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About Counselling at IPC

About Counselling at IPC

We are here for you...

Val Derwent and Jessica McLeod are professionally qualified counsellors with extensive experience in providing a counselling service based on principles of strength and empowerment for all members of the College community. Dannielle and Val support boys and their families, both individually and through support groups. Our counsellors strive to understand, support, encourage and challenge our young men so they can lead happier lives and develop important life skills for personal success.

What is Counselling...

Counselling is a way of helping people to express themselves, deal with problems, learn new skills, and make informed decisions whilst feeling supported. It is built on an honest and caring relationship between the counsellor and the person coming to counselling. Acting as a facilitator, the counsellor helps students to understand feelings, behaviours, relationships with others, situations, choices and decisions. The Counsellor offers a safe, confidential and non-judgmental environment in which students can gain clarity on an issue, receive support, deal with difficult emotions and develop new skills.

Personal counselling includes concerns about bullying, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, relationship issues, self-esteem issues, stress and time management, anger issues, transition to new school, peer pressures and conflict, family concerns, and coping strategies to name a few.

Confidentiality and Consent

Confidentiality is about 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. 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.


Any student, parent, or member of staff may make a referral.  However, we encourage consultation with the student’s Pastoral Leader, if you feel comfortable.  A combination of booked appointments and walk-ins 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.  Whilst we want to help, sometimes we might suggest referral to an external service provider if we don’t have the right expertise or if you would prefer support outside of the school. In these cases, we will help to find you the best fit for your son and your family.

Making Appointments

If you would like to make a time to speak to a counsellor, you can make an appointment in person, or by phoning the College. Alternatively, you can ask a teacher or Pastoral Leader to make an appointment for you. Counselling rooms are located in the Student Services area, adjacent to the Hall.


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 the Emergency Department at the Townsville University Hospital.

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 Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline 13 11 14 

Contact Us

Ms Val Derwent
Student Counsellor
Phone (07) 4796 0222

Ms Jessica Mcleod
Student Counsellor
Phone:(07) 4796 0222


P: (07) 4796 0222

F: (07) 4796 0200

384 Ross River Road,
Cranbrook, Townsville
Queensland, 4814

Acknowledgement of Country Acknowledgement of Country

Acknowledgement of Country Acknowledgement of Country

The Ignatius Park College Community would like to humbly acknowledge the Wulgurukaba peoples on whose land our College is located, as well as the Bindal peoples on whose land many of us live and travel across daily. We respectfully thank the elders of this traditional land both past and present for guiding us through the journey of time to where we are today.