All of us will experience grief and loss, relationship stress, work stress, tricky family situations, or change and transition at some point over the course of our lives. COVID-19 has also brought newfound challenges as we learn to navigate the ongoing uncertainties of life.
Beyond Blue says that one in six Australians are currently experiencing depression or anxiety or both. This is equivalent to 3.2 million people today.
Seeking support early from a psychologist when you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing can assist greatly.
Counselling or therapy can help when:
Once we realise there is a problem, the sooner we seek counselling the better. Just like when we break a leg or an arm, the earlier we get treatment the better the outcomes. The longer we wait the harder the healing process becomes.
Qualifications and experience
Make sure they have general registration as a psychologist without any conditions (i.e. They are in good standing without any complaints against them and are safe and competent practitioners). You can check this on the register of health professionals at: http://www.ahpra.gov.au
Some psychologists have additional training in an area of practice endorsement, such as sports (work with athletes), organisations (work with organisations not individuals), clinical (work with mental health), counselling (work with couples, families), or educational and development (work with children). You may choose to see someone with the additional training in the specific area in which you are seeking support or not.
The APS recommended fee is currently around $250 for a 50-minute session. Most psychologists however charge less (between $150 and $170).
How to cover the fees:
More than with any other health profession or service the psychologist not only needs to be skilled, but there needs to be a good relationship between you and them. The research says that about 25% of clients will need to change therapists to find a better ‘fit’. Therapists know this and expect that some clients will want to move to a different therapist. You can talk with the therapist about this if you feel comfortable and they can suggest a referral for you, or if not, just cancel and make an appointment with someone else.
While it might be okay to see a cardiologist with poor bed-side manner but great skills, or a grumpy plumber who can fit in your roof and gets the job done, when seeing a psychologist, a sense of trust and respect is important. In fact, the better the rapport between therapist and client, the better the therapy outcomes.
In measuring the efficacy of your therapy, it is important to consider the following:
This is completely up to you. Usually, clients stop going to therapy when their goals are reached, and the initial problem or issues are resolved.Sometimes this is a short time 5-10 sessions, and other times it may take longer. It depends on how long the problem has been around for, and whether it is a simple issue or a deeper one.You and your therapist will discuss when it is time to begin the process of ending the work together.
The Australian Psychological Association (APS) has a ‘Find
a Psychologist’ service to find a registered psychologist in your area. Find a psychologistTM | APS
Beyond Blue also has a ‘Find a Health Professional Directory. Find a professional – Beyond Blue
Download the printable version of this article here.