Unsure about therapy or approaches to mental health? Your question may be answered here. If not, please contact us.
We wish you could come in for one therapy session and be “cured” but just as you don’t exercise once and expect to be in great shape, it takes consistent work to make lasting psychological changes. Sometimes problems take years to develop, and as such they can take time to resolve.
Counselling requires exploration of the issues at hand and the time it takes depends on the nature of your problems or concerns. Once we know what the real underlying issues are, we can work with you to help you bring about change.
Why can’t I just talk to a friend?
After talking about the things that are bothering us, we can often feel better – for a while. However, talking rarely results in a fundamental change, and as such the same problems are likely to occur again and again unless we actively find the root cause and change it. To do this takes professional expertise and experience.
A good analogy of this is that we all know how to exercise, but we do it so much better with a personal trainer. A Psychologist is a personal trainer for the brain – you already have the capacity for full mental fitness within you, but we provide professional guidance, motivation and tools that can get you working in peak condition.
What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?
These terms can often overlap, so it’s useful to know the difference between these modalities.
The main differences appear in the training. Psychologist training tends to be longer, and we are trained to deal with a variety of clinical issues ranging from schizophrenia through to depression. Psychologists also deal with life’s problems, issues from childhood, addiction behaviours, and can write reports for educational and legal purposes.
Other differences between Psychologists and Counsellors:
- A Psychologist is qualified to make a diagnosis, but a Counsellor is not.
- Medicare rebates are available with a Psychologist but not with a Counsellor.
- Psychologists have to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and undergo extensive University level education to achieve this registration, whereas the title of Counsellor is unregulated – a Counsellor may or may not have qualifications or training.
What does a Psychologist do?
A Psychologist is trained to listen and guide you through a process to help you resolve your issues and problems. As Psychologists, we create a safe environment that helps you explore your problems and issues without judgement.
Always remember, this is your life and it’s your responsibility to change it – a Psychologist can’t do this work for you. We can provide you with tools to help you change your life, but if you aren’t actively using these tools, your progress will be hindered and you may begin to get frustrated with the therapy process. Just as with exercise, it doesn’t work if you don’t do it.
We can also diagnose mental illness and conduct clinical assessments.
Why am I given homework?
We may give you some homework depending on your situation. Homework can increase the effectiveness of your sessions, solidify information we provide in your session, and speed up the counselling process, meaning faster relief for you and fewer sessions to attend.
How do I get the most out of therapy?
We are invested in your success and wellbeing. The key to seeing positive outcomes from therapy is to recognise that there is some effort from your end. Here are some tips that, when followed, enhance the efficacy of therapy:
- Put in the time – turn up on time and keep regular appointments. Make it a priority.
- Do your homework when asked – this will speed up your progress.
- Journal during the week – this is a great way of logging your thoughts, feelings and questions.
- Remember, change requires work. It can be difficult and painful at times, but the rewards are immense (just like in fitness work).
- Be open and honest in your sessions. You are in a safe environment without judgement. Admitting and confronting your truths will encourage your growth toward better mental health.
- If you are feeling challenged by the work or the process is bringing up uncomfortable feelings, tell us! You are supported and safe at all times. We can slow down to give you more time to adjust and get comfortable with your new knowledge of who you are and how you came to be at this point in your life.
- Be patient and gentle with yourself. Growth takes time, effort and self-compassion.
I’m worried that I’ll be judged for my thoughts or actions.
It’s normal to feel this way.
At The Bondi Psychologist, our therapeutic philosophy is based on a person-centred approach. It is grounded in non-judgement and the recognition that life is not black and white. Your life experiences, background, family environment and many other factors have shaped your personality, perspective and mental health. The human experience is vast and we make the space for you to be vulnerable yet safe. You are free to express whatever thoughts and feelings are present for you.
Are the sessions confidential?
Absolutely. What passes between you and your therapist remains completely confidential.
*In some circumstances, law demands that confidentiality be broken – this only applies if you or someone else is in danger of harm, or if there is a legal case involving you and your therapy notes are requested via subpoena.
Do I need to be unwell to seek counselling?
No. One of the great myths around counselling is that a person needs to be deeply unwell in order to seek it out. In the same way that you might see a personal trainer, attend a yoga class or consult a nutritionist in order to develop or maintain your physical health, so counselling and psychotherapy are practices that help you keep yourself mentally and emotionally fit and healthy.
Some people who come to counselling are deeply troubled, while others have good mental health but are committed to overall personal growth. You may be simply curious about the ways in which counselling can help you develop or identify possibilities for self-improvement that you haven’t considered before.
In many ways, Psychologists are similar to life coaches in that we guide you toward your goals, provide support, cheer you on and help celebrate your wins.
Might I be diagnosed with a mental illness?
As highly experienced Psychologists, we can diagnose mental illness when it is present. This need not be a cause for concern and should certainly not prevent you from seeking therapy.
There are a vast number of different mental illnesses and many of them are common and treatable through counselling. If you do have an undiagnosed mental illness, a diagnosis can be life changing because it can allow you to get the appropriate care.
Your therapist will be upfront with you at all times and if you are diagnosed with a condition, we will work toward managing your life in gradually better and better ways. Rather than focus on mental illness, we focus on mental health.
Do I need to make an appointment or can I just turn up?
We work by appointment only. Please contact us to arrange a time that suits you.