When and how to consult a psychologist?

Are you struggling with a psychological challenge, and are you unsure whether you should consult a psychologist or seek other help? You are not alone. The coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and emergencies across Australia have raised awareness of achieving and maintaining good physical health, along with targeted national messages on the importance of getting help when you need it. Aside from crisis events, mental health issues can affect anyone at any time in their lives. In fact, one in four people will struggle with mental health problems at some point in their lives.

While it can be helpful to talk about your problems with close friends and relatives initially, sometimes you need extra help and support. Psychologists can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. If you’re considering seeking help, here’s a quick guide to when and how to see a psychologist in Australia.

When to consult a psychologist?

Occasional sadness, stress, and sadness are normal feelings and are not necessarily signs that you need psychological counselling. However, if you are experiencing persistent or severe mental health issues that are interfering with your daily life, it is time to seek help.

The following symptoms may indicate a mental illness that you may need help with:

  • Frequent and persistent feelings of intense sadness, worry, fear, irritation, anger, or fear.
  • Unexpected mood swings and emotional meltdowns
  • Sudden changes in daily patterns and behaviour, such as eating and sleeping habits,
  • Dramatic weight loss or weight gain?
  • Unexplained poor productivity at work or school: cognitive
  • problems such as confusion, lack of focus, or memory loss
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others, including suicidal thoughts
  • Disturbing delusions, hallucinations or nightmares
  • Withdrawal from social scenes, relationships, or family,
  • Toxic desires for rebellion and defiance of authority
  • Uncontrollable substance abuse, addiction to drugs, or alcoholism
  • Unusual addictions or cravings, including sex addiction, obsessions, and risky behaviour,
  • Aches and pains, hypertension, and gastrointestinal issues are examples of unexplained physical conditions.
  • Persistent fatigue, drowsiness, or insomnia:

If you’re thinking about hurting yourself or someone else, get help right away. If you notice any other symptoms on the list above, make an appointment with your doctor. After they rule out a physical cause for your symptoms, they can send you to a mental health professional, like a psychologist, who can help you with your mental health. However, it is also important to know that you do not need to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from psychological counseling. Many people seek help with everyday worries such as relationship problems, work stress, or lack of self-confidence.

How Psychologists Can Help

Psychologists are trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Personality and Identity Disorders
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Relationship problems
  • Behavioural disorders
  • Trauma-related conditions and phobias
  • Substance abuse and addictions Other conditions

Your psychologist will talk to you to learn more about your problems, help you discover the root cause or root of the problem, and identify ways to address and fix the problem. The treatment options depend on your condition and specific needs. Treatment therapies include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), acceptance and commitment therapy, and group therapy. You can read more about these therapies here. How long your therapy will last will depend on factors such as how complicated your problems are or whether you have a relatively simple problem that you want to address. Some types of therapy treatments are short-lived, while others can last longer. In general, your treatment ends when you and your psychologist agree that you have achieved your therapy goals.

How to consult a psychologist?

You can receive mental health support from a psychologist as a private patient (no referral required), through a referral from a physician (or other qualified health professional) with a mental health treatment plan, or through group therapy sessions. You could also be seen as part of an insurance claim, such as a car accident or employee compensation. The type of patient and the length of the session determine the cost of your consultation. For example, group therapy usually costs less than private sessions. It is important to discuss the rates, session length, and frequency of sessions with your therapist before starting treatment. If you have comprehensive health insurance as a private patient, check with your insurer if you are eligible to make a claim under your psychological treatment policy. If the treatment is part of the insurance or legal compensation claims, a third party, such as an insurer, employer, or defendant, may be liable for therapy costs. Medicare discounts are also available for patients referred by a primary care physician who have a mental health treatment plan. There is a Medicare discount for up to 20 one-on-one psychological consultations per calendar year until June 30, 2022, if you have a treatment plan in place. If you do not have private health insurance and no medical referral (for Medicare claims), you cannot claim any discounts.

In this case, the fee recommended by the Australian Psychological Society may be charged, but fees are at the discretion of individual psychologists and may vary. The current APS-recommended scheduling fee for a standard 45-to 60-minute consultation is $260. Ask your psychologist at the outset what fees they charge. Discounted rates are available for concession cardholders. After discounts are applied, the out-of-pocket cost for concession cardholders with a mental health treatment plan can be as low as $78.85. On our information page, you can read more about the rates of psychological healthcare or contact us for an extensive conversation.

Get psychological help.

If you’re considering psychological therapy but are still unsure how to get the help you need, get in touch. For answers to your questions, you can email or call the GGZ administration team and discuss whether therapy can help you.