Personal Counselling


If the matter is an emergency, please contact 000.

If you suspect a person under the age of 18 years is at risk of harming themselves, please present to Lady Cilento Hospital where the Acute Response Team operates 24 hours or phone CYMHS Acute Response Team 3068 2555

If you suspect a young person is at risk of being abused or neglected, please contact the Child Safety After Hours team on 1800 177 135

If you require crisis support please phone Youthbeyondblue 1300 224 636 or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline 13 11 14 

Tips for Students studying from home

1. Study as per your timetable. No more and no less. This creates clearly defined boundaries so that your brain is not tasked with entertaining the questions of “have I done enough/can I do more” during an already emotionally charged time. Equally, self discipline will be essential if home schooling is to be as long term as predicted. This also ensures a relatively proportioned attribution of time per subject and avoids ‘favourite’ subjects monopolising time.
2. Predict really scary, lonely, or overwhelming times. This is new and the patterns of who you interact with, where and how have been removed. That said, there is no person on the planet who won’t feel the same this week. Acknowledge the feelings and remind yourself they represent normal responses to an abnormal context. Consider phoning a friend, or professional support (listed below) if these feelings increase rather than pass.
3. Allow yourself to enjoy the positives. This is a strange time but that does not mean we cannot given ourselves permission to enjoy the positives no matter how tough things might be in your environment right now. It’s ok not to miss the hot walk to the train and instead kick a ball in the yard or read a book during your regular commute time. It’s ok to worry about a family member but at the same time feel relief that you are well. It’s important we enjoy what is good now and allow competing feelings to coexist.
4. Return as refreshed as you can. By balancing school work and mental wellbeing you will return in the best head space possible to address whatever catch up there may or may not be. There will be challenges for everyone in the months to come so returning refreshed and appreciative of the things you never knew to miss will be a strength.
5. Focus on today. Two weeks ago, we never expected to be where we are today. We could exhaust our minds thinking of all the various options that might play out with regards to schooling. Control what you can for today. “Bank” today as your best effort for now. If you are unwell, your best effort is doing what is needed to recover (rest, nutrition and medical intervention if appropriate). If you are well, your best effort is doing what you can to stay calm and engage with some work during scheduled lesson time. Now is not the time for extreme responses – either avoidance nor overly focused on any one aspect of your life. Your body requires some exercise (move from that table), your mind requires some stimulation (gaming does not count though relaxation is important just as you would ordinarily), your wellbeing requires some connection to others (talk to others in your house just as you would friends at lunch or message friends after school), your emotions require some understanding (noticing when you are relaxed/worried/sad is a great start).
6. Ask for help. Whether that be a teacher or for mental wellbeing. Remember that everyone is working in unfamiliar landscapes and so replies might take longer but we cannot know where to assist if we don’t know where the concerns lie.
Student (Remote) well being support: HeadspaceKids Helpline and Youth Beyond Blue offer fabulous online resources
Parent Covid-19 specific: Australian Psychological Society InformationWorld Health Organisation Information 

Parental Tips - Monitoring Students at Home

Did you see your child working online?

If the door is closed and the device is not in view, then a student is operating under conditions more relaxed than they would in class.  For many adolescents, the temptation to access preferred activities (you tube, gaming) is too great for this level of trust.  Screen addiction is now recognised by the WHO and there needs to be limits around this during a protracted period away from face-to-face classes.

Do you have proof that your child was working online? 

Let them know that you will be regularly spot checking subjects to see evidence of work.  The knowledge you are checking in randomly might be enough to get them on task.  Once every night is ideal (pick any of their scheduled subjects from the day) but work as best you can within your capacity.  Any check beats no check. 

Do you need help easing the mental load? 

There are a wealth of apps that give parents back control.  A list of filters exist here and whilst we do not recommend one over the other, we are happy to let you know what staff use themselves if you just need a quick answer:

Do you need to know more about managing technology? 

Esafety commissioner is a great place to start but our IT Department can assist with specific questions related to the school issued device:

Contact a St James Counsellor

The Personal Counsellor at St James College is Shannon O'Gorman.

If you would like to make an appointment, find out more information about counselling services or to discuss any particular concerns, please contact:

Shannon O'Gorman

Phone: (07) 3230 8663

Guidance & Counselling

Guidance and counselling staff aim to provide students, families and staff with the guidance and support they need to lead healthy, fulfilling, productive and responsible lives. We strive to meet the educational, emotional, career, social and spiritual needs of our students. We offer an environment of understanding, support, encouragement and challenge as we assist students to achieve their educational, personal and vocational goals. Guidance services are available to all members of the school community, especially at risk students and students with special needs and their families.

What is Counselling?

A way of helping people make decisions, manage problems, change thoughts, feelings and behaviours, set goals, receive support and take responsibility for their own lives. Counselling works best when we can work together so effective counselling is built on a supportive and caring relationship between the counsellor and the person coming to counselling.


We do our best to provide you with the best possible counselling. We promise to keep you fully informed about approaches, methods and strategies used to help you reach your goals. We welcome questions and feedback about any aspect of the counselling process. While we want to help, in some cases a counsellor may not have the expertise you need or be the right counsellor for you. If that is the case, we will assist with a referral to another professional.

Confidentiality and Consent...

Not telling others what you tell a counsellor. However, there are limits. Counsellors cannot keep conversations confidential if a person is a danger to themselves or others. Also, counsellors are professionally and morally obliged to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Finally, the Court may institute proceedings that might result in a sharing of information.  In all instances the Counsellor would seek to inform you of the need to breach your confidentiality if time and safety concerns permit.

The school counsellor will always strive to work closely with parents.  This might include: informing you that a referral has been made or session held, requesting that you provide consent to share information with external mental health providers or family based interviews (see below).  However, in some instances an older adolescent may request that their parent is not informed of the referral/engagement and depending on the factors at play, this request may be respected.

Services offered at St James

  • Individual and group counselling about academic, social, behavioural, family and personal issues
  • Family therapy sessions
  • Anger Management group program
  • Educational, and behavioural assessment
  • Parent and teacher consultation regarding student needs
  • Classroom visits and support
  • Liaison with external providers inclusive of: private practitioners (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist/Social Worker/Psychologist); Child and Youth Mental Health Service; Headspace; Queensland Survivors of Torture and Trauma
  • Staff child protection training and point of contact
  • Policy consultation
  • Referrals

Appointments & Referrals

Any student, parent, or member of staff may make a referral.  However, we encourage consultation with the student’s Homeroom Teacher or House Dean prior, if you feel comfortable.  A combination of booked appointments and walkins are managed during school hours inclusive of break times.  Common reasons for student referral include: mood concerns impacting upon classroom engagement (e.g. anxiety and depression); challenging behaviours, or a theme of poor behavioural choices; support with repairing peer relationships.  In addition, a family therapy service is offered.  This approach seeks to support parent/carers to address concerns relating (but not limited to) general adolescent defiance in the home environment, oppositionality to attend to homework tasks, school refusal, addictions – including excessive screen usage, parenting skills

Submit a referral online using the Counselling Referral Form  

Information Sheets

For more information, click to download the PDF documents below:

 Publications arising from clinical practice at St James College