People who have experienced torture and trauma before coming to Australia may need help to deal with the effects; time alone does not always heal. It is normal to have strong emotional or physical reactions following a traumatic event. In fact, these feelings are part of the healing process. Reactions to trauma may last for days, weeks or even longer.

There are many things you can do to cope with and recover from traumatic experiences. The way a person reacts to trauma will depend on many things such as; the type and severity of the event, the support the person has, other stresses in their lives, their personality and their ability to cope. Common reactions to trauma involve a range of physical, cognitive (thinking) and emotional factors.

Trauma can also affect the relationships that people have established with partners, parents, children, family and friends. A traumatic can event temporarily disrupts the way our relationships normally work.

At ASeTTS we work together with individuals, couples, families, young people and groups.

To refer a client to ASeTTS for counselling, please fill in and return the ASeTTS Referral Form

Individual Counselling

Individual counselling consists of meeting one-on-one with a counsellor for 45 to 50 minutes. The counsellor helps you to resolve your problems in a positive way by helping you to clarify the issues, explore options, develop strategies and increase self-awareness. Through counselling, we hope to assist our clients to find safety again; through exploration of the memories (which are often intrusive), to recognise what is valuable and needs to be kept, and what may be released. We seek to assist our clients to reintegrate their personalities, when there has been fragmentation or dissociation, to develop trust in themselves and others, and to reconnect with others when avoidance has become habitual.

Everything you discuss with the counsellor is confidential (except in a small number of specific cases such as where the counsellor is required by law to report a crime). Counselling is not only for people with mental health problems. Anyone who is struggling with a personal concern can seek counselling. Common personal concerns include relationship difficulties, grief, difficult life circumstances, anxiety and depression.

Parent Support & Family Counselling

To refer a client to ASeTTS, please fill in and return the Referral Form.

ASeTTS can work with Parents and Families to address the effects of trauma. Trauma can affect families in some of the following ways:

  • Parents feel unable to nurture their children.
  • Communication breaks down as each family member struggles to come to terms with what has happened.
  • The parents may fear for each other’s safety and the safety of their children outside the home.
  • Family members may have nightmares about the event.
  • Family members may be fearful of another trauma happening to them.
  • Family members may be angry at whoever they believe was at fault for the trauma. Sometimes this includes feeling angry with the affected loved one or anger at the family in general.
  • Family members may feel overwhelmed by feelings of insecurity and lack of control.
  • Family members may not know how to talk to each other, because each person is struggling to understand what has happened and how they feel about it. Arguments can occur.
  • Family members may be short-tempered or irritable with each other, which leads to arguments and friction.
  • Family members may lose interest in activities and perform less well at work or school.
  • Children may be clingy, grizzly, demanding or naughty.
  • Teenagers may become argumentative, demanding or rebellious.
  • Some family members may work so hard to help their loved ones, they neglect to look after themselves.
  • Family members may feel less attached or involved with one another.
  • Family members may relive the trauma when faced with a fresh crisis.
  • Fresh crises may be more difficult to handle.
  • Changes to family dynamics that occurred in the days, weeks or months after the traumatic event could become permanent habits.
  • Family members may cope differently with reminders of the event. For example, some may want to commemorate the anniversary or revisit the scene of the traumatic event, while others may want to forget about it. A conflict in coping styles can lead to arguments and misunderstandings if the family members aren’t sensitive to each other’s needs.

ASeTTS offers Family Counselling through the ‘Strength to Strength’ Program. At a ‘Strength to Strength’ session families can work through their relationships to improve family communication. The family looks at how to solve ‘problems’ or to adjust to new situations. The whole family goes can attend the appointment with a counsellor.

Couples Counselling

ASeTTS offers counselling for couples. The impact of trauma can have long term effects on the ways in which people relate to others in intimate relationships. The following may occur:

  • No longer doing this together – living parallel lives;
  • Recurring arguments that are never resolved;
  • Feeling dissatisfied and unhappy;
  • Being preoccupied with interests outside the relationship, leading to one partner feeling neglected;
  • Complaining of loss of feelings for each other;
  • Becoming emotionally or sexually involved with someone outside the relationship;
  • Feeling tired and less able to meet responsibilities at work;
  • Arguments over parenting;
  • Arguments over money; and
  • Experiencing sexual problems.

When concerns involve a relationship, particularly a committed relationship, sometimes the best approach is for two people to receive counselling together. This can provide an effective opportunity for couples to better understand each other and to learn more effective ways of communicating and nurturing the relationship.

FRIDAY VILLAGE meets almost every Friday morning from 930 – 1130am. We encourage parents to play with their children by providing a friendly and playful environment as well as play resources. Sometimes the group goes on excursions to relevant services or other play environments (e.g. park for picnics, baby pool, Children’s library).

Members of the group are from many different cultural backgrounds and speak varying degrees of English. You do not need to know English to be a part of the this group, but you need to be willing to play!


  • To strengthen attachment between parent and child through play
  • To reduce isolation for parents and children
  • To increase the understanding of the value of play
  • To provide information about parenting and other services

Training & Feedback

Counsellors are involved in the training and consultancy offered by ASeTTS to schools, universities, health and other related professional groups. Students of psychology, social work and art therapy have had practical placements with counsellors, who have provided clinical supervision. Our counselling team members are always keen to develop their skill, and rely on feedback from clients and interested community members to know what is helpful and what is not.