About The Practice & Sessions
Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?
No, you do not need a referral to see a psychologist.
However, if you’ve been referred with a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan you can claim back part of the session fees through Medicare.
What should I expect in the first session?
Your initial appointment will take between 50 and 60 minutes. Being the initial session, it is natural to feel a little anxious. However, it is important that you feel over all safe and heard in the session.
Psychologist will introduce herself and explain about various "house keeping matters" in regards to the practice (eg length of session, confidentiality, etc ). You will have the opportunity to ask questions about the practice. We will also be discussing about frequency of sessions etc.
Psychologist will listen to your concerns and reasons for referral or coming to the session. Psychologist will also ask questions to help understand the nature of your concerns and what you want to gain from coming to counselling/psychotherapy. The information discussed at your initial appointment will help us tailor a plan to meet your needs.
It is typically only after your first appointment that change-orientated therapy actually begins. Even then, the process of information gathering continues as you and your psychologist get to know each other.
If you’ve had treatment in the past and haven’t found it effective, we can work together to understand what factors might be preventing you from achieving change.
It is strongly recommended that you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the first session to fill in client detail forms and other forms/questionnaires.
You will be asked to provide some feedback in regards to the session at the end.
How regularly do I need to attend the sessions?
Where therapy is offered on an ongoing basis, it is important for you to attend regularly for the treatment to be effective.
Therapy cannot usually be continued if you find regular attendance difficult to manage. Generally if 3 sessions are missed over a month, it would be considered that insufficient regularity is occurring and that this may not be the best time for you to make use of treatment. We would recommend that you terminate therapy and re-apply when your personal circumstances make more regular attendance possible. You have the right to terminate services at any time.
How can therapy help?
Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can be very healing, in and of itself. It provides opportunities to voice your worries, reflect or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind.
However, talk therapy is not just “talking about your problems”; it is also working toward what you want to gain from coming to therapy. It can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members. But sometimes, we need help that the people around us aren’t able to provide. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Psychologists are professionally-trained people who can help you identify thought and behavioural patterns, help you to gain different perspectives, overcome emotional barriers, and work with you to help you make changes in your life.
Thus, therapy can help to alleviate distress, find new ways of responding to events or relating to others, or to change behaviours. But, in order to gain its benefits, it’s important to choose the psychologist who feels right for you—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you.
Furthermore, a psychologist can help you to change and be more self-aware. But your psychologist cannot do the work for you. In order to make the most of your sessions, we need an active participant. For instance, sometimes you and your psychologist will hit the nail on the head, and at other times you will engage in a process of trial and error, or "guided discovery" and "hypothesis testing", which is an important part of therapy in itself. Thus, it is important that you provide feedback to your psychologist and actively participate in directing the change you hope to gain in your life.
What should I expect from therapy?
Some people experience severe emotional difficulties for a long period of time. Psychologists can help to manage or alleviate some of these difficult emotional experiences. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, concerns for their children, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as a divorce.
In general, there are two main levels on which therapy can work to improve your life. One is at the level of symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, stress, anger, or problematic behaviours, among others. Therapy can help to alleviate these distresses so that they impact less on you and your life.
Another level is that of underlying enduring beliefs and life patterns, which are often longstanding and deeply held. Needless to say the processes operating at this level interact in important ways with symptoms. These deeper underlying themes and processes may also play themselves out in other areas of your life, for instance, in relationships, self-esteem or in your general approach to the world.
The goals that you set yourself for therapy will determine which level you may wish to or need to work on. It is useful to be aware of your goals in this regard, and to discuss them with your psychologist.
Also, different people look for a different balance of therapy elements at different times. Some people are very keen to learn tools and skills for change, while others need more space for reflection and exploration. Some people like their therapy to be organised and structured, whereas others prefer a process that is more organic. In the early stages of therapy, your therapist works hard to understand what approaches to therapy are likely to best resonate with you and your needs. An important part of this is your participation and feedback.
How many sessions will I need?
How many sessions you’ll need will depend on the nature and complexity of your difficulties, the amount of effort you dedicate to bring about change, and the changes you want to achieve. On average, people attend between 8 to 12 sessions: simpler issues may take only 2 or 3 sessions, while more complex issues may require longer term work.
You might see your psychologist more often at the beginning of treatment, and later, as you manage to ride the changes, you might need less frequent appointments.