The Role of College Psychologists at St Joseph’s College

The College Psychologists apply their psychological and educational expertise to support students to achieve academic success, psychological health, and social and emotional wellbeing. To achieve these outcomes, the activities that the College Psychologists engage in are diverse and include counselling, consultation, assessment, implementation of prevention and intervention programs, referral processes, evaluation and the management of critical incidents. The College Psychologists also provide information and psychoeducation to student populations, school staff, departmental staff, parents/guardians and external stakeholders.

The College Psychologists endeavour to work in a consultative, resourceful and supportive manner with parents/guardians, teachers, school administrators and external health service providers. The College Psychologists always work with the primary purpose of achieving the best outcome for students.

St Joseph’s College employs two full-time psychologists, Clare McMahon (Team Leader) and Monica Bignold. Counselling is available during normal school hours and takes place in designated private rooms in the College’s main building.

Referral Pathways

Students may self refer via email to or drop in to the counselling rooms. Following a referral the student will be seen as soon as possible.

It is the responsibility of the College Psychologist to determine whether or not a young person is capable of understanding and possesses the ability to give informed consent to receive the services of the College Psychologist. There is no specified age at which a young person is deemed capable of giving informed consent. At St Joseph’s College any student under the age of 15 requires parental consent prior to providing psychological services. However, if there is a concern for the immediate safety or wellbeing of a student, then the College Psychologist must act in the student’s best interest, which may override any need for parental consent prior to treatment if the student is under the age of 15. If this is the case consent will be sought as soon as practically possible.

Parents are welcome to contact the Counselling Department directly (via email, phone or in person) and request counselling for their son. If necessary parents are required to complete the appropriate consent form. Consent forms are located on the iLearn Wellbeing page under the mental health tab.

Parents should also be informed that, where possible, the College Psychologist will endeavour to involve the parents in their child’s psychological interventions, but only with the prior consent of the student. This depends on whether the College Psychologist has first ascertained whether or not the young person has the maturity and ability to give informed consent before engaging their psychological services. 

Staff referrals are made through the student’s Boarding Coordinator or Academic Coordinator. The Boarding or Academic Coordinator phones, emails or talks in the person the College Psychologist to discuss the referral. 


All counselling sessions are confidential, with the only exceptions being if there is a risk of harm to the student or another person, or if a subpoena is served. However, a request to the court may be sought for the information not to be released if there is concern for any potential impact on the student.

Storage of Files

The counselling files are owned by St Joseph’s College and are kept on the school premises in a locked cabinet. The files are confidential and only accessible to the College Psychologists. Information is also stored on Synergetic software and is only accessible by the College Psychologists and the Deputy Headmaster. By law, client records must be retained for a minimum of seven years after a minor has reached maturity (e.g. 18 years plus seven) unless there is a legal requirement that directs otherwise. The College Psychologist’s files are accessible under legal processes by subpoena or through statutory obligations.

Advice for Parents and Guardians

The College Psychologists have prepared information and advice on how parents can best help their son settle into life at Joeys. Visit Settling in at Joeys.

Most people are a little nervous about counselling and it can sometimes feel intimidating. The College Psychologist is aware of this and will spend the first session getting to know the student and answering his questions.


For further information please contact: