Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I would benefit from seeing a psychologist?

People seek out a psychologist for a variety of reasons: generally when life is more of a struggle than it is meant to be.

Some people notice changes in their sleep patterns, eating, enjoyment in life or energy for life. Underlying these changes might be a disturbance in general mood: feeling anxious, depressed or a mix of both. Some clients want to work in therapy to improve the quality of their personal relationships.

Some clients are worried about unhealthy behaviour patterns or addictions.

Some clients have had a life setback that they are struggling to get over.

Some clients have noticed a theme running through their life over the years (e.g. "I'm not good enough"; "My childhood seems to come back to disturb me"; "I can't seem to be successful at work or at home"; etc.)

The Vitality Philosophy picks up our invitation to you: "Is it about time?" Our philosophy is about time and days: yesterday, today, tomorrows.

Our philosophy reflects our approach to the potential transformative nature of life's struggles ...

... our clients transform their TODAYs thus living with greater freedom and joy ...

... some clients realise that they need to put to rest some of their stories from their YESTERDAYs ...

... doing what they need to be at peace with their YESTERDAYs and making changes in their TODAYs, enables them move into their TOMORROWs with optimism and grace.

The Vitality Logo captures our hope that we can work with a client in a way that helps them recapture their own Vitality and zest for their life, even when times are hard.

Should I see my family doctor first?

If you wish to access a Mental Health Care Plan to be eligible for a Medicare rebate, you would benefit from seeing your doctor so that your doctor can co-ordinate your treatment as your psychological health has a significant impact on your general health and well being.

Some clients also approach their private health fund to reimburse their costs of therapy, depending on the specific level of coverage.

What is a Mental Health Care Plan?

The Federal Government recognised that if a person is suffering from a psychological disorder, the disorder can have a negative impact on their productivity and (at times) their capacity to work. The disorder can also impact on the quality of their relationships and over time, they are more vulnerable to medical issues (e.g. when you are feeling down or worn out, you might notice how you are more susceptible to picking up a cold etc.).

The Federal Government felt that it was good for the Nation's productivity and the Nation's overall quality of life to develop the Better Access to Mental Health initiative.

Basically, you visit your family doctor who assesses the issue that you want to take to therapy. Your doctor then draws up a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP).

The MHCP allows you up to 6 sessions with a psychologist. After 6 sessions, if you and the psychologist wish to continue the therapy sessions, the psychologist writes a progress letter back to your family doctor. You review your progress with your doctor and if the doctor supports further therapy sessions, you are entitled to a further 4 sessions in each calendar year: in all, 10 sessions supported by Medicare rebate during a calendar year.

EFTPOS payments and Medicare Rebates – how does that work?

We can process your payment via our EFTPOS terminal. If you have registered your bank account linked on line with Medicare and you have a current doctor's referral (or current MHCP), we can process your Medicare rebate direct into either your SAVINGS or CHEQUE account (but not into a CREDIT CARD account).

What to do in an emergency and I am feeling frightened or unsafe to care for myself?

Our mobile telephone numbers are available in the contact section of our website. When you visit us, make sure you take our card so you have our contact details.

If you were feeling unsafe or worried you could harm yourself, you can call an ambulance or have a friend take you to the nearest Emergency Department at the local hospital and they will admit you until you feel safe again.

Emergency: 000: ask for an ambulance as you are feeling suicidal.
Nearest hospital emergency: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hospitals/pages/default.aspx

How do I know if the psychologist and I will work well together?

Therapy is facilitated in a safe, confidential, respectful and encouraging environment. As the client, you are the "consumer" and like any professional relationship, the relationship needs to "work" for you. You need to find a psychologist who has knowledge and experience in the specific issue that you are exploring. If you have any reactions to how you and your therapist are working together, please comment on them – positive or negative. Processing these personal dynamics is often the key to a successful therapy.

What about my psychology record and privacy?

Your psychological record includes any letters from your doctor, your general identifying information, therapy notes, psychological test profiles that summarise your treatment.

Your psychological record is kept secure and confidential for 7 years in case you wish to access it in the future.

Your record can only be released to another psychologist or psychiatrist with your written permission.

After 7 years, the usefulness of your record has diminished over time and so it is destroyed at that time.

All Vitality records are stored as electronic records on site in a secure, stand-alone server with all the necessary protections.

A client's record could be subpoenaed by the police if they related to a criminal matter.

What is a clinical psychologist?

A clinical psychologist is a professionally trained mental health professional. Their training "skills" them in diagnosis and treatment planning. They are professionally accredited, have to sustain a comprehensive Continuing Education curriculum and maintain regular supervision to ensure that their work with their clients is professional and effective.

What is an art therapist?

An art therapist is a professionally trained mental health professional who uses a range of art mediums with their clients to explore therapeutic issues in a creative process. By using art materials (to look at life) rather than first using words and thoughts, the client has the opportunity to tap into their intuitions. Often in the art making process, the client notices an important clue to their current issue that might have lay "hidden" behind the words and thoughts that they had been using to think about their issue. The insight often moves the therapeutic task forward in a similar way to having a dream might have moved you forward in the past when you were wondering about "where to next?" Both our dreams and our creative art making access our "unconscious" wisdom that helps our rational thoughts.

What is a neuropsychological assessment?

Neuropsychology assesses things like general intelligence and how a person's strengths and weaknesses in their cognitive capacities can influence how they function psychologically. A neuropsychological assessment is a comprehensive battery of tests and puzzles that help in this process.

What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is different to a psychologist and other mental health professionals. They are medical doctors who have a specialty in mental health diagnosis and they prescribe medications that can help treat the symptoms for a patient suffering from a psychological illness in a similar way that a specialist in the treatment of diabetes will prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of the diabetes.

What is the APS?

The Australian Psychological Society. Our clinical psychologists are full members of the Clinical College of the APS. The APS ethical standards guide all aspects of our professional services.

What is AHPRA?

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency. Our clinical psychologists have national registration. Their registration is certified by the Psychology Board of Australia and their current registration is displayed in their office.

What is the Vitality Client Charter of Rights?

Guided by the Australian Psychological Society's principles, we have developed a Charter so you know what to expect when visiting with us. The Charter is framed in the Waiting Area of our Suite. Please also feel free to request a copy from reception.

View the Vitality Client Charter of Rights

How can I give Vitality feedback?

We want you to be an informed consumer. Clients who are active in their therapeutic relationship tend to do better than clients less confident to "have their say." We welcome constructive feedback. You can give feedback to us at any time.