What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists are experts in mental health. They have undertaken highly specialised training in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of mental, behavioural and emotional disorders.  Clinical psychology is a science-based profession which integrates theory and clinical practice to understand, prevent, and relieve psychologically based distress or dysfunction.

A clinical psychologist is able to assess your symptoms of psychological distress. Central to practice are psychological assessment, clinical formulation and psychotherapy.  A clinical psychologist is able to make a diagnosis and work with you to develop a management plan for your treatment and recovery. Clinical psychologists do not prescribe medication, rather they use psychological techniques, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy to treat you.

While clinical psychology is focused on the assessment and evidence-based treatment of mental illness, clinical psychologists also work in private practice offering short-term and long-term outpatient services to clients who need help coping with all forms of psychological distress. Some clinical psychologists work in other settings, performing research, teaching university courses and offering consultation services.

Clinical psychologists have specific skills that they employ in their work, including:

  • Understanding the broad expanse of mental health issues and how they may occur at any age.
  • An extensive knowledge of mental illness and how to diagnose and treat it.
  • Psychological tests in order to assess your problem and be more effective in understanding and treating patients
  • Consulting with a variety of other health professionals and organisations about behaviour, emotions, and severe mental distress.
  • Being able to perform research and collect data to enhance the understanding of clinical psychology.

Common reasons why someone might see a clinical psychologist include:

  • Problems in adjusting to major life changes, stress or trauma
  • Anxiety, worry or fear
  • Depressed or low mood, or suicidal thinking
  • Thoughts of hurting other people or hurting yourself on purpose
  • Too much energy, being unable to sleep, wind down or relax
  • Obsessional thinking
  • Feeling on edge or jumpy
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Problem gambling, gaming or other addictive behaviours
  • Problems around body image, eating or dieting
  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration and attention, hyperactivity
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Conditions that start in childhood such as autism, intellectual disability, ADHD, learning difficulties or childhood anxiety
  • Behaviour problems in children and adolescents

A clinical psychologist will only suggest treatments that are proven to be safe and effective (i.e. that are evidence based). (Source: https://acpa.org.au/what-is-a-clinical-psychologist/ 

What is a clinical neuropsychologist?

Clinical neuropsychologists assess and treat people with brain disorders that affect memory, learning, attention, language, reading, problem-solving and decision-making.

Clinical neuropsychologists have advanced skills in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning of disorders and contexts across the lifespan. Clinical neuropsychologists are trained to understand the cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects of a wide range of brain conditions. Clinical neuropsychologists’ understand brain structure, function and dysfunction, and the effects of multiple factors on cognitive, behavioural and emotional functions.

Assessment: An assessment typically provides a detailed profile of a client’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and is recognised as a sensitive tool for the diagnosis of cognitive impairment, particularly in cases where changes in behaviour are subtle and not evident on CT scans. An assessment can helps with diagnosis of mental disorders and treatment planning for people experiencing difficulties.

Because neuropsychological conditions can worsen or improve with time and treatment, neuropsychological assessment can provide a baseline to compare changes over time against. It can also be used to predict and enhance social, educational and vocational outcomes. Involves a clinical interview and a range of individual tests.

They can range from brief consultations to detailed comprehensive evaluations involving several hours of face-to-face contact. The results of the assessment are then used to assist with developing individual treatment recommendations or plans.

Treatment: Treatment is tailored for the individual’s specific circumstances and taking into account their unique psychological needs. Treatment could involve a framework in which elements of cognitive, emotional, motivational and noncognitive functions are applied, integrating learning theory, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology.

Neuropsychological treatments can range from a few short sessions to multiple, extended sessions.

Treatment is tailored for the individual’s specific circumstances and taking into account their unique psychological needs. Treatment could involve a framework in which elements of cognitive, emotional, motivational and noncognitive functions are applied, integrating learning theory, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology.

Neuropsychological treatments can range from a few short sessions to multiple, extended sessions.(Source: https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/about-psychology/types-of-psychologists/Psychologists-with-an-Area-of-Practice-Endorsement/Clinical-neuropsychologists)

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy.

Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one’s life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a psychologist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth.

Working with a psychologist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.

Is therapy confidential?

Any information that identifies you or that you give to your therapist will be treated with utmost privacy and respect. Information about you is kept confidential and is only disclosed to additional parties with your prior consent.

The only time a psychologist is required to disclose information about you is if it is demanded by law or if there is reasonable evidence to believe that someone is at risk of harm if we do not divulge the information to the appropriate authorities.

What can I expect in a therapy session?

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. During therapy sessions it is standard to talk about the primary issues and concerns in your life. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around 50 minutes.

Sometimes individuals who are going through a particularly difficult challenge may request more time per session or more than one session per week. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth.

There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. Between sessions it is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions.

What benefits can I expect from working with a psychologist?

Therapy can provide insight and new perspectives into life’s challenges and can help create solutions to difficult problems. Many people find that working with a psychologist can enhance personal development, improve relationships and family dynamics, and can ease the challenges of daily life. Sometimes, just having someone there to listen is helpful.

Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Modifying unhealthy behavior and long-standing patterns
  • Attaining insight into personal patterns and behavior
  • Increasing confidence, peace, vitality, and well-being
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems
  • Navigating life’s obstacles more effectively
  • Improving listening and communication skills
  • Enhancing the overall quality of life

Am I covered by Medicare?

Medicare rebates are available for a range of specified psychology services for people with certain conditions. To receive psychological services under Medicare, a person must be referred by his/her GP or in some instances by a psychiatrist or a paediatrician.

Click here for information on Medicare Rebates for mental health services provided by Psychologists

If you are referred by your GP/Psychiatrist/Paediatrician, we offer bulk billing to Healthcare Card/Pension card holders/full-time University students upon sighting relevant cards, otherwise billing is as follows:

Standard consultation (50 minutes) – $190.00. The Medicare rebate is $124.50
We are able to offer the Medicare rebate at the end of your consultation, courtesy of our online claiming system. Your Medicare rebate is transferred into the bank account you have registered with Medicare.

For more information please enquire with reception.

Do you accept private health insurance?

To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your private health fund. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • Do I have mental health benefits?
  • How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?

Contact Us

277 Macquarie Street
Phone: 03 6224 8448

View details


Kristy Hill
Dr Jason Little
Dr Denise Kirby
Dr Dallas Hope
Dr Bruno Cayoun
Dr Sigrid Denehey

View details

Our Services

We offer a
highly personalised approach
tailored to your needs.

View details