Accidental Counsellor

Available for in house team training. Please contact us to discuss dates and details.

Many people find it challenging to engage with a family member, friend, or colleague going through a crisis due to mental health, domestic violence, drug, alcohol, or other issues. Attending the Accidental Counsellor program will teach you the skills to offer support and refer to someone who can help.

Accidental Counsellor Program

This comprehensive program delivered in partnership with Accidental Counsellor Pty Ltd will give participants the confidence and the skills necessary to support someone in their moment of need and to be able to refer them to the most appropriate support.

Accidental Counsellor focuses on the basic skills required to support an individual experiencing or being affected by domestic violence, substance abuse, anger, suicide, or other mental health concerns.

Is this training for you:

Whether your main interactions are with colleagues or students, family, or friends, you will likely come across others struggling with one of the many challenges people face.

One in 5 Australians each year will be diagnosed with a mental illness, and the statistics surrounding domestic and family violence are such that this issue may be viewed as a national emergency.

No matter what is at the heart of another person’s struggles, we are often at a loss as to know how to respond and engage with that person in a compassionate, appropriate, respectful, and empowering way without violating boundaries and potentially creating additional stress.

Accidental Counsellor is aimed at Raising Awareness, Reducing Stigma, and Increasing Safety.

Accidental Counselling Skills/Learning Outcomes:

Participants will learn how to Recognise when another person is in crisis, how to Respond in an appropriate, compassionate, and empowering way and how to Refer for ongoing support.

You will not be expected to be a counsellor but instead will be equipped with the following:

  • a model within which to respond,
  • a unique “CPR for Difficult Conversations,” a framework that assists you in navigating through heightened, emotion-driven conversations to de-escalate and move forward in a positive and empowering way, and
  • the ability to protect yourself, as best as possible, against vicarious stress and trauma by self-debriefing and practicing essential self-care techniques.
Causes of Crisis

These included: mental illness, traumatic events, suicide, stress, and other significant challenges you might encounter.


You are neither encouraged nor expected to be counsellors, but to engage with the person struggling in an effective, ethical, and empathic way and refer to appropriate support.


Essential self-care is to ensure that you are aware of your stress and well-being and of the steps to take to mitigate the risk of being impacted by the trauma of others.

Who should attend?

It is recommended for all university staff who; find themselves as ‘a counsellor by chance’, including People managers and leaders, student-facing staff, and human resources staff.


Are you looking for other Leadership workshops?

You may be interested in the following AHEIA training programs:

Cutty Felton - CEO of Accidental Counsellor Pty Ltd.

Cutty Felton is CEO of Accidental Counsellor Pty Ltd. Cutty delivers various skills-based courses, both face-to-face and via remote delivery, to workplace, industry, and community groups, large and small, across Australia. Studies focusing on assisting those in vulnerable circumstances include Accidental Counsellor, De-Escalating the Agitated Caller, Customers in Crisis – Recognise, Respond, Refer, DFV Aware, Dare to Ask, and various other skills-based courses tailored to meet the needs of her clients.

By profession, Cutty is a qualified Solicitor and has practiced for approximately ten years. Over time, however, she felt the need to contribute more directly to the community. In 2013 she joined Lifeline, initially as a trained volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporter (TCS) on Lifeline’s 13 11 14 services, and subsequently as a trainer, heading up Corporate and Community training for Lifeline h2h for four years.

Cutty developed and produced her own highly acclaimed version of Accidental Counsellor, including a unique ‘5 E’s framework’ for difficult conversations and various workshops focussing on responding to those in vulnerable circumstances.

Cutty’s overarching goal is to raise awareness, reduce stigma and increase safety around issues impacting communities, such as Domestic Violence, Mental Illness, and Suicide. She firmly believes that skills should underpin awareness. The training aims to equip participants to respond to someone in crisis in an appropriate, compassionate, respectful, and empowering way while always within clearly defined boundaries. All courses are tailored specifically to the individual needs of the organisation/group.

The universal applicability of the Recognise, Respond and Refer model upon which her approach has seen Cutty present to an extraordinarily diverse range of clients across multiple industries.

“"I have learnt how to support someone in crisis, gained skills to maintain boundaries, be-non judgemental and ask the hard questions."”

“"Cutty was very engaging, she used examples that can be applied in the workplace to help me to help others."”

“"Very worthwhile training that is useful for everyone particularly those that deal with students."”