"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea"

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Lifeboat Stories - Counselling

Boats are built for adventure and so are you! Are you prepared to leave the safety of the harbour (or comfort of the cave)?

Do you want to be adventurous and go to the next level? If so, Lifeboat is for you!

At Lifeboat we create environments to help you to thrive, not just survive. We give you the tools you need to step out of your comfort zone and see change. We aim to develop self-awareness, holistic wellbeing and personal resilience.
It will help you to leave the safety of the harbour and navigate through day-to-day challenges.

Lifeboat is not your typical counselling service. The old medical model focused on pathology (such as mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment). The new wellness model focuses more on holistic health (physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing), life skills and supportive communities. A new direction we embrace at Lifeboat.

Dr Paul Whetham

Dr Paul Whetham is a clinical psychologist who has over 30 years' experience in mental health. He is passionate about neuroplasticity and creating novel enriched environments where we thrive through dialogue and discovery.

Previously Director of the Masters in Counselling program at the University of South Australia, he did his PhD research on the burnout and loneliness of church leaders. He also has co-written Psychology textbooks for South Australian and International secondary schools.

We mainly deal with adult and adolescent clients and our specialty areas include:

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Grief and loss

  • Relationship issues and abuse

  • Work and school stress

  • Age and stage turning points

  • Faith, meaning and religion issues

  • Drugs, alcohol and addiction issues

  • Mental health disorders

We also uphold the empowering principles below:

  • Clients have choice and can change if they choose

  • Share the helping process with clients

  • Help clients see counselling as work sessions

  • Help clients become better problem-solvers in their lives

  • Become a resource person to clients


Payment Options

Clients who have a Mental Health Care Plan from their GP receive up to 10x50 minute consults per calendar year. There will be an additional gap to pay in addition to the rebate.

Full fee:

$205 ($76.60 gap)

Concession fee:

$150 ($21.60 gap for Health Care Card or Full Pension holders)

Payment is payable on the day and the rebate can be processed immediately.

If claiming under private health cover, you will need to contact your specific provider about the rebate payable.

NB, It is not possible to claim under Medicare and then claim on private health for the gap.

Make an Appointment

Please contact Lifeboat on 0417 477 772 to make an appointment.

For immediate 24 hour support ring Lifeline 131 14 or the Mental Health Crisis Line 131 465.


How do I receive the Medicare rebate?

You first need to visit your General Practitioner (GP) and explain your mental health concerns and obtain a referral. It is polite to book a longer consultation with your GP so that they have adequate time to develop a care plan with you. Your GP will generate a “Mental Health Care Plan”, which entitles you to Medicare Rebates. All you need to do is bring this referral and Medicare card to your first consultation. You can obtain 6 rebated sessions on your first referral and another 4 rebated sessions on your second referral (called a 'review'). Under normal circumstances you can be rebated up to 10 sessions in a calendar year. It is not a problem if you cannot get a referral from your GP before the first session. It just means you will not get Medicare Rebates for those sessions prior to the referral.

Can I still see a psychologist without a referral?

Yes. You are welcome to attend any time without a referral. You only need a referral if you wish to claim Medicare rebates. Many clients do not use Medicare but prefer to pay the full fee or use Private Health rebates.

What if I’m late or miss an appointment?

We aim to be on time and ensure that all appointment times run to schedule. For this reason, if a client runs late the full fee and scheduled appointment time will be kept the same and extra time cannot be given. We do appreciate that circumstances may require appointments to be rescheduled. If you need to cancel an appointment it is important to give us a minimum of 24 hours notice. Lifeboat reserves the right to charge clients the $50 fee for non attendance where appointments are missed with less than 24 hours notice. This fee will be the responsibility of the client and not other paying parties.

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

There are a number of important differences between these two types of mental health professionals. The first is that Psychologists have completed university studies in the understanding of human behaviour, emotion and thought, whereas Psychiatrists have an undergraduate qualification in Medicine. The second difference is that Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications whereas Psychologists are not licensed to do so. Psychologists treat mental health issues with thought and behavioural techniques, such as thought analysis and restructuring, life skills training, education, lifestyle adjustment, exercise, goal setting, problem-solving and making positive environmental changes. Psychiatrists are particularly helpful when medications are required, such as with psychotic disorders, bipolar disorders or when the presenting illness has organic pathologies, for example, in cases of dementia or acquired brain injury.

Should I take medication for my concern?

Previous scientific evidence indicated that medication is a front-line treatment with a few specific mental illnesses. For example, Bipolar Disorder and the varying types of psychoses are best treated with medication. For other more common mental health issues, such as clinical anxiety and depression, medication can also help to stabilise mood and bring about change – in the short to medium term. However, it is important to appreciate that the choice of medication versus therapy is not mutually exclusive. Just because you may be already taking medication does not mean you would not benefit from therapy.

Indeed, the latest neuroplasticity research now cautions against the use of medications and instead supports the importance of enriched environments and talking therapies as front-line treatment:
“To effectively address mental illness, neural pathways need to shift. This capacity of the brain to change has been demonstrated with enriched environments – of which talking therapies are an important part. The role of therapeutic relationships in changing neural connectivity and reshaping higher neural connections is indeed in line with Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel’s prediction in 1998 – the dawn of a ‘remarkable scientific revolution’ that will change the paradigm of understanding the brain for the 21st century”. – Pieter Rosouw