Psychology, as practised in Suite 20 at Prince of Wales Private Hospital, generally deals with clinical concerns, such as anxiety, depression, and other common conditions. However, psychology can be thought of as a large umbrella whose spokes represent quite a few different application areas, including, industrial, educational, developmental, sport, neurological, drug & alcohol, community, and cross-cultural, to name but a few major psychological fields. There is often some confusion about how psychology differs from psychiatry, which is a medical specialty requiring an initial degree in medicine followed by specialty hospital-based training. While there is some overlap in the two fields, one major distinguishing aspect is psychologists do not prescribe medication in the treatment of behavioural and/or emotional disorders, while psychiatrists can. There is also some variation in the schools of therapy practised by different psychologists, ranging from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to classical Freudian analytical psychology. Some psychologists also use clinical approaches such as hypnosis to achieve the patient’s desired therapeutic outcome.
Psychologists are required to have a minimum of six years of training, including a four year degree in basic psychology followed by either post-graduate study leading to a master’s or doctoral degree or two years of further clinical work as part of a certified internship program. Clinical psychologists can have specialty interests and age group preferences from young children, to adolescents, adults and the elderly.
While most psychologists can see anyone without a formal referral, it is best for people interested in the possibility of treatment by a psychologist to discuss their concerns first with their GP. Their family doctor will be familiar with the nearby psychologists and their special areas of interest. If the GP considers the concern presented by their patient to be one requiring a series of treatment sessions, the GP can complete a health management plan which then qualifies the patient for Medicare rebates under the GP-Psychology program. Some psychologists bulk bill under this program, thereby providing clinical treatment without any cost to the patient. Persons interested in seeking psychological treatment by a specific provider are encouraged to contact the psychologist and discuss their approach to the nominated concern and their billing policy.
Common Clinical Conditions
Anxiety, depression, pain management, obsessive compulsive disorder, drug & alcohol management, gambling problems, relationship dysfunctions (family, peer group, individual shyness problems), educational concerns (bullying, study and examination problems, career counselling) workplace issues (conflict management, return-to-work following injury programs), sport counselling, grief counselling, management of chronic and/or terminal illness. Some problems might bridge across several of the above areas, requiring multi-dimensional approaches.