Outdoors or On-Line

Our counselling approach is not what you would normally find in other settings.   We are unashamedly different because we understand that not everyone wants to sit in a strange room with a person they have just met, to share their precious stories.

If you would prefer to sit in a park under a tree, in the comfort of your own backyard, or do a ‘walk and talk’ session in your safe nature place, then our approach may be a refreshing and welcome change.  There is a growing body of research showing that simply being in nature has a positive effect on your physical, social, emotional and mental wellbeing.

You can read more about How We Work using our integrative therapeutic approach incorporating eco-therapy, narrative therapy and art therapy.  Lucy is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with the Australian Association of Social Workers,  a member of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs and Nature and Wellbeing Australia.  She has a current Working With Children Check (No. WWC1564166E).

For more information about what an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker can do for you, download this brochure.

Who will benefit from this therapeutic approach?

This approach may fit for you, if you are:

  • Seeking relief from chronic stress
  • Healing from the effects of trauma including domestic or family violence
  • Living with the effects of ‘depression’, ‘anxiety’ or (insert your own name for a mental health concern)
  • Suffering from physical pain, recovering from illness or surgery or adjusting to life with a disability
  • Healing from grief or loss
  • Experiencing a life transition or difficulties in relationships
  • Worried about the future of our earth or environmental concerns
  • Wary of traditional talk therapies in an office setting
  • Prefer spaciousness and room to breathe, rather than containment of four walls
  • Seeking therapeutic support in a relaxing, natural setting where there is no pressure to eye-ball the counsellor
  • Open to developing a stronger connection to the earth and using nature as co-therapist
  • Open to using art materials to explore stories, thoughts and feelings where communication is tricky
  • Open to exploring multi-layered stories of strength, resilience and resistance as your preferred picture of the future

Who do you work with?

Most of my experience has been working with Aboriginal children, young people, women and families.  I have also worked with men and am willing to negotiate a framework of working that will feel comfortable and safe for both of us.  I have also provided counselling services to people from other cultural backgrounds.

For more than a decade, I have worked therapeutically incorporating nature in various forms.  Ranging from culturally-safe counselling under trees; to group work using nature metaphors, art and storytelling; to family healing bush camps in remote Australia.

What about safety and privacy?

Working therapeutically outdoors can present different challenges such as bad weather, maintaining confidentiality where members of the public may be walking through, and health and safety concerns in the natural environment.  We take extra care to assess for hazards, minimize risks and to protect your privacy as much as possible.  Sometimes a change in the weather can turn into a learning experience or opportunity for working through ‘edges’.  Nature sometimes works that way.  However, there is also an option to reschedule if this would be more comfortable for you.

If being outdoors is not your thing, we can arrange to meet in an office-based setting in your community.

Where does counselling happen?

We offer outreach counselling services in the Nambucca Valley and Kempsey regions and can use a variety of natural settings to meet.  You can nominate your preferred safe place in nature or we can suggest a suitable location near you.  We also offer sessions in the comfort and safety of your own backyard or an office based setting in the community.  Alternatively, we offer on-line counselling so you can dial in from your preferred meeting place at a time that suits you.

How much does it cost?

There are a number of options depending on your financial situation and other circumstances.

If you have a Mental Health Plan you may be eligible for a Medicare Rebate.  Bulk bill counselling is available for one hour outreach appointments provided in Nambucca Heads, Macksville or Bowraville.  There will be a gap fee for appointments longer than one hour or where travel is involved (Kempsey region).  To access this service, please see instructions below.

If you have a Health Care Card or are experiencing financial distress, you may be eligible for free counselling through the Healthy Minds program at the North Coast Primary Health Network.  To check eligibility criteria and access this service, please see instructions below.

For private clients, fees are $100 per hour, payable on the same day of service for residents of Macksville, Bowraville and Nambucca Heads.  Where extra travel is involved we charge $120 per hour.   We accept cash, direct deposit or credit card (processing fee applies of $1 plus 2% applies).  The first counselling session will include a discussion about estimated financial costs, over an agreed treatment time frame.

If in doubt, please contact us to discuss your circumstances.

How do I receive services under Medicare?

Under Medicare’s Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative, patients can receive up to 10 sessions of Focused Psychological Services per calendar year from an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker.  Your GP will initially recommend a course of treatment of up to 6 services.  After this time, we will send a short report back to your GP for review.  Further courses of treatment can be recommended and obtained with another GP referral.

To qualify for a Medicare rebate for counselling services:

  1. Make an appointment to see your GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist
  2. Take this brochure with you and ask your GP for a mental health care plan and a referral letter to our service, or
  3. If you are being referred by your psychiatrist or paediatrician, just ask for a referral letter.
  4. Contact us to make an appointment.

How do I receive free counselling under Healthy Minds?

Healthy Minds is a free counselling service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, and who are unable to afford their own private practitioner.   We provide services under this program to people who either have an Australian Government Health Care Card or currently experiencing financial distress, and fit into one of the following priority groups:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (ATSI)
  • People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD)
  • Children up to the age of 12 experiencing or at risk of developing an emotional or behavioural disorder
  • Homelessness or people at risk of becoming homeless

If eligible you may receive up to 12 counselling sessions, usually of one hour duration.

To access this service:

  1. Print out this Referral Form and take it to your GP.
  2. Speak to your GP about your preference for accessing outreach counselling from Lucy Van Sambeek.
  3. Ensure you sign the Consent form on the back page.
  4. Your GP will fill out the form and send it to the Primary Health Network.

Our Policies

Download our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.

Download our Complaints and Feedback Policy.  Download our Complaints and Feedback Form.

Download our Cancellation Policy.

Can I talk to you first?

Yes.  Feel free to give me a call to discuss your needs or eligibility on 0417 927 657 or email via our Contact page.

I look forward to seeing you soon in nature.

Lucy