. The client is welcome and encouraged to ask any questions and share anything on their mind. Topics covered may include issues from the past, relationships, current struggles, and a deeper exploration of the client’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. At the end of the session, we may have identified some goals and a plan for proceeding with future sessions.
A strong relationship between the counsellor and client is one of the most important factors for success. We consider your personal preference, your goals and the experience and special interests of the counsellor in pairing you with someone. A pre-screening call will also be scheduled for you to have a short conversation with the counsellor to ensure the right fit before proceeding.
The number of recommended sessions will vary depending on the nature of the issues being explored and the goals of the client. Many clients experience profound change after a few sessions, and many still find counselling to be extremely meaningful as a long-term process.
No, counsellors do not diagnose or prescribe medication. Only a medical doctor, including a psychiatrist, can prescribe medication. During the course of therapy, we may sometimes make recommendations to see a trusted psychiatrist, including at the client’s request. Medication and therapy combined may provide optimal results, depending on each client’s unique situation.
Yes, we are happy to arrange for therapy to be conducted online. We only ask that you have access to a secure internet connection and a quiet, private space. Please submit your request for online therapy here.
Online therapy may be a very convenient option for clients as it is easy to schedule and eliminates potential barriers including time, transportation and child care. Given the ongoing pandemic, some clients may also prefer to stay at home while receiving therapy. Studies show that online sessions can be just as effective as in-person therapy, and for these reasons, we are happy to provide this option.
The potential drawbacks of online therapy come down to personal preference. Many clients prefer to come into a safe space and feel more present and less distracted in the presence of the counsellor.
Our team of counsellors in Hong Kong comprises English, Cantonese and Mandarin speakers. In Melbourne, we currently deliver therapy in English only.
Session rates in Hong Kong are from HK$1,200-HK$1,500 for individual counselling (50 mins), depending on the therapist. In Melbourne, we charge A$160, which is not rebatable (see Medicare FAQ below). Our fees are in line with other private practices in both cities.
However, we believe that income should not dictate who has access to therapy, and we offer services on a sliding scale for those who qualify. If you have any concerns about your ability to pay, please contact us to discuss options.
Payment is due upon confirming the appointment at the time of service, and whether you are eligible for reimbursement depends on your specific health insurance policy. Our clients are covered by a wide range of plans each with unique inclusions and exclusions so it is best to check with your health insurance provider directly. Some policies may require a referral from a medical doctor and others may not cover counselling at all. If you need a GP referral, we are happy to provide one we work with. Many of our clients have been successful in using the GP referral to claim their inusrance.
See Medicare FAQ below for Australian health insurance providers who may cover all or part of your therapy fees. We are happy to work with you to determine what type of coverage you may be eligible for.
At present, Medicare does not rebate counselling and psychotherapy; however there are a number of health funds that may offer rebates. If you are with Phoenix Health, Bupa, Police Health Fund, Doctors Health Fund, ahm, Saint Luke’s, Medibank, Emergency Services Health or Grand United, please let us know.
Privacy is one of the most important principles in counselling, and we take our obligation to protect it very seriously. We maintain strict standards to ensure all communications and information transmitted and stored in our practice are kept private and confidential. We believe a sense of security is essential for success, and we will always ask for written permission before sharing your personal information. The only exception to this is if we feel there are imminent safety issues as required by governing legal and ethical codes.
Yes we do. The services are available to those who are married, newly established, non-monogamous, same-sex, and cross-cultural couples. The counselling provided differs for each couple as all relationships are unique and come with their own complex challenges.
One of the key issues that couples raise with Maple Tree counsellors is a failure in communication. This could be the case with a couple who has been together for a long time and the relationship has deteriorated over time, or a new couple who are starting to notice some worrisome patterns in their relationship. The couple may not even realise that communication is the problem, but when they come in for therapy, this becomes more obvious as they try to describe the problem. If the disconnect in communication is not addressed, the problem may worsen and result in a lack of intimacy, emotional distance, secrecy on important life events and money, or even infidelity.
Although every couple is unique, there are some issues that are commonly observed in couples therapy. These include: different values and expectations; trust issues; financial management; addiction; infidelity; life adjustments and changing life roles (relocation, job changes, grief, pregnancy, new parenthood, workforce changes and retirement); decisions of how to grow a family (biologically, adoption, fertility treatments); emotional and physical challenges during IVF treatments; differences in values and beliefs seen in lifestyle choices and parenting styles; managing divorce and separation processes; and co-parenting or how to manage separation conflict while ensuring the well-being of children.
A non-judgmental third party can be invaluable in getting to the heart of the issue and enabling you to get your needs met without overwhelming conflict. It may not always be comfortable, especially with emotionally triggering topics such as infidelity, however the client will learn not only how to navigate roadblocks and issues within their relationship, but also how to soothe and emotionally regulate themselves in order to identify what they really want from their partner in their life together.
For LGBTQ+ couples, our couples therapist takes a person-centered approach to help couples with any kind of differences or conflicts. The benefits of a person-centered couples approach is the therapist will model active listening skills, acceptance, and empathy during the counselling sessions. The couples with the therapist’s help will learn and share their own perspectives with genuineness, hold unconditional positive regard toward one another, and develop empathetic understanding toward each other. The therapist will guide the couples to develop empathetic, problem-solving, transforming dialogue until they can do it on their own. We believe a person-centered therapy approach for couples will benefit and empower any couples to improve their communication channels and solve any present and future problems.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders that can only be diagnosed and medically treated by a psychiatrist. However, as counsellors, we provide support for the many issues related to these diagnoses and living with ADHD and ASD, including anxiety, depression, navigating social interactions, managing interpersonal relationships and other aspects of daily life.
It is important to remember that individual experiences with depression or anxiety will vary. Recognizing the symptoms can require some personal reflection on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. In addition to extended periods of sadness or worry, depression or anxiety can manifest as apathy, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty focusing, indecision, mood swings, changes in food or substance intake or wanting to be alone. Depression and anxiety can also cause physical symptoms including gastrointestinal distress, a rapid pulse or heart palpitations, persistent fatigue and insomnia. You can read more about depression here and anxiety here .
Our practice offers several types of evidence-based therapies supported by substantial research. You can read more about them here. Deciding which is the best fit for you will be a collaborative process with your counsellor and may involve more than one style. Our counsellors practice integrative therapy, meaning they are trained in more than one type and will combine them accordingly depending on the nature of the issues, your preferences and your feedback.
Anyone can benefit from therapy whether they are currently in crisis or embarking on a journey of self-exploration or change. You may want to better understand your past in order to move forward, change old patterns, heal from past trauma, improve relationships or move bravely into uncharted territory. Here are some of the issues we regularly explore with clients. If any of these resonate with you or if you have any questions about whether our practice is right for you, please get in touch and we will be happy to engage with you directly.
All of our individual sessions are 50 minutes in length. Group sessions may be longer and will be clearly stated in the appointment confirmation.
We understand that our clients lead very busy lives and may occasionally need to reschedule a session. We will always attempt to accommodate these requests, but please understand that this is often not possible. In any event, sessions canceled with less than 24-hours notice will be charged the full session fee. In case of sickness, this fee will be waived if a doctor’s note is provided before the session time.
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