10 Dec 2021

Understanding disability counselling for children and families

Counselling is a process which involves talking about and working through your problems with a qualified counsellor. Counsellors will often have an area of specialisation and at Xavier we provide disability counselling for children and families.

How does disability counselling work?

Your counsellor will help you to recognise and work through the challenges that you and your family are facing as a result of your child’s disability in a positive way. They will help you to:

  • Clarify issues
  • Explore options
  • Develop strategies
  • Increase self-awareness

The counselling process is a planned and structured dialogue between a counsellor and an individual, couple of group (such as a family group).

Counselling for families of children with disability can look different for each family and will be based on the challenges that you want to work on. Counselling can help:

  • Your child with disability
  • Siblings
  • Partners / parents
  • The whole family

The role of a counsellor

To explain the role of a counsellor, it’s helpful to consider in more detail what counselling is and what it is not.

Counselling is:

  • the process of a counsellor helping a client (or family) to explore difficulties that they are facing (as mentioned above)
  • the act of helping a client to see things more clearly, perhaps consider different points of view, to help them focus on how they and other feel and experiences and behaviours
  • about facilitating positive changes in client’s lives

Counselling is not:

  • giving advice or making judgements
  • solving problems for the client
  • expecting or encouraging a client to behave in a certain way

The role of a Counsellor is to enable a client to explore many aspects of their life and how they feel by talking freely and openly. In disability counselling for children and families this will include exploring how an individual’s disability impacts the individual and other family members and family life.

A counsellor will not make judgements or offer advice and instead gives a client the opportunity to express how they are feeling. In particular a counsellor might support a client to express difficult feelings that might be hard to talk about with family members or with friends such as anger, guilt, resentment, jealously, fear and grief.

How does counselling help?

Effective counselling should help clients to gain clarity and reduce confusion so that they can make positive changes to their lives, their attitudes and their behaviour.

For families of children with disability, counselling can help family members to see things from another family member’s point of view, to increase their self-awareness and to improve family relationships.

Funding for counselling

If the goals set out in your child’s NDIS plan can be supported through counselling then you may be able to use your child’s NDIS funds to access a counsellor. For example, if one of your child’s goals is to improve family relationships, then it may be considered reasonable and necessary for a counsellor to provide support to your child and your family. They will work with you to identify the challenges that can arise and the impacts of your child’s disability on your child and on your whole family.

Find out more

Our counselling team have availability to support more families of children with disability*. If you’d like to understand more about how counselling can benefit your family, simply call 1800 XAVIER or email for further information.

*Current at December 2021