Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make an appointment ?

Contact our intake workers by calling reception on 9653 3250 or sending your details through our contact page.


What happens at intake?

Melbourne Counselling Service runs intake services across all our counselling programs.

Each program has eligibility criteria. Please check this information on the program’s page before contacting the service. Some programs are region-specific while other criteria relates to, for example, possessing a health care card.

Intake workers will ask you some questions about your current situation, and either put you on our program waiting lists, refer you immediately for a counselling appointment, or recommend another service if we are not the best service for you.


How long is the waiting list?

Any MCS service may have a waiting list at any given time. Intake workers will give you up-to-date information regarding waiting lists when you contact us.

The length of time you will be on a waiting list varies depending on program demand and time of day.  Gambler’s Help evening appointments are always in higher demand. It helps us to see you sooner if you give us several available times, for example lunchtimes or evenings.


What happens when I am on a waiting list?

While you are on an MCS waiting list, intake workers will check in with you every two weeks to let you know how wait times are progressing, and can explore alternative support options in the meantime.

When a counsellor becomes available at the time you have nominated, you will be contacted by phone or SMS with an offer of an appointment.


When are evening appointments available?

Gambler’s Help therapeutic counselling services are on Monday and Tuesday evenings. The latest appointment is 6:30pm. Other programs may offer a 4.30pm or 5pm appointment on Thursdays if available.


What can you expect from counselling?

Counselling is an opportunity for you to discuss issues or concerns with a professional in a safe, confidential, non-threatening, accepting environment. Counselling offers you the space and time to explore and better understand things that are troubling you. Our counsellors can assist you in setting goals and explore options about how to change your life.

For counselling to be of most benefit to you, it is important that you feel comfortable with both the style the counsellor uses and your relationship with them. You need to feel you can speak your mind. If this is not happening, it is vital that you bring this up with the counsellor and negotiate any changes necessary.


How long are appointments?

Therapeutic counselling appointments are 50 minutes to an hour.  Your first appointment may be up to 90 minutes to allow for a full discussion of your situation and development of an action plan. If you need to make a shorter appointment, or to leave before the scheduled end of the session, please discuss this with your counsellor.


How many counselling sessions can I have?

There is no set number of counselling sessions available to our clients. The number of counselling sessions is worked out between you and your counsellor. To ensure that we stay ‘on track’ with your counselling we will regularly review your counselling against your goals.


Is counselling confidential?

Generally what is discussed in counselling is confidential. We treat your personal information according to privacy legislation (the Privacy Act 1988, the Information Privacy Act 2001 (Vic) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)). There are some exceptions to keeping information confidential such as medical emergencies, immediate risks of harm to yourself or others, or as otherwise required by law. Your counsellor will discuss how we treat your personal information in the context of your counselling service before your counselling begins.


Do you provide interpreters?

Yes. Our service can provide either telephone or face-to-face professional interpreters upon request.


Can I bring someone to interpret for me?

No. Our service can provide a professional interpreter free of charge to assist you in sessions. We know it is it more helpful for clients to use an objective interpreter whom they do not have a relationship with.


Do you have multilingual staff?

Yes. We have therapeutic counsellors who speak Spanish, and a financial counsellor who speaks Turkish.


Can you write a letter for court for me?

We are not a forensic or assessment psychology service. Our service for clients who have court- or Department of Justice-mandated gambling conditions is limited to the Gambler’s Help Breakthrough Counselling Group Program. At successful completion of this course, clients receive a certificate of participation.


Can you write a letter to revoke my gambling self-exclusion?

No. It is not our policy to provide revocation letters.


Do you offer student placements?

Please check our recruitment page. Placement opportunities will be posted there as available.