Psychology and Allied Health Services

What is the difference between psychology, clinical psychology, psychiatry, and counselling?

Psychologists study human behaviour in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, subsequently completing a period of supervised experience prior to gaining registration. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists do not obtain a medical degree and cannot prescribe medication, although they may have doctoral level qualifications. Psychologists can assist individuals, couples and families with a range of concerns such as anxiety and depression.

Clinical psychologists have specialist training in psychological therapy and assessment for mental health conditions that range from mild to severe as well as complex disorders.

Alternatively, psychiatrists obtained degrees in general medicine prior to completing further study to specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric problems, treating the effects of these conditions on the body and mind.

Counsellors assist individuals to make changes to their lives, each having very different qualifications and experience levels.

What should I expect when seeing a psychologist?

Sessions typically last 50 minutes. During the initial sessions, the psychologist will explore your background and presenting concerns, along with your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, to assist with identifying your individualised treatment goals and planning.

Our psychologists are highly trained, experienced and committed to providing the highest quality psychological services which are effective in achieving your specific goals.

How will I know if psychological therapy is working?

The aim of therapy is to improve symptoms and decrease distress. Improvement in symptoms and the duration of psychological intervention varies depending on the complexity of the presenting concern, and some presentations are suited for longer-term management. Therapy is particularly effective when skills taught in session are applied in your everyday life and practiced regularly. Most sessions will involve ‘homework’ activities relating to session content, and progress is regularly reviewed in session.

We may also regularly ask you to complete questionnaires to help us monitor your improvement and satisfaction with services.

What does psychometric assessment involve?

Psychometric or diagnostic assessment typically takes place over a number of sessions. Initially, the psychologist completes a clinical developmental interview, asking questions about symptoms, medical/developmental history, educational background, and social functioning.

Comprehensive cognitive and behavioural assessments (Sessions are typically 2hrs each) are then conducted, involving tasks like answering questions or completing paper and pencil exercises. Test scores obtained from these assessments are then compared to groups of same-age healthy people to determine whether or not the obtained scores are expected for a particular age group. Psychometric assessments enable the identification of strengths and difficulties in cognitive and behavioural / emotional functioning, and are useful for differential diagnosis and treatment planning.

Following the completion of scoring and interpreting assessment results, a comprehensive report is prepared and a feedback session will be organised to discuss the results and recommendations.  An original and copies of the final report will be provided.

What about Confidentiality?

Psychologists are bound by legal and ethical requirements for confidentiality and privacy of client information.  Client files are stored securely in line with our Regulatory Boards’ (APS & AHPRA) guidelines.

Information that you disclose to the psychologist in session is confidential unless you provide permission for disclosure of information; if your information is subpoenaed by a court; or if failure to disclose the information places you or others at risk of severe harm.  For further information regarding confidentiality, please see the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Charter for Clients located in the ‘resources’ section of this website.