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Welcome! Thanks for visiting. Wanna cuppa?

Consent and Referral Forms are at the bottom of this page. Word and PDF formats are provided.

Contact us with the form-to-email at the bottom of this page or direct by email.

Email is abilitytherapyspecialists@gmail.com. Thank you!

To book a consultation the first step is fill in the Contact Form below or directly contact us via email. Thank you!

Private clients who wish a fast track to book now click here.

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We are open to bookings now. Please consider referral to your friends, family, colleagues, clients or network. First come first serve.

Now Available: NDIS Funded Behaviour Support and Counselling Consultations.

Now Available: Private clients all ages welcome from children to seniors for Individual, couple, family services across a range of areas including Counselling, Life Coaching, Psychotherapy, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy, for assessments and therapy across a wide range of issues.

Now Available: At our Therapy Offices or Online via Messenger, Skype, Email, and Phone Consultations

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Who can see you? Anyone! All ages from early childhood through to senior years.
  2. Where are you located? Armidale, New England NSW “North West” and “East,” Australia. And online to anywhere in this galaxy.
  3. Why do you say both NSW West and East? We see our specialist service covering a catchment from west to Lightning Ridge east to Coffs Harbour, north to Tenterfield and south to Scone. We have a mind for a larger catchment than the traditional boundaries of the ‘local’ and New England. We do this because we hope to provide senior expertise to communities that need access to our help – following obvious road maps and respecting the traditional Indigenous songlines that connect our communities and our world.
  4. Do you see clients from across Australia? And other countries? Yes! We can and do consult across Australia and overseas. We have had couples visit Armidale on intensive weekend retreats to see us for several sessions over the weekend – from as far away as the Sunshine Coast and Victoria. We have overseas clients on Skype from Canada, USA, and other countries who also enjoy the Australian dollar currency exchange that is normally to their advantage!
  5. Who travels to see you in Armidale? In NSW our catchment is large and people generally work with us east to Coffs Harbour, north to Tenterfield, south to Scone, west to Lightning Ridge and south west to Dubbo. We have had people travel the New England highway or fly in to Armidale all the way from the Sunshine Coast in the north, and also south of Sydney. Individuals, couples or families who come this far book us over a weekend while they stay in local beautiful accommodation plus enjoy the unique New England climate and mountain fresh air and weather.
  6. Who sees you via distance technologies? A large catchment of people see us and work with us over distance technologies. Anyone who wants to access therapy this way tends to get a great deal of satisfaction – so says the research literature and our general experience. Research shows these methods to be just as effective if not more effective than traditional methods. Where video is used with people with cognitive disabilities we recommend a consent protocol based on gaining levels of comfort and practice in the use of the tools. For cases of severe cognitive disabilities distance methods may not be useful for an individual but can help families and staff and reduce the burden of travel and costs. In some cases participants come to enjoy video taping, and reviewing familiar videos brings them a great deal of comfort.
  7. Where do we meet you? A. Online or via distance technologies. B. We do home visits in Armidale surrounds max 30 min drive – see #7 below. C. We can meet you locally in town at a public venue like McDonalds or a park where there is facility for your children if relevant to your needs. We prefer to meet people with disability in everyday settings and traveling to meet us is certainly one of these settings. D. Our therapy offices in Armidale are now available.
  8. Is there an age limit? No. We work across the lifespan from early childhood through to senior years.
  9. Do you do couple and marriage counselling? Yes. We also do family work where children are present with their parents. Yes we work with everyone straight and GLBTIQ+ couples and families.
  10. Do you do home visits? Yes in the Armidale area (including town and for a small fee to cover petrol within 30min drive to Guyra, Uralla, and surrounds with easy access).
  11. Do you do home visits in Tamworth or Inverell? Yes we do visit Tamworth, Inverell, Moree, and Glen Innis upon request and where there is funding available for travel time. We can also travel to Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour.
  12. Do you do clinics in regional centres? Yes when requested we can arrange a day clinic to see 3-5 clients to reduce and share travel costs between clients. In these cases we prefer to partner with a community based organisation to reduce rental cost for the day. If you can help organise this kind of event feel free to discuss with us. Thank you.

FAQs for NDIS Funded Behaviour Support and Counselling

  1. How long does behaviour support take? Generally between 10 to 20 hours to produce a behaviour support plan. More complex cases may involve additional time.
  2. How much do you charge/how much will this cost? We use the NDIS suggested fee schedule per hour. Every case is slightly different depending on the number of hours needed and the line item being used. NDIS rates are generally published in June or July each year and may be updated at any time. Visit their website for details.
  3. Do you provide a Service Agreement? Yes our Service Agreement is based on NDIS standards and includes costing and a “map” of our mutual service outcomes.
  4. Why do you charge the full NDIS fee rates? The NDIS fee schedule for clinical services represents set standard rates for a professional service in this category. We also like our clients to understand that your billable hours include a number of hidden non-billable hours to ensure you receive a high quality professional service. We are worth the cost and the investment. We believe we ultimately may save people time and frustration by offering senior expertise and professional standards of service. If you disagree, please find another service provider and compare and let us know how to improve what we do. We are very open to feedback and appreciate your input.
  5. What are your qualifications? We are founded by two doctoral qualified senior clinical specialist Counsellors and Psychotherapists with formal Teacher qualifications with combined over 60 years of disability and mental health experience including many years of service in specialist behaviour support. We are also accomplished researchers with combined over 200 published works including numerous books and professional journal contributions. Dr Bowers is also a qualified senior clinical supervisor, educator and trainer of Psychotherapists over 20 years with several years as a trainer consultant in disability clinical behaviour support services.
  6. Why is independent counselling and/or behaviour support better? People who say this compare our service to NGO/disability accommodation or other combined service provider based clinicians, commonly known as “in house” clinical support. We do not say we are “better” per se because everyone has heaps to offer. We are more interested to hear your evaluation/point of view to help us improve our service. This being said, the industry model for high level clinical services is historically based on an independent professional assessment. We observe that independence provides a greater degree of objectivity. As a service category an independent practitioner of counselling, psychological, and behaviour support clinical practice tends to provide higher levels of senior expertise. This is because independent private practice tends to attract senior experienced professionals with well defined specialisations. This model generally provides more in depth and timely analysis, suggests wider options for treatment and practical solution-focused outcomes that may achieve results faster and with greater ease. Also, independent support can address issues that in-house systems overlook because of in-house policies, cultures, and perspectives. We observe that most agencies and NGOs tend to hire younger staff who do not have experience and need to be trained and supervised, preferably by seniors in independent practice. Qualified and experienced clinicians generally prefer to work independently if that option is available.
  7. What is a Behaviour Support Plan – BSP? A BSP is a “road map” to help support not only the person at the centre, but also family or staff who work and live alongside everyday. Behaviour support is based on understanding underlying needs and supporting people in positive person centred and safe ways.
  8. How long is a behaviour support plan? Nowadays generally 4 to 6 pages. 10 years ago up to 40 pages! Focus of current clinical practice is ‘keep it simple’ and ‘brief is better.’ You may be surprised how much can fit into the 4 to 6 page model when well written and to the point.
  9. How long is a behaviour assessment report? Generally 3-4 pages pulls up a well written report. Behaviour reports and BSPs are based on a functional behavioural assessment.
  10. What is a functional assessment of behaviour? The functional assessment is essential, and is conducted either informally as part of clinical assessment or with formal interviews. As the heart of behavioural assessments, this includes a series of questions detailing the how, what, when, where, how much, and how often of behaviours of concern. Our standard advanced clinical assessment includes contextual sensory system and communication observation, and review of a wide range of developmental, physical, environmental, and social factors.
  11. Why bother with behaviour support assessment? Assessment provides understanding of underlying drivers, contexts, and relationships that support behaviours. All behaviour is contextual or ecological. When we know better how behaviour works, we know better how to support people more effectively.
  12. How does an assessment differ from a support plan? In NDIS behaviour support terms, assessment can be captured in a brief 2-3 page report or letter that families can use for future planning or to discuss issues with other agencies, school, or support staff. Letters of this kind are a traditional highly effective communication tool. A behaviour support plan is more focused on objectives to help support positive outcomes and/or to reduce behaviours of concern. For counselling or psychotherapy reports, brief letters or more involved plans can also be drawn up for different purposes. We use these models with NDIS funded clients and with private or corporate clients.
  13. Do we need to get our doctor or nurse or planner to fill in the Referral form? No. Self-referral is sufficient in most cases.
  14. Who fills in the paperwork when clients have a guardian and no family to help them? Where individuals have state appointed guardians and do not have capacity for self-referral, we ask the guardian to ensure that whoever is most appropriate fill out the referral and consent information. This might be a case planner, key worker, or client advocate – the terms are now changing quickly in Australia under NDIS emerging models. Suffice it to say, when we receive the file of information with our referral form clients save up to several hundred dollars because we are not taking our time to pull together relevant documents like clinical letters and case histories.
  15. We find the paperwork challenging – can we get help? Short answer is hopefully yes… We can help clients, we can even fill in paperwork together in person, or while online Skype or telephone. But we must charge for this time which is not wasted because we engage an assessment conversation that helps us to help each client. Even when paperwork is done and presented to us at first meeting, we often must ask many questions for clarification. But ideally, we suggest get the paperwork done before we begin our time on the case – because existing NDIS funding is simply not sufficient to cover all these tasks and we prefer you have your core clinical funding focused on clinical service delivery. We often suggest people get help from family members, family doctor, case worker, DSW, Local Area Coordinator, or others to pull together the necessary documents. We assume that NDIS funding may be available to employ a person to help with these tasks, which are obviously necessary and reasonable support items.
  16. Where will I find the letters, clinical assessments, and case history materials for your referral package? Good question. Nowadays parents of children need to keep a file for each child on hand. When your child has special needs, the file gets thick very fast. As a positive obsessive habit we recommend that young parents need to grab letters from doctors and specialists and keep copies at home in a safe location. State based or other agencies may have in past carried this information for clients with or without families who are under guardianship. People in Australia have often assumed this role sits with a government agency where they were involved in early childhood intervention and/or disability support. No more. In changing NDIS land, who carries the file is problematic. As we are shifting toward individual ownership of information and service choice, for people without family local NGOs may become the custodians of this information. The long and short answer is that to access high quality relevant clinical assessment and support, having case files and histories are best practice. But when files are lost or not available, assessment and treatment is based on what information is presented in the here and now.

Use our contact form below or email directly to abilitytherapyspecialists@gmail.com.

Consent to our Disclosure, Terms and Conditions is necessary for service provision. Thank you.

We are now open to referrals. Please let your friends, family, and networks know. Thank you for your support and kindness. We very much appreciate your assistance. We often build relationships with our clients over many years and welcome you to our circles.

Below please find are our Consent and Referral forms. If you need help doing these forms we can help fill them in during our first appointment, no problem at all.

If you wish to save your time and money please fill them in and send to us via email attachment or bring to your face to face appointment. We can also print these out for you and fill in during our first session.

Clients can fill in the forms personally. No need for a doctor’s referral. Please note that self-referral is sufficient unless you wish your doctor or other specialist to provide information or when they offer to help you fill in the information.

Clients sign the forms yourself please. For people with guardianship or under aged individuals, parent or guardian or appointed person signs the forms.

People who see us face-to-face in Armidale or in our region can also get these forms from us directly or bring them completed or with questions to discuss at our meeting.

ATS Consent Form 2-8-17 Word .doc

ATS Consent Form 2-8-17 PDF

ATS Referral Form 2-8-2017 Word .doc (Self referral is adequate)

ATS Referral Form 2-8-2017 PDF (Self referral is adequate)

Last update 2-8-17

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