FAQ

This page contains my brief responses to frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me.


Q: Which services do you provide?

I provide:

  • counselling & psychotherapy for one person
  • relationship counselling for partners and metamours, including D/s relationships
  • family therapy (however you define family)
  • psychotherapy workshops & groups
  • professional advocacy services
  • clinical education, professional development, supervision, & consultancy
  • tutoring for students of psychology, statistics, health, & related disciplines

Q: Where do you practice?

To meet the accessibility needs of a wide range of people, I offer these services:

  • In person in Melbourne, Victoria & Sydney, Australia
  • By secure Zoom videoconferencing worldwide
  • By phone worldwide
  • By text chat worldwide

As I am primarily based in Melbourne, I see people for regular in-person sessions in Murrumbeena in Melbourne, Victoria. I also provide a limited number of first sessions for one or more people and short-term relationship and family therapy intensives at Imanadari Counselling on Wattle St in Ultimo, in Sydney, NSW. Following the first session in person in Sydney, I am available for ongoing sessions by distance only.

You can make an appointment to see me:

  • in Murrumbeena in Melbourne, Victoria on Poath Rd approximately 450 metres from the Hughesdale train station, with a stop for several bus lines directly in front of the building. This location is near the Monash Freeway. Free all day parking nearby if you are driving.
  • in Carlton in Melbourne, on either Drummond St or Grotton St near the Melbourne CBD. (Please note that I have limited availability in the Carlton location.)
  • in Ultimo, NSW on Wattle St (close to the Sydney CBD), about 5 mins drive, 15-17 mins walk, or 10 mins bus ride from Central Station(Please note that I have limited availability in the Ultimo location) .
  • anywhere in the world by secure videoconferencing, phone, and text chat for people who are unable to come in person or who prefer to come to me from home or another location. Your accessibility and comfort are my priorities.

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Accessibility statement:

Murrumbeena office:

My Murrumbeena office has an entry option that is accessible for people using wheelchairs. The sink, kitchen, and comfortable reception area, and one office are located on the ground floor. There is a single-stall, all-gender toilet with shower and space to change clothes located upstairs.

My Murrumbeena office is located approximately 450 metres from the Hughesdale train station. The office is also accessible by the 625, 701, and 767 bus routes. Free 2 hour parking is available on Poath Rd directly in front of and near the office. Free parking is also available in Chadstone Shopping Mall and on nearby streets.

Ultimo office:

My Ultimo office has an entry option that is accessible for people using wheelchairs with prior notice and will have full wheelchair accessibility without notice in the future. Three all-gender toilets, one single-stall wheelchair-accessible toilet and two multi-stall toilets, one with urinals, on our office floor. We have a drawer for menstruation-related supplies for people of any gender located in our office.  Comfortable, secure waiting room with sofas. Private waiting room option available. No regular receptionist.

In addition to being located close to Central Station, my Wattle, Ultimo office is accessible by the 412, 428, 433, and 440 bus routes. Free 2 hour parking is available in Broadway Shopping Centre and on streets near Wattle St. Street address provided on booking.

There are lots of places where you can get lunch, coffee, tea, juice, smoothies, or a snack. There are also vegan, gluten-free, kosher-certified, and halal-certified options available nearby. Ask me for details if needed. Food prices range in the area range from discount supermarket to luxury restaurant and everything in between.


Q: Which issues are the focus of your practice?

I support people of all ages, cultures, faith/beliefs, and backgrounds with a variety of concerns across your life.

In particular, I provide respectful & knowledgeable care for people, partners, & families with:

  • Asexual & aromantic experiences
  • Asylum, migrant, &/or refugee experience
  • Autistic/Aspie (Aspergers) neurodiversity
  • BDSM/consensual kink
  • Bereavement, death, & dying
  • Bisexual/queer/pan identity, exclusion, & invisibility
  • Chronic pain, complex health conditions, & long-term illness
  • Conservative faith/belief traditions & strict religious observance
  • Disability labels and/or impairments
  • Eating & food issues
  • Experience of homelessness, poverty, rough sleeping, &/or having ‘no fixed address’
  • Intersex embodiment
  • Otherkin selves & experiences
  • Polyamory/consensual non-monogamies
  • Sadness, loss, & grief
  • Sex work experiences
  • Spiritual & metaphysical experiences (including African-Caribbean belief systems)
  • Substance addiction, recovery,lapse/relapse prevention, & post-re/lapse recovery
  • Surgical decision-making & psychosocial after-care plans
  • Trans and/or non-binary experience or identity (including support letters for HRT & surgeries)
  • Trauma (including assault, complex and developmental trauma, medical abuse, neglect, partner/family violence, & torture)
  • Voice hearing
 
I offer specialised Relationship & Family Therapy for people who are:
  • BDSM/consensual kink practitioners &/or involved in D/s relationships
  • Mixed Autistic/Aspie & allistic (non-Aspie) partners
  • Mixed mono & polyamorous/multi-partnered partners
  • Polyamorous &/or consensually non-monogamous/multi-partnered
  • Religiously observant &/or living in strict religious/faith communities
  • Same-gender (LGBQ) partners
  • Asexual/ace spectrum partners

As a professional, I am:

  • Knowledgeable about intersex embodiment, trans and/or non-binary experience or identity, disability, LGBQ sexualities, same-gender relationships, D/s relationships, consensually non-monogamous & polyamorous/multi-partnered relationships and families, BDSM and consensual power exchange, Autism/Aspergers neurodiversity and relational styles, sex work, asexual/ace spectrum experience or identity, furries, and Otherkin.

(as defined by the NCSF definitions of friendly, aware, and knowledgeable)


Q: What is your professional philosophy?

My practice uses a non-pathologising, person-directed, and polycultural approach to counselling and psychotherapy informed by social justice principles. To find out more about what this means and how I apply these values in practice, visit About.


 Q: Which methods do you use?

I have experience using some conventional talk therapy methods such as solution-focused therapy (SFT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), the Gestalt Empty Chair technique, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), and internal family systems therapy. I also use techniques from art therapy, narrative therapy, systemic Family Therapy, wilderness therapy, Forum Theatre, psychodrama, and additional therapeutic methods. As a polycultural psychotherapist, I can also use techniques and methods that were designed by and for people from cultures and faith/belief systems from around the world, in order to provide a culturally safe and culturally appropriate match for you.

In addition to using conventional talk therapy methods, I might design and facilitate a memorial ceremony to help a father mourn the loss of his child or use dance and movement to help a woman of trans experience to feel triumph in expressing herself. I might use therapeutic breathing and sound to help a person with chronic pain to achieve comfort and wellbeing. I might use metaphoric cards designed by clinical psychologists, when assisting family members to gain insight into their communication patterns or when helping a person who has experienced violent trauma to explore events that may be difficult to share. These are only a few examples. Creativity and flexibility are vital to responsive therapeutic services.


Q: Why do you use methods beyond talk therapy?

As an experienced counsellor overseas, I learned that despite the many benefits of talk therapy, sometimes words can only go so far. We know from scientific evidence that much of how we communicate with each other happens without talking or words. As the Sufi mystic and poet Rumi said,

“words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.”

Some people have limited vocabulary or experience vocal and/or speech impairment. Some people find it too painful or challenging to give literal descriptions of distressing events or circumstances in their lives. There is healing in ways beyond words, in touch, sound, movement, ceremony, and song. Particularly in the field of trauma, both current research and many cultural traditions around the world use movement and body-based methods for healing and recovery. Using methods beyond talk therapy is also part of my commitment to inclusive and polycultural practice.

Evidence shows that the therapeutic method itself has far less impact on whether people achieve their therapeutic goals than the strength of the professional relationship they have with their therapist. Whichever methods we use in our work together, I will be a supportive professional in our therapeutic relationship.


Q: How do you select the right methods for each person?

My method selection process is both evidence-based and deeply intuitive, with my professional decisions tailored to fit each person’s universe and experiences. For people who come to me when they are not experiencing immediate crisis, I spend the first 1-3 sessions gathering a comprehensive and holistic history of their psychological, social, relationship, family, communal, spiritual, medical, legal, educational, and employment experiences. I can then determine which next steps are appropriate.


 Q: What are your professional experiences and qualifications?

I have been providing direct psychosocial support to people since my first position as a peer counselor over 20 years ago. In 2001, my first full time position after graduating from university was as a Bilingual Psychiatric Rehabilitation Caseworker and Appointed Human Rights Officer to a supported housing team for people with psychiatric diagnoses. Most of the people whose cases I managed had been diagnosed with psychiatric labels such as ‘schizophrenia’, ‘major depressive disorder’, ‘bipolar disorder’, and ‘borderline personality disorder’.

I learned quickly that these people were so much more than just a disorder label and that all of the people with whom I worked had strengths, resilience, and inner resources that had been neglected by their mental health providers. Most were on so many medications that they had to take additional medications just to manage the severe effects of their psychiatric medications; some were even being prescribed medications that were contraindicated– that is, medications that pharmacology texts caution should never be prescribed together.

In one case, an elder who had been a respected religious leader had daily ‘schizophrenic’ episodes recorded by other staff. When I observed him, I soon discovered that these ‘episodes’ were not psychiatric episodes at all, but that he was observing his daily religious prayer times in a way that was normative in his culture. Staff misunderstood his behaviour, because they could not see past his psychiatric label. This experience and many similar experiences taught me the value of listening to people’s own ways of sharing their stories and the dangers of over-reliance on diagnostic labels. Since then, my years of experience working in hospital, clinic, and community-based settings have deepened my understanding of how to provide respectful support for people dealing with serious symptoms and challenges.

Q: Which formal degree credentials do you have?

  • PhD Psychology (Surrey)
  • MSc Social Psychology (Surrey). Grade: Distinction
  • Master of Counselling (Monash)
  • BA (Hons) International & Cross-Cultural Health with Media & African Studies (Hampshire)

Q: Which additional training do you have?

  • 2011-2012 Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching. University of Surrey Centre for Educational & Academic Development (CEAD)
  • 2011-2012 Certificate in International Human Rights & Social Justice. René Cassin Leadership Programme, London, UK
  • Advanced Facilitation Skills (Groups) Certificate. Paediatric Palliative Care, Child Bereavement Charity, Buckinghamshire, UK
  • Foundations in Addiction Counselling  (Drug & Alcohol) Certificate. Drug & Alcohol Treatment Association of RI, USA
  • HIV Testing & Prevention Counselling Certificate. Drug & Alcohol Treatment Association of RI, USA
  • Certificate in The Refugee Council Therapeutic Casework Model. The Refugee Council, London, UK

My formal training spans a broad range of topics and therapeutic methods. I engage in ongoing professional development related to counselling, psychology, and psychotherapy. I am also a Provisional Registrant with the Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

Q: Which relevant professional experience do you have?

  • I have published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in the fields of counselling, Family Therapy, health, medicine, psychology, gerontology, feminism, surgical communication, and research methods. Some of my publications are available from google scholar here.
  • I have provided emotional and psychological support to people on a hospital Accident & Emergency unit.
  • I developed training curricula, screened applicants, and supervised a crisis intervention team in collaboration with a clinical supervisor.
  • Since 2011, I have taught a clinical and counselling psychology course on the Psychology of Sadness to BA/MA Psychology students. This course includes sadness, depression, suicide prevention, death & dying, mourning, and bereavement from psychological, biomedical, economic, and cross-cultural persepctives.
  • I completed a hospital-based Endocrinology Work Shadowing Programme.
  • For over a year, I have been a Work-Appointed Supervisor for counselling support staff working at a non-profit working primarily with families and young people with same-gender loves, trans and/or non-binary gender experiences, and intersex characteristics.
  • I completed 300 hours of supervised counselling placements at:
    • The Gender Centre of NSW, which provides the only trans-specific, state-funded direct services to people of trans and/or non-binary experience
    • The Drug & Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre (DAMEC), which is the only multicultural-specific alcohol and other drug counselling service in Australia

This is a partial list. I am happy to discuss further details relevant to the specific issues you wish to address in our professional work together. I encourage you to ask any questions you need about my training, skills, and experience in order for you to feel safe and secure in our work together.


Q: With whom do you work?

I work with people from all walks of life and backgrounds. I have training in working with individuals, partners, families, small groups, and larger groups.

My practice currently accepts bookings for:

  • one person psychotherapy or counselling for adults and young people
  • relationship counselling for you, your partners, and anyone in your polycule
  • families with people of any age, however you define family (will book an external space for families with more than 8 people)
  • communities of any size, including schools, religious congregations, and workplaces

Q: Which hours do you work?

I provide regular sessions on Sundays through Thursdays. A limited number of Friday morning sessions may also be available. My secure videoconferencing, phone, and text sessions are available to people with any schedule in any time zone around the world.

My range of possible practice operating hours in Melbourne/Sydney, Australia time are:

  • 6 am to 11:30 pm Sundays through Thursdays
  • 6 am to 3 pm on Fridays

This means that people coming to me for professional services may receive email or text messages from me during any these hours. You might also receive automated email and text reminder messages sent from my booking system outside of these hours. Except when previously agreed, phone calls will be returned after 8 am on weekdays, after 10 am on Sundays, and before 9 pm on Sundays through Thursdays.

My practice is closed between 3 pm on Fridays and 6 am on Sundays in Melbourne/Sydney time.

If you are coming to me from outside of Melbourne/Sydney, Australia, then I may be available at other times in your local time zone.

We can talk about which time and location best meet your accessibility and comfort needs.


Q: How much do you charge for psychotherapy sessions?

For social justice reasons, I set my full rates below the industry standard. My rates vary depending on the session length, the number of people involved, the type of service you require, and whether you qualify for a financial hardship rate. I also run some psychotherapy groups at lower rates per person. My Income Equity Rates Table provides my standard fee structure based on income.

In addition to the fees listed in my Income Equity Rates Table, I offer a limited number of discounted slots for people experiencing severe financial hardship. If you have financial hardship that would make my Income Equity Rate unaffordable for you, please contact me directly to discuss your needs.

I also reserve a few ‘pro bono’ (free) sessions available on a first come, first served basis for people seeking asylum in Australia and people with both no income and no recourse to public funds. All pro bono slots are currently filled.


Q: Are any rebates available for your services?

MediBank Private: Eligible MediBank Private members may be entitled to a benefit for Counselling with me. Not all MediBank Private products pay benefits for Counselling (Item Number: BOCN). Due to Australian privacy legislation, it is your responsibility to contact MediBank Private directly on your own behalf regarding your plan entitlements and to share this information with me.

NDIS: I am a Registered Provider of Therapeutic Supports with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This means you may be able to use NDIS funding to cover my services as a Counsellor under Therapeutic Supports, including Individual Counselling (Support Item Reference Number: 15_043_0128_1_3).

This item is described by the NDIS as:

“Facilitating self-knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources on a one to one basis” where the provider will “assist participants to work towards their personal goals and gain greater insight into their lives”.

Under this Scheme, there would be no gap payment (you would not pay from your personal funds at all), as the standard allocated fee of $152.95 would come from your NDIS funding for each Individual Counselling session in which you participate. You would decide how many sessions of counselling you want your funding to cover for this support item at the planning stage.

When you see me for counselling under this scheme, you may come as frequently or as infrequently as you and I together decide is appropriate to address your goals and existing mental health needs. Sessions will be 50-90 minutes long, depending on your funding package, comfort, and accessibility needs. We can work together in person at my offices in Melbourne or Sydney, or we can work together by distance via a combination of phone, Zoom video, and/or text chat. The NDIS is designed to meet your needs, so I will work with you to find what feels right for you.

Actions to take next-

  • Email or call me to have a chat about whether I would be a good fit for you to hire me as a member of your support team. You can ask me lots of questions or just chat with me to see whether you feel we would work well together.

  • Info your support coordinator, or NDIS contact, might want from me:

    Yosef Gavriel Levi ANSARA

    NDIS Provider Registration #4050035621

    Practice address available on request to your support coordinator

    Fax #02 5524 7071

    • As an NDIS Registered Counsellor, I am unable to assist you until you have allocated funds for Therapeutic Supports within your plan. Let me know once you are registered with the NDIS, and when you have allocated funds for Therapeutic Supports.  Contact me to let me know the following information: how your NDIS plan is being managed (by yourself, by a third party agency, or by the NDIS), your participant number, and your NDIS plan dates (that way I can find you on the system if you are managing your plan through the NDIS). Feel free to ask your support coordinator (if you have one) to contact me for information if you prefer.

    • We will then coordinate how and when to meet for the Individual Counselling sessions funded under this scheme.

    • Contact me to arrange an appointment.


    Q: Why does each session have ten minutes set aside?

    It is established, widespread practice in counselling and psychotherapy to set aside ten minutes in a standard therapeutic hour to cover scheduling and basic record-keeping.


    Q: Which professional advocacy services do you offer?

    I have 20 years of experience providing advocacy services to help people who experience discrimination, access barriers, or exclusion in health and social care, educational, legal, and community settings. My professional advocacy services include but are not limited to:

    • Attending meetings with your GP, psychiatrist, and/or additional healthcare providers to explain your needs and advocate for your wishes
    • Communicating with your employer, university, and/or school on your behalf
    • Accompanying you to court proceedings or immigration interviews
    • Accompanying you during administrative tasks such as changing the administrative ‘sex’ marker on your identity documents
    • Writing formal letters and documentation to assist you at work and elsewhere

    Q: How much do you charge for professional advocacy?

    For people who are already coming to me for psychotherapy services, I may offer a discounted rate on my professional advocacy services where appropriate depending on the comprehensive care plan we develop together.

    From 1 November 2018, my GST-inclusive full rates for professional advocacy services are:

    • $49.50 AUD per advocacy letter or document up to 2 pages in length
    • $66 AUD per advocacy phone call or videoconference up to 30 minutes
    • $82.50 AUD per advocacy meeting in person up to 30 minutes (plus travel time and expenses)
    • $132 AUD per advocacy meeting in person 31 to 60 minutes (plus travel time and expenses)

     Q: How do I make an appointment?

    You can make an online booking with me on the contact page of this website or by contacting me directly at gavi at ansarapsychotherapy.com (substituting the ‘@’ symbol in place of the word ‘at’).


    Q: What if I need to cancel?

    Sometimes, despite your best efforts, life can be unpredictable and chaotic. I understand how hard it can be to attend appointments when you are stressed out or ill. When you are unable to use your scheduled appointment, someone else who wanted that slot might not be able to get the services they need. For this reason, I have a strict cancellation policy. You can cancel your appointment in advance by emailing me directly at gavi at ansarapsychotherapy.com (substituting the ‘@’ symbol in place of the word ‘at’).

    Cancellation policy for self-funded sessions:

    • Cancellation 48 hours before your session: full fees refunded with no cancellation fee for distance sessions, room booking fees may apply for in-person sessions
    • Cancellation 24 hours before your session: 50% cancellation fee
    • No show or cancellation with under 24 hours of notice: Full fees charged, no refund

    Please make sure to reschedule or cancel as soon as possible to avoid cancellation fees.

    Cancellation policy for NDIS and MediBank Private rebated sessions:

    If you are using NDIS or MediBank Private rebates for our sessions, please refer to your plan to determine the applicable cancellation policy. NDIS sessions will typically require full payment for services unless you have provided 24 hours’ advance notice of cancellation.