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Elite Athlete Brief Counselling Support Program

The unique challenges of being an elite athlete can test even the greatest of champions. From balancing training with life’s other demands, to managing the pressures of high-level competition, to dealing with the emotional highs and lows of selection or non-selection, it is by no means easy being an elite athlete.

In most cases, counselling services available through National Institute Network (NIN) or national sporting organisation (NSO) Sport Psychology and Personal Excellence programs provide effective and appropriate support. However, in circumstances where available resources or expertise are insufficient, you can access best-fit short-term counselling and psychological services from external practitioners. These referrals will be supported through funds administered by the AIS’ Elite Athlete Brief Counselling Support (EABCS) program.

The EABCS program provides short-term counselling or psychological skill building for performance, mental health/ wellbeing, and career development and transitions for elite athletes.

Note: All requests for funding under this program will be subject to program funding availability.

To be eligible for the EABCS program, you will need to meet one of the following requirements:

  1. You are an identified athlete within the Australia’s Winning Edge 2012-2022 categorisation scheme.
    • Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) ‘shadow’ team
    • Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) ‘shadow’ team
    • Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) ‘shadow’ team
  2. In the six-month period immediately prior to and following an Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, or Commonwealth Games, you are an identified member of one of these groups:

Note: EABCS program funding will also be available in the six months following removal from the Australia’s Winning Edge categorisation scheme.

Funding applications for the EABCS program will be granted if the following criteria have been satisfied:

  1. You meet the eligibility requirements
  2. (i) For psychological services, you have spoken to either your home institute/academy, AIS or NSO psychologist to:
    • determine if service can be accessed within the system
    • clarify the nature of your request so as to target a best-fit referral

    Note: If you are seeking mental health services, it is important to first consult with your GP who may be able to issue you with a mental health care plan. This step also allows your GP to rule out any other issues, and they can help coordinate your psychological care. Funding will align with specifics of your mental health care plan.

    • determine if service can be accessed within the system
    • clarify the nature of your request so as to target a best-fit referral.
  3. (ii) For career development/planning services, you have spoken to either your home institute/academy, AIS or NSO Personal Excellence adviser to:
  4. Qualified support services are identified and matched to address your need(s) and location

Note: If you do not have access to any of the touch points listed above, please contact AIS Performance Psychology or AIS Personal Excellence for assistance. Contact information is listed below.

Your service plan

At your first meeting with the external practitioner, they will determine if a plan for your brief counselling support is necessary. Based on that plan, funding may be approved for up to four one-hour sessions (including the initial session). As part of that process, you will be asked to sign a form by the external practitioner allowing them to release basic information back to the AIS for funding purposes. The AIS will keep this information confidential. If the external practitioner deems additional support is necessary, a further four one-hour sessions may be approved.

Cancellation or non-attendance

 All costs associated with late cancellation or non-attendance at appointments are your responsibility and are subject to the external practitioner’s policies.

Appeals process

If your application request for EABCS is denied, you can lodge an appeal by contacting either AIS Performance Psychology or AIS Personal Excellence as appropriate. Appeals will be treated by all parties in a confidential manner.


Please fill in the options below to submit an application:


To make a self-referral you will need to contact either (face to face or by phone) your home institute, academy, or AIS psychologist, NSO-appointed team psychologist or AIS Personal Excellence adviser to determine if service can be accessed within the system and clarify the nature of your request so as to target a best-fit referral.

Please send through any queries or questions you may have to AIS Performance Psychology at: AIS_Performance_Psychology@ausport.gov.au

  1. The athletes meets the eligibility requirements
  2. The athlete has contacted (face to face or by phone) either their home institute, academy, or AIS psychologist, NSO-appointed team psychologist, or Personal Excellence adviser
  3. Within-system psychological service or counselling is not available
  4. The general scope and area of need is identified to ascertain best-fit referral
  5. Qualified support services are identified and matched to address the need(s) and location of the athlete

Please send through any queries or questions you may have to AIS Performance Psychology at: AIS_Performance_Psychology@ausport.gov.au

Please send through any queries or questions you may have to AIS Performance Psychology at: AIS_Performance_Psychology@ausport.gov.au

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