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14.5.2 Counselling

The counselling available through the Acute Support Package (the Package) is intended to complement – not replace – any counselling available through Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling Service, a DVA White or Gold card for health care, or a Medicare Program.

To provide funding for services, counselling needs to be approved as an appropriate support under the recipient’s support plan. The type of counselling to be funded should be determined through consultation between the Service Coordination DVA staff member and the eligible person, with a focus on supporting particular issues that are contributing to the person’s crisis.

Counselling is a generic term used to describe various professionals who offer types of talking therapy. Counsellors can talk through different problems a person might be experiencing and assist in identifying possible solutions or practical management strategies.

Outlined below are some of the most common types of counselling that may be appropriate for recipients experiencing crises. These types of counselling can offer benefit to a client within a discrete number of sessions.



Development of life management skills

  • Personal and relationship counselling
  • Family counselling
  • Parenting skills and support counselling

Management of mental and emotional health

  • Resilience training
  • Grief and loss counselling
  • Drug and alcohol counselling
  • Mental Health First Aid course
  • Counselling to assist with adjustment to living with disability and pain management

Management of finances

  • Financial counselling
  • Financial management support/financial literacy training
  • Counselling intervention for gambling issues

Where the counselling service is of a kind that is structured to include multiple sessions, the course of sessions is taken to be one counselling session.  The structure of the counselling support should be known at the time of identifying the service. Examples include:

  • Mental Health First Aid courses and resilience training, which usually run for a period of weeks for a few hours a week;
  • Financial counselling, which may be structured as one appointment with a planned follow-up session;
  • Drug and Alcohol counselling, which may run as a six-session group program;
  • Parenting programs that may run for 3 – 4 sessions.

If a request for counselling is received that is not listed here, provided there is an identified benefit of the counselling for the person a flexible approach may be used. Please contact the Family Policy section at if any advice is required about the suitability of a type of counselling.


Financial advice


Financial advice/planning cannot be funded under the Package. Financial advice/planning is quite distinct to financial counselling. Financial counselling and literacy training assists with managing living finances through information, support and advocacy to assist people in financial difficulty, particularly those with debt related issues. Financial advice/planning addresses more involved financial issues including ‘wealth growth’ through investing, superannuation, retirement planning, estate planning, risk management, insurance and taxation.


Counselling providers


Any counselling services provided under the Package must be provided by an appropriately qualified person. This could mean:

  • a person who has relevant qualifications, tertiary or otherwise, to provide the type of counselling service; and
  • a person who is required to be registered through a state or territory board or a professional body within their field of practice/industry.

Examples of how to determine that a provider is an appropriate counselling provider:

  • Mental Health First Aid Course: The course must be provided by instructors who have current accreditation from Mental Health First Aid Australia.
  • Financial counselling – free service:  A financial counsellor must have at least the nationally‑accredited Diploma of Financial Counselling. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) MoneySmart website has facility to search for financial counselors who hold an Australian Financial Services license.
  • Personal and relationship counselling/Family counselling/Parenting skills and support counselling: These types of counselling can be provided by qualified counsellors, psychologists or social workers with specific training in certain areas. Registration with APHRA or the relevant professional association board (e.g. Australian Association of Social Workers) is also required as necessary.


Free counselling


Some of the types of counselling are available through free counselling services such as financial counselling and gambling support. If the family member of a veteran requires counselling services that are provided free, it is expected that the DVA Case Manager will assist the veteran and their family to find a counsellor in their area.


Mental Health Care Plan - Medicare


Where the family member has a mental health condition which has been diagnosed by a doctor which requires management, they can be referred to their GP to be assessed and placed onto a Mental Health Care Plan.  Further information about Mental Health Care Plans can be found on the Department of Health funded website – Health Direct.