Should I see a Psychologist?

I must first take myself aside and deliberate what advice I should give. For you yourself, before consulting me as you are doing, gave long thought as to whether to consult me at all”. Seneca the Younger, Letter XLVIII


Referrals to psychologists are on the rise. In Victoria, referrals to a mental health professional increased by 31%. We are definitely seeing an increase in referrals in our practice. Medicare recently increased funding for the Better Access to Mental Health scheme. Now, suitable people, are entitled to 20 sessions of psychology, up from 10, per calendar year.

Its wonderful that governments are recognising the importance of mental health. However, although the demand for psychological assistance increases, the supply of mental health clinicians more-or-less remains the same. This can mean long waiting times and people missing out on their first choices of providers.

In a recent blog I wrote about self-examination. Lifestyle changes exacerbate stress, especially when we are not in control. I believe that seeing a psychologist is an opportunity to take stock of our life and perhaps change course. To make a new identity.

But I don’t think that seeing a psychologist is for all people for all times. When asking yourself if you should see a psychologist, there are some questions that should guide your choice. Hopefully, the questions and answers below will be of help.

Are you contemplating suicide?

Don’t wait to seek help. Immediately contact your GP for a booking. Contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue or the Kids Helpline while you wait for your GP appointment. Don’t lose hope, help is available!

How long have you had the problem?

Many mood related problems resolve on their own. Changing lifestyle and seeking help from trusted people (see below) often help a great deal. For longer term problems, spontaneous resolution is less likely. If you have been suffering in silence for a while, now is a good time to seek help.

Have you tried to pull yourself out of this frame of mind by changing your behaviour?

If you believe you are depressed there are a series of simple behaviour changes that often make much difference. Improving sleeping, eating and exercise routines can help. Although these changes are simple, it doesn’t mean they are easy, and if you find that you’re unable to initiate positive changes to your diet, exercise or sleep, the next step might be a mental health professional.

Do you have others to rely on?

Sharing your problem with a close and trusting friend or family member might make a huge difference. You will need to feel sure that you have emotional safety, telling an invalidating friend about your problems might make things worse. If you have no one to turn to, it is time to seek help. Contact your GP. In the meantime, use a phone counselling service like Beyond Blue or Lifeline. Call them now to break the initial barrier to making contact.

Do you not understand the problem?

Write a list of questions before you seek any answers online. Bring these questions to your GP and first session with a psychologist. If you seek answers through a search engine, you will almost always get the wrong information. This is because people usually ask search engines leading questions, and leading questions will usually confirm your worst fears.

Is it hard to understand what is real or reality at all?

You may be hearing or seeing things that aren’t there or believing things that are impossible. Feeling that you are losing grip of reality is one of the surest signs that help is needed. This is a strong sign that you won’t be able to self-help and should see a GP for advice as soon as possible.

Do you have the funds to pay for a psychologist?

Most private practice psychologists charge a “gap fee”. There are some psychologists that are bulk bill (Medicare funded) only. Our practice psychologists apply a gap. Please check with your local GP about free or low fee services if finances are a problem.

Of course, this list of questions is not exhaustive. In Australia, the first place you should go for advice is your GP. Some psychology practices (such as ours) will answer questions sent via email or through the website.

Good luck!

Speak Your Mind


Suite C5
102-106 Boyce Rd
Maroubra Junction, NSW 2035
(02) 8958 2585

Have Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.