Are you going to see a psychologist for the first time? Congratulations on taking an important step towards improving your mental health and making it a priority!
Why Might I Choose to See a Psychologist?
You might visit a psychologist for help with concerns such as:
- Depression, anxiety or stress
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Eating disorders
- Fears and phobias
- Low self esteem
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A psychologist can also help you deal with challenges you may face in life such as:
- Relationship issues and breakdowns
- Financial stress
- Grief or loss
- Domestic violence
- Situations in your social life, with family or work
Note that not all psychologists treat the same presentations or age groups. Please see our FAQ’s regarding psychologists and review individual practitioner bios for more information.
What is it Like to See a Psychologist?
You may be feeling nervous about coming to see a psychologist and the fear of being judged or not connecting with the psychologist can be daunting. The important thing to remember is that you have taken the first, and sometimes hardest step already – reaching out for help.
A psychologist is there to help and support your journey of developing a better mind space for yourself. Here’s a brief outline on what to expect in general, noting that each psychologist may take a variation of this approach, and this can be discussed in your first visit.
First and Second Appointment: Assessment
If you’ve been referred by your GP they will write on your Mental Health Care plan why they have referred you to a psychologist. You will also be asked to explain in your own words what you would like your psychologist to help you with.
The first and second session will include specific questions about your past and current difficulties and you will be given some forms to fill out to see what symptoms are present and how severe they are.
Third Appointment: Treatment Planning
You will be given information about your symptoms and possible diagnosis, as well as an understanding about what may be contributing to it. A plan is made together to move towards positive change and you will be given strategies to start to use in the following weeks. These typically include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and other evidence based techniques. Your psychologist will make suggestions as to what tools and resources will help you achieve your treatment goals, and guide you to seeking other services if needed.
Fourth Appointment Onwards:
The new practices you have been taught are monitored and sustainable changes begin to be made.
Before Coming to Your First Psychology Appointment Please Think About:
- What would you like help with from a psychologist?
- What do you want to see change?
- What is your goal of undertaking psychological treatment? (Note that this may not be the same as the doctors/referrers goal)
- How will you know if treatment is working?
This will be talked about in your first two sessions to help plan your treatment.
Keeping your GP Updated, and Requests for Letters or Reports
Your GP will be updated after the sixth session on your treatment progress. If you would like to continue seeing a psychologist they can give you a Review which allows you to access more sessions, in accordance with Medicare regulations.
Please note: Many psychologists require clients to attend at least three appointments if requiring a letter or report, and these incur extra charges.
Summary of the Benefits of Seeing a Psychologist
A wonderful benefit of seeing a psychologist is having somewhere safe to open up about your feelings, experiences, worries and concerns. Remember seeing a psychologist is a confidential environment to discuss what’s bothering you with an objective ear – someone who does not judge you, and who has a vested interest in your well being.
Seeing a psychologist shouldn’t have a stigma attached to it. It means you are taking your mental health seriously, and everyone can benefit from seeing a psychologist at different times in their lives.
To book an appointment with one of the Independent GPs who consult at HealthMint to discuss mental health, please click here.