Counselling

QPASTT is a specialised service that offers counselling to support healing and recovery from refugee trauma.

Our counsellors are all qualified and committed to providing a safe and respectful environment where our clients can heal from the emotional and physical pain of their torture and/or trauma experiences.

There is a waiting list for our service, but it is managed so that those with the highest needs are given priority.

Your Counselling Journey with QPASTT

After you have been referred to QPASTT, you will have an initial assessment. This is a time for you to meet with a QPASTT Intake Worker, share your concerns and some information about your past or current situation. You can also find out more about QPASTT and our services. Together with you, we will make a plan about the support that might be helpful, which might include counselling.

How Can Trauma Affect People?

Every individual is unique and traumatic experiences can affect people in many different ways. Trauma can affect people of all ages, cultures, genders and life experiences. Trauma can impact on relationships and be passed down to children intergenerationally.

During trauma, people feel frightened, helpless, isolated and without power and control. Therefore, the major focus of trauma recovery is helping people to feel safe and empowered.

Although people from refugee backgrounds have survived horrific experiences, they bring with them numerous strengths and tremendous resilience of spirit. Counsellors build on these strengths and resilience.

What is Counselling?

Counselling is a process which allows you to talk with a trained professional about the things that are worrying you.

Our counsellors are caring and compassionate. They have an understanding of how trauma is affecting you and are trained to support you to recover from trauma.

They will support you by creating a safe and nurturing environment for you to talk about your difficulties. Our counsellors can help you to find ways to better manage how trauma is impacting you. This may be helping you to manage better difficult situations, resolve problems and work through your thoughts and feelings. If past painful experiences arise, they can be talked about in a supportive and safe way, relieving the emotional pain over time.

We understand that healing takes courage and time. We can support you for however long it takes for you on your recovery journey.

In addition to supporting you with healing, QPASTT Counsellors can support you if you are experiencing barriers living in Australia. QPASTT Counsellors can advocate to help you to achieve your basic needs.

How Can Counselling Help You?


Counselling can help you to cope better and regain control over your life.

For people who have experienced trauma, it is normal to:

  • be on alert for danger and experience feelings of panic, even in relatively safe environments
  • experience anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, irritability, guilt, shame, self-blame, numbness
  • have intrusive thoughts including flashbacks about traumatic events and/or fears for the safety of loved ones
  • experience nightmares and have trouble sleeping
  • have difficulties with memory and concentration
  • lose a feeling of trust in others
  • feel less self-esteem
  • have difficulties with personal and family relationships
  • want to socially isolate and withdraw from community
  • have physical symptoms, including body pain, that do not have a clear medical explanation or that may be worse when stressed

Many people think that counselling has something to do with being mentally ill. They may be reluctant to access counselling because they do not want to be viewed in that way. The types of symptoms that survivors experience are often very normal reactions to the terrible events that they have experienced. When survivors are helped – through counselling – to understand their reactions and the reasons they occur it can be very reassuring for them to learn that many of these responses are normal and not a sign of mental illness.

Counselling with Children & Young People

Children and young people may have experienced trauma directly themselves or trauma can be unknowingly passed on from parents to children.

QPASTT has counsellors who specialise in supporting children and young people. Counselling is usually built on creative expression and can include art therapy, play therapy.  QPASTT also runs a range of groups and activities for children and young people.  

For children and young people under the age of 16 years, it is necessary for QPASTT to gain the consent of the parent or guardian.

After doing counselling with my QPASTT Counsellor, I feel that my mind is well organised and calm. It woke my mind up. It was an amazing experience! Now I am so glad to see a big improvement in my personality and I’m pursuing my dream of doing a Bachelor of Education.