I am consistently asked by clients, friends and family “how do I find a good psychologist?” or “what do I look for in a psychologist?” The answer to these questions is “it depends”. The good news for potential clients is that the market in Brisbane for psychologists is consistently growing. The main reason for this is that psychologists being employed in private enterprise and government departments (e.g., Queensland Health) are finding that it makes sense to start in private practice from an economic and lifestyle point of view. Some are choosing to do it as their full-time job, while others are choosing to work part-time to augment their income from their full-time job.
According to data collected from Medicare Local, the majority of psychologists are based in inner Brisbane, while outer lying suburbs are not being adequately serviced by psychologists. Redcliffe is an example of a suburb where psychologists are currently needed to set up in private practice to meet demand. Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast is another example of a suburb that has an unmet need for psychological services.
What Type of Therapy?
One of the first questions that you need to ask is “what type of therapy do I want?” There are a number of different styles of therapy that psychologists offer. Approved therapies covered by Medicare and Brisbane Mind include:
(i) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
(ii) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
(iii) Skills Training
(iv) Stress and Relaxation Training
These types of therapy are relatively short in duration (approx 6-12 sessions) and follow a clear solution focused structure. If you are looking for longer-term approaches to therapy such as the psychodynamic approach, then you probably won’t be able to claim a medicare rebate and be looking for a specific type of therapist. This type of therapist will typically be older with at least 20 years of experience. This type of therapy takes longer to master than solution focused approaches covered by Medicare and Brisbane Mind.
Also be careful to use who some GPs will refer you to. In some GP practices, especially larger ones owned by multinational medical companies, they require their GPs to refer to an in-house psychologist, who may not be the best fit for all of their clients. As a general rule of thumb ask your GP for at least 2-3 potential psychologists within your geographical area and then conduct your own research through looking at their websites or social media presence. Today, you will find that most psychologists will have some presence on the web and you will be able to find significant amounts of information about them and their therapeutic approach.
Gender should also be a consideration when choosing a good psychologist. Ask yourself, “would I feel more comfortable speaking with a male or female psychologist?” Therapy can be limited in its effectiveness if this question isn’t asked before entering the therapy room. For some groups of people this will be more important than for others. For example, for teenage boys and girls it is paramount that they are seeing a psychologist who is the same gender as they are. While for other groups this won’t be as important.
Once you have made your decision, spend at least 3 sessions with the psychologist before making a decision about whether they are gong to be a good fit for you. The therapy process takes time and sometimes first impressions are not always accurate. Ultimately they are their to be your psychologist and to help you with your mental problems – not to be your friend. Sometimes the best psychologist is the person who is able to push your personal buttons not the person who is the most likeable.
Mark Korduba is a psychologist in private practice on Brisbane’s north side. To make an appointment to see Mark Click here or follow this link: http://markkordubapsychologist.com/brisbane-psychologist/