How Much Does Counselling Cost in Australia?
May 19, 2021

Regardless of age, social class, or wealth, pretty much everybody will need counselling at some stage of their lives. Whether it is admitted or not, people need to talk to somebody and express themselves freely so they can move forward.

But there is the real issue of cost to account for. The people who need counselling services the most are often the ones who can least afford it. On the flip side, many counselling services take note of this and can tailor the number of sessions, offer payment plans, and provide discounts.

Criteria That Affects Counselling Services

There are a number of criteria that will determine how much a counselling service costs. These include:

  • Session Length – Counselling services are typically between 45 minutes and one hour. The longer the session, the more expensive it will be. But it is cheaper to have a 2 hour session than two single 1 hour sessions.
  • Frequency of Session – Do you need a session once a month, twice a month, weekly, or twice a week? The more sessions you go for, the more expensive it will be.
  • Skill of Service – Counsellors with more experience and credentials will typically charge more for a session. The same can be said of speciality counsellors who focus in a niche area.
  • Number of People – There is a reduced charge for group sessions, such as couple therapy or family therapy. You might pay $130 for an individual session and $200 for a couples session.
  • Session Type – Sessions for trauma (abuse, PTSD, etc) generally tend to be more expensive than general sessions. Also, online sessions can be less expensive than physical sessions.
  • Discounts – Most counselling services will offer discounts for booking multiple sessions and for certain classes of person.
  • Medical Rebates – Once you have a recommendation from your GP, you can often benefit from a medicare rebate. Private health insurance may also provide you with a rebate.

Average Cost of Counselling Services in Australia

The following table breaks down the cost of counselling services in Australia by type. It is up to you to decide how valuable the therapy is and how frequently you should do it. It is a subjective experience and you should only pay money for counselling if you feel comfortable with the service.

Typically, you will be able to get a counselling service in Australia for about $100, on average, for an hour long session. Many services will also offer 45 minute sessions. Specialised services are going to cost more, as are Sunday sessions, after hours sessions, and immediate/emergency sessions.

Type Cost
One Hour Session $60 – $180
One Hour Couple Session $120 – $250
Specialised Trauma Counselling Session $150 – $350
One Hour Group Therapy Session $40 – $80

Average Counsellor Salary

Different counsellors will get paid different rates. It will depend on their area of expertise. The following table will give you an idea of what the respective counsellors get paid in their respective fields. This should give you an indication of how expensive each form of therapy will be. The data has been taken from the International Career Institute. 

Counsellor Type Annual Average Salary
Substance Abuse Counsellors $63,000
Mental Health Counsellors $78,000
Marriage/Family Counsellors $68,000
Work Rehabilitation Counsellors $80,000
Bereavement Counsellors $50,000
School Counsellors $100,000
Entry Level Counsellors $37,000

Average Hourly Cost of Psychology Services in Australia

Psychology services will typically cost a bit more than counselling services. This is because psychologists deal with more specialised conditions. The Australian Psychologist Society (‘APS’) recommends an hourly rate of $260. But you can find a lot of good psychologists who will charge less than this figure. You could find a general psychology service for around $150 per hour.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the hourly rate becomes less relevant when you account for Medical Rebates. Such rebates are available for:

  • Individuals that have mental health disorders.
  • Children under 13 with an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Children under 13 with a disability including sight impairment, hearing impairment, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Fragile X syndrome.
  • Women worried about a pregnancy.
  • Women worried about a recent pregnancy (within 12 months).
  • Individuals with a chronic medical condition.
  • Individuals with complex care needs.
  • Health services for those of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander descent.

Once you obtain a note from your GP to attest to the above conditions, you should qualify for a Medical Rebate. This rebate will apply to both psychological and counselling services. Private health insurance companies will also often offer medical rebates for certain conditions.

How to Figure Out if You Need Counselling

At its core, counselling provides a way to talk through your problems and to grow. It provides a safe environment to do this and the role of the psychologist is actually to use intelligent talk therapy to get you to open up. When problems are out in the open and talked about, they often dissolve. Or they can be worked upon in a rational and professional manner.

Many people simply have nobody to talk to about certain issues, and this ends up in repressed emotions. While some may need counselling more than others, everybody can benefit from expressing themselves in a safe environment with a professional practitioner. If you are struggling with something, call Lifeskills Australia. We are happy to help and eager to listen.

Counselling Cost in Australia – A Summary

Generally, you can expect to pay around $100 an hour for a counsellor for an individual session. Counselling costs can seem expensive at first glance. And psychology costs can seem even more expensive, at a recommended rate of $260 per hour!

But the fact is that the people who need it the most are the ones eligible for financial aid, and they will qualify if they are going through a particular trauma. This makes it affordable. Further, there are certain free counselling services available to those in need.

If you are looking for affordable yet professional counselling services in Australia, Lifeskills can assist. We will provide a friendly environment so you can work through any issues or stresses, with the ultimate aim of helping you feel empowered, happy, and confident.

We are certified, qualified, specialised, and have lots of experience in helping people out of dark spots into a happier place.

Talk to us now on 1800 870 080.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor?

A counsellor will essentially provide a safe environment where the individual can come to terms with issues and resolve them. This is done using a range of techniques. A psychologist does the same things but goes a step further. They work with people who have severe mental difficulties and they are trained to understand how the mind works. They use more specialised assessments and diagnose complex mental disorders. Neither counsellors nor clinical psychologists will prescribe meditation.

What authority governs counselling in Australia?

Both counselling and psychology are intimately linked and are governed by the same bodies. The counselling industry is self-regulated, and the chief organization is the Australian Counselling Association (‘ACA’). For Psychology, the chief organization would be the Australian Psychologist Association (‘APS’). Psychologists can become members of the ACA, but counsellors cannot become members of the APS.

What qualifications should a counsellor have in Australia?

First, the counsellor should have a diploma or bachelor in counselling. A significant number of counsellors tend to have post graduate degrees in comparison to other industries. But, believe it or not, there is no law in Australia for a counsellor to be qualified! So it is doubly important to know who you are working with. Look to industry experience and testimonials to gauge the trustworthiness of a given counsellor. Above all, test the waters and ensure that you feel comfortable with the person giving the service.

How can I reduce the cost of counselling services?

If you have a diagnosed condition, you will most likely qualify for a reduced rate. You just have to get a note from your GP to attest to this fact. There are many counsellors who work with community initiatives. This would most certainly include youths and those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. Often, you can find low cost/no cost counselling in these areas. Other than this, shop around and see what the rates are and what works.

Is counselling worth the money?

You could make a strong case that there is no better investment. For people going through trauma of any kind, the options are usually medication or counselling coupled with self development practices. And medication can easily be a downward spiral with diminishing returns. Counselling is suitable for all people and can further enhance levels of wellbeing even for those who are already successful.

What skills does a counsellor need to have?

The skills of a counsellor can be broken down into 8 primary areas. Counselling is primarily a listening-based role where the person is allowed to express himself/herself.

The 8 basic skills include:

  1. Attending – Giving the person your full attention and being present, not thinking about other things.
  2. Silence – Not talking so much so the person is allowed to speak. This also includes the counsellor noticing when the person is silent.
  3. Reflecting/Paraphrasing – This means restating/crystallising the words of the individual back so both parties are cleared on what is being said.
  4. Clarifying Questions – This is used to clarify the understanding of what the individual is trying to express. It is different from leading questions, where you attempt to guide the individual down a particular route.
  5. Focusing – Sometimes, a person can have difficulty in expressing what they want to say. Focusing is about picking the core area and eliminating the rest.
  6. Building a Rapport – This means building an honest relationship with the person.
  7. Summarising – Similar to reflecting, but done nearer the end and in more words to reiterate the core points.
  8. Immediacy – This reveals how the counsellor feels to the client in relation to what the client has said.


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