FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please find below are series of frequently asked questions. If you are new to our services you may find our Information for New Clients page useful. If you have additional questions, please call 9872 6255 or complete the form to the right.
If you would like to make an appointment call 9872 6255 or make an appointment online now.
I already have a referral and have seen another psychologist this year, can I use this?
Yes however the GP or psychiatrist needs to change the referral name to DS Psychology Group. He or she can either give the referral to you or fax it straight to us.
Please let our receptionist know if the GP is faxing to us so she can follow up if needed.
The Mental Health Care Plan is reviewed after the first 6 sessions, after which time you need to return to the GP for a review. So if you have had 6 sessions with the other psychologist then you will need to go to your GP to review care plan AND change the name. A client’s care plan can be reviewed every 3 months and a new referral can be written every 12 months. It can be quite confusing so please call our receptionist to obtain clarification.
What benefits can I expect from counselling?
Often people come to counselling needing some kind of relief from their distress, or they may need coping strategies, or they may be confused about why they are feeling a certain way. Counselling can provide all sorts of benefits:
- Clarity, reducing confusion and understanding symptoms
- Expressing thoughts and feelings, a sense of relief, feeling heard and understood
- Increasing self-awareness
- Improving emotional management
- Increasing communication skills
- Reducing isolation
- Changing negative habits of thinking, feeling and relating
- Learning social skills and improving relationships
- Developing strategies for feeling better about yourself
- Improving life satisfaction and life direction
- Improving problem solving skills
- Increasing meaningful relationships
Are appointments confidential?
Yes, every session is private and confidential. Psychologists and provisional psychologists are bound by a Code of Ethics that outlines the importance of confidentiality and where there are possible exceptions. Your therapist will outline the exceptions of confidentiality in the 1st session and this is also outlined in the consent form you are provided at the start.
What is a psychologist?
Psychologists study the way people think, feel, act and interact and are highly knowledgeable in human behaviour. A psychologist’s main aim is to reduce the distress or symptoms of their client and improve client wellbeing. Firstly a psychologist is trained in diagnostic assessment skills and will develop a formulation for why the client is eg. distressed or depressed or not coping. A psychologist is also trained to utilise and interpret a range of psychological tests in order assess the range of and extent of symptoms. Secondly a psychologist has knowledge of a range of therapy frameworks and will implement the appropriate and relevant techniques most suited to the client’s presenting issues and situation. A psychologist will typically have their areas of speciality or where they are most competent.
All Psychologists are required to be registered with the Allied Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The term psychologist is a protected term so only psychologists who have met the requirements and are listed in the AHPRA database can refer to themselves as such. This means that they must abide by the Code of Ethics and be competent in their chosen areas, which ensures you receive the highest quality of psychological treatment.
If you have any queries about your psychologists qualifications, their areas of expertise or their ability to help in your concerns please discuss with your psychologist who would welcome your questions.
What is a provisional psychologist
A provisional psychologist is also registered with AHPRA and has met all the requirements for this qualification. Provisional Psychologists are required to have weekly supervision with an AHPRA supervisor and they usually have approximately 6 months to 15 months more of experience and other requirements to meet before they can submit to AHPRA, who then assesses their application for general registration.
The Provisional Psychologists at DS Psychology Group are impeccably trained and well supervised and can provide effective psychological treatment for mild to moderate presentations.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists and psychiatrists have similar objectives eg. to enhance and restore optimal functioning for their clients and reduce problematic symptoms. Both are also trained in psychiatric evaluation and can provide psychological treatment. However the manner in which they go about it can be quite different:
- Psychiatrists are medical doctors and psychologists are not; therefore psychiatrists can prescribe psychiatric medications to aid in the alleviation of distress
- Psychiatrists therefore make diagnostic evaluations and prescribe and manage client medications; psychologists conduct regularly weekly therapy.
- Some clients may have both a psychiatrist who manages their medication and a psychologist providing psychological strategies and treatment; dual support being quite beneficial
If you are not sure whether you require one or both please discuss this with your psychologist if you have one, or your GP.
Which therapies do you use and how is this selected?
There are several different types of psychological and evidence-based treatment and your Psychologist or Provisional Psychologist will be trained in at least a few of them.
Am I expected to do ‘homework?’
In most cases some kind of ‘homework’ is helpful in increasing the efficacy of treatment provided. The homework will usually involve some kind of self-monitoring, self-reflection or the practice of new strategies or behaviours. This is important as for changes to be made this means that old habits need to be phased out and new behaviours or reactions implemented and consolidated. This is difficult to achieve if practice is occurring in 1 hour of counselling per week, compared to the many hours between sessions.
How do I know if counselling is helping me?
Firstly you will feel a positive rapport with your psychologist and will feel listened to, understand and supported in your concerns. Secondly you will feel an alleviation of your distress, a reduction of symptoms and a return of confidence in your own coping ability. Importantly you will feel like the sessions are working towards your goals set out at the beginning of the sessions. The psychologist will also discuss with you the likely time this will take to achieve this and identify any barriers or obstacles along the way.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
At least 2 business days is preferred for changes to all counseling appointments and appointments cancelled on the day will incur the FULL FEE. We do understand there are rare occasions you may need to change or postpone your counseling session. However for short notice cancellations we are rarely able to succeed in offering this appointment to a waiting client, and as a result the clinician’s time is also forfeited.
For Assessment appointments 5 business days notice is required for any appointment changes. This is due to the time and paperwork involved in booking and confirming assessments, and as a result the increased difficulty with filling short notice cancellations.
How many sessions will I require?
This is a difficult question to answer and is dependent on a range of factors. However generally speaking, if you are motivated and committed to making changes you can expect improvements within 6 sessions. For a more specific discussion about your prognosis please ask your psychologist who can outline the factors relevant to you.
What happens if there is no change during therapy?
If there is no change from psychological treatment this is usually because of one or more of the following reasons:
- Firstly there needs to be strong client-psychologist relationship where you feel safe, heard, and understood. You also need to perceive the psychologist is professional, generally like them as a person and feel a sense of confidence that they can help you.
- Secondly you may not feel ready or motivated to change. People come to us quite invested in their current behaviours however also pained by them. This means that it can be quite common people are ambivalent about change or ‘contemplative’ where you recognise something is a problem however your not ready to change it (for various reasons you can explore with your psychologist)
- Thirdly the case formulation may have missed something significant and/or you may not have disclosed everything about your concerns. And/or the subsequent choice of therapy may not be suitable to your presenting symptoms or coping problems.
Regardless of the reason, if you feel your therapy is progressing too slow or not meeting your expectations please discuss it with your psychologist who would seek to explore with you the possibilities and seek to rectify it as soon as possible; a final option may be referral to another psychologist who may simply be a better match for you.
Do you write court reports?
DS Psychology Group is not a forensic service so for criminal matters please be referred elsewhere. However our team do write reports for a range of other purposes eg. TAC, VOCAT, Workcover and these do incur an additional fee for the clinician time. Fees are confirmed prior to the commencement of a report and payment is required prior to the report being released.