QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

Who is psychotherapy for?

Everyone. We all face challenges, in fact this is the human condition. As a psychologist I am trained to help you work through any problems you may be experiencing in your life, no matter how big or small.

How long does each therapy session run?

Our sessions will run for 50 minutes. This usually involves 45 minutes of discussion and a 5-minute wrap-up.

How many sessions will we have?

This depends on your needs and the referral from your GP or Psychiatrist. Typically, a Mental Health Treatment Plan means you will be eligible for up to 10 Medicare-rebated sessions per calendar year. After your first 6 appointments, you need to see your GP or Psychiatrist again for a mental health plan review. They can then decide if you need a referral for the remaining 4 Medicare-rebated sessions you are eligible for. If you have an eating disorder you are eligible for up to 40 Medicare-rebated sessions per year.

Of course, I am also able to conduct an extended therapeutic program outside of the Medicare-rebated system for those who feel they need ongoing help.

How do I access medicare-rebated therapy?

Make an appointment with your GP or Psychiatrist for them to give you a Mental Health Treatment Plan. A GP or Psychiatrist can give you a Mental Health Treatment Plan for a number of mental health disorders including but not limited to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, adjustment disorders, sexual disorders, phobia, panic, bereavement, bipolar, psychotic disorders, somatic complaints, alcohol and drug use disorders and eating disorders.

Once you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan from your GP or Psychiatrist, contact me to make a booking. Make sure you bring the Mental Health Treatment Plan along to the first session in order to claim the rebate.

A GP or Psychiatrist is able to refer to specific psychologists, so please inform them if you would like your referral to me.

What happens at the first session?

I will ask you for a brief history and what led you to see me. We will then decide on a treatment plan together.

All information collected is kept confidential and no-one else has access to your personal information, except if your records are subpoenaed by a court, failure to disclose information would place you or others at risk, or with your prior written approval.

Where will the sessions be conducted?

I work out of three centres in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs:

Wednesday AM

Randwick Psychology Centre
Suite 7, 126-128 Avoca Street, Randwick
See map

Wednesday & Thursday PM

Avoca Street Medical Centre
130 Avoca Street, Randwick
See map

Friday

Bronte Medical Centre
1/133-135 Macpherson Street, Bronte
See map

Outside of these practices I may be able to provide sessions via telehealth. Please contact me to find out availability.

How do you charge for the sessions?

If you get a Mental Health Treatment Plan from your GP or Psychiatrist, you are entitled to a $89.65 Medicare rebate per session. Please feel free to contact me to discuss my schedule of fees.

This is a fee-paying service. I do not bulk bill but can process Medicare rebates for you. Fees are payable on the day via EFT, Visa or MasterCard only.

If you do not have access to Medicare or would like to engage in an extended therapeutic program beyond the Medicare-rebated sessions, or would like to engage in couples counseling which is not entitled to a Medicare rebate, please contact me to discuss the schedule of fees.

What if I need to cancel an appointment?

Non-attendance and cancellations with less than 24 hours notice will attract a cancellation fee. This will be charged to your credit card or will need to be paid in-person via Eftpos prior to your next appointment. If you need to cancel or re-schedule your appointment, please make sure you get in touch more than 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment.

What is the psychodynamic-interpersonal approach?

The psychodynamic approach to psychological therapy is based on the understanding that we all have underlying internal conflicts, some of them developed in childhood, and that by uncovering and working through these we will achieve lasting positive change. This approach understands that we can work to relieve the distress and frustration caused by our behavior, feelings, and emotions by working through our interpersonal relationships.

What is the difference between a psychologist, a counsellor and a psychiatrist?

I am a psychologist which means I have trained for a total of 6 years. My training includes a Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Psychology) and a Master of Applied Psychology (Clinical Psychology). As a result of this training I deliver evidence-based treatments which have been tested for many years across many people. I am registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), who registers all health professionals including for example doctors, dentists, nurses, optometrists and pharmacists.

A counsellor also helps individuals to overcome problems in their life, however they don’t need any special qualifications or training, although most do have qualifications and training. If you are seeing a counsellor it is a good idea to check that they are registered with a professional body.

A psychiatrist is a medically trained doctor who in addition to providing therapy is able to prescribe medications for mental health conditions.

Do you provide crisis management?

No, a crisis (including suicide risk) is best managed by a multidisciplinary team rather than a community-based psychologist.

If you are in crisis please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or contact your local hospital or mental health centre. In NSW you can call the Mental Health Line for assessment and referral on 1800 011 511.

Why is your psychology practice called Laughing Mind?

In the moment of laughter we feel free, because we can see the absurdity of social structures we are normally constrained by. Neuropsychology research has shown that our brains also develop large-scale networks, particularly in childhood. These structures are incredibly useful, because they allow us to understand and categorise our world in complex ways, but over time they can also become overly rigid. This can cause emotional frustration and distress, perhaps because it is difficult to recognise when our internal models conflict with true reality. Psychodynamic therapy is like laughter: it reveals the mind’s inner structures, so we can perhaps choose to subtly modify some of them. By reducing our inner conflict, perhaps we can feel a little lighter again.

The two main psychotherapies used by clinical psychologist today are cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance/commitment therapy (ACT). CBT seeks to modify unrealistically negative thoughts, and is an extremely important component first step in many therapeutic journeys. But sometimes beliefs are not easy to change. ACT helps us to accept that we can’t always make our difficult feelings go away, which enables us to reconcile with these parts of ourselves. However, I think this process can at times leave us feeling cold and detached. Perhaps this is where laughter can help — to reframe our thoughts and bring a little warmth to the absurdity of our true existence — and in doing so, let us feel whole and renewed.