Common inquiries about psychological support for mental help seeker

There are various questions which ask mental help seeker to get psychological support such as how to start the first session? how long therapy take? how to take medicine through psychotherapy? does psychotherapy include medication? what is CBT? etc. I want to show some common inquiries:

What will happen during my first counseling session?

If you have never had a session with a psychologist your initial visit may feel a little daunting. Usually what will happen is that the psychologist will want to get to know you better and will be informally assessing your situation. He or she will want to learn about your situation, or in the case of relationship counseling, the issues between yourself and your partner.

Sometimes they may ask you to complete paperwork, including an intake form that outlines basic information about you, or they may ask you to complete one or two assessment forms that will provide them with some objective information about you and what is happening in your life right now.

In our practice, we like to understand the main problem that is bothering you, learn a little about your family of origin (the family that you grew up in) and then focus on your strengths and how best to apply these to what is happening right now.

Often a psychologist will offer to teach you some skills that may assist you to deal differently with the situation that is bothering you, such as assertiveness skills, conflict resolution skills, anger management skills, or skills focused specifically on improving your relationship with your partner.

It is essential that you feel comfortable to talk to your psychologist openly and honestly as he or she really needs to get to know you well in order to help you. If you don’t feel safe with your psychologist then you probably need to find another one, although keep in mind that it can take a little time to develop a trusting relationship with any psychologist.

In almost every case clients who have entered our clinic as counseling ‘virgins’ leave feeling supported, cared about, and as though a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.

How long therapy take?

Initially, your first session with a psychologist will probably only last for an hour.

How many sessions you will require after this really depends on what is happening to cause your distress. Generally, it is helpful to approach treatment with the view that you will probably benefit from investing in at least 6 sessions, and given that you will be making changes that you want to last.

You would be best advised to consider between at least 10-20 sessions spread out over a 12 month period. You may find that your psychologist initially wants to see you every week, and then fortnightly and then maybe monthly before you are asked to touch base for a maintenance session at 6 months.

How do I access a psychologist through Medicare?

You may qualify to access a rebate on your psychology fees through Medicare. To determine if this is the case simply ask your doctor at your next visit whether he or she is able to provide you with a referral and a Mental Health Care Plan to enable you to see a psychologist.

While some psychologists will ‘bulk bill’ you, which means that the whole fee will be covered by Medicare, many will ask you to pay a ‘gap’ which is the difference between the fee that they normally charge and the costs covered by Medicare.

What is meant by Cognitive Psychology?

Cognitive Psychology involves the way we think about things since cognition means thinking. Dr. Arnold Lazurus, who developed Multi-modal Therapy, says that as human beings we can react in any or all of five ways or modes. These modes are described by the acronym, “BASIC.”

In this acronym, the B stands for feelings, the A for effect or feelings, the S for sensations (such as headaches or a lump in the throat), I stand for images, and the C relates to cognition or thoughts. Of these five modes, I personally believe that the two most important are feelings or effects and thoughts or cognition.

An example of the use of Cognitive Psychology is the following. A person may come into therapy and say that all the persons he or she could date are either exciting but cannot provide any security, or are able to provide security but are boring. After being encouraged to date, the person usually comes back with the conclusion that things are not so “black or white,” but there are many shades of grey. That’s Cognitive Psychology.

How do you deal in therapy with persons who have to deal with the recent death of a loved one?

In my type of therapy, which is called “Dynamic Psychotherapy,” trying to help people take appropriate actions to move toward their goals is usually very important. However, after the loss of a loved one, it is very important to experience a period of mourning during which one can talk about one’s feelings about this loss. This talking can be carried out with friends, relatives, and a therapist if necessary.

The feelings of grief which occur during this time are also accompanied by a general lethargy or desire for inactivity which makes taking appropriate actions to move on with one’s life very difficult.

After some time has passed, however, usually a period of weeks, then the person in mourning should be encouraged to begin taking on some of the activities necessary to go on with one’s life in a productive and growthful manner.

At first, carrying out these actions may be somewhat difficult, but the person should try to do so despite the lingering feelings of a desire for inactivity. After a time, carrying out these actions becomes easier and being involved in activities in line with one’s goals helps a person to get over the feelings of loss and move away from the period of mourning.

Is profuse sweating a sign of psychological problems?

The answer to this question is, maybe yes and maybe no. For some persons breaking out into a sweat may be the result of a rapid change in blood sugar level, which is more of a physical problem than a psychological one. To test for this possibility, a person should consult a physician and get a glucose tolerance test.

If the glucose tolerance test is negative, a psychologist may be contacted to help determine whether the profuse sweating is the result of some psychological problem. One example of a psychological problem associated with breaking out into a sweat is called a panic disorder. If a psychologist assesses that a person does have a panic disorder, it is important to try to deal with this problem because if it is not dealt with it is likely to get worse over time.

What if I have a concession card?

At East old Counseling & Psychology we will bulk bill you for psychological treatment if you are receiving Centrelink assistance and have a concession card along with a mental health care plan from your doctor and are experiencing genuine hardship.

Will my private health insurance cover any of my costs?

Depending on your level of cover you may find that your private health insurance will allow you to claim a rebate for any psychological services. Generally private health insurance does not cover the entire fee charged by the psychologist and you will still need to make up the difference by paying a ‘gap’.

You can read more about When we should go to a psychologist or psychiatrist?