Psychosocial Support & Counselling

Mandala Staff Support provides specialist psychological and psychosocial support services to humanitarian aid and development workers and their organisations, both in Australia and internationally.

Our core psychosocial support services are offered across all assignment phases and comprise:

Psychological assessment and screening for assignment

Psychological assessment and screening can assist organisations to recruit and select suitable personnel for assignments or registers. It enables organisations to appraise the competencies of an individual and their suitability and preparedness for a particular role. Assessments are conducted by registered psychologists and usually comprise both online psychological surveys and a psychosocial interview. A short summary report and list of recommendations is provided to the organisation.

Factors that may be assessed in psychological assessment and screening include:

  • Prior exposure to assignment stressors
  • Anticipated stress responses to assignment stressors
  • Current levels of stress fitness and resilience
  • General mental health status
  • Personal health and wellbeing habits
  • Cognitive and emotional style and personality
  • Cultural interactional style
  • Problem solving capacity

For more information or to request an appointment, please download and this form: Psychological Assessment and Screening Request Form

Pre-assignment psychosocial briefing and preparation

Psychosocial briefing and preparation interviews can assist assignees to identify their individual self-care needs and work towards mitigating psychosocial risks. These services can be accessed at the pre-deployment stage of an assignment or when an assignee is considering extending an assignment. They can also be combined with the psychological testing and screening service. A practical summary report is provided to the deploying organisation following completion of the briefing and preparation interview and an assignment self-care plan is devised in consultation with the assignee.


On-assignment psychological counselling

Mandala provides specialist psychological counselling and support services for nationally and internationally-based staff and volunteers. Our psychologists have specialised training and experience in working with humanitarian and emergency workers and volunteers. Types of counselling include:

  • Emergency response debriefing and counselling
  • Trauma-focused counselling
  • Critical incident and crisis support counselling
  • Adjustment and coping support

Face-to-face counselling is offered at our consulting rooms in Fitzroy and Brunswick, Melbourne. Counselling is also available via telephone or Skype to Australia or internationally-based staff.

Factors that are commonly discussed in counselling sessions include:

  • Response to a crisis or disaster
  • Field-related stress and organisational factors
  • Long-term cumulative stress and vicarious trauma
  • Anxiety, depression and grief issues
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Vicarious and secondary trauma
  • Family and relationship dynamics


Post-assignment psychosocial debriefing

The period following an assignment can be one of the most challenging stages for assignees. Following an assignment, the following re-entry and reintegration support services are offered:

  • Post-assignment debriefing and counselling to support re-entry
  • Longer term re-integration support


Vocational counselling and mentoring

Many individuals return from their first humanitarian or community development assignment with drastically adjusted worldviews, ambitions and career aspirations. Our vocational counsellors can help you work through your vocational goals and map a pathway toward a fulfilling career.


Coaching and supervision

We offer coaching, mentoring and supervision sessions to provide managers with practical advice and strategies for supporting staff.


All these support services can be tailored and incorporated into organisational recruitment and staff care programs or delivered on an as-needs basis to individuals or teams. They are also available to independent aid workers (i.e. those not sponsored by an organisation).

Our core staff team is based in Melbourne, Australia. We can provide services onsite for Melbourne-based organisations or at our consulting rooms in Carlton (140 Princes St) and Fitzroy (468 Brunswick St).

We also offer many services via phone or Skype for interstate or international organisations and field-based staff and volunteers.

All our psychosocial support services are delivered by registered psychologists with specialised knowledge of the humanitarian sector. Our approach is informed by principles of systematic psychosocial support—we acknowledge the diverse and changing psychosocial risks (or stressors) that aid workers face at different stages of the assignment cycle and tailor our response strategies and recommendations to support the needs of the individual in the context of the system that surrounds them.

Read more about our approach.

Psychosocial assignment support: group debriefing

Book an Appointment

To make an appointment or to enquire about any of our psychosocial support services, please contact us.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (+61 3) 9005 0808

If you are a manager requesting an appointment for a staff member or volunteer, please download and complete the appropriate form: