How to Find a Psychologist

When seeking help, it is likely we are experiencing a vulnerable time in our life. It is therefore important, to ensure you seek assistance from a health professional that is appropriately trained, qualified, experienced and registered. This helps protect you, as a registered psychologist means you are accessing professional assistance, regulated by the Australian Government. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) ensures psychologists meet and maintain professional standards.

At some time in our lives, we might feel overwhelmed and will benefit from professional help with our personal issues. This includes issues with our self-worth, confidence, mood, sleep, relationship, separation, parenting, family, work, study, loss, the death of a loved one, sexuality, depression, stress, burnout, addiction or substance abuse and so on. Such losses and the stresses of daily living can have a significant impact on us. If not appropriately addressed, they can lead to a deterioration in our well-being, health, performance and relationships. Seeking assistance from a psychologist will benefit.

Be cautious. Not all services are the same.

When you consider accessing psychological assistance, ensure you know exactly who you are seeing. Obtain their name and check their training, qualifications, and experience. This 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 and their practices might not provide adequate services for their clients or even appropriate employment conditions for their clinicians. Some advertisements are deceptive and while you might believe you are seeing a psychologists you might be seeing someone that is not a psychologist.

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

The major difference is that psychologists are registered and regulated by the Australian Government. The Australian Government requires psychologists to achieve and adhere to strict professional standards and a code of ethics.

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

Are their different types of psychologists?

The simple answer is yes. All psychologists have a minimum of four years university training and two years post-graduate clinical supervision to be able to gain registration in Australia as a psychologist. Only those professionals registered with AHPRA can legally use the term psychologists. This is to help ensure public safety.

Some psychologists undertake further advanced training to gain an area of practice endorsement with AHPRA. Area of practice endorsement (AoPE) identifies psychologists who have completed an approved postgraduate qualification (six years tertiary training) and supervised training (two years) in an area of practice, and who can use a protected title associated with that area of practice. AoPE is a regulatory mechanism and 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:

  • Clinical neuropsychology,

  • Clinical psychology,

  • Community psychology,

  • Counselling psychology,

  • Educational and developmental psychology,

  • Forensic psychology,

  • Health psychology,

  • Organisational psychology, and

  • Sport and exercise psychology.

How do I find a psychologist?

To find a psychologist, ask your treating doctor. Alternatively, you can contact your national psychology association. If you would like to know more about iflow psychology services then please call our friendly administration staff on 02 6061 1144.

What to consider when making the choice

Psychologists and clients work collaboratively, so the right match is important. An important factor in determining whether to work with a particular psychologist, once that psychologist's credentials and competence are established, is your level of personal comfort with that psychologist. In fact, 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 a registered psychologist? Do you have higher endorsement? How many years have you been practicing psychology? You can also check they are registered by accessing the online public register held by AHPRA.

  • What are your areas of expertise? (for example, 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 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, Veteran Affairs, Victims of Crime, workers compensation, etc.?

How long will I have to attend?

The length of time you will need to attend psychological counselling varies according to individual issues. At least two sessions are required to begin getting to know you and understand your issues. Often, simple issues can be addressed within six to ten sessions. More complex, entrenched, or lifelong issues can require longer. Sessions are normally weekly and then client’s generally taper off to fortnightly and then monthly as they experience an improvement in their circumstances, well-being and quality of life.

Therapy should be an active process and you should feel like you are making positive changes. If not, you should speak with your psychologist.


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

Want more information?

If you would like more information please call our friendly administration staff who will be able to assist you on 02 6061 1144.

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