Do you need a diagnosis to see a psychologist?
No. Everyone can benefit from therapy, regardless of your current state in life. You do not need to be in a crisis in order to professionally address your mental health. Routinely checking in with a therapist or counsellor is a good way to maintain a healthy mind. Everyone struggles to cope with challenging thoughts and feelings sometimes. There are some negative stigmas surrounding therapy, mental illness, emotions and vulnerability. But the truth is that working with a therapist can greatly improve your mental health. Ingrid believes that open and real conversations can spark hope and healing, and help us to feel less alone in this often ‘messy’ business of being a human being.
How long does each therapy session take?
Therapy sessions are between 50 and 60 minutes. If you would like a shorter session or additional time then this can be negotiated.
How long will I need to see a Psychologist for?
This depends on your presenting concerns, the complexity of your situation and any risk factors.
Some people come to see a psychologist to develop coping strategies to reduce or manage symptoms of mental illness. This type of work can be short to medium term, but might also involve checking in less frequently over the longer-term to deal with setbacks or prevent relapse.
Other people come to therapy to understand long-standing patterns (such as relationship issues) that stem from experiences during their childhood, or to receive ongoing support. This type of work tends to happen over an extended period of time, although again, this is dependent on client preferences. As you work with your psychologist over the first three to four sessions you will develop a plan with them to give you a better idea of what to expect.
Generally, patients attend weekly to fortnightly and then over a period of time, the gap between sessions lengthen.
It is recommended to book 4 or 5 appointments in advance to secure the session times and frequency between sessions that best suit you.
What should I expect from my first session?
Firstly, you will be asked to complete some forms with basic personal information and a consent form that cover issues such as confidentiality, fees and other important information about sessions.
* If you have completed these forms online prior to the session, this will save time during your initial appointment. Please click on the links in your Welcome Email which you would have received after you booked your initial appointment.
The remainder of the session is usually spent discussing the issues that have brought you into therapy. As well as developing a thorough understanding of your concerns, your psychologist will explore relevant background history, for example, information about your family, social relationships, work history and any past counselling that you have done. Based on this information we will begin to help you to understand more about what might be triggering and maintaining your current issues. If time allows we will also work with you to develop a collaborative and flexible plan for future therapy sessions.
Sometimes people are worried about what to say but rest assured your psychologist will know what questions to ask to get the relevant information to help you.
There is no “typical” therapy session as there are different methods of treatment for different problems.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists have completed 6 six years of training with at least 4 of those at University. They must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia which ensures that they follow high standards of ethics and meet ongoing professional development requirements. Psychologists work in a variety of settings and may focus in different areas including counselling, mental health and assessment. Psychologists are not able to prescribe medication.
Psychologists assist people with everyday concerns such as stress and relationship difficulties, as well as mental health issues. Psychologists use “talk therapies” to help people to develop skills to cope with difficulties and to prevent on-going issues. There are a large number of research studies supporting the effectiveness of psychological therapy.
Ingrid has tertiary qualifications in psychology and she holds registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA). In order to maintain registration, Ingrid continues to undertake professional development, ensuring she is able to provide you with the best and latest treatment approaches. Ingrid holds membership with the Australian Association of Psychologists inc.
Psychiatrists have completed a medical degree and further training and study related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists specialise in the medical treatment of mental illness and can prescribe medication. Some psychiatrists combine medication with therapy.
What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychologist?
Counsellors can come from a broad range of training and backgrounds. Currently in Australia the term “counsellor” is not protected. This means that anyone can refer to themselves as a counsellor. Having said this many counsellors have undertaken training and education in educational settings, ranging from a Diploma up to a Masters degree. An organisation called the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) has also been set up to protect the standards and ethical training of the counselling profession.
How does confidentiality work with a psychologist?
All information that you disclose in your session with a psychologist is confidential. There are two exceptions to this rule. The first exception is if you are at risk of harm to yourself or someone else and the second exception is in relation to court orders. If either of these situations become relevant your psychologist will discuss this with you.
There can be lots of questions that come up when you’re trying to make a decision about whether to see a psychologist. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
What is a Mental Health Care Plan?
A Mental Health Care Plan is developed in conjunction with your GP assessing your mental health. After doing an assessment your GP will make a plan for you which may include a referral to a psychologist under the Better Access initiative. This is a Government initiative to enable people living with mental health problems to obtain more affordable treatment from psychologists via Medicare rebates. To obtain a Mental Health Care Plan you will need to book a long appointment with your GP to discuss your concerns and determine whether counselling is the best treatment plan for you. Better Access is for diagnosable disorders such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, mood disorders, eating disorders and addictions. People with a Mental Health Care Plan are eligible for Medicare rebates for up to 10 sessions per calendar year with a Psychologist, as well as 10 group therapy sessions. The current Medicare rebate for a standard 50 minute session with a psychologist is $89.65. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan then please call us to discuss it or consult your Doctor.