Frequently Asked Questions

Contact: maree@ichoosehappy.com.au

Phone: 0403 055 106

I know that your time is precious....I thought I would capture some of the most frequently asked questions that have arisen when clients have contacted me in the past…. Just in case any of the same questions resonate with you.

What qualifications do you have? And what about your clinical experience?
I originally trained as a Counsellor- undertaking a Diploma of Applied Science (Counselling) around 19 years ago. Since my early academic training I have gone on to obtain an undergraduate and Masters in Social Work. My Diploma qualifications are in Alcohol and Other Drugs, Art Therapy and Eating Disorders. My Post Graduate training includes a Diploma in Family Therapy and Certificates in Expressive Therapies- Sandplay and Symbol Work and a Certificate in Expressive Therapies with Children and Adolescents.. Additionally I have also obtained further qualifications in Transactional Analysis and Life Coaching (where I specialize in Life Cycle coaching and Health and Wellness).  My clinical experience includes 18+ years working in a variety of both community and clinical settings including- Family Services, Schools (both Primary and Secondary).  I have also worked in the area of Addictions (both inpatient withdrawal and post-withdrawal support, including working with forensic clients). I have worked in hospital settings (including working with those experiencing chronic disease), Palliative care, Clinical- Community mental health and sexual assault (including crisis work).

Are you registered to provide services under Medicare?
Yes. I am registered to provide psychological services to people who have a current mental health care plan. This is funded under the 'Better Access- Better Outcomes to Mental Health program'. With a current mental health care plan, roughly $75.00 is rebated through Medicare.

 I believe that therapy works when-

-We work in a way that assists you to demystify what it is that is causing you the confusion in your life.

-We are both truly invested in your healing and embrace the commitment to change. (That change is absolutely possible but it does require a commitment and willingness to invest in yourself).
-You have the experience of being held in a safe, supported and trusted place.
-I work with you  to harness your strengths and natural resiliency to promote change by helping you to reclaim long, lost or forgotten strength based parts of yourself.
- A light is shine on opportunities and possibilities, that maybe hidden or unrecognizable to you at this time.
- You are assisted to find your own solutions using a range of therapeutic tools and creative modalities.


How long will it take for you to return my initial call?
Sadly too often, I hear that people who are seeking help are just not getting calls returned in a prompt and timely manner. In most cases I will return your call within a couple of hours (this is usually because I am working with clients). Please note however I do not provide a crisis service and generally do not return calls outside of business hours. I know considerable time can be lost playing 'phone chase' when it comes to even scheduling appointments and that is why I have had an on-line appointment booking system installed on this site that can be accessed on the 'working with Maree' page.

What can I expect from you, when I meet you for the first time?
I really get that coming to see a counsellor/therapist for the first time can be fraught with anxiety, apprehension and uncertainty. Hopefully you will get a sense for how I am, when I speak with you on the phone initially or if you view some of my vlogs on Facebook. Creating a warm, comfortable and calming environment is my number one priority. I always invite (actually strongly encourage) you to share with me any concerns or worries that you have. 

How long will I need to work with you?
Sometimes client's come for a short burst of sessions (around 3-6), others around 10. What I have observed is that people often seek to re-engage with me as 'new' themes, stresses or other factors present in their lives. My approach is that counselling is often 'episodic'- people seek to work with me when, and as they need to. And that is fine!... People enjoy knowing that I remember their story, so they do not have to explain their whole family situation or past traumas all over again. (Can I even share that I have remembered my clients pets names?- much to my clients utter surprise!).

Whilst on the matter of courts..... do you write court reports?

The general answer to this is "No". My skills are embedded in working therapeutically not writing up lengthy court reports (especially where there are family court proceedings). I also respect the privacy of my client's personal information and feel that the whole court processes can rupture this therapeutic working relationship. There are other organisations/ agencies that specialize in this line of work and I am more than happy to share this information with you. Please note however, that I do work with Victims of Crime and will write up VOCAT reports.

Do you offer after hours or weekend appointments?
I have a degree of flexibility in relation to appointment availability.

Do you practice at multiple locations?

Yes. I am located in the Dandenong Ranges (The Patch) and the Blackfish Medical Clinic in Kooweerup.

 Can the expressive therapies / Sandplay and symbol work, be used by adults?

Absolutely..... in-fact I have found that when this modality of work is introduced to the work with adults, 'therapy' really becomes enhanced. In my clinical experience, some incredible shifts are observed by me, but more importantly felt by the people I work with.

 Have I missed anything? 

Please don't hesitate to call,  if you have any further questions... I am only more than happy to answer any questions you may have.  Feel free to call me on 0403 055 106 and I will look forward to clarifying any concerns or questions you may have.​