Finding the Right Psychologist For You
Finding someone to help you on your mental health journey can be difficult. It takes a lot of bravery to ask for help, as well as courage to open up and be vulnerable with someone, especially a stranger.
The first step can be deciding who you want to see. A common question is, what is the difference between a Psychologist, a Psychiatrist and a Counsellor? Firstly, unlike Psychology, counselling is not a protected title. This means that a counsellor can have an array of different qualifications and call themselves a counsellor. For example, some may have a one-year graduate diploma and others may have a Masters Degree. It is important to explore this with the person you’re speaking to.
Psychiatrists are trained medical professionals, who have completed a Medical Degree, and have chosen to specialise in Psychiatry. They often work in collaboration with Psychologists and GPs to support a person’s mental health and are usually involved in prescribing medication. Psychiatrists are also usually linked to local hospitals to support people when they are experiencing significant mental illness and need to be admitted.
Psychologists are trained allied health professionals. ‘Psychologist’ is a protected title, meaning that a Psychologist needs to complete a minimal of six years of training to call themselves this. Psychologists are also educated in scientifically-proven therapies to support mental illness, more commonly known as the ‘talking therapies.’ Psychologists are also held to strict standards governed by a regulatory body, specifically ensuring continued professional development and ethical standards.
When exploring which Psychologist in Melbourne you would like to see, it’s important to consider a couple of points.
What would you like to work on? - Psychologists can be specialists in different areas, as well as have expertise in particular conditions (e.g. anxiety or PTSD). Before booking an appointment, it can be helpful to discuss this with your Psychologist so that your needs will be met
Personality Styles - It’s important to feel comfortable when speaking with someone about your mental health. It is important to feel like you ‘click’ with your Psychologist. It might be a good idea to call them, for a chat, before you book in for an appointment. Or, you might want to book in one appointment and let yourself decide whether they feel right for you before committing to follow up appointments. Psychologists are very aware of how important this is to clients, so they won’t be offended if it just doesn’t feel right.
Knowing where to look - You might have found this article by googling ‘Psychologist + Melbourne’ - this might be a good place to start but this can mean trolling through huge numbers of websites. The Australian Psychological Society (APS) offers a great service of ‘Find a Psychologist’ where you can type in where you live and what you want to work on and it will give you a list of relevant Psychologists near you. You might also like to have a chat with you GP, who can help you find a Psychologist who is a good fit for you. Also, it might be helpful to ask your friends or family, sometimes word-of-mouth is a powerful tool in finding someone who is right for you.
At Piece by Piece Therapies we are passionate about mental health and well-being and want to help people to find the best possible supports for them. If you have any questions, or just want to have a chat about accessing support, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or click the button below.