How to choose the right therapist?
Psychologists and clients work together. The right match
is important. Most psychologists agree that an important
factor in determining whether or not to work with a
particular therapist, once that therapist’s credentials
and competence are established, is your level of
personal comfort with that therapist. A good rapport
with your therapist is critical. Choose a therapist with
whom you feel comfortable and at ease.
Questions to ask a therapist:
Are you a licensed psychologist? Are you registered with
the Psychologists Registration Board of your state?
How many years have you been practicing psychology? Are
you registered with professional organisations such as
the APS (The Australian Psychological Society)
the professional organisation for qualified
psychologists in Australia. It is important that
a therapist is a member of such professional
organisations as they have to abide by its ethical code
and professional standards.
Make sure that your therapist is a full member of a
professional organisation and not an
associate member, as this means they haven’t met the
professional standards for this professional
organisation yet, and are either under review, or need
further university level training.
What kind of university training in psychology do
you have? A psychologist should have at least a Masters
Degree in Psychology, as most of the more in-depth
practical and clinical studies take place at this level.
It’s the combination of Masters or doctoral-level
training and a clinical internship under supervision of
a licensed psychologist, that distinguishes
psychologists from many other mental health care
providers such as ‘counsellors’ and ‘psychotherapists’.
Unfortunately, almost anyone can call themselves a
‘psychotherapist’ or ‘counsellor’. To counter this, The
Psychologists Registration Board only allows registered psychologists to use the name
‘psychologist’ legally. They insist on specific basic
university training and professional requirements. For this reason,
it is always a very good idea to check out the
qualifications of anyone advertising themselves as a
‘counsellor’ or ‘psychotherapist’. A good rule of thumb
is: if they have a valid Medicare provider
number, than they are deemed to be professional
enough by the Australian Government to provide
counselling services to clients who wish to claim on
What are your areas of expertise – for example working
with children and families?
What kinds of treatments do you use, and have they been
proven effective for dealing with my kind of problem or
What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a
50-minute session.) Do you provide Medicare Rebates?
Do you bulk bill? Do you have a Medicare provider
number? Do I get a rebate from my health
Insurance Fund? Do you have a provider number