All the Answers You Seek, In One Place
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED TO SEE A PSYCHOLOGIST?
All sorts of people consult with psychologists over a range of different issues. Most people who see a psychologist are generally successful people who may be troubled by feelings, behaviours, thoughts or concerns that currently prevent them from functioning to their full capacity or from feeling happy and fulfilled in their lives.
Life changes, new events or circumstances, and changes in relationships or work often trigger difficulties that can be troubling. Alternatively, some people may have been struggling with difficult feelings or behaviours over a long period of time, and decide that it is time to get some help. Sometimes people have an inexplicable feeling of sadness or pain that they cannot get through and need help to understand the source of these feelings in order to become unstuck.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I SEE A PSYCHOLOGIST?
It is understandable if you feel uncomfortable or anxious when talking to a new person about sensitive personal information. My goal is to take a relaxed and supportive approach to assist you to feel comfortable to share your concerns. I have an open and collaborative approach in working with you to address your difficulties. In a first session, I will talk with you to gain a full picture of your current concerns and circumstances, and any related factors and history. You may be asked to complete one or more questionnaires to assess your situation. I will also explain how I work and establish some guidelines for our sessions together (such as frequency of sessions, fees, confidentiality etc). There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have.
DO I NEED A REFERRAL?
Offically, no you don't need a specific referral to come and see a Psychologist. However, if you want to access rebates back from medicare, DVA or workcover you will need a referral from your Doctor. I do think it's always a good idea to have a chat to your Doctor and let them know how you are feeling as your mental health can certainly impact your physical health. To find out more information on rebates available - see the "fees and rebates" page of this website.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED THERAPY?
When you start seeing a psychologist it is helpful to have sessions close together as you begin to address issues. For this reason I like to schedule weekly sessions while we are actively working together. These sessions may be spread out to fortnightly meetings and become less frequent as positive changes have been experienced and the need for sessions is reduced. This allows time to consolidate changes on your own while also staying connected to your psychologist to review your progress and attend to any further issues that may have arisen.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PSYCHOLOGIST AND A COUNSELLOR/ PSYCHOTHERAPIST/ LIFE COACH?
Psychologists have a minimum of six years training and are required to be registered with the Austalian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency. Psychologists practice according to a Code of Ethics outlined by the Australian Psychological Society. This Code of Ethics sets out standards of professional conduct for psychologists, to ensure that patients are receiving a high level of professional care. Psychologists are also required to remain current in their field and complete a minimum 30 hours of psychological training every year.
In Australia, counsellors, psychotherapists, and life coaches are not regulated by a specific government body. This means that anyone can call themselves a counsellor,life coach or psychotherapist whether or not they have undertaken professional training in treating mental health issues. If you are planning to see a counsellor, psychotherapist or life coach, it is wise to enquire about their qualifications, the professional organisations to which they belong, and whether they practice according to a code of professional ethics.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PSYCHOLOGIST AND A PSYCHIATRIST?
Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in the area of mental health, and often refer to each other. There are some significant differences between the two professions with each having their own area of expertise and skills.
Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who have gone on to specialise in the field of psychiatry. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications to treat mental illness (such as antidepressant medication for patients who have been diagnosed with depression).
Psychologists have at least six years of training in the field of psychological treatments for mental health issues. Psychologists use treatments (sometimes called "talking therapies") that are focused on improving a person’s mental health without medication. There is considerable evidence indicating that psychological treatments are effective in assisting individuals with mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression). Many people who consult psychologists indicate that they would like to try psychological approaches to address their problem before looking at taking medication. When needed, psychologists also work in collaboration with GP's or psychiatrists to provide the best possible treatment for their patients (such as when a person may need counselling as well as antidepressant medication).
HOW LONG DOES EACH THERAPY SESSION TAKE?
Sessions are generally 50 minutes long.
DO YOU BULK BILL?
No I do not bulk bill. My service is aimed at providing high quality, evidence based therapy in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. In order to stay current and up to date in the field there are substantial training costs. When you have a session with me, you know that you are benefiting from 20 years of experience and 20 years of training in the field of psychology. The other reason I don't bulk bill is because I like to spend more time with my clients and give them enough time and space to calmly work through their issues, rather than needing to rush and book in lots of clients to cover overheads.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?
Was there something I missed? Please get in contact with me by email or phone and I'll get back to you with an answer. If you have another question - others probably do to! With your help, I'll add it to my page and we can help others in the future.