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.

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Private Health Rebates for Counselling

All of our Counsellors are registered with BUPA and Police Health. Eligible members are able to claim a rebate from their private health insurance policy to cover part or all of the costs of their Counselling sessions (depending on their cover).

Eligible Police Health members are able to claim back up to 80% of the cost of Counselling (annual limits apply).

BUPA members with eligible Extras cover are also able to claim a rebate towards the cost of Counselling.

For information about whether you can use your private health insurance to claim a rebate for Counselling, please contact your individual provider.


Our Counselling Team

Kelsey Bennett

Kelsey has completed a Bachelor degree in Psychological Science, a Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Counselling and a Masters degree in Counselling. She is currently registered as a Level 2 Counsellor with the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). She has worked within the mental health field for approximately 3 years, including individual counselling, volunteering for the Wellways and ARCVic helplines, and conducting intake at YVP.

Her training has provided her with practical experience in delivering a range of different treatment modalities including Trauma-Informed Care, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Strengths-Based Approach, 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 disordered eating. Kelsey works with clients from all stages of the lifespan but has a preference for counselling children, adolescents and young people (10-30 years).

Kelsey has a particular interest in working with individuals who have experienced trauma (physical, emotional and sexual) and who are suffering from physical illness, 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, offers after hours appointments during the week and Saturday morning appointments.

Jessica Armstrong

Jess has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) at Deakin University in 2016 and a Masters of Counselling at Monash University in 2020. She is currently a Level 2 member of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA).

Jess primarily utilises Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and a person-centred, strengths-based approach, ensuring that therapy is tailored to each client. Jess has worked with clients presenting with a range of mental health concerns and personal issues, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, life transitions, work and school-related issues and relationship issues. She is currently undertaking further training with the Australian Centre for Eating Disorders (ACFED) as she has a professional interest in working with clients with this presentation.

Jess has worked with individuals across the lifespan but she has a preference for counselling children, adolescents and adults (10+).

Jess works from our BoroniaLilydale and Croydon clinics, and also offers after-hours appointments during the week and every second Saturday. 

Melanie Kohle

Mel is a postgraduate (Masters) qualified counsellor from Monash University. She works with a variety of issues including anxiety, stress, depression, communication skills and low-motivation. Mel is also currently undertaking training as a couples therapist, and has a special interest in the field of sex therapy and relationships.

Mel places a strong focus upon the client’s personal growth, fostering self-awareness, holistic wellbeing and discovering meaning and purpose within life. She works predominately with clients aged 10 years and over.

Mel employs a variety of therapeutic modalities including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Therapy.

Mel works from our Boronia, Croydon and Nunawading clinics, and also offers after-hours appointments during the week.

Dhivia Dharishani

Dhivia aspires to be authentic and genuine with her clients to facilitate positive changes in their lives. She has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and is completing her Masters in Counselling at Monash University.

Her counselling approach uses curiosity and compassion to work with her clients’ unique individual history, background, values and attributes. Dhivia uses a strength-based therapeutic approach to engage in collaborative relationships with her clients. She has experience using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Tree of Life, and Life-Review Therapy. She has worked with people experiencing anxiety, depression, isolation, adjustment difficulties and relationship stressors.

Having lived and worked in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, Dhivia is able to form meaningful connections with people of different cultural backgrounds. She has experience in working with people of all ages and life stages; her roles have included working with at-risk children in primary schools, therapeutic youth work, and volunteering at aged care facilities. She has a special interest in working with children and families who have experienced trauma.

Dhivia works from our Boronia and Croydon clinics, and also offers after-hours appointments during the week.

Sivakahmy (Siv) Thilagarajan

Siv has completed a Bachelor of Psychology at Monash University in 2019 and is due to complete her Masters Of Counselling at Monash University in 2021.

Siv primarily approaches clients through a person-centred approach and utilises Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to collaboratively work and tailor to each individual client. She has worked with individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, grief and more.

Siv has worked with a range of ages, however, has a preference for counselling adolescents and adults (12+) 

Siv works from our Boronia, Lilydale and Croydon clinics.

Cathy Fowler

Cathy has completed a Diploma of Counselling, a Bachelor of Behavioural Studies (Psychology), Graduate Diploma of Psychology Advanced and will be completing her Masters in Professional Psychology at the end of 2021.  Cathy is currently a Level 1 Member of the Australian Counselling Association and an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society.

Cathy has previously worked as a Mental Health Support Worker (supporting NDIS participants) and volunteer Counsellor, has worked within the court system around family violence, has experience working with people from diverse cultural, sexual and socioeconomic backgrounds, and is a strong advocate for breaking down social taboos surrounding mental health.

Cathy’s approach is to work in collaboration with her clients, primarily utilising Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and also engaging in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), person-centred methodology and mindfulness.

Cathy has a particular interest in grief, trauma, loss and also works with anxiety, depression and life changes/transitions, working with individuals across the lifespan (12+ years).

Cathy works from our Boronia, Croydon and Lilydale clinics.

* Some of our counsellors offer after-hours and Saturday morning appointments.

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.

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 $75 and $95 (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.