Student Counselling Service

Supporting students to thrive at Notre Dame

Welcome to the Student Counselling Service on the Fremantle campus.

Our purpose is to help students thrive while at Notre Dame. This might include helping you to:

  • Transition to university
  • Stay engaged with your study goals;
  • Manage difficulties affecting your academic and personal progress;
  • Remain mentally well while studying or on placement; and
  • Enjoying your university experience while at Notre Dame.
  • Services

    To help you thrive while studying we provide the following services:

    • Friendly and professional reception services to help you book, reschedule and cancel appointments;
    • Evidence based, short-term and solution focused counselling to help you manage difficulties affecting your study and achieve your academic and personal goals;
    • Information about accessing external agencies when longer term and specialist counselling is required;
    • Phone counselling for Broome students and students on remote placements.
  • Appointments

    • All currently enrolled students can access 6 counselling appointments per semester.
    • Appointments are 50 minutes.
    • Appointments are in person at our office in ND5/100 or by tele-counselling for students studying online only courses, students on remote placement or students self-isolating due to COVID-19.
    • Appointments are usually scheduled fortnightly but at peak times, such as exam periods, you might have to wait longer for follow up appointments so that other students can also access the service in a reasonable time frame.
    • If you DNA the appointment you did not attend will count as part of your 6 available sessions.
    • We appreciate 24 hours’ notice if you are unable to attend a booked appointment so that we allocate the free appointment to another student.
    • Unfortunately clients may not bring their children to counselling appointments unless they are under 1 year old. Please discuss with reception your desire to bring your under 1 year old to an appointment.
    • Appointments can be made at reception on (08) 9433 0580 or
  • Meet our team


    Nicky Hodgson (Counsellor)
    Nicky is a Counsellor and Psychotherapist with seventeen years’ experience having graduated from Notre Dame University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Counselling and Bachelor of Applied Psychology. Nicky has been with Notre Dame Counselling Team since 2007 and brings a diverse range of experience having previously worked in a range of mental health related settings including Drug and Alcohol; Domestic Violence; and Relationship Counselling.

    Prior to her role as a Counsellor, Nicky worked in a variety of occupations including Secretarial; Drafting; and Nursing after spending two years backpacking around Europe doing casual seasonal work.

    Nicky is originally from Zimbabwe, has lived in The Middle East and Borneo, and is still passionate about travel and adventure and the odd life’s challenge, having recently completed the Kakoda Track in Papua New Guinea. Additional Interests include Health and Fitness, Art, Reading, Sport, Camping, Comedy and Social Connection.

    Nicky brings to her work a genuine desire to guide students through difficult times to achieve their true potential through her values of respect and openness (and sometimes humour) and her belief that everyone has the ability to overcome obstacles and self-limiting beliefs to shape their own lives.

    Gillian Dixon (Counsellor/Psychotherapist)
    Gillian is a psychotherapist and counsellor who has been counselling tertiary students for over a decade. Gillian has an undergraduate degree majoring in counselling, a Master of Psychotherapy and Counselling, and is currently working towards a Doctorate of Counselling specialising in mental health issues pertaining to tertiary students. Gillian is a compassionate therapist who values the development of a warm and trusting therapeutic alliance to journey through therapy together. In her spare time Gillian enjoys being a mother to her fun loving young adults. She loves the beach (any day of the year!) and attending live music events.

    Shelley Ranger (Counselling Psychologist)
    Shelley is a Counselling Psychologist who has practised as a registered psychologist for over 8 years. Shelley completed her Masters of Psychology (Counselling Psychology) at Curtin University. Shelley has worked with a range of clients of all ages in in a variety of different settings, including relationship and couples services, women’s domestic violence centre, Employee Assistance Programs, in an acute inpatient mental health service and in various private practices. Shelley has experience working with treating moderate to severe mental health disorders and complex presentations.

    Shelley draws on a range of therapeutic models and works from a client-centred approach, whilst weaving somatic mindfulness into her practice. Shelley approaches her therapeutic work with curiosity. She enjoys collaborating with students to explore areas of their lives that they may be finding challenging or limiting and helping them to recognise their strengths and facilitate the changes they are longing for to thrive both in their lives and at university. Shelley understands that it can sometimes be a journey to find a counsellor whom you feel safe and comfortable with and that it is within this relationship, between the client and the therapist, that it is so important for healing and change to take place.

    Philippa Colgan (Counsellor and Psychotherapist)
    Philippa has strong ties to Notre Dame, as a graduate of the 2015 Master of Counselling cohort and also as a member of the Student Counselling Service since 2017. She works with students to discover more about themselves, in supportive and exploratory ways. She believes in lifelong learning and as such, is a member of the current group of practitioners in the 5-year training programme in psychoanalytic psychotherapy (APPWA).

    Administration Officer

    Hilda Bolmanac
    Hilda manages the services reception services and provides administrative support to our counsellors. Hilda worked as an administrator in the New Zealand education system before joining the counselling team in 2014. Hilda enjoys exploring new walking trails and enjoying the Freo lifestyle. She is also passionate about volunteering and currently volunteers at a local primary school with the Good Start Breakfast Club and with an aged care facility. Hilda values creating a safe and friendly reception and waiting environment for clients where each person is treated with respect and kindness.

  • Location

    ND5/100, P&O Hotel
    (entrance via laneway at 20 Mouat Street)

  • Opening Hours

    9:00am - 4:30pm from Monday to Friday (except for public and university holidays)

  • Counselling appointments

    All information collected in counselling will be kept confidential in the counselling services own database.  The only exceptions to confidentiality are if you are considered at risk of harmingyourself or if required by law;

    Sharing Information
    Consistent with privacy legislation, no client information can be provided to any other person without written consent. In circumstances where it is useful to share information you can choose to sign a Consent to Release Information form giving your permission to share information with a third party.

    Our counsellors are registered Psychologists with the Psychology Board of Australia and/or members if the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia or the Australian Counselling Association.

    We also host Postgraduate Students from other universities completing their final placements with the service. You can choose whether to see a student counsellor or a permanent counsellor.

    Your counsellor will:

    • Listen to your experiences;
    • Establish goals with you to work towards;
    • Help you identify ways to address your concerns and achieve your goals;
    • Introduce you to other on campus and external support services;
    • Help you access external specialist or longer term counselling if required.

    In your appointment your counsellor may:

    • Take notes;
    • Ask you to complete psychological assessments;
    • Invite you to participate in exercises;
    • Ask you to complete tasks during the week;
    • Recommend that you see a specialist external service.
  • Other Counselling Services

    If you would prefer to see an external counsellor, please speak with your GP about a Mental Health Care Plan  and referral to a psychologist or contact one of the Perth services below:

  • Urgent Support

    If you are distressed, feeling unable to cope or are experiencing suicidal thoughts please call reception or come into the office and make an appointment to see a counsellor.

    If a counsellor is not immediately available our reception staff will assist you to:

    • Contact a support person to come and collect you;
    • Attend a local GP practice;
    • Attend the nearest hospital emergency department; or
    • Call emergency services for you.

    24 hour Crisis Support Services

    Other counselling services that may be able to provide appointments in a crisis situation

    • Centrecare + 61 8 9325 6644
    • Relationships Australia +61 8 9336 2114
    • Men's Line + 61 8 9340 1820
    • SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Centre) 1800 199 888
    • Alcohol and Drug Information Service + 61 9442 5000

    What do I do if I feel at risk of being harmed by someone or that someone is at risk of harming others?

    If you are concerned that someone will harm you or others, try and ask someone for help immediately and call the Police 131 444 or 000.

  • Online Resources

    If you’re trying to improve your own mental health, or support somebody else with mental health issues you can use the government Head to Health search engine to find trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options. We have also listed some helpful sites below.

    Healthy Living

    Supporting Your Mates

    Alcohol & Other Drugs

    Healthy Workplaces

    • Heads up (Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance & beyondblue)

    Managing Relationships

    Loss & Grief

    Mental Health & Families



    Anxiety & Panic Disorders


    Eating Disorders



    Anger & Violence

    Learning Disorders



    Deliberate Self-harm


    Internet Safety