If this is your first time seeing a clinical psychologist, it is normal to have lots of questions. Below are some of the common questions individuals have prior to making an appointment
"Do I need a referral in order to make an appointment?"
No - you are not required to have a referral from a GP. However, if you wish to receive a Medicare rebate, you must be referred with a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP.
"What should I expect at my first appointment?"
The purpose of the first appointment is to simply start discussing whatever issues or concerns you might have. We acknowledge that this might be an uncomfortable, awkward or even anxiety-provoking step to take and so you can expect us to show patience, respect and acceptance. We will listen to your concerns without judgement and offer guidance accordingly.
"How many sessions will I need?"
The number of sessions is an individual thing and will largely depend on your circumstances, how long the problem or difficulty has been occurring for and the goals you have. Some individuals find benefit in as little as one or two sessions, whilst others attend over a longer period of time. We can help you figure this out at your first appointment and will develop a plan that suits you best.
"What is the difference between a registered psychologist, clinical psychologist and counsellor?"
Psychologists are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Agency (AHPRA) and are regulated by the Psychology Board of Australia. Psychologists are highly trained professionals in the area of human behaviour and are able to assess, diagnose and work with individuals in a wide array of settings.
Both registered and clinical psychologists have undergone university training and supervised practice, culminating in six or more years of training. Clinical psychologists have undergone additional training in the form of a Masters or doctoral degree in the area of mental health and clinical or more complex presentations.
Counsellors work in a collaborative way with individuals to enhance wellbeing, work through personal difficulties and give guidance. They undergo a range of training and supervised experience, however this is less easy to define and their practice is not as well-regulated as that of a psychologist. It is possible for almost anyone to refer to themselves as a counsellor or 'psychotherapist'.