Counselling

Our counselling service provides short-term dementia-specific counselling across the state to people with a diagnosis and their carers. This service can be offered in one-to-one and group counselling sessions delivered by qualified counsellors. 

The service delivery reflects the transitional nature of the course of dementia where consumers can reconnect with the service as required. This provides consumers the opportunity to receive support on an ongoing basis particularly at times of crisis and change. This might include where the need for community support becomes apparent, changes in the behavioural symptoms of dementia appear, and transition to care.

Other available counselling services exist, however given the complex and often changing nature of dementia, people living with dementia need specialised knowledge and understanding that is not always available from more general services. 

Content/Structure

The focus of the service is on the particular needs of the individual/family living with dementia in relation to their experiences. Assistance may be provided on a one-off basis or over a number of sessions. The counselling focus is on such issues including:

  • Stress management;
  • Self-care for Carers;
  • Practical skills and support strategies for managing difficult behaviours;
  • Ambiguous loss;
  • Pathways into residential care;
  • Future planning;
  • Palliative care;
  • Communication adaptation strategies
  • Strategies for managing trips to respite;
  • Tips for dealing with medical professionals
  • Depression and anxiety

Although not rigidly applied, general principles of the program are:

  • Typically, counselling episodes are between 1 and 6 sessions
  • Counselling sessions are usually of one hour duration
  • Episodes of counselling usually take place at intervals according to the client’s needs and the counsellor’s discretion, often weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
  • When counselling commences, a discussion takes place around likely frequency and duration of sessions, and other complementary or alternative services available
  • Realistic objectives and goals are set, in collaboration with the client, and an agreed plan is made for a time-limited episode of counselling to achieve these objectives. The plan and goals are regularly reviewed.
  • Careful monitoring of progress occurs in counselling, specifically attending to the clients perceptions
  • Systematic measurements of client progress using self-reporting, counsellor/client observations.

Access and Eligibility

The service operates face-to-face, via telephone and on occasion via other modalities during standard business hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Face-to-face counselling is provided in the metropolitan area of Perth. It can also be provided with prior arrangement in regional areas across the state and is often scheduled around the community workshops delivered by counsellors whilst they are in a suitable location. Telephone counselling remains an option for those who are isolated or simply prefer this mode of counselling.

The counselling program aims to support people living with dementia, their carers and family members. A formal diagnosis of dementia is not required, you may be in the process of seeking a medical diagnosis. 


To find out more, talk to our customer service team on (08) 9388 2800 or supportwa@alzheimers.org.au.

Counselling Workshops