Does Therapy Work?

Research shows that therapy is extremely effective. For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can work as well as medication for treating depression (and in some cases can provide more long-term positive effects compared to medication). Therapy can enhance happiness, increase self-esteem and increase performance, with many seeking therapy to improve general wellbeing. Therapy can be effective for many psychological disorders and has been shown to increase family functioning, increase positive self-esteem in children and provide individuals with valuable life-long skills.

What are the differences between a Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, and a Counsellor?

A Psychiatrist has a medical background having completed a Bachelor of Medicine and post-graduate training in psychiatry. They have a biological focus on human pathology and subsequent treatment through medication (this is a generalisation however). This is a nationally regulated profession.

A Clinical Psychologist has a Bachelor of Psychology of equivalent followed by post-graduate training in mental health with a focus on the psychological and social aspects mental health and the subsequent treatment is based on this psychosocial model. These professionals are not trained as Medical practitioners and hence are not trained or authorized to administered medications. However, in some western countries there are recent changes that see these professionals undertaking additional studies to provide them with the knowledge, skills and abilities to engage effectively in treatment using medications. This is a nationally regulated profession.

A Counsellor works with people struggling with more general problems, e.g., divorce, loss and grief, where there is a relatively less psychological distress and suffering than a pure mental health problem. In Australia anyone can called themselves a counsellor. Thus, this is not a nationally regulated profession. There are organisations in Australia that are making great efforts to regulate their profession such as the Australian Counselling Association which also has strict criteria for membership and a formal code of conduct.

How can I pay?

At the end of each session you can pay with cash of EFTPOS. The full fee needs to be paid and then the rebate can be claimed back by taking the receipt into Medicare (if you are using the rebate system).

How do I book, change, or cancel a session?

To book or change a session time call 02-49529777 . Sessions times can be changed and cancelled up to 24 hours in advance. If we receive less than 24 hours notice of a change or cancellation 50% of the full session fee will be changed and an invoice sent to your address that day (sorry but Medicare Rebates don not apply to missed appointments).

Who can benefit?

Many individuals seek therapy, from families and young children, adolescents managing adjustment through to business executives struggling with financial pressures. Psychologists help to provide a space for learning about the true self, finding avenues out of struggles and developing skills to move forward. Through providing the Medicare rebate the Australian Government now acknowledge the important role psychologists play in helping people develop strong, resilient mental well being.

What happens in the first session?

The first session takes the form of an assessment discussions, formal/semi formal interview and may include standardised questionnaires that to focus on the underlying symptoms rather than the presenting problems. This session also may allow the client and psychologist the opportunity to discuss treatment options and goals for treatment. Previous assessments, reports etc are very important at this stage of the process so copies of these should be presented for consideration in the assessment, formulation and treatment options.

For NDIS clients the first session includes the development of a NDIS Service Agreement and discussion around participant rights under the NDIS Commission. A Service Booking is also progressed.

What happens during subsequent sessions?

I work from a combined biological, psychological and social perspective. This means that each person can be viewed as a complex whole and their thoughts, feelings, and actions and physiology and so on all interact. As a long-term practitioner of meditation, I also include the Buddhist-based mindfulness into my work which provides a rich source of alternative perspectives on challenges and problems at they arise in the moment. However the focus is on your needs and wishes, and this is paramount to effective therapeutic outcomes.

How long does therapy take?

In a one-on-one setting each sessions takes approximately 50 minutes. The number of the sessions varies depending of the complexity of the presenting and underlying problems. Many of the depression and anxiety CBT programs that I use usually have good outcomes at about the 6-8 session mark. With angry children and adolescent sometimes it only needs a few sessions with both the child and the parents to make significant gains. With more significant mental health issues such as using CBT to treat aspects of schizophrenia, Bipolar or Autism many more sessions are indicated. For many of these problems, Medicare provide additional rebates.

What is your policy on confidentiality?

My policy is strictly based on that of the Australian Psychological Society and the state Registration Boards. For GP Medicare referrals, reports at the 1, 6, and 12 session are forwarded. All information remains strictly confidential unless you or someone else is at risk of harm. Being a mandatory reporter under the Department of Community Services legislation also means that when a child has suffered or is at risk of abuse or neglect than a report is made. I will also inform you of the times that I feel conditions of confidentially arise. All clinical notes and related records are kept in a secure compartment in the clinic with access restricted to authorized clinical and practice support personnel.