Below, I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions that clients or potential clients ask about my services and approach. It is normal and encouraged for clients to ask many questions when choosing to work with a psychologist. Here are some answers to the questions I receive the most. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please get in touch.
Do you offer concession rates?
Yes, for health card holders I do offer daytime appointments at lower rates. Please discuss this with me when making your appointment.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
The main differences are around education and training, therapeutic models, the prescription of medicines and working with the different types of illnesses that people may have.
A psychologist studies human behaviour in both their undergraduate degree, and during their postgraduate training. During their years of further study they must do extensive research on their specialty area. It is this focus on research and the applications of the clinical outcomes that most distinguishes psychologist from other mental health providers.
Psychologists do not prescribe medications. They use other effective treatments to manage common psychological problems and to help people realise their potential.
A psychiatrist studies medicine and then goes on to specialise in mental illness.
Psychiatrists are often involved more in assessment of mental illness and the pharmacological management of it. For example, psychiatrists often prescribe medications such as mood stabilisers or anti- depressants to affect a chemical change in the brain.
Psychiatrists are often more involved in seeing people in acute states of mental illness such as during periods of psychosis.
How many counselling sessions will I need ?
This is such an individual and unique process. It depends greatly on the types of issues that you are presenting with. If you attend with a Medicare referral you are likely to be eligible for 6-10 sessions. You may choose to access more sessions. I am adept at providing both short term therapy and I welcome clients who are interested in medium to longer term counselling.
How long does each therapy session take?
Sessions are usually 50 minutes long. However, some assessments may require longer sessions. I would let you know if you required a longer session.
Are my sessions confidential?
In general, the content of your sessions will remain strictly confidential. Psychologists are bound by the legal requirements of the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 and follow strict guidelines for professional conduct that include confidentiality. Any information disclosed to your psychologist in sessions remains confidential. The bounds of confidentiality will be explained in your first session and I follow the guidelines outlined in the Australia Psychological Society Code of Ethics.
The only time I would release information is if I am subpoenaed by a court or if failure to disclose specific information places you or another person at serious risk of harm. However, in the first instance, I would always discuss a potential breach of confidentiality with you. There might be an occasion where you ask me to provide feedback to a medical professional (e.g. your doctor), or in some situations I may be required to provide feedback to your doctor (e.g. if you have a Medicare referral) in this situation, I would require you to sign an authority to release information to that person.
Couples Counselling - common questions
Q: I really want my partner to come but he/she won’t?
A: I suggest that you come to a session on your own first. Sometimes the time and space to discuss the issues with an unbiased professional and find some new strategies for change can really help. From this first appointment you can then decide if you want to continue on your own or try a new approach with your partner.
Q: My partner is so dominating, I’m worried I won’t get a chance to speak?
A: I am experienced at dealing with all sorts of relationship dynamics and have the skills to structure the session so
both parties can be heard equally.
Q: I’m coming because my partner wants me to, but I’m worried that my partner and the psychologist will gang up on me?
A: I am trained to be neutral, unbiased, and independent and hold both parties in equal regard. Each party will have a chance to feel heard and understood and will be offered the opportunity to explore their deepest worries and fears.
Adolescent Counselling - Something doesn't seem right, should my teenager see a psychologist?
A: If you suspect that your adolescent may be struggling with emotional or behavioural problems, or needs help coping with a difficult life event, it is important to trust your gut instinct and discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Just like adults, adolescents are affected by major life changes, and the stress from those experiences might lead to problems with behaviour, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning.
Your adolescent may benefit from seeing a psychologist if they have experienced or are experiencing any of the following (this is a guide only and a psychologist can help with many other issues):
learning or attention problems
behavioural problems (such as excessive anger, eating problems, sexualised behaviour)
sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events
stress related to study or exams
feeling stuck and unable to reach their potential
the victim of bullying or the perpetrator of bulling
grief from the loss of a family member or friend
parental absence (e.g due to military service or FIFO work) or adjustment when the parent returns home
serious, acute, or chronic illness
sadness, tearfulness, or depressive periods