So …You’ve been Referred to a Psychologist?

 

If you have never been in therapy, you may wonder what people actually get out of talking about their feelings and struggles in life, to a complete stranger, once a week. Many people have mixed feelings about attending therapy, such as fear, apprehension, and in some cases embarrassment. Often people may experience these feelings because they do not know what to expect in therapy or they have preconceived ideas about what therapy is from T.V. For example, “Do I lie down on a couch while my therapist writes notes?” These feelings can be very normal. It is important to realise you are not alone, with as much as (20.1)% of Australians experiencing mental health concerns at any given time and accessing services – that’s 4.8 million people. Psychological therapy is not just for treating formal diagnoses and severe mental health issues, it can also be a way of: 

  •  Increasing Self-Awareness 
  • Mental and Emotional Wellbeing   
  • Understanding and coping with Stress 
  • Grief counselling 
  • Conflict  
  • Improving relationships 
  • Body Image 
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Therapy can also support you with making decisions, as well as problem solving.  
  • Improving your self-esteem and increasing self-confidence 
  • Maybe you’ve had an unexpected life change or want to do things differently.  

 

 

  • What should I expect in my first session? Here are some common questions people often ask about their first session. 

Adult sessions: 

 

Q – What do I bring? 
– Referral letter – or mental health care plan from your GP 

  • Anything you might find relevant such as medical history. 
  • Medicare number or private health insurance details 

Q – Do I need to fill out any paperwork? 
A – Yes! Most therapists will have their own set of policies and procedures. There may be forms about personal information and other documentation/information such as: 

  • Confidentiality  
  • Services offered 
  • Expectations 
  • How services work 

Q – What will they ask me? 
A – Ultimately, with the first session your therapist will want to know why you have come into therapy and try to get to know you. Your therapist may also ask questions regarding your background, medical and family history. 

Q – What if I’m not comfortable telling a stranger about certain aspects of my life? 
A – It is important to understand that you do not have to share every excruciating detail of your life. Your therapist will need to know some details in order to help you with your issue/problem, however, if there are things that you are not yet comfortable with, it is okay.  

 

Children sessions: 

Q – What do I bring to my child’s first session? 
A – Referral letter – or mental health care plan from your GP 

  • Medicare number or private health insurance details 
  • Funding documents such as NDIS plans if any 
  • Formal diagnosis reports from treating professionals such a psychiatrist or paediatrician.  
  • Reports from teachers and or school counsellors 

Q – Do I need to fill out any paperwork? 
A – Yes! Most therapists will have their own set of policies and procedures. There may be forms about personal information and other documentation/information such as: 

  • Confidentiality and it’s limits  
  • Services offered 
  • Expectations 
  • How services work 

Q – What will they ask my child? 
A – Many first sessions with children revolve around building rapport with your child. This might look like playing games. 

  • They might be asked about their interests such as “tell me your favourite game to play” or “what is your favourite food, or least favourite food”? 
  • They might be asked why they think they are in therapy (depending upon their level of capacity and their age). 

Q – Am I allowed into the session with my child? 
A – This may depend upon the child, their age, and their level of comfort. If your child is very young, has problems with communication, and or are nervous about meeting their therapist, many therapists will invite the parent into their first session. 

  • Your therapist will set up expectations with you in their first session as to how each session will work, and the level of your involvement in sessions. For example, after the initial session, it may be recommended that your child see the therapist alone for the first 30mins, then you may be invited to join for the remainder of the session.  

A – For older children such as adolescents it is advisable for parents to wait outside, however, your therapist will advise you. 

 

With the onset of Covid-19, more Australians than ever are accessing psychological services. In fact, the government-assisted with this growing number of people and extended Medicare sessions from 10 sessions up to 20 per calendar year to help with the growing need. Telehealth (therapy through video chat on your computer) became a normal way of accessing psychological services and can be claimed under Medicare.  

 

Ultimately, if you are concerned or have any questions regarding attending therapy, don’t be shy and ask your therapist. They are trained in helping you achieve your goals, wellbeing, and mental health. 

If you have any questions regarding the information in this blog you are welcome to call us on 1300 856 617 to discuss making an appointment with one of our psychologists, who will be more than happy to assist in helping with any inquiries.