FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Psychological Therapy
WHY DO PEOPLE SEE A PSYCHOLOGIST?
People see psychologists for a broad range of reasons, from wanting to learn stress management and communication skills, to dealing with chronic mental health conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder and Eating Disorders.
WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS DO YOU HELP PEOPLE WITH?
As a Clinical Psychologist, I enjoy helping clients learn to manage a variety of mental health problems, including:
· Bipolar affective disorder
· Anxiety disorders (including Generalised Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Specific Phobias, PTSD)
· Eating disorders
· Adjustment Disorders (changes in life situations – e.g., job loss, divorces/separation, retirement, birth of children)
· Grief and loss
· Work stress
· Relationship problems
· Low self-esteem
· Communication problems
WHAT TYPES OF THERAPY DO YOU USE?
A lot of scientific research has been conducted over the last 100+ years which has shown that many different psychotherapy approaches can be helpful for different psychological problems. Some of the evidence-based approaches that I use include:
· Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
· Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
· Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
· Schema-focused Therapy
HOW CAN THERAPY WITH A PSYCHOLOGIST HELP?
· Science has shown that many mental disorders are linked to the activation of negative neural networks in the brain and unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviour, which can lead people to experience anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
· Good news: Science shows that psychotherapy can help train our brain neurons to change the way in which they function, and that by changing our patterns of thought and behaviour we can create healthier neural networks and happier states of mind.
· Psychotherapy can help you to learn to understand your mind and behaviour and to learn new ways of managing stress and relating to yourself and others that reduce distress. It is important to realise that making changes takes time and effort, and that in order to receive a benefit from psychotherapy you will need to put time into practicing new skills and trying different approaches outside of sessions.
HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED TO ATTEND?
The number of sessions that you attend will depend on the type and complexity of the issue(s) that you wish to address. On average, clients will attend between 6 and 12 sessions to address one mental health issue (e.g., Depression, Anxiety). Further sessions may be necessary to address more than one main mental health issue, or if the issue is deeply ingrained (e.g., if it originates from childhood or complex trauma). The number of sessions that you attend will be discussed with you at your first session.
HOW MUCH DOES EACH SESSION COST?
Fees for individual consultations are currently $180 per 50 minute session. (Please note that the standard consultation fee recommended by the Australian Psychological Society is $246 (for 45-60 mins).)
A Medicare rebate of $124.50 per session is available for up to 10 therapy sessions per calendar year for clients who are referred to a clinical psychologist by a GP under a Mental Health Care Plan. Please note that Medicare does not cover assessments or reports. Private health fund member may also be able to claim a rebate from their private health fund. Please check with your health fund.
CAN I BRING SOMEONE ELSE WITH ME TO MY PSYCHOLOGY SESSIONS?
You are welcome to bring a support person with you to your first session, such as a partner or parent, if this makes you feel more comfortable. In general, however, individual therapy sessions will be conducted with you individually.
We ask that you do not bring young children with you to sessions, as their presence in the room can impact on what can be discussed and can reduce your ability to concentrate and benefit fully from the session.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED A REPORT FROM MY PSYCHOLOGIST?
As a Clinical Psychologist, I am qualified to provide diagnostic assessments and reports. If you require a diagnostic assessment for the purpose of a report it is important that you tell me prior to our first appointment. A diagnostic assessment for the purposes of a report can require additional psychological tests and assessment and will usually take 3-4 sessions to complete. If you wish me to write a diagnostic report to anyone other than your referring GP, an additional fee will be charged proportionate to the time that the report takes to write. Please note that Medicare does not provide a rebate for sessions that are for the purpose of diagnostic assessment or reports.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND A PSYCHIATRIST?
In Australia, Clinical Psychologists complete eight years of training in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of major mental illnesses and psychological problems, including a Masters of Clinical Psychology. Through their training, clinical psychologists are qualified to provide expert opinion in clinical and compensation areas and to provide tailored psychological intervention to help individuals to manage mental health problems.
Psychiatrists have completed a medical degree, followed by further specialised training, which enables them to prescribe medication to treat psychological conditions.
Clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medication. Their treatments are based on changing behaviour and emotional responses without medication (although for some mental illnesses, medication is also indicated). There is a considerable amount of evidence showing psychological treatments to be effective on their own, as well as in combination with certain types of medication.