Self Help Skills

How to Find a Psychologist in Australia

Updated: Apr 24

When we experience a vulnerable time in our life, it is important to seek help. How do we seek help for mental health issues, or mental illness?

Firstly, ensure you seek appropriate mental health assistance. It is best to seek help for mental issues from health professionals who are trained, qualified, experienced and registered. This helps protect you.

A registered psychologist means you are accessing professional assistance, regulated by the Australian Government. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) maintains a register of psychologist to ensure psychologists meet and maintain professional standards.

Dean Harrison - Counselling Psychologist/Director

​Dean Harrison Counselling Psychologist / Director iflow psychology Dean and his team provide: advanced psychology, therapy, counselling and assessment. iflow psychology provide mental health services for teenagers (adolescents), as well as adults, couple counselling and family therapy.

From time to time in our lives, we might feel overwhelmed. This includes issues with mood including: anxiety, clinical depression, stress. Our mood will often impact on our sleep, appetite, libido, motivation and confidence. Feeling down or anxious will also affect our work, study, family and relationship.

These challenges impact on daily living and can have a significant impact on our mental health. During these times we can benefit from professional help with mental health. Psychologists can also assist with: marital separation, parenting, the death of a loved one, sexuality, burnout, substance abuse and so on.

If not appropriately addressed, daily stress can lead to further deterioration in our well-being, health, performance and relationships. Seeking assistance from a psychologist will benefit.

Are all mental health services the same?

When you consider accessing psychological assistance, ensure you know exactly what health professional you are seeking. Obtain their name and practice location. Check their training, qualifications, and experience. These details should be listed on their website.

If the website does not list the practitioner you will be seeing, proceed with caution. Some businesses are driven by profit. These businesses are not owned and operated by psychologists. Their practices might not provide adequate psychological services for clients or even appropriate employment conditions for their clinicians.

Some advertisements are deceptive. While you might believe you are seeing a psychologist, you might be seeing someone that is not a psychologist.

I often have clients making complaints about previous therapists they have seen who they believe were psychologists. When I review the 'therapist' names, the 'therapists' are not psychologists.

What is the difference between a psychologist and psychotherapist, therapist and counsellor?

The major difference between a psychologists and psychotherapists, therapist and counsellor is that psychologists are registered health professionals. Being a registered health professional means that psychologists are strictly regulated by the Australian Government. The Australian Government requires psychologists to complete extensive university training and post-graduate clinical supervision to be registered. Registered psychologists also have to maintain strict professional standards and adhere to a code of ethics.

Anyone can use the terms 'counsellor', 'therapist' or 'psychotherapist' without any training or experience. Individuals using these titles are not regulated by the Australian Government. They are not required to demonstrate a minimum standard of training. They are also not required to maintain professional standards.

If there was no risk associated with seeing non-registered health professionals, then health professional registration would not exist. Registration of health professionals helps keeps you safe.

What is the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist?

The simple answer is that a psychiatrist has a medical background and can prescribe medication.

A psychologist has extensive training in psychological health. Psychologists use non-pharmaceutical therapy to address behaviour, thoughts and feelings. Psychologist's interventions aim to change behaviour, thoughts and feelings. Psychological therapy helps improve mood (including anxiety, depression and so on) and other psychological issues.

Psychological therapy can include: talking therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and other evidence-based psychological treatment.

Where medication is required, clients might need both a psychiatrist and psychologist. Your local doctor will manage any medications on a day-to-day basis when it is prescribed.

Are their different types of psychologists?

The simple answer is yes.

All psychologists have a minimum of four years university training. Psychologists also have two years post-graduate clinical supervision to become registered as an Australian psychologist.

Only a mental health professional registered with AHPRA can legally use the term 'psychologists'. This is to help ensure public safety.

Some psychologists undertake further advanced training. Advanced psychology training includes post-graduate courses like a Master of Psychology Degree. This also involves additional clinical supervision.

To gain an area of practice endorsement (AoPE) with AHPRA further clinical supervision is required beyond graduation. AoPE identifies psychologists who have completed an approved postgraduate qualification (six years tertiary training). AoPE psychologists also complete a further two years of supervised training in an area of practice. These psychologists can use a protected title associated with that area of practice, such as 'Counselling Psychologist' or 'Clinical Psychologist'.

AoPE is a regulatory mechanism. It is represented as a notation on a psychologist’s record on the public register of practitioners. Psychologists with general registration can be endorsed in one or more of the following approved areas of practice:

  • Counselling psychology,

  • Clinical neuropsychology,

  • Clinical psychology,

  • Community psychology,

  • Educational and developmental psychology,

  • Forensic psychology,

  • Health psychology,

  • Organisational psychology, and

  • Sport and exercise psychology.

How do I find a good psychologist?

To find a psychologist, ask your treating doctor. Alternatively, you can contact your national psychology association. National psychology associations include the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (AAPi) .

If you would like to know more about iflow psychology services visit our website. You can also call our friendly administration staff on 02 6061 1144.

Looking for a psychologist near you? iflow psychology offers online counselling through telehealth psychology services and telephone counselling. You can even book an appointment online.

What to consider when making the choice

Psychologists and clients work collaboratively, so the right match is important. Once a psychologist's credentials and competence are established consider your level of personal comfort with them.

Your rapport with your psychologist is an important factor. Research has demonstrated that the client-psychologist rapport is the number one predictor of outcome in therapy. A good rapport with your psychologist is critical.

Choose a psychologist with whom you feel comfortable and at ease. They should also be willing to challenge you, when necessary.

Questions to ask

  • Are you an AHPRA registered psychologist?

  • Do you have higher endorsement as an AHPRA registered psychologist?

  • How many years have you been practicing as an Australian psychologist?

  • Check if the psychologist is registered by accessing the online AHPRA public register.

  • What is your area of psychology? (for example, counselling psychologist, clinical psychologist, working with adolescents, relationships, men and so on)?

  • I have been feeling (anxious, tense, depressed, etc.) and I'm having problems (with my job, my marriage, eating, sleeping, etc.). What experience do you have helping people with these types of problems?

  • What kind of psychological therapeutic approach do you use?

  • Do you used evidenced-based approaches?

  • What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a 50-minute session)

  • Can I claim a Medicare rebate for your services?

  • Are you accredited to provide services for third party funders such as: Lifetime Care, workers compensation, and so on. etc.?

How many sessions?

The length of time you will need to attend psychological counselling varies according to individual mental health issues.

At least two therapy sessions are required to begin getting to know you and understand your mental health issues.

Often, simple mental health issues can be addressed within six to ten therapy sessions. More complex, entrenched, or lifelong issues can require longer.

Therapy sessions are normally weekly in the start. Then client’s generally taper off to fortnightly and then monthly therapy sessions. Less frequent therapy sessions are required as you experience improvement in your circumstances and well-being.

Psychological therapy should be an active process and you should feel like you are making positive changes. If not, you should speak openly with your psychologist. Open communication is an important part of the therapeutic process.


As with all services, you get what you pay for. Good therapy is worth the investment.

In some cases, clients might be able to secure funding for psychological services through a third party. Please refer to our website for more information.

Be wary of ‘free psychology services’ as this is only possible where someone else funds the sessions. Be aware of who is funding the sessions and the set limits. When funding expires, you will be liable to pay any ongoing fees. The offer of free psychology services can just be a deceptive hook.

Want help?

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing difficulty with mental health, support is available. If you need further assistance please contact iflow psychology or book an appointment. You can book an appointments online, or by calling my friendly admin staff on 02 6061 1144.

iflow psychology offers in-person (face-to-face), telehealth and telephone counselling. We are registered psychologists. We also offer Medicare Rebates when you have a doctors referral and Mental Health Plan. We would love to be part of your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Location Details: iflow psychology is located in Leichhardt Inner West Sydney NSW Australia

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article are suggestions only. It is always advisable to speak with your treating doctor and health professionals before making changes. This is particularly important if you have health concerns or have existing medical conditions.

(c) 2021 Dean Harrison