Counselling

At Laurel House, we provide face-to-face and online counselling to adults and children effected by sexual assault.  

We are covering the North and North West of Tasmania.  

We have offices in Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. 

Our counsellors provide face-to-face outreach services in Beaconsfield, George Town and the East Coast. 

What is counselling at Laurel House? 

Counselling provides a safe space for you to be heard. 

Counselling is a therapeutic conversation that aims to explore the effects of sexual assault.   

Your counsellor will assist you to develop a plan which will outline the issues that you wish to work on to meet your goals. These goals will be reviewed by both yourself and your counsellor and may be added to or changed as you progress through your therapeutic journey. 

There is no expectation that you will discuss the details of the sexual assault and abuse that you have experienced, it is your choice. The most important thing is that the counselling needs to be useful to you. If this is not the case, we strongly encourage you to let your counsellor know. We are here to help. 

Confidentiality 

Laurel House takes confidentiality very seriously. At your first session, your counsellor will explain in detail your rights to confidentiality, and the legal right of the service. 

Confidentiality does have its limitations and counsellors are mandated to report: 

  • harm to yourself or another person 
  • child abuse or neglect 

Your Information 

Laurel House staff will ask you for your personal details. Notes will be kept throughout your counselling and you have the right to see them upon request. We are required to keep statistical information for our funding body, the Department of Health and Human Services, however no identifying information will be passed on, only numerical data. 

You may request to have a copy of your file. 

Safety 

Laurel House clients and staff are entitled to a comfortable, safe environment that is free from any form of abuse or violence. Laurel House staff reserve the right to withdraw/refuse service to any individual at any time for any reason including, but not limited to: 

  • Clients who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs 
  • Clients who are known to be carrying weapons 
  • Clients who disclose that they are perpetrating against others 

Wherever possible, Laurel House will work with you to refer to you another, more appropriate service. 

24/7 Support Hotline

Our 24-hour service can provide immediate support to individuals have been recently raped or sexually assaulted by calling 1800 MY SUPPORT (1800 697 877). 

The response staff can provide support in a number of ways, including: 

  • Attending the hospital with the survivor should they wish to undergo forensic or medical examination 
  • Attending the police station with the survivor should they wish to make a formal police statement 
  • Informing survivors of their rights and options in relation to police and medical services 
  • Assisting survivors to connect with the Laurel House day counselling service should they wish to undertake ongoing counselling 

The after-hours service is limited to immediate situations only and is not intended to be utilised for general counselling and support. 

Counsellors at Laurel House 

Our counsellors use a range of trauma informed practices and techniques and tailor these to meet your needs.  

Visit Blue Knot to find out more about what it means to be trauma informed
www.blueknot.org.au

Laurel House services include immediate support and counselling which are offered in house, via outreach, phone, video conference and / or chat. 

These services will cover long-, medium- and short-term intervention. 

What therapies do we use at Laurel House? 

People recover in different ways.   

Just as there are no right or wrong reactions to trauma, there is no one way to heal. Our counsellors will work with you to find an approach that feels right for you.   

You may find strategies that are helpful from many different therapies. Here are just a few we might draw from at Laurel House: 

Art Therapy

Art therapy gives us a way to express emotions through creativity, where words are not accessible. We use different forms of art including drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, modelling sculptures, crafting, and sand play, to support a person’s healing. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) 

This therapy focuses on the connection between our thoughts, feelings, and actions. We can often get stuck in patterns of thinking that make sense in terms of our trauma but are not helpful to us. CBT can help us slow our thinking down and gently challenge and change our patterns so that they are less distressing. 

Narrative Therapy  

There is a great saying in narrative therapy; the person is not the problem – the problem is the problem (with thanks to Michael White, who said it first!). The way we tell the story of what happened to us makes a difference in how we see ourselves. We can draw on the stories of our lives that remind us of strengths and what we love and care about. Giving these things a voice can be a very powerful way to support healing. 

Person-Centred Therapy 

This approach recognises that you are the expert in your own life and your own experience. It also recognises that we all have an ability to heal and to grow in life, if we are given the chance. If those helping us can meet us with complete positive regard, can really listen without any judgement, and without trying to force an agenda, we will start to naturally move towards resolving the problems that brought us to counselling.   

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 

ACT helps us to be open to our experience in the here and now. It teaches us to accept our feelings and our thoughts, without struggling against them or judging them. It helps us to find what values we have and what goals we want to commit to in our lives.   

Three-phased trauma recovery  

For those of us who have complex trauma, it can help to see therapy in three phases.   

Phase 1 = safety and stabilisation. We work on developing a toolkit for managing distress (how to deal with flashbacks, nightmares, strong emotional reactions, dissociation etc.).   

Phase 2 = processing. We work on dealing with the impact of trauma. We can deal with memories directly or by working on the legacy of the memories.   

Phase 3 = integrating. We can work on what it takes to reconnect and reorient in life.   

We also draw from many other approaches, including talk therapy, dialectic behaviour therapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, and solution-focused therapy,  

If we discover information or resources that might help you in your healing journey, we can share them with you.   

As we recover, we are looking to strengthen our resilience, understand inner conflicts, develop healthy boundaries, improve our social connections, get better insight into how we cope, build our self-esteem, manage addictions, reduce anxiety, and restore wellbeing.   

Give yourself the time to heal and the chance to try different approaches for different stages of your recovery.