What training do psychologist have?
All psychologists have completed at least six years of academic and professional training. Psychologists must be registered with AHPRA, carry professional indemnity insurance, and undertake 30 hours of professional development training each year. The psychology profession is highly regulated to safeguard the public. Other related professions such as Counsellors are not subject to the same level of scrutiny.
What is psychological therapy?
Psychologists use many various therapeutic approaches with a focus on being evidence based. Different psychologists use different approaches. Some psychologists will also ask you to complete questionnaires to gain a better understanding of the scope and severity of your symptoms, and also, re-administer such questionnaires in later sessions to measure your progress. Some psychologists will suggest homework, to work on in between sessions.
What to expect in an initial session?
The initial session is very much a ‘getting to know you session’ which can include questions around your family upbringing, school experiences, employment, relationship history, as well as current psychological symptoms and hopes regarding future goals. At the end of the initial session, the psychologist should be able to identify, in conjunction with you, what the goals of therapy will be. Psychologists come with different personalities, ages, approaches and interests, and it is important to feel that you have connected with the psychologist you meet.
Who does psychological therapy help and how?
Most people can benefit from talking with a psychologist regarding issues that are troubling them and to discuss strategies to manage emerging and ongoing symptoms. A reduction of psychological symptoms can benefit daily functioning, work output, improve relationships and your own sense of general well-being.
When to consider seeing your GP about a referral to a psychologist
Far too many people wait until their symptoms and functioning is severely impacted before they finally seek help. It is better to address such issues sooner rather than later. The more severe the symptoms and impact on functioning, the longer the journey to healing is, and therefore, early intervention is preferred and less expensive, with less therapy sessions usually required.
Medicare will fund 10 rebated psychology sessions per calendar year to see a psychologist. Seeing your GP to obtain a Mental Health Care Plan, will then allow you to access these Medicare rebates. Most GP’s require a double appointment in order to prepare this Plan. The Plan allows for an initial six sessions, and thereafter, the Psychologist writes back to the doctor regarding approval for a further four sessions. You will need to attend your GP to obtain a Review Plan.
After 10 sessions in the calendar year, you can continue to see your psychologist, but no rebate applies. Those with private health cover may be able to claim via their private health insurance. Rebates via private health funds vary widely, depending on the company and your particular policy, and you are encouraged to check your claim entitlements.