• Mental
  • Hospitality
  • Community
  • Parramatta


    Location: 153 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150

    Parramatta Mission Counselling Service in Parramatta offers Gambling Help Counselling and Financial Counselling.

    Our Parramatta service is located in a Georgian house which was the premises of the original Tara Girls School in Parramatta. This is our main hub, offering all types of counselling available and an after-hours service. We have been providing counselling out of this office since 1974, previously under the umbrella of Lifeline Western Sydney.

    If you are coming by public transport the office is a 10-minute walk from Parramatta train station and is on various bus routes. For the more adventurous we are also less than a 5-minute walk from the Parramatta ferry terminal. There is limited on-site parking with metered street parking available at the front, if necessary.

    Meet the Team

    Lincoln Poole (Team Leader) started working in the gambling sector part-time for Wesley Mission in 2005. He moved to full-time gambling counsellor for Uniting in 2006 and was with them until 2017 where he took redundancy to pursue teaching in the VET sector.

    Lincoln has qualifications in Theology, Diploma of Gambling Counselling and Post-graduate Diploma in Relationship counselling. In 2007 Lincoln became one of the first gambling counsellor in NSW to be authorised by AHA GameCare to conduct their self-exclusion schemes and worked with ClubsNSW to provide input into the development of the Multi-Venue Self-Exclusion scheme and piloted the system for ClubsNSW which was then rolled out to all other gambling counselling services in the state.

    Lincoln participated in the development of the three gambling units of competency skillset for the RGF. He also delivered the skillset training to gambling counsellors around the state that were employed in Gambling Help services at that time. Lincoln conducted a full review of the Responsible Conduct of Gambling course and redeveloped the training package on behalf of Uniting, for the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (The RGF funding body name at that time) which is still being used today.

    With the expansion of funding for Uniting in 2012 Lincoln took on the role of Coordinator for their gambling services leading a team of therapeutic and financial counsellors on the Central Coast, Campbelltown and Nowra.

    Stepping away from the gambling sector for three years, two years spent of Head Trainer for the Diploma of Counselling for an international college, Lincoln returned to gambling counselling for Parramatta Mission in April 2020 and has been the Team Leader since June 2020.

    Lincoln uses a multi-modal approach to working with problem gamblers with an underpinning Family Systems approach. The multi-modal approach uses other evidence-based modalities such as CBT, Narrative, Motivational Interviews and elements of ACT. Lincoln has used to this approach with successful outcomes by providing one-on-one, couples and family counselling for problem gamblers and the significant others.

    Ilona Santa has a Master of Art Therapy and a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. She volunteered her time for a year as a Lifeline Telephone Counsellor and has 6 months experience working therapeutically in a drug and alcohol detox unit as an art therapist, where she ran art groups and therapeutic relapse prevention psycho-education groups, as well as one on one therapeutic sessions with patients. Ilona started working with Parramatta Mission Counselling Services – formerly known as UCMH Counselling Services/Uniting Care Counselling Services – in a student-placement capacity in 2013 and received full-time employment with the same organisation in 2014 as a Gambling Help Counsellor.

    Over her 7 years of working for Parramatta Mission Counselling Services as a full-time Gambling Help Counsellor she has created and provided psycho-education workshops and presentations on the impacts of gambling for a broad range of services and community groups such as TAFE NSW, Community Corrections, Parent groups, Women’s groups, Men’s groups, and various Allied Health Services. Ilona is an active member in the community, attending events and maintaining professional networks.

    In Ilona’s client-centered work she utilises a CDT-focused framework and draws on a toolbox of other therapeutic modalities such as ACT, CBT, and Motivational Interviewing to provide recovery-oriented support for individuals and their families.

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