The Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults provides face-to-face counselling to older adults living in residential aged care settings in Melbourne, Victoria and when possible, in other parts of Australia.

A major focus of counselling involves finding creative ways to engage with older adults, their families and aged care staff to help them cope with life transitions, loss, grief, physical health problems and mental health difficulties.

About our face-to-face counselling service

Counselling sessions are held face-to-face with the client on site at residential aged care facilities. Our counsellors are provisionally registered psychologists, social work interns and postgraduate counselling students, who are supervised by experienced practitioners.

They are available to provide you emotional support, listen attentively to the issues you are facing and assist you to address problems, worries or stress. Our counsellors can meet with you regularly to support you over the next few months.

Our counselling approach

Normative

We assume that many of the issues and problems faced by residential aged care clients arise due to changes in life circumstances, family relationships and living arrangement. Such issues do not necessarily indicate mental health illnesses or cognitive deterioration.

Systemic

We assume that counselling is effective when it involves the client’s system; we try to involve family and staff in supporting interventions for aged care residents. This approach emphasises the importance of a strong therapeutic relationship between the counsellor and client, with the involvement of family members, carers and facility staff.

Our range of intervensions

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

This theraphy is an exploration of clients’ beliefs, behaviours and situations. It encourages clients to consider different ways of thinking and behaving in order to improve outcomes

It also helps clients actively seek solutions to current problems and explores activities that are enjoyable and meaningful for the person as a way to address isolation, lethargy, loneliness and depressive symptoms.

Reminiscence and narrative therapies

These therapies involve discussions about the past in order to help clients remember important memories, reach an understanding about past events and clarify values. They start with an invitation for client to tell their story and can culminate in a digital story or life book to highlight key autobiographical aspects of the client’s life.

Supportive therapy

This therapy involves validation and rich listening techniques, which help clients feel understood and appreciated. It appreciates the uniqueness of client’s identity and life and can empower clients to reflect more deeply about their life, to claim more agency and control in their lives, and to arrive and unique insights about ways to address current problems.
 

Complete our referral form to request this service

Frequently asked questions

The service is open to anyone living in an Australian residential aged care facility. The service is also open to family members, relatives, friends or staff involved in caring for aged care residents.

As a resident, you may like support dealing with isolation, low mood, worries or anxiety. As a family member, relative or friend of an aged care resident, you might like support dealing with your own questions, worries, anxieties or stress about the resident or how best to support them.

If you are a staff member working in aged care, you might also like to speak to our counsellors about what you are going through in your work role. We are aware that we are all living under very complex circumstances and we would like to support you through this difficult period.

Please note that our capacity depends on a number of considerations. For example, we may not have counsellors in your area who can travel to the facility.  Face-to-face services may be restricted to certain areas of Australia or suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You may instead consider using the telehealth counselling and support service.

There is no cost for you to use this service.

You can refer yourself or others to the service. To request our service for yourself or another person, or for queries, complete our contact form. We do not need a referral from a GP or health care professional.

When we receive a referral, we will contact you to confirm that we have received it and may ask you questions to determine how we can best assist you or the person you have referred.

When referring someone else, they need to consent for us to contact them. If you are unsure if this is the right service for you or others, please contact us to discuss how we can support you.

Our counsellors are provisionally registered psychologists, social work interns and postgraduate counselling students, who are under supervision of experienced practitioners.

We are aware that many of the issues that will be discussed in the counselling sessions are highly private. We maintain strict levels of confidentiality in accordance with our professional accreditation standards. Our facilitators may need to share your information with their clinical supervisors.

Consistent with our duty-of-care obligations, if you are in danger of harming yourself or others, we must take steps to prevent harm, and hence we may need to disclose your identity to keep you or others safe.

If you are living in a residential aged care facility, we may also need to discuss your circumstances with facility staff if we believe that it would be in your best interest. However, we will always ask for your consent and discuss with you whom we could approach before we share your information with staff.

Did you know?

The Swinburne Wellbeing Clinic for Older Adults also provides telehealth counselling (phone- or video-based) to aged care residents, their families and aged care staff.

The clinic also offers group programs such as reminiscence groups, men's groups, carer support groups and autobiographical life-writing groups.

How can I join the team?

As we expand our service, we may need counsellors and clinical supervisors. If you would like to join our team as a clinical supervisor, please complete our contact form.

If you are interested in joining our team as a counsellor, please refer to the placement information and complete the application form.

Get in contact

If you would like to know more about our services or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us on +61 3 9214 3371, email us at wellbeingclinic_agedcare@swinburne.edu.au or complete our contact form.

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