A referral is not necessary when making an appointment to see a psychologist unless you want to use a Mental Health Care Plan and claim a Medicare rebate, in which case you will need to see your doctor.
Life Aspirations counselling sessions are usually allocated 50 minutes. During this time, your counsellor will explain how counselling works, and answer your questions. The confidentiality of the sessions will be discussed, as well as the fee structure and the cancellation policy. The counsellor may ask some questions and encourage you to talk about what has brought you to counselling.
The counsellor will listen to you talk about your situation, and assist you to find ways to move forward. Often this occurs through exploring your thoughts and feelings, and patterns of behaviour. You may receive information about your mental health to make sense of what is happening and over time, and together, you and the counsellor will develop a plan of goals, treatment or intervention.
During the counselling process, your psychologist will need to collect and record some of your personal information, relevant to you current situation. The information gathered as part of your assessment, diagnosis and treatment is kept highly confidential, and is used to enable the psychologist to meet your needs appropriately and provide a clinical service.
You may access the material documented in your file upon request, subject to the exceptions in National Privacy Principle 6.
All personal information gathered by our psychologist will remain confidential and secure except when:
- It is subpoenaed by a court, or
- Failure to disclose information would place you or another person at risk, or
- Your prior approval has been obtained to:
- Provide a written report to another professional agency e.g. a General Practitioner or a lawyer, or
- Discuss the material with another person, e.g., a parent or employer.
At the outset, it may be unclear as to how many sessions you will need. You can negotiate with your psychologist, as you progress with your sessions.
The number of EAP sessions allocated varies for each employer, and there is provision to request an extension within ethical guidelines.
If you attend with a Mental Health Care Plan provided by your doctor and supported by Medicare, you are eligible for 6 to 10 sessions per calendar year. Your GP will review your progress after the first 6 sessions.
Life Aspirations’ psychologist, Leanne Cleghorn, uses a range of different counselling and therapeutic approaches:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy: explores the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It used strategies to develop coping skills and to challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
- Schema Therapy : this therapy assists you to understand where your long standing thought patterns have come from, and it is a more emotional therapy. A variety of techniques are used to assist you to work through these, to enable a healthy adult approach to your circumstances.
- EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitising and Reprocessing, is a technique to assist you to reduce the emotional distress of upsetting memories. It does not require you to tell the story, but rather focusses on current negative thoughts about an incident, and assists you to move toward positive thoughts instead.
- Choice Theory/Reality Therapy: uses a powerful metaphor for life, involving meeting your basic needs, identifying your goals, and recognising the choices you have to achieve them.
- Expressive Therapies using sand play: sometimes it is easier to explore life’s difficulties without words. Our psychologist can guide you through the use of symbols, sandplay, art or play, to develop your own story and insight, to make sense of your situation.