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
Are appointments confidential?Yes, every session is private and confidential, unless your consent is provided. Psychologists are bound by a Code of Ethics that outline the importance of confidentiality and the only exceptions where a breach is accepted. Non-acceptable breaches can result in serious consequences for the psychologist. Your psychologist will outline the exceptions of confidentiality in your first session and each psychologist keeps client notes and a file, which is kept secure; you also can access your file if you desire at any time. However client files can be shredded following 7 years consistent with privacy legislation.
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 legally registered with the Allied Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). This means they must be competent and are required to follow a Code Of Ethics. This ensures that you receive high quality 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 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 treatments and your psychologist may be trained in one or afew of them. Generally speaking, psychologists at DS Psychology Group use therapies that are shown to be effective by research (empirically validated) eg. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has the most research evidence for a range of clinical conditions (PTSD, depression, anxiety etc). Interpersonal Psychotherapy has also shown positive results with depression, social anxiety, relationship dysfunction, adjustment disorders. Therapy frameworks used by DS Psychology include the following:
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – identifying and changing negative thinking and behaviours
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy – enhancing relationships, resolving disputes, improving relating skills, processing feelings and promoting adjustment
- Emotion-focused Therapy – understanding and processing unresolved emotions, improving emotion regulation
- Schema Therapy – identifying and resolving thinking traps developed in childhood
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – addressing barriers, developing skills (including mindfulness training) in order to act and live within one’s valued direction
- Short-term Psychodynamic Therapy – to process complex feelings arising from unstable attachments
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – Skills and strategies promoting acceptance and change
Importantly we tend to have a flexible approach and recognise that one therapy that works well for one presenting issue may not work the same for the same presenting issue in another person.
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?Your appointment is reserved for you. DS Psychology Group requires at least 24 hours notice for cancellations otherwise the full cost of the session is charged. We do recognise that on rare occasions unforeseen events can occur such as a sick child. Unfortunately when appointments are cancelled at short notice we are rarely able to succeed in offering that appointment to another waiting client. As there is a waiting list, at least 48 hours notice is preferred and appreciated. SMS reminders are sent 48 hours prior to your appointment time; please respond with your name and appt time to confirm your appt.
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 not 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?Yes, we write reports for Work Cover, TAC, Victims of Crime or court reports however depending on the length of the report these may incur an additional fee. Please discuss your request when you phone our receptionist and she will note this for the psychologist to discuss further with you. Fees are confirmed prior to the commencement of a report and are paid prior to report release.