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    I completed my Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) at Central Queensland University. I then undertook a 2 ½ year Psychology internship program to obtain the qualification of Registered Psychologist. Altogether, I trained for approx. 8 years.

    In Australia, the practice of psychology is highly regulated, while that of counselling is not. However, you do need a graduate diploma of counselling for registration with the Australian Counselling Association. Psychologists and Counsellors do cover some common ground, however there are some distinctions, both in their training and their scope of practice. Counsellors are highly skilled in applying integrative therapies and usually engage with clients for a short term to address a specific problem. Whereas, Psychologists use evidence-based strategies to diagnose and treat mental illnesses and treatment is usually ongoing.

    Psychologists are considered experts in human emotions, behaviour and mental processes and can cover more complex mental health conditions. In Australia, to practice as a Registered Psychologist you need to obtain a tick of approval from the Psychology Board of Australia. You can either have the title of Clinical Psychologist or Registered Psychologist. Psychologists must train at University for 6 years and undergo supervised practice. They may also hold a Masters qualification and therefore hold the title of Clinical Psychologist which indicates more specialised practice. They may also hold a PhD and can then assume a title of ‘Dr”. Also, in Australia, Psychology is rebated through Medicare.

    Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have then undergone further study in Psychology. Psychiatrists usually undergo 11 years of training at University Level. Psychiatrists tend to treat complex and serious mental illness. They can also prescribe medications.

    No. Only psychiatrists can prescribe medication.

    Yes. I provide marriage guidance and couples counselling. My aim is to ensure everyone is respected during the session and that issues are discussed fairly. I also assist couples to cope with emotions such as feelings of betrayal and grief and loss. Discussion is also centred around what constitutes a healthy relationship and how to build and maintain healthy relationships.

    Yes. Children express their feelings through their behaviour and may react to major changes by becoming withdrawn, angry and depressed. My aim is to assist children and adolescents to develop new skills to adjust to difficult situations and to resolve any mental distress, so they may feel safe, confident and optimistic in their daily lives. I am concerned with helping young people and their families develop healthy relationships and improve their quality of life and experiences at home, in school, and in social situations.

    Medicare allow each person to have 10 sessions per year that are rebated. It is recommended that each person attend the first six.

    You may need to check with your private health insurer as you may have cover for psychology sessions.

    If you would like to claim the Medicare rebate of $84.80 you will need to have a referral from your GP. Book a half hour appointment with your GP as the Mental Health Care Plan takes some time to prepare. If you have private health insurance, you may also be eligible to claim some benefits through your insurance. If you decide to use your private health insurance you will not be able to claim the Medicare rebate and therefore won’t need a referral.

    The Code of Ethics that each Psychologist must agree to abide by when becoming registered requires that information in session is kept confidential. Disclosure may only occur if the Psychologist is ordered by a court of law or if there is a duty of care issue. Psychologists are mandated by law to report any crime or harm being committed against another person.

    Generally, the answer is no. All matters discussed are kept confidential. If there are concerns of safety, Psychologists are legally required to tell the appropriate people. These situations usually include those where there is a threat of harm to the child or other.

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