Counselling at Yarra Valley Psychology

At Yarra Valley Psychology, we offer a range of therapeutic services, including counselling services with qualified counsellors. Psychologists and counsellors are both mental health practitioners, typically with tertiary qualifications, and often have overlapping duties.

Anyone struggling with a personal concern or challenge can seek counselling. Some common reasons people seek counselling include stress, anxiety, depression, workplace issues, life transitions, trauma, physical illness, grief/loss, family breakdown and self-esteem issues. Professional psychological and counselling services are often sought after simultaneously. This is largely due to the different clinical approaches of the two disciplines. While psychologists often focus on the psychological presentations and subsequent treatment, counsellors take an undirected approach, emphasising a long-term interpersonal journey.

Professional counselling provides a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space for collaboration between a client and counsellor, in order to increase self-awareness, develop understanding, optimise wellbeing, and resolve a range of concerns. Counselling can range from a few sessions, to short-term or long-term duration, depending on the client’s needs. Professional counsellors are trained in specialised interpersonal skills, which prepares them to see a wide range of presenting issues and use evidence-based interventions in their sessions with clients.

Frequently Asked Questions about Counselling

Do I need a referral to see a Counsellor?

Anyone can refer themselves to see a Counsellor – for personal challenges, mental health problems or life guidance. As counselling sessions are not funded by the government, you do not require a GP referral in order to access therapy services from a Counsellor.

To make an appointment to see one of our counsellors please contact our intake team on 1300 947 477.

Our YVP Counsellors

Kelsey Bennett


Kelsey has completed a Bachelor degree in Psychological Science, a Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Counselling and will complete her postgraduate Masters in Counselling in June 2019. She has also trained in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapy, which has equipped her with a variety of behaviour modification skills . She has worked within the mental health field for approximately 2 years, including volunteering for the Wellways and ARCVic helplines, and conducting intake at YVP. Kelsey currently holds a student registration with the Australia Counselling Association (ACA) and will be a fully registered Counsellor in June 2019.

Her training has provided her with practical experience in delivering a range of different treatment modalities including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Mindfulness. She sees clients presenting with a range of mental health concerns and personal challenges including stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, work issues, low self-esteem, life transitions and pain management. Kelsey works with clients from all stages of the lifespan but has a preference for counselling children, adolescents and young people (10-25 years).

Kelsey has a particular interest in working with individuals who have experienced trauma (physical, emotional and sexual) and who are suffering from stress and adjustment disorders. She is a professional member of the Blue Knot Foundation – National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, and is currently undertaking further training in trauma-informed care and interventions.

Kelsey works from our Boronia, Lilydale and Croydon clinics.

Melanie Grabham


Melanie has completed a Bachelor degree in Psychological Science, a Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced) and postgraduate Masters in Professional Psychology.

Throughout her training she has gained practical experience in delivering a range of treatment modalities including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. She has worked within the mental health field for approximately 2 years, including working within a psychological laboratory at Monash University. She completed her thesis on the protective effects of mindfulness-meditation and physical activity in Parkinson’s disease.

Melanie has an interest in working with individuals from all age groups across the lifespan. She is able to work with a variety of issues but has a particular interest in working with issues pertaining to stress, anxiety and anxiety related conditions, depression and relationship problems. These include but are not limited to workplace related stress, burnout, relationship breakdowns and life transitions. She has experience in delivering and facilitating programs in the following areas: individual therapy, group sessions, play therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness meditation and careers counselling.

Melanie is currently registered as a Provisional Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and is a current member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Melanie works from our Boronia, Croydon and Nunawading clinics.

Charlotte Williamson


Charlotte has completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology), a Postgraduate Diploma of Psychology and a Master of Professional Psychology.

She has worked in the mental health field for approximately 4 years. Her training has provided her with practical experience in a range of treatment modalities, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) and Mindfulness.

Charlotte works with adults, adolescents and children. She sees clients presenting with a range of concerns, including stress, anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, substance use, relationship difficulties, trauma, self-harm, behavioural problems and life transitions.

Her main areas of interest include Anxiety, Depression, Stress Management, Sleep Difficulties & Chronic Illness.

Charlotte is currently registered as a Provisional Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Charlotte works from our Boronia and Nunawading clinics.

Megan Downall


Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science degree, a Graduate Diploma of Psychology and also holds both a Master of Counselling and Master of Professional Psychology degrees. She has worked in the mental health field for 3 years in counselling, crisis support and research.

Megan uses a person-centred, strengths-based approach to counselling and has experience in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD and Motivational Interviewing (MI).

Her specific areas of interest include relationship issues, anxiety, depression, trauma and PTSD. However, she is able to work with a range of different personal challenges including stress/motivational issues, grief and loss, self-esteem/body image issues and addictions (gambling, alcohol & minor drug-use issues).

Megan also has widespread experience working with children, adolescents, and young adults (10-25).

Megan is currently registered as a Provisional Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and is a current member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Megan works from our Boronia, LilydaleCroydon and Nunawading clinics.

Deborah Merritt


Debby is a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and is registered with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as a provisional psychologist, after completing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science and Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Debby is completing her two-year internship program to becoming a registered psychologist and is passionate about providing evidence-based therapies to support the needs of any clients who present for support. Debby is also a certified hypnotherapist.

Debby studied autism as her fourth-year thesis, focusing on strength-based interventions. Her passion lies with but is not limited to helping children and adolescents, utilising Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Over the past 2 years, Debby has worked in the mental health field, volunteering with Ucan2, a subsidiary of Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) assisting refugees to improve their English language skills, socializing skills and job seeking. Debby also volunteers with Headspace in their L2P program as a mentor, helping adolescents obtain their 150 hours of driving experience required to attain their license. Debby assists Yarra Valley Psychology with group therapy, school’s program and intake procedures.

What are the costs of Counselling services?

At Yarra Valley Psychology we acknowledge that everyone has different circumstances, and thus offer a flexible fee structure to our clients. The cost of a 50-minute consultation with a Counsellor ranges between $70 and $90 (per session). An individual could also use their NDIS funding to pay for sessions – our Counsellors are registered with the NDIS to provide services under the support category “Improved Daily Living”.

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?

Counsellors are mental health professionals with specialised training and experience in talk-therapies. They utilise interpersonal skills and work collaboratively with clients to improve their mental health and wellbeing through improved self-awareness and understanding. In Australia, the term “Counsellor” is not a regulated title, so the responsibility is on the client to ensure that their service provider has appropriate training and experience. Counsellors are health professionals whose level of training can vary – but they often have tertiary qualifications. Yarra Valley Psychology only hires Counsellors who have tertiary qualifications in the Counselling field. ‘Registered’ counsellors have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in Psychology/Counselling, meet ongoing professional development requirements and abide by the ethical guidelines of the Counselling profession.

Psychologists are regulated health care professionals who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). They generally see clients who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, or who are suffering from more severe and complex issues.

How many sessions can I access with a counsellor?

The number of sessions you can access with a counsellor is unlimited. Counselling can run for just a few sessions or be longer-term in duration; it all depends on the individual needs of the client and their presenting issues. As you fund the cost of sessions yourself, it is also up to you how often you come for sessions with your counsellor, and how many times you access their services in total.