Psychotherapy and Counselling

Professional Background

Dr Andrew Tootell (PhD) is a Clinical Social Worker registered with the Australian Association of Social Workers and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Bellingen and Macksville. He is also available for phone or skype consultations. He completed a Diploma in Narrative Therapy from the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, where he studied with the late Michael White and a Master of Clinical Science from the University of Adelaide where he studied psychoanalysis with the Adelaide Psychoanalytic Institute. Andrew also holds a doctorate from the Human Development and Counselling Department at Waikato University, New Zealand. He has a long-term interest in exploring the common ground shared between his practice as a social worker, psychotherapist and Zen teacher.


I provide individual psychotherapy to young people and adults. The following are the therapeutic models are draw from in my work:

  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Short-Term Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Internal Family Systems Therapy

My approach to psychotherapy and counselling is premised on the centrality of an authentic human relationship between therapist and client where the client can feel safe, understood and respected as an equal. From this foundation it is then possible to explore the concerns each client brings to the session and tailor therapeutic interventions to the uniqueness of each person. In this sense, therapy is invented anew for each client. When appropriate, I also provide clients with an activity or practice for the periods in-between sessions such as guided meditations or other forms of conscious experiments designed to facilitate enhanced psychological flexibility and integration.

For more information see my cv (pdf, 80kb).

Opening Hours

I am available in Bellingen on Tuesdays, Fridays and alternating Thursdays. I am also available every second Wednesday at 1/3 McKay Street Macksville. My hours are limited to these days so I do not offer a 24/7 crisis service. You can leave a message on my mobile at any time, and I will call you back as soon as I can. Alternatively you can send me a text message and I will call or message you back. My mobile no is 0428 684 446.


My main consulting room is Suite 4/54 Wheatley Street in Bellingen. This building is between the North Bellingen Medical Centre and the Triple B radio station. You can park out on the street or in the car park at the back of the building: you will see the driveway to the car park is directly to the left of the building. Walk in through the front door, past the Sullivan Nicolaides pathology lab and continue to the very back of the building, last door on right. If the door to the waiting room is open please come in and take a seat, I will greet you shortly. If the door is closed, please knock on the door and take a seat in the corridor next to the Osteopath’s room. I will come to get you as soon as I am free.

I also offer an outreach service to the Youth Clinic at “The Hub” on the corner of William and Church Street Bellingen every alternate Thursday afternoon. These sessions are bulk-billed.

Telephone/Skype Counselling Sessions

I am also happy to offer telephone or Skype consultations for those people who live outside of the Bellingen region, including people who may live interstate or overseas. I enjoy counselling on the telephone and find it to be a very effective medium for counselling. Please contact me by email to arrange an appropriate day and time.

Appointment length

A standard appointment is 50 minutes.


  • The standard fee per session is $120.
  • I do accept referrals from Victims Services New South Wales
  • All fees are to be paid at the time of consultation (EFTPOS available).
  • Payments can also be made directly into my bank account or via my PayPal account (see below).
  • Reports and letters to your GP are part of a Mental Health Care Plan are free of charge, and reports for Victims Services are funded by Victims Services.
  • All other letters and reports attract a fee of $75 per page.

Pay via Paypal

Medicare Rebate

If you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP you are eligible for the Medicare rebate. The standard Medicare Rebate for mental health social workers is $74.80. The gap is therefore $45.20. Please bring your referral, your Medicare card and a key card attached to a savings or a cheque account. This way your Medicare rebate can be processed at the time of payment and the refund will be automatically deposited into your account.

*Please note Medicare rebates cannot be deposited into a credit account.

Bulk Billing

I do ask that you pay the gap fee, even if on a Mental Health Care Plan. I do not automatically offer bulk-billing, as I believe a $45 investment is not too much to ask. Bulk-billing can be arranged however if you are experiencing financial hardship or alternatively if the GP has referred you via Healthy Minds (ATAPS). Please speak with me about this during the first session. There are no fees charged if you are referred through Victims Services New South Wales.

Cancellation Policy

If for some reason you cannot make your appointment please ring or text as soon as you can to let me know. If I have some warning then I may be able to allocate the time to another client.

Privacy and Information

As part of providing counselling services I will need to collect and record personal information from you that is relevant to your current situation. This information will be a necessary part of the psychosocial assessment and treatment. The information is retained in order to document what happens during sessions and enables me to provide a relevant and informed mental health service.

Access to Client Information

At any stage you as a client are entitled to access to the information about you kept on file, unless the relevant legislation provides otherwise. You can ask about appropriate forms of access.


All personal information is treated as confidential and kept secure. Apart from communicating with your referring GP or Medical Specialist (providing thank you letters for referrals and update reports), I will not disclose any information about you or your family to any other agency or person without your permission. However there are some limits to this confidentiality. There are situations where legal and professional obligations require mental health social workers to release client information. These are:

  • If the information is subpoenaed by a court
  • Where failing to disclose the information places you or another person at serious risk of harm
  • Child protection concerns
  • If your prior approval has been obtained to provide a written report to another professional or agency, or to discuss material with another person (e.g. a lawyer or an employer), or organisation (e.g. School), or if disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law.

Disclosure to Specific Third Party: Under the Mental Health Care Plan

Under a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan or an ATAPS (Healthy Minds) referral, it is a requirement for mental health social workers to communicate with your referring GP or specialist to provide update reports and address urgent problems. This form of communication (including emails, telephone calls, and/or letters) is a condition of your plan and is provided free of charge.

Get in Touch

Bellingen Zendo

4/54 Wheatley Street, Bellingen

Sawtell Zendo

CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell