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Hi. My name is Steve.

 

I'm offering private, professional counselling in the inner-west of Sydney.

I grew up in Sydney, and lived up the coast for a few years before returning to the inner-west. My first career was in media, and after volunteering in a personal

support role for 5 years I moved into professional counselling. I have been facilitating groups and counselling 1 on 1 for about 5 years now.

Qualifications and Memberships:

B.A / Graduate Diploma of Counselling

PACFA full member  

As a counsellor, my mission is:

 • to use compassion, creativity, acceptance, attentiveness and dedication in every session
• to encourage and assist people of all backgrounds, abilities and situations
• to make the most out of life and contribute to a more enlightened community 

Booking enquiries:

 I keep my phone on silent during the day so all enquiries can be made via voicemail.

Please  call my daytime number on  0417679535, leave your name and phone number and let me know that you are contacting me from this website. I  will call you back as soon as possible to arrange an appointment. I will  then text through your appointment details and the address. 

What to expect:

 

There's no formula for how counselling works because everyone's situation is different.  It makes sense to get to know each other a bit first, and look at what  is happening in your life generally. Our first phone consultation will  involve talking about why you've decided to reach out for counselling  assistance. I might ask a few brief questions to help figure out how we  might work together.

As a counsellor, I can listen  to your story and ask questions aimed at coaching you to become more  mindful of how your thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviour maintain  the patterns in your life. The real work of making your life the way you  want it to be is largely up to you.

It's quite common to feel strong emotions  or worry about what will happen once you make the decision to open up  your life for examination. Sometimes it's hard to start talking. I don't  like to rush people, but I also know that inaction rarely leads to  life-long change. So I might offer you a gentle challenge to think  creatively about new ways to improve your situation.

You  might be back on track after one or two sessions, or you might need  more time to deal with the big stuff. Many people just want to change  one or two problem behaviours, and this can sometimes be achieved in as  little as 6 sessions. You might prefer to take your time unpacking  everything. How long you do counselling for is up to you.

My sessions are usually one hour long but often the first meeting goes a bit longer, at no extra cost.

Do I need a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor?

 Psychology, psychiatry and counselling are different professions. Psychologists are experts in well-known patterns of behaviours, thoughts and emotions, and they can diagnose mental illnesses. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, specialise in the medical treatment of mental illnesses, and they can prescribe medications in Australia.

Counsellors  like me will generally use 'talk therapy' to help you figure out how  you can improve your life. This can be helpful, whether you are in good  mental health or not.

Counselling provides some of  the time, space and support to talk through what's going on in your  life. It is often seen as a more 'human' way of supporting you to change what you want to be different. Working together with you, a counsellor can help to formulate strategies for coping and improving your quality of life.

If you are having a mental health crisis, it might be best to access 24 hour support by calling:

  • Mental Health Hotline on 1800 011 511, or
  • Suicide Callback Service on 1300  659 467

Do I need a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor?

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Psychology, psychiatry and counselling are different professions. Psychologists are experts in well-known patterns of behaviours, thoughts and emotions, and they can diagnose mental illnesses. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, specialise in the medical treatment of mental illnesses, and they can prescribe medications in Australia.

Counsellors  like me will generally use 'talk therapy' to help you figure out how  you can improve your life. This can be helpful, whether you are in good  mental health or not.

Counselling provides some of  the time, space and support to talk through what's going on in your  life. It is often seen as a more 'human' way of supporting you to change what you want to be different. Working together with you, a counsellor can help to formulate strategies for coping and improving your quality of life.

If you are having a mental health crisis, it might be best to access 24 hour support by calling:

  • Mental Health Hotline on 1800 011 511, or
  • Suicide Callback Service on 1300  659 467

How I work as a counsellor:

 

My approach to counselling is to accept wherever you are at the  moment, find out where you want to be, figure out what's holding you  back, and highlight the ways you can achieve your goals, using your own  strengths. This is a 'person-centred', solution-focussed approach that concentrates on your own unique story, and how you can continue to write it as you go along.

I  have had training in a variety of modalities. Person-centred  counselling aims to work out what is best for you, as opposed to using a  formulaic 'treatment'. Sometimes I might offer some tried-and-true techniques to help with a particular problem. Some examples include:

  • Relaxation Exercises
  • 'Psychoeducation', to help you develop new relational and behavioural skills
  • 'Cognitive Behaviour Therapy', to help shift the beliefs or attitudes are no longer helping you live your life
  • 'Here and Now' discussions, that use counselling conversations as a practice for real life
  • 'Interviewing', to invite you to consider altering the habits that harm yourself or others
  • 'Sandplay Therapy', to help you explore your unconscious world

Each of these can give you tools for coping with your problems. You can choose whatever works best for you.

I often work with people who have used or are using abusive  behaviours in their relationships. My approach to counselling invites  you identify the kind of person you really want to be, figure out what's happening within you that leads you astray, and learn to choose behaviours that are safer for you and your loved ones.

If your life has become difficult due to stress or trauma,  we can develop skills and strategies for staying calm and strong in the  face of whatever it is that 'triggers' you. When you can manage your  feelings better, we'll work at understanding how those triggers gain  power over you - and then you can take that power back!

Cultural notes:

 

• I practice in English, but if necessary we can access phone interpreters at an additional cost.

•  I acknowledge that I have worked on Gadigal, Darkinjung, Wannarua, Biripi and Worimi lands, and  have the utmost respect for their traditional custodians, past and  present and future.

• I understand that not all people who seek  counselling feel automatically comfortable with middle-aged, white,  cis-gendered men. For me, it's truly an honour to work cross-culturally, and with people of all genders and sexualities.

I look forward to talking with you.

Steve Bonanno Counselling in New South Wales 2259