The Evidence Portal


Flexible activity

In this activity, individuals, parents and/or families are given counselling to overcome immediate crises and/or past trauma. 

Counselling can support parents to understand the impact their own abusive childhood may have on their parenting and their relationships with their child/ren. Addressing parents own trauma can help them understand their own motivations and why they may behave or respond in a certain way. 

Crisis intervention counselling can support clients to fully comprehend the situation, apply effective decision-making and move on with their day-to-day life. This form of counselling seeks to mitigate stress brought on by crisis, empowers parents to function through the crisis and assists them to make decisions to address the crisis.

How can it be implemented?

This activity is typically implemented through existing home visits. 

Counselling can be provided by the family’s case manager or a specialist can be brought. The practitioner delivering the counselling should have adequate qualifications and training. 

The frequency and length of counselling sessions should be based on the needs of clients. You should use your professional judgement to determine what is most appropriate for your client/s.

To deliver counselling, a therapeutic approach can be adopted in all home visits. It may inform all the work that is undertaken with a family. Alternatively, a practitioner may have specific sessions that are designated ‘counselling’ sessions.

What should I consider when working with Aboriginal people and communities?

Grief and loss issues are prevalent in many Aboriginal families and communities and continue to adversely impact the lives of many people.  It is useful to increase awareness of these issues and learn how to work more effectively with Aboriginal communities. Improving the ability to better identify culturally appropriate pathways will help practitioners to address some of these issues in a sensitive and respectful manner (DCJ Practice Resource: Working with Aboriginal People).

See the Cultural Safety and Wellbeing Evidence Review for further guidance on how to deliver culturally safe services and improve outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Who is the target group?

Counselling has been provided to a number of different target groups. Key characteristics include:

  • Teenage mothers at risk of child maltreatment
  • Families living in extreme poverty, general economic district and/or unemployment
  • Families with children, prenatal to 6 years of age, demonstrating emotional/behavioural or developmental/learning problems
  • Families experiencing significant psychosocial risk 
  • Parents of new born infants

What programs conduct this activity?

  • Many programs provide individual and family counselling to clients as needed (e.g. Family Connections, Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program). 
  • The Child FIRST program adopts a parent-child psychotherapeutic and psychoeducational approach. This helps parents reflect on their child’s experiences and the motivations and feelings underlying their child’s behaviour and, in turn, on their own feelings and responses to the behaviour.
  • In the Home Visiting program, social workers provide counselling to parents for issues related to their own abusive childhood. 
  • The Parent Aide Services and Case Management program provides crisis intervention counselling. This is delivered, or organized, by a case manager.

What else should I consider?

Practitioners must have adequate qualifications to conduct counselling with clients.

Further resources

Last updated:

20 Feb 2023

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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