Frequently Asked Questions

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many Salvation Army locations are operating differently to normal. Please contact us before visiting to ensure this service is open and able to assist you. 


Who can access your services?

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


How do I make an appointment ?

You can contact our intake workers by calling MCS on 9653 3250.


What happens at intake?

Melbourne Counselling Service runs intake services across all of our programs. 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 your waiting list?

Any MCS program 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 can give us a range of available times.


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?

After-hours Gambler’s Help therapeutic and financial counselling sessions are held on Monday and Tuesday evenings. The latest available appointment is 6:30pm.

Appointments are also held at 4.30pm or 5pm on Thursdays.


What can I 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?

Our 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 your counselling confidential?

Generally, everything 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 self or others, or as otherwise required by law. Your counsellor will discuss how we treat your personal information in the context of your service before your counselling begins.


Do you provide interpreters? Can I bring someone to interpret for me?

MCS can provide either telephone or face-to-face professional interpreters upon request. This is free of charge to our clients.

We feel it is more helpful for our clients to use an objective interpreter with whom they do not have a relationship.


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 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.