Can a Clinical Psychologist help me?

People can and often do work through problems themselves or, with the support of family and friends, but sometimes people need help from someone with specialised skills and training. It may be helpful to talk with a professional especially if your sadness, worry/anxiety or stress seems to be persisting.

What can Clinical Psychologists help with?

Clinical Psychologists are trained to assess and treat a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties in children, adolescents and adults. With adults, Clinical Psychologists treat the following areas of difficulties:

  • Mood – depression, persistent low mood/sadness
  • Anxiety – worry, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, specific phobias, post-traumatic stress
  • Stress management – work and personal life, life direction
  • Low self-esteem and confidence
  • Grief, loss and bereavement
  • Relationship difficulties (please note that we do not provide couples therapy)
  • Adjustment difficulties and coping with transitions/change

With children, Clinical Psychologists treat the following areas of difficulties:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Behavioural problems
  • General emotional regulation difficulties – anxiety/worry, depression, anger
  • Difficult and challenging behaviour
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities
  • Social skills and communication
  • Organisational and attention problems
  • Low self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience
  • Attention difficulties (ADHD/ADD)

What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and Psychiatrist?

A Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist often work together, but they are two different professions.Clinical Psychologists complete a minimum of 6 years post-graduate training and as they often have doctoral degrees or PhDs, are referred to as “doctor”. However, they do not have medical degrees and cannot prescribe medication. They are trained in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a range of psychological difficulties (i.e., depression, anxiety).Psychiatrists also study at a post-graduate level, but obtain a general medical degree before going on to complete further study in the area of mental health. They can prescribe medication.

What does Psychological therapy involve?

Psychological therapy involves an assessment (usually 1 session) where the psychologist will ask questions to help them understand your (or your child’s) difficulties to help them formulate a plan to help you. After this assessment, on-going therapy sessions focus on using a range of evidence-based strategies (techniques that have been researched and proven to be effective in treating these difficulties). They may use a range of techniques from Cognitive-behaviour Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Do I need a referral from my General Practitioner (GP) to see a Psychologist?

No, you do not need a referral to see a Psychologist. You can see a Psychologist privately. However, if you wish to claim sessions under the Better Access to Mental Health Initiative (and attract the Medicare rebate) you will need a referral.

How does Medicare for Psychological services work?

If you have a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP), this enables you to a maximum of 10 individual sessions and 10 group sessions per calendar year.To obtain a Mental Health Care Plan, for adults they will need to visit their GP or Psychiatrist, and for children, they will need to visit their GP or Paediatrician.

If you are eligible for this plan, your GP will initially provide you with a referral for 6 sessions. After these initial 6 sessions, a review will need to be conducted and if required an additional referral of 4 sessions will be provided. Your Psychologist will let you know when you need to return to your GP for a review. The current Medicare rebate for each session with a Clinical Psychologist is $124.50.

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