Living Well Psychology
If you have a question that is not covered here please call us or email us and we will endeavour to help find the answer.

FAQs

We endeavour to provide friendly and helpful support so that you can get the most out of your life. This page is designed to answer some of the questions that you might have about seeing a Psychologist. If you have a question that is not covered here please call us or email us and we will endeavour to help find the answer.

What if I don’t feel my Psychologist is suitable for me?

You need to feel comfortable talking to your psychologist. If you are finding it hard to make a connection it may affect your ability to reach your goals. If you feel it’s not working for you please try talking to your psychologist first. They will discuss your options with you and may recommend another psychologist who may suit you better.

The goodness of fit between you and your Psychologist is important. Therapy that is caring, challenging and respectful is likely to succeed with perseverance. The therapeutic relationship is a complex one and there are many factors that influence it, including how others have treated you in the past and the way you treat yourself. It is important to try and determine what factors are influencing you. Perhaps it may be something that you need to work through with the psychologist.

Sometimes, despite the best efforts of both parties, a therapeutic relationship is not meeting your needs. It is OK to talk about this with the Psychologist. If it is apparent that your needs require a change your Psychologist will support you exploring what alternatives are available.

Within Living Well Psychology there is a range of caring and experienced Psychologists that may be able to offer you support.

If you are finding it difficult to attend the session, for whatever reason, talk to your Psychologist to try and find ways of supporting you.

What should I do if I don’t feel safe right now?

If you feel that you may cause harm to yourself or others or that you are risk in any way yourself then we advise the following:

  • Get support from family member or a friend.
  • Ring Lifeline 13 11 14.
  • Contact the Acute Care Mental Health Team.
  • If you feel you cannot keep yourself safe and require immediate help go to your the emergency department at your local hospital.

What if therapy is proving too painful or difficult for me?

Painful memories, frustration or feelings might surface. This is a normal part of therapy and your psychologists will support you through this process.

However, use caution if these feelings are so overwhelming that you are miserable after a session and start dreading therapy sessions.

You might need to slow down. Be sure to communicate with your Psychologist about how you are feeling.

From time to time you may feel you are in crisis or experience intense emotions. You may even have thoughts of harming yourself.

If these issues arise then we encourage you to discuss them with your psychologist at your next appointment.

What if I don’t feel things are improving for me?

If you feel that you are not making the progress you had hoped to or feel that you are not coping with the changes that you’ve made in your situation, you should discuss this with your psychologist.

At times you may feel that you need more frequent support from your Psychologist. Ideally regular appointments are planned taking into account your needs and the appointments available. Living Well Psychology does have a cancellation list for people that need additional support and can attend an appointment on short notice (please let the reception staff know if you would like to be included on the list).

How do I finish therapy?

The way in which therapy is finished is as important as your first session. Ideally therapy is completed when you are feeling that you have dealt with your issues, achieved your goals and have a plan for future issues if they arise. Please actively discuss finishing therapy with your psychologist. The final session is also an important time to review what you have learnt and achieved.

Your Psychologist will need to write to your referring Doctor about the progress of therapy and any future support needs.

We encourage you to say farewell to you psychologist properly and in a planned way. They genuinely are interested in your welfare and want to know that you making healthy choices.

How will I know if therapy is working?

Growth and change is difficult for everyone and you won’t be a new person overnight. Look for a long-term pattern of growth and change.

For example your overall mood might be improved or you may feel more connected to family and friends. You may deal with a crisis that might have overwhelmed you in the past with much less stress.

You can expect some temporary setbacks which may turn out to be great opportunities for learning.

It can be difficult to challenge yourself and break old entrenched patterns.

There is no smooth or fast road to recovery. Sometimes what seemed like a straightforward problem can turn into a more complicated one.

You are not a failure if you don’t meet your goals within the target number of sessions.

You and your Psychologist should work to re-evaluate goals and progress as necessary along the way.

How successful a psychological therapy will be depends on many factors, including:

  • How complex the condition is.
  • How long the problem has been a part of your life.
  • Your willingness to make changes and face your fears.
  • Who supports you?
  • How often you see your Psychologist

How can I make the best use of therapy?

For Therapy to work it must be a priority for you

Therapy can be hard work, but the rewards are worth it. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your therapy:

Take responsibility for your learning; don’t lose sight of what you want to get out of therapy. Use your Psychologists as a coach, guide and consultant.

Don’t expect your Psychologist to tell you what to do. You and your psychologists are partners in your recovery.

Your Psychologist can guide you and make suggestions about treatment, but only you can make the changes that you need to move forward.

Make a commitment to yourself and therapy.

Don’t skip sessions unless you absolutely have to. If you find yourself skipping sessions or are reluctant to go ask yourself why.

Are you avoiding painful discussions? The last session touch a nerve? Talk about a reluctance with your Psychologist. Share what you are feeling.

  • You will get the most out of therapy if you are open and honest with your Psychologist about your feelings.
  • If you feel embarrassed or something is too painful to talk about don’t be afraid to tell your Psychologist.
  • At your pace you can work together to resolve issues.
  • Make a commitment to the following:
  • Be determined to communicate with your psychologist openly and honestly especially about the things that you are struggling with.
  • Use what you learn and commit to applying it in your life.
  • Therapy is all about trust. If you are having difficulties with trust then it is important to let your Psychologist know.
  • Follow through on any homework that you have agreed to.
  • Therapy is a business relationship. You are paying for a service. Respect this relationship.

Be committed to attend your scheduled appointments on time.

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that was originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, to treat people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioural techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice. DBT may be the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be generally effective in treating BPD. Research indicates that DBT is also effective in treating patients who present varied symptoms and behaviours associated with spectrum mood disorders, including self-injury. Recent work suggests its effectiveness with sexual abuse survivors] and chemical dependency.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_behavior_therapy

What is Brief Psychodynamic Therapy?

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is a form of short-term psychotherapy developed through empirical, video-recorded research by Habib Davanloo, MD.

ISTDP’s primary goal is to help the patient overcome internal resistance to experiencing true feelings about the present and past which have been warded off because they are either too frightening or too painful. The technique is intensive in that it aims to help the patient experience these warded-off feelings to the maximum degree possible; it is short-term in that it tries to achieve this experience as quickly as possible; it is dynamic because it involves working with unconscious forces and transference feelings.

Patients come to therapy because of either symptoms or interpersonal difficulties. Symptoms include traditional psychological problems like anxiety and depression, but they also include medically unexplained symptoms such as headache, shortness of breath, diarrhea, or sudden weakness. “Medically unexplained” in this instance means symptoms occur without any medically identifiable cause. These are theorized, within the ISTDP model, to occur in distressing situations where painful or forbidden emotions are triggered outside of awareness. Within psychiatry, these phenomena are classified as “Somatoform Disorders” in DSM-IV-TR.

The therapy itself was developed during the 1960s to 1990s by Dr. Habib Davanloo, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst from Montreal who grew frustrated with the length and limited efficacy of psychoanalysis. He video recorded patient sessions and watched the recordings in minute detail to determine as precisely as possible what sorts of interventions were most effective in overcoming resistance, which acts to keep painful or frightening feelings out of awareness and prevent interpersonal closeness.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensive_short-term_dynamic_psychotherapy

What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy?

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited treatment that encourages the patient to regain control of mood and functioning typically lasting 12–16 weeks. IPT is based on the common factors of psychotherapy: a “treatment alliance in which the therapist empathically engages the patient, helps the patient to feel understood, arouses affect, presents a clear rationale and treatment ritual, and yields success experiences.”. Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression was developed in the New Haven-Boston Collaborative Depression Research Project by Gerald Klerman, MD, Myrna Weissman, PhD, and their colleagues for the treatment of ambulatory depressed, nonpsychotic, nonbipolar patients.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpersonal_psychotherapy

What is Schema Therapy?

Schema Therapy was founded by Jeffrey Young who noticed that many of the clients he saw with more long-term, complex problems were not responding to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  Schema Therapy has a strong focus on experiential and emotional strategies; utilising approaches from other therapies such as Gestalt therapy and psychoanalytic approaches. Schema therapy is based on a belief that clients have been unable to effectively get their emotional needs met due to developing unhelpful patterns of thinking and seeing the world (maladaptive schemas).  The schema therapist therefore takes an approach known as ‘limited reparenting’ which involves using the relationship with the therapist as a means to teach the client skills to better regulate their emotions and getting their needs met in their life and relationships.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schema_Therapy

What is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a relatively short term, focused approach to the treatment of many types of emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems. The application of CBT varies according to the problem being addressed, but is essentially a collaborative and individualised program that helps individuals to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and learn or relearn healthier skills and habits. CBT has been practised widely for more than 30 years. It has been research extensively, and has demonstrated effectiveness with a variety of emotional psychological and psychiatric difficulties.

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people to change unhelpful or unhealthy thinking habits, feelings and behaviours. CBT may be used to treat problems including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, anger, substance abuse, eating disorders and other problems. CBT involves the use of practical self-help strategies, which are designed to bring about positive and immediate changes in the person’s quality of life.

The benefits of CBT

  1. CBT has been extensively investigated in rigorous clinical trials and has empirical support.
  2. CBT is structured; goal oriented, and focuses on immediate difficulties as well as long term strategies and requires active involvement by the client.
  3. CBT is flexible, individualised, and can be adapted to a wide range of individuals and a variety of settings.

Further information about CBT

What is PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event. That is, they have experienced or witnessed an event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them, and led to feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror. This can be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods.

What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?

People with PTSD often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, similar to the fear they felt during the traumatic event. A person with PTSD experiences four main types of difficulties.

  • Re-living the traumatic event – The person relives the event through unwanted and recurring memories, often in the form of vivid images and nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions, such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic when reminded of the event.
  • Being overly alert or wound up – The person experiences sleeping difficulties, irritability and lack of concentration, becoming easily startled and constantly on the lookout for signs of danger.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event – The person deliberately avoids activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings associated with the event because they bring back painful memories.
  • Feeling emotionally numb – The person loses interest in day-to-day activities, feels cut off and detached from friends and family, or feels emotionally flat and numb.

For more information about PTSD, visit the beyondblue website.

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder is the term used to describe when panic attacks are recurrent and disabling. Panic disorder can be characterised by:

  • The presence of recurring and unexpected (‘out of the blue’) panic attacks.
  • Worrying for at least a month after having a panic attack that you will have another one.
  • Worrying about the implications or consequences of a panic attack (such as thinking that the panic attack is a sign of an undiagnosed medical problem). For example, some people have repeated medical tests due to these worries and, despite reassurance, still have fears of being unwell.
  • Significant changes in behaviour that relate to the panic attacks (such as avoiding activities like exercise because it increases the heart rate).

During a panic attack, an individual is suddenly overwhelmed by the physical sensations described above. Panic attacks reach a peak within about 10 minutes and usually last for up to half an hour, leaving the person feeling tired or exhausted. They can occur several times a day or may happen only once every few years. They can even occur while people are asleep, waking them up during the attack. Many people experience a panic attack once or twice in their lives; this is common and is not panic disorder.

For more information about panic disorder, visit the beyondblue website.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure, it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t subside. Anxiety is when they are ongoing and exist without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life. We all feel anxious from time to time, but for a person experiencing anxiety, these feelings cannot be easily controlled.

For more information about Anxiety, visit the beyondblue website.

What is depression?

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious illness that has an impact on both physical and mental health.

For information about depression, visit the beyondblue website.

Is there evidence that psychological therapies work?

Research shows that psychological treatments are effective in changing many common mental health problems. Some treatments are at least as successful as medication in treating some of the most prevalent conditions such as depression and anxiety. Therapy can also help to prevent relapses by providing strategies that can be used to with any future issues which may arise.

Psychological therapy is an opportunity to find new ways of coping with difficult life problems. Working with a skilled practitioner can help you understand and challenge unhelpful patterns in your life.

There are different types of therapies used to treat different types of problems. The psychological therapies available at Living Well Psychology are scientifically researched and validated in order to ensure the highest quality treatment.

What is involved in Psychological therapy?

Psychological therapy is an opportunity to find new ways of coping with difficult life problems. Working with a skilled practitioner can help you understand and challenge unhelpful patterns in your life.

There are different types of therapies used to treat different types of problems. The psychological therapies available at Living Well Psychology are scientifically researched and validated in order to ensure the highest quality treatment.

What sort of problems do Psychologists treat?

Psychologists are able to support people experiencing a wide variety of emotional and psychological problems. Aside from treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and traumatic stress psychologist help build life and communication skills such as assertive communication, problem solving skills, anger management skills and parenting skills.

Why do people see psychologists?

Research suggests that mental health problems are very common with roughly one in five people experiencing mental health difficulties over the course of their life.

It is quite common to feel weighed down with a problem for a long period of time before seeking help. Such problems can significantly interfere with the person’s quality of life, work and relationships. If left untreated psychological problems can lead to a low self-esteem and a sense of feeling miserable.

People see Psychologists for a wide variety of reasons to:

  • Improve the quality of their life.
  • Develop coping strategies.
  • Address mental health issues
  • Overcome a serious issue or incident in their life.
  • Improve the quality of their relationships.
  • Help them adjust to a major change.
  • Feel brighter, or more capable, positive.
  • Create a sense of balance in their life.
  • Figure out something that they feel stuck with.
  • Feel supported.

Why am I charged when I do not turn up?

When you book an appointment, the Psychologists is reserving that time just for you. We do not double book or over book, so the psychologist relies on your attendance to get paid.

If you give us less than 24 hours notice, a cancellation fee of $50 of the consultation fee will be charged. We will reduce this to $25 if you pay within 7 days of the missed appointment.

The other incentive to attend the appointment is that you will be more likely to achieve the results you were looking for.

What should I do if I can’t attend my appointment?

We understand that things sometimes come up unexpectedly and that it may be difficult to attend an appointment. As a courtesy to other clients needing appointments who are on our waiting list, it is appreciated if you could let us know as soon as possible if you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment. We ask that you please give us at least 24hrs notice so we can offer this appointment to someone else who may urgently need it.

If you don’t give us 24hrs notice or you fail to attend your appointment you a cancellation fee of $50 will apply. This includes if you cancel on the day or fail to attend your appointment.

You can email or call us after hours and leave a message with your name, number and the appointment date and time you wish to cancel. Your message will be time and date stamped so you won’t be charged a cancellation fee unnecessarily.

What are the fees?

Fee MHCP Rebate Out of Pocket

Clinical Psychologists

Standard Consultations of 50 mins

$157 $124.50 $32.50

Psychologists

Standard Consultations of 50 mins

$117 $84.80 $32.20

More information can be found on our Fees page.

How and when do I pay?

Payment is taken at each session and we accept cash, credit card or EFTPOS. We also have the convenience of HICAPS for those who wish to claim using their private health fund and only pay the gap fee. Medicare rebates can also be claimed on the spot and rebates instantly refunded using your EFTPOS card through the Medicare Easyclaim system.

Am I covered by my Private Health Insurance?

Most private health funds do offer rebates to members depending on your level of cover. Please check with your health fund to see how you could benefit.

Am I eligible for a Medicare rebate?

Medicare offers funding for psychological services under their ‘Better Access’ program. GP’s can refer eligible patients to a psychologist for up to 10 sessions per calendar year. The referral lasts for 12 months and we suggest you book a long consult to see your GP so they can complete the Mental Health Care Plan paperwork required. Just bring your letter of referral and your Care Plan along with your Medicare Card to receive the rebate. Rebates can be processed for you at your session via our HICAPS/ EFTPOS machine.

Do I need a referral from a doctor?

You don’t need a get referral from a doctor if you’d prefer not to. However to be eligible for a rebate from Medicare you will need a referral. Find out more.

Do you offer after hours appointments?

Yes. Appointments outside normal office hours are available by prior arrangement. Availability is different for each Psychologist so call us to find a time that suits you.

Do you run groups?

We don’t have any groups currently running but will be coming in the near future. If you have a suggestion for a group you’d like to participate in please email us.

Do you offer psychological assessments, testing and reports?

Yes. Living Well Psychology can undertake a wide variety of psychological assessments including, but not limited to,  cognitive/IQ assessment (WISC-IV and WAIS-IV), Memory Assessments, Personality Assessments and assessments of specific mental health issues. We also can also provide assessments for employers and government agencies.

Do you offer services for children and adolescents?

Yes. We have several Psychologists who see children and adolescents. Please ask one of our receptionists about which psychologist would suit your child best.

Do you have a choice of male and female psychologists?

Yes. Here at Living Well Psychology we have a number of male and female psychologists. If you have a preference for a male or female just let one of our receptionists know at the time of booking.

Can I have access to the information you keep in my file?

In order to provide psychological services to you we need to collect and record your personal information relevant to your current situation.

This information will be a necessary part of the psychological assessment and treatment. You may access the material recorded in your file upon request, subject to the exceptions in National Privacy Principle 6.

If you would like to know more about this you should discuss this with your psychologist or you can find out more about the National Privacy Principles.

Are my sessions confidential?

Your privacy is important to us and we follow a strict code of conduct where your privacy is concerned, as governed by the Australian Psychological Society and National Privacy Principles. All personal information gathered during the provision of psychological services will remain confidential and secure except when:

  1. Your prior approval has been obtained to:
    1. Provide a written report another professional or agency, e.g. GP or lawyer; or
    2. Discuss the material with another person, e.g. specialist doctor or employer.
  2. It is subpoenaed by a court.
  3. When mandated by law.
  4. Failure to disclose information would place you or another person at risk; or
  5. If you have been referred by a GP under a Mental Health Care Plan we are obligated to provide a report to your GP after the initial appointment and at the end of each care plan or review.
  6. As a requirement for reporting of other programs that subsidises psychological assistance.
  7. As a requirement of child protection legislation.

How many consultations will I need?

There is no set number of consultations required to complete a course of therapy and it will depend on your situation. Your psychologist will work with you to set goals to be achieved and develop a plan for therapy.

Everyone’s treatment is different. How long therapy lasts depends on many factors.

You may have a complicated issue or a relatively straightforward problem that you want to address.

Some therapy treatment types are short-term while others may be longer. Please feel free to talk to your Psychologist about what your needs are when you develop your treatment plan with them.

How long will each session be?

Each session lasts approximately 50mins. If you feel you would like a longer appointment please let our receptionists know. Please note that there will be an extra cost involved however Medicare does not provide any increase in the rebate for sessions longer than 50mins.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

The first session or two is normally a time for the Psychologist to gather information about your physical and mental health history, evaluate your situation and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

The Psychologist will give you time to:

  • Discuss the issues which concern you.
  • Get to know how you think and react to problems.
  • Explore your thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
  • Get to know your own strengths and personal support system.

Get a sense of what kind of interventions may be needed for you to feel more healthy.

What is a Counsellor?

Living Well Psychology does not employ ‘counsellors’. We do employ Psychologists who are skilled in counselling and psychological therapy.

A Counsellor is a person who assists people to “develop understanding about themselves and to make changes in their lives.” According to the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) it is expected that they “work within a clearly contracted principled relationship that enables individuals to explore and resolved issues of an interpersonal, intrapsychic or personal nature”. There are different types of counsellors such as rehabilitation counsellor, marriage and/or family counsellor, school counsellor etc. Each may have very different qualifications and experience levels, which can be enquired about by potential clients. In Australia there is no mandated minimum training and qualification.

What is a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists have a medical degree, which involved six years of studying general medicine, followed by further study to specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and emotional problems. Psychiatrists treat the effects of emotional disturbances on the body and the effects of physical conditions on the mind. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication. Some combine medication with other forms of therapy.

What is a Psychologist?

Psychologists are experts in human behaviour. They have studied human development, memory, learning and the brain at university.

Psychologists apply their expertise in a caring and compassionate manner using reliable scientifically supported methods. Psychologists assist people with everyday problems such as stress and relationship difficulties, and some specialise in treating people with mental illness. They help people to develop the skills needed to function better and to prevent ongoing problems. Their treatments are based on changing behaviour and emotional responses without medication. There is a considerable amount of evidence showing psychological treatments are effective. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication.

Clinical Psychologists have done additional postgraduate training in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological and mental health problems.

Both Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia and are bound by a strict code of ethics and confidentiality.

Source: Australian Psychological Society http://www.psychology.org.au.