FAQs about Psychological Treatment in Melbourne
Is psychology counselling for me?
Psychological treatment in Melbourne (or psychotherapy) is for anyone who wants to live a more fulfilling and contented life. Some people want some advice (we prefer to call it guidance or suggestions) on dilemmas that crop up, other people need help with more serious problems.
Who is eligible for Medicare rebates?
You may be eligible for a Medicare rebate for your psychological treatment Melbourne wide if: you’re an Australian citizen/resident; and you’re experiencing mental health difficulties and problems including but not limited to anxiety, phobias, depression, anger, sleep problems, alcohol problems, work stress, problems unwinding, agitation, relationship problems, trauma, grief/loss, drug problems; etc. If in doubt, make an appointment to see your GP to discuss your eligibility. For more information on Medicare rebates click here.
Do Mindview Psychologists set “homework”?
In general, yes. “Homework” is often an integral part of therapy. Homework isn’t meant in the traditional sense, such as studying for a test, or reading and writing. It is inviting clients to practice new skills and implement new strategies discussed during psychological treatment in your usual life. Homework matters because changes in behaviour/routines need to be implemented, old habits gradually phased out, and new habits built-up. It’s my job as the psychologist to support, encourage, troubleshoot, and guide you with making life adjustments that matter. In one week, there’s 1 hour in the therapy room and 167 hours outside it. That’s why homework is important.
Do you write court reports?
Yes we can write court reports for TAC, work cover claims, and other court proceedings. Court reports do incur a fee on top of the usual consultation, which we will discuss with you before proceeding. The fee must be paid in full before receiving the report.
What is a psychologist?
Psychologists are “scientists” (i.e., human behaviour researchers who work at universities or other academic institutions) and/or “practitioners” who provide psychotherapy. The fundamental aim of psychologists is to alleviate mental distress. Psychologists are trained in the following: to use psychometric testing and clinical interview to gather information, make diagnoses, and plan and implement treatment (or therapy). Psychologists do not, and cannot prescribe medications. In practice, they work with adults, adolescents, and/or children on an individual, couples, family, or group basis. At Mindview, I predominantly provide psychological treatment in Melbourne to adults (including couples), and adolescents, but not children.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a clinical psychologist?
A psychologist has completed a 4 year APAC accredited undergraduate level University degree, plus 2 years supervision. A clinical psychologist has completed a minimum of 6 years at University: 4 years at Undergraduate level; plus 2 years at Masters level. A clinical psychologist then must complete a 2 year supervision period (while working as a registered psychologist) and be a member of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists. Clinical psychologists are considered experts in providing psychotherapy, psychometric testing, and in diagnosing mental illness.
What is the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists?
Psychologists and psychiatrists have the same fundamental aim: to alleviate mental distress and restore human health and functioning. Both psychologists and psychiatrists are trained in diagnostic evaluation, and both can conduct psychotherapy. My understanding is that, generally speaking, the differences between psychologists and psychiatrists are that:
- Clinical Psychologists generally have more extensive training in administering psychotherapy as a part of the Clinical Masters Degree program, than psychiatrists do in their tertiary training.
- Generally speaking, psychologists provide ongoing weekly psychological treatment, whereas psychiatrists provide assessment/diagnostic services, and prescribe and manage psychiatric medication.
- Psychiatrists are physicians (medical doctors) whereas psychologists are not. As well as prescribing psychiatric medications, Psychiatrists can conduct physical examinations, order/interpret brain assessments (e.g., EEGs, CAT scans, MRIs), and administer Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), whereas a psychologist cannot do these things.
How do clients get Medicare rebates?
At Mindview Psychology, I have a merchant facility card machine that does on the spot Medicare rebates and some private health insurance rebates for psychological treatment in Melbourne. This means the rebate almost immediately goes directly into your bank account.
Are appointments confidential?
Yes. Every session is private and confidential. That means all information discussed during our psychological treatment in Melbourne stays between you and I, unless you provide me with written consent saying otherwise. Psychologists are bound to a Code of Ethics (set by the Australian Psychological Society), holding me accountable in terms of keeping things confidential. Breaches of confidentiality can lead to my psychologist registration being suspended, or even revoked. Therefore, this is something I take seriously. All information gathered from the session is synthesised into client case notes and kept in a client file. Each client file is kept on the premises under lock and key. Only I have access to the client files, unless prior written consent is given by you as the client, or the file is subpoenaed by the law. I make it a priority to act ethically in my practice.
How do you know if change has occurred during therapy?
Change is usually measured by using psychometric testing, that is you complete paper and pen questionnaires which are then scored by me. Typically, the types of things we measure are psychological symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, stress), levels of quality of life or meaningful life, and measuring the quality and frequency of specific activities or behaviours. These “measures” are often taken at the beginning of therapy, in the middle, and at the end. By doing this, I can be sure that the right type and amount of change has occurred.
What happens if there is no change during therapy?
If there is no change during psychological treatment, it is usually due to one or more of the following reasons:
1) Firstly, there needs to be a strong client-therapist relationship (sometimes called the “therapeutic alliance”). A healthy therapeutic alliance means you as the client feels safe, secure, not judged, and validated by the therapist. Also, you as the client needs to perceive the therapist as being professional and optimistic of change, even when there are rough patches in your life or in therapy.
2) A second reason for no change in therapy is if the client is unmotivated for change or not willing to make meaningful change in their situation. This is known as the “Pre-contemplative Stage of Change”, when the client is aware there may be issues to work on, but for one reason or another, they are not ready to commit to real change in their lives.
3) A third reason for no change during psychological treatment is if there’s a problem with the formulation (or mini-theory explaining what led to the problem arising, and what maintains it). This can happen as a result of a number of things: the client was not forthcoming about their life situation or background or kept key parts hidden; or the psychologist has missed something- let’s face it, we’re only human and we’re not perfect!
If there is no change in therapy, we’ll work with you on exploring the above possibilities. Once the reason(s) is identified, we work together on rectifying it. This could mean, going back to the drawing board and tinkering with the formulation, or it could mean there is a client-therapist mismatch and we’d work together on exploring options for referring you onto a more suitably matched therapist.
Selection of psychological treatment in Melbourne: Which type of treatment will you choose in therapy with me?
Generally speaking, we use treatment modalities that are backed up by scientific research (i.e., evidence-based treatments). This is because such treatments have been demonstrated to be effective in the long-term while ruling out placebo effects (as well as other things). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the psychological treatment that has the best evidence to date, for a wide range of disorders (e.g., clinical depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorder, PTSD, and psychotic disorders). In addition to CBT, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is an evidence-based treatment for depression and Bipolar. An evidence-based treatment called Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is used for treating Borderline Personality Disorder.
During therapy, we also like to use other treatment modalities, such as Schema Therapy (identifying your “life traps” which often develop during childhood), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT, to help you process previously unresolved emotions), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, which works on your unique Values, and overcoming barriers in your life).
Although some treatment modalities (e.g., CBT and DBT) are structured and sometimes ‘manualised’ therapies, I don’t use a “one-size fits all” approach to psychological treatment. Melbourne clients are treated as the individuals they are with each requiring a different approach. Generally speaking, there is scope for us to use our therapeutic skills and creativity in adapting aspects of treatment to best suit a client’s personality and situation.
It’s important to keep in mind that the therapeutic alliance (i.e., the client-therapist relationship) is the most important thing, not the type of therapy modality used, which is backed up by research. It is also important for the therapist to be flexible with different therapy modalities, rather than to be rigid in one type.