Sexual Health Counselling

SHINE SA offers a low/no-cost therapeutic counselling service provided by professional sexual health counsellors to those aged 12 years and above.


What is sexual health counselling at SHINE SA?

Sexual health counsellors at SHINE SA provide a non-judgmental, supportive, and confidential service for you to talk about sexual health related concerns.

It’s about having conversations that can help you, as well as support you, to access information you may need to make your own informed decisions for your health and wellbeing.


What do I have to discuss?

You will only have to discuss what you are comfortable with – there is no pressure to talk about anything you don’t wish to or aren’t ready for.


Who is this service for?

The service is available to individuals, partner/s, and families. Our sexual health counsellors also offer some educational content and can provide advice and referrals on sexual health related concerns. You can come in to see us on your own or with a partner/s or a support person.

Counselling is provided for concerns related to sexual health.

These may include:

  • relationship issues (including mismatched sexual desire, communication, relationship dynamics etc.),
  • sexuality (including body autonomy, body image and confidence, sex education across the lifespan, safer sex practices),
  • vaginismus (otherwise known as Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder; pain with vaginal penetration),
  • orgasm concerns, erectile or ejaculation difficulties,
  • sexuality and/or gender identity (LGBTQIA+),
  • contraceptive and/or pregnancy options (including referral pathway information),
  • termination of pregnancy/post-termination concerns,
  • sexual issues relating to living with a disability or chronic illness (see Disability Services below),
  • living with a sexually transmitted infection or HIV (including education and prevention information),
  • kink/BDSM and alternative lifestyles (provided by Zac Cannell),
  • ethical non-monogamy and different types of relationship dynamics (provided by Zac Cannell),
  • sex addiction and safer pornography use/access.

If you’d like to speak to us about an issue but are unsure or don’t see it listed, call us and we can provide more information.

Our sexual health counsellors can also help refer you to another service or resource if needed.

Clients 25 years old and under:


Clients 26 years old and above:

Concession/Health Care card holders: $25 per session

Non-Concession card holder: $50 per session

Information and education sessions for workers and carers of people living with a disability: Please see Disability Services: Education for workers and carers of people with a disability below.

Note: If costs are a significant barrier please call and speak to our admin team to discuss your options.

A mental health care plan or General Practitioner (GP) referral are NOT required to access the Sexual Health Counselling Service.

We can provide single sessions (this can be negotiated if multiple appointments are requested) with a carer, worker or parent to provide a tailored program for the person/s they are supporting.

Our goal is to build capacity of the key workers/support people for the person/s they are supporting. Through providing carers/workers with the skills to engage with individuals around relationships and sexual health they can provide sustainable and ongoing support.

These sessions have a cost of $150. No referral is required and can be booked via the admin team on 8300 5300.

Free interpreting can be arranged. Please let us know what you require when booking your appointment (for example gender of your interpreter, AusLAN, cultural group etc.).

Sexual health counsellors are available for appointments during business hours of 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday and are located primarily at SHINE SA Woodville and SHINE SA Hyde Street Practice.

There may be a waiting time for appointments as there is often a high demand for counselling. However, some issues are considered a priority, so make sure you let us know it is urgent when you call. Our staff may ask you to give them a very brief amount of information about why you are booking the appointment so they can assess the urgency and arrange a counsellor to contact you quicker if needed.

To make an appointment call 8300 5300.

Appointments can be in-person, via telephone, or using video conference services. Please let our admin know when booking the appointment which you prefer.

For telephone appointments, the counsellor will call you at the booked time. The call may appear from a private telephone number or from 8300 5300.

For video appointments, you will receive a weblink via SMS at the start of your appointment time. Please let admin know if SMS service updates are not appropriate for you and an alternative can be arranged.

A mental health care plan or General Practitioner (GP) referral are NOT required to access the Sexual Health Counselling Service.

Referrals from parents, school counsellors and other workers:

We prefer self-referrals, but referrals may be made from parents/caregivers, other workers, or teachers etc. if the person is requesting and consents to a service. The person must understand the purpose of the counselling appointment and have willingly agreed to the appointment as we are a voluntary service.

Zac Cannell (he/they)

Zac joined the Sexual Health Counselling team and SHINE SA in October 2016. He has experience and interests in trans and gender diverse health care, LGBTIQA+ wellbeing, ethical non-monogomy and alternative relationship dynamics, kink and BDSM, communication and consent practices, erectile and orgasm concerns, sex education across the lifespan, living with HIV or an STI as well as prevention and education, contraceptive and pregnancy options.

In addition to counselling services, Zac is often requested as a speaker and educator on several topics and has presented nationally and internationally.

Zac is a member of the Australian Professional Association for Transgender Health (AusPATH) and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Work, Masters in Mental Health Practice, Licenced Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

Office Days: Monday (SHINE SA Hyde Street Practice), Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

If you are arriving in person, you will enter the reception area and approach the admin desk staff. They will ask if you have an appointment and confirm your name and contact details. If you didn’t do so at the time of booking your appointment, you will be asked to complete a client registration form for the SHINE SA service. You will only have to complete this form once and hand it back to reception who will invite you to take a seat in the waiting area while they let the counsellor know you have arrived.

When the sexual health counsellor invites you into the session (or they call you if by phone/video), they will refer to you by the name you have listed on your registration form (if you have listed a chosen name this is the name that will be used). They will briefly introduce themselves to you and invite you to the counselling room – if you have a support person/s they are welcome to join you too. If someone has accompanied you that you don’t want to come in with you, then you can request to enter the session alone. You can also call ahead and ask our admin/reception staff to note this on the appointment so counselling staff can help you manage this to avoid potential uncomfortable discussions with support people in the waiting area.

Once you enter the counselling room the sexual health counsellor will introduce themselves in more detail and give you information about the SHINE SA service broadly, your rights as a client, what the sexual health counselling service offers. They will also give you an opportunity to ask any questions or concerns about the service before you go into detail about why you are attending. This is also a good time to let the sexual health counsellor know if there is anything that will help you get the most from the appointment. This might include turning lights off, sitting on the floor, having sensory objects, needing a drink etc.

Following the introduction, the sexual health counsellor will ask you what has brought you along to counselling. They may complete a form with you called an Intake Assessment that asks things such as who you live with, what keeps you occupied during the day such as work/study/activities, who your health care providers or other workers may be, any relevant health information, a mental health and safety discussion, and any other details you think may be helpful for us to know in supporting you. The sexual health counsellor will ask you to share what your goals are and what you are hoping coming to counselling will achieve for you. You will then work together to begin creating a plan of what it might look like in addressing those needs and what other resources may helpful too.

As the appointment concludes, the sexual health counsellor will check in with you to ask if there is anything you wish to go over and check back in with and offer a follow up appointment if needed. There may also be some more general chat to help you shift your mindset into heading back out to your day. If you are wanting to book a further appointment, then you will need to head back to the admin team at the reception desk who will help you with this. They will also help you arrange payment if fees are required.

If you have registered a mobile number when you booked your appointment you will get a text message the business day before to confirm your appointment. If you need to cancel your appointment and don’t wish to rebook, reply ‘cancel’. For duty of care reasons, the sexual health counsellor may call you to check in and ensure you don’t need any other supports.

If you wish to reschedule your appointment, please call the admin team on 8300 5300. You can also call and request to change your appointment from in-person to telephone for example if you wish to.

Arriving 20 minutes or later after your appointment time will be deemed to be a non-attendance and your appointment will be rebooked. You may also be charged the fee of your session if it was applicable at the time of booking. Please call ahead if you can’t make your appointment or are running late with as much notice as possible so your appointment time can be offered to someone else if needed. Repeated cancelling or missing of appointments is not acceptable and will impact the ability to book further appointments.

SHINE SA understands that life is unpredictable and things can be complex, please talk to our admin team or your counsellor and we will do our best to help you get the most from your SHINE SA service.

Sometimes the worker you first see is not the right one for you. There can be a lot of reasons for this, and staff don’t take it personally. At SHINE SA we care about you getting the most out of your appointments and encourage you to let us know if something isn’t right so we can do our best to support you.

If you wish to change counsellor you can speak to your current counsellor directly if you feel able, or discuss it with our admin/reception staff, or have a support person do so on your behalf.

All services at SHINE SA are voluntary which means no one can force you to attend. You are welcome to end an appointment at any time before or during your session as well decline further services.

If you wish to provide feedback (positive or negative) or lodge a complaint please see our feedback page.

You can also contact us using the contact form.

At SHINE SA you’ll be treated with respect and receive quality health care at all times. For information about your rights as a client of SHINE SA see Client Rights.

Masks are no longer mandatory in health care settings however, with continual changes in health advice, there may be times where a counsellor is wearing a mask or may ask you to.

If you do not wish to wear a mask when asked or cannot wear a mask, your appointment will be offered to be changed to telephone/video or rescheduled to another time if appropriate.

Please respect the health of staff and other visitors to SHINESA. Aggressive and/or impolite language or behaviour will not be tolerated.

The information you provide to us is voluntary. When you register as a client at SHINE SA your details are entered into a computer system. SHINE SA is bound by the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 and the Children’s Protection Act 1993. This means information about you will not be shared with other agencies or persons unless we are required by law to do so; believe that the disclosure is reasonably necessary to prevent a serious threat to the safety or wellbeing of an individual; or unless you give us permission to do so. Unless those safety concerns prevent this, you will be involved in the decision to release information about you.

If you see more than one of our health workers on a one-to-one basis (such as a sexual health counsellor plus a nurse or doctor), please be aware that all of them will use the same client file. Only workers directly involved with your health care can access your file. This includes services provided by private practitioners at any SHINE SA site.

If you have any questions or concerns about your information and privacy, please speak to the admin staff at the time of booking, or the sexual health counsellor at your appointment.

Ready to book?

For an appointment call 8300 5300