Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring to my first meeting?

Your Mental Health Care Plan, if you have one.

Should I take notes, or record sessions?

Yes, I strongly encourage it.

Will there be ‘work’ between sessions?

Yes, I strongly encourage it.

How often shall we meet, and how long will therapy go for?

It depends, clearly. The beauty of individualised therapy is that it is individualised! But as a rule, I’ve found most of my clients require about 10-15 sessions over the course of at least a few months. Generally, treatment begins weekly, and then phases out as you begin to improve.

What is a ‘clinical psychologist’, as distinct from a psychologist, psychotherapist, counsellor, therapist, life coach…?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors trained to treat mental illness mostly by prescribing medication. Be wary of the titles, ‘psychotherapist’, ‘counsellor’, ‘therapist’, ‘life coach’, and ‘hypnotherapist’, as they have no legal or formal status, in Australia at least, and do not presuppose any specific qualifications or accreditation. Psychologists are trained in evidence-based therapy: A psychologist is four-year trained; a clinical psychologist is six-year trained (at a minimum).

Will you medicate me?

No. Clinical Psychologists do not prescribe drugs. If I think drugs could be helpful, I’ll advise you to consult a psychiatrist, or perhaps a GP.

Can I call you in a crisis?

I’ll always try to see you as soon as possible in case of crisis, but ultimately I do not provide emergency or after-hour services.

What is our first meeting like?

It’s basically an assessment. My aim is to arrive at a relatively clear idea of where your issues lie, a diagnosis (if appropriate), and the first draft of a plan of action moving forward. I want you to leave feeling clearer about where the problems lie, and more hopeful that there is a solution. I’m in no rush, however, to reduce the nuance and complexity of your situation to a diagnostic label. Labels are not always helpful, even when they are accurate.

Are you going to judge me?

The short answer is no. That is precisely NOT the role of a psychologist. Of course, who are we kidding, if I never judged, even for a split second, I would scarcely be human. But ultimately I believe we are all irrational, and all suffer in our own ways. You didn’t choose your parents, nor the conditions of your birth, nor the billion and one influences that shaped your biography. And so you certainly haven’t chosen to be distressed and confused in my office. None of your behaviours will shock or embarrass me. Trust me, I’ve heard it all.