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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) – ADULTS

1. What is a Psychologist, and what do they do? 

Psychologists are specialists in human behaviour, who work collaboratively with people to help them achieve their goals. Through a therapeutic relationship, Psychologists use evidence-based interventions and scientific knowledge, to support people to develop strategies to change their thinking or behaviours, to enable people to respond to situations, improve functioning, build capacity and make meaningful changes for them more effectively.  

2. What happens at a first appointment? 

Your first appointment at John Blythe Child Psychology (JBCP) will include either an initial interview (for a 16+ year old young person) or a parent interview (for a child under 16 years of age). This is an opportunity for you to tell your story to a Clinician to help them better understand your presenting concern for yourself (or your child), your history and your goals for therapy. From here, the Clinician will support you to understand the options available to you.  

 

Where the initial interview is with a parent or carer (e.g., in the case of a child client), the next step would involve booking a child clinical interview. This is an opportunity for the child or young person to meet their Clinician, provide their perspective, ask any questions, and work with the Clinician to identify things they would like to understand, change, develop or improve.  

 

During this process, the clinician will support you to identify your goals, identify what (if any) further information is required, and then make a recommendation for therapy, assessment, or both.  

In the event we identify a service that would better suit your needs we will assist you in understanding referral options and work with you to link you in with the ideal service for you.  

 

3. How long is a session?  

Appointments are hourly, and comprise of 50 minutes face-to-face time, plus 10 minutes of administration/note-taking time.  

Initial appointments for NDIS clients are typically 1.5 hours, and include time to review the client’s NDIS plan and complete an NDIS service agreement.  

Assessment times vary and can be discussed and confirmed with your clinician.  

 

4. How often will we need to see the psychologist? 

This depends on several factors, including your presenting issue and goals and will be discussed with you by the treating clinician at the initial interview. 

In most cases, during the initial stages of treatment, a Psychologist might recommend fortnightly sessions. This is to allow a client time to practice skills/strategies between sessions, however, ensures that therapy appointments maintain appropriate momentum needed to create long-term change.  

Recommendations regarding frequency of appointments are part of an ongoing discussion and review between you and your treating clinician, to ensure that you are getting the most out of the therapy process.   

5. If I am after an assessment, do I still need to do the initial parent interview and child clinical screener? 

Yes. This is required for us to gain a thorough clinical history for the person and to assist your clinician understand your individual needs.  

 

6. Why is it so difficult to find a psychologist? 

Psychologists are specialists in mental health and human behaviour. Being a Psychologist with Provisional registration requires a minimum of 4 years tertiary education, plus on the job training. Being a Psychologist with General registration requires a minimum 4 years tertiary education plus completion of a 2-year internship. Being a Psychologist with General registration and Clinical Endorsement required a minimum 6 years of tertiary education, plus completion of a two year “registrar” program.  

In addition to these requirements, all Psychologists at John Blythe Child Psychology share a special interest in paediatric psychology and mental health, and engage in regular professional development, peer and individual supervision and work as part of a close-knit team. This allows our clinicians to draw on a wealth of knowledge and experience to provide the best possible service for our community.  

Being a psychologist requires a significant investment in learning, and a commitment to ongoing supervision and professional development. Psychologists are currently in very high-demand. There are simply not enough Psychologists to meet the current demand for mental health trained professionals. At John Blythe Child Psychology, we are constantly working hard to reduce wait-times for clients, and also acknowledge the importance of sustainability and balance for our clinicians.   

7. Do you offer after school appointments? Do you work weekends? 

Our clinicians work Monday to Friday. Most clinicians offer appointments between 9am and 5pm, however, some clinicians offer 8am-4pm or 10am to 6pm.  

Within a day, each clinician usually has around 6 appointment slots available. Whilst we do offer after school appointments, we are a largely paediatric service, and as such, after school appointment times are in very high demand.  

8. Can I book into a regular time-slot for appointments? 

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer ongoing appointments at a specific time indefinitely. We know that life is ever-changing and evolving and that people’s circumstances change over time. This system allows us to be flexible to meet the needs of as many of our clients and families as possible.  

 

9. How do appointments and bookings work? Can I go on the waitlist for a specific timeslot?  

As a new client, when you call to book an appointment with one of our clinicians, you will be offered the next available appointment (within the next 4 weeks) with the clinician who is available on a day you nominate, or with the clinician who is the best fit for the client and presenting issue.  

 

Our administration team will work with you to book in the initial interview (with a 16yo+ client, or a parent/carer) and child clinical interview (if applicable).  

 

Assessments will generally be booked in by the treating clinician. If therapy is required, the frequency and intensity of appointments will be determined in consultation with your treating clinician. You are them welcome to book up to 3 appointments in advance (up to 3 months in advance).  

 

Whilst we do our best and work hard to accommodate preferences for appointment days, we are unable to guarantee a specific timeslot for any ongoing appointments. As such, we are also not able to waitlist clients for a specific appointment time.  

 

10. Why does your practice charge late cancellation fees? 

John Blythe Child Psychology is a private practice that employs over 30 staff members, across 4 clinics. When you book an appointment, the clinician sets aside time for you, and only you. Each clinician only has a certain number of appointments available during a week. Within allied health and therapy services, it is common for cancellations to occur. Charging a cancellation fee allows us to remain open and operating, and covers the cost of the clinician’s time, and all other costs associated with running a business.  

 

We understand that life happens, and cancellations may be necessary from time-to-time. We kindly request that you provide us with at least 48 hours notice, (or 2 business days) in the event you need to cancel your appointment. This enables us to offer the appointment to another client on the cancellation list.  

 

The cancellation fee can be (up to) the full session fee. However, in the event we can fill the cancelled appointment slot, a cancellation fee will not be charged.  

11. What is a provisional psychologist? Are they qualified? 

Psychologists with “Provisional Registration” possess a minimum 4-year university qualification. They have completed their tertiary education and are undertaking an “internship” to further develop their skills on-the job.  

During the internship, they are required to complete a certain number of supervision hours with an AHRPA board approved supervisor and engage in continued professional development.  

At JBCP our provisional psychologists work as part of a team and have access to a large range of resources, clinical knowledge and experience. In addition to this, they get additional NDIS-specific training and regular peer supervision.  

If there is something our Provisional Psychologists do not know – they will do their best to find out for you! 

12. What is a Mental Health Practitioner, or Social Worker, and what do they do? 

A Mental Health Practitioner (MHP) is a person with a 3-year university qualification in Psychology, social work, counselling (or similar). A Social Worker is a person with a minimum 4-year university qualification, and is registered with AASW.  

At JBCP, MHP and Social Workers, work under the supervision of a senior clinician, or generally registered Psychologist, on implementing an agreed-upon treatment plan for a client. This may involve learning skills such as; emotion regulation skills or social skills.  

In addition, MHP and Social workers may complete home or school visits, run Group skills-training sessions, or work with families to link them in with other services.   

 

13. Why do both parents need to sign the consent & release form? What do I do if my child’s other parent won’t consent to services? 

 

At JBCP, it is our policy to request and require copies of any existing court orders pertaining to the care of a child be provided prior to engagement of services. Where dual or shared parental responsibility exists, we require both parents to sign the consent & release form. This is to ensure that we are complying with our legislative and ethical responsibilities and adhering to best practice guidelines when working with children and young people.  

 

We do understand that families are complex. If there are concerns regarding this, we encourage you to speak with your treating clinician at the initial parent interview, to better understand your personal circumstances, and explore options at that time.  

14. Is there a gap payment for services at your practices? 

John Blythe Child Psychology is not a bulk-billing practice. As such, fees apply for our services, which are payable in full, at the time of the service.  

Rebates may be applicable for private clients (e.g., with a valid Medicare referral or through Private Health Insurance). Third-party and NDIS rates apply.  

15. What age range do you see at your practices? 

At John Blythe Child Psychology, we see clients across the lifespan. However, all our clinicians have additional specialist training in working with children and young people.  

16. Does my child attend the parent/carer interview?  

Where a child/young person under the age of 16 is attending for services, our policy is to book an initial parent/carer interview prior to meeting the young person. As such, the child is asked to not attend the initial parent/carer interview. This is to allow the clinician to gather important background information pertinent to the referral question and presenting issue prior to meeting the child.  

17. What happens after we use the 10 Medicare sessions for the year? 

If there is a need for ongoing services at the completion of the 10 Medicare sessions, clients are welcome to continue to see their clinician at the full-fee paying rate.  

Clients with Private health insurance may be eligible to claim a rebate from their insurance company to assist with payment of these services.  

18. Why does your practice not see children diagnosed with Autism, with Level 3 support needs? 

At JBCP, we work people of all ages, from many different backgrounds, with different presenting strengths and difficulties.  

Autistic children with identified “Level 3” support needs, require significant support. Often, this means specialised support, with a level of intensity and frequency we are not able to currently offer. If you or your child is diagnosed with Autism, with Level 3 support needs, we can assist you to find a service better suited to your support needs.  

19. Why does your practice not see non-verbal children? 

This depends on several factors, including the specific presentation, age of the child, diagnoses and support requirements.  

We are able to work with and accommodate most children who may communicate differently. Children who are non-speaking and able to use other forms of communication (e.g., text to speech, or sign language) can be accommodated (if appropriate supports are available).  

If a child is completely non-speaking, and have not yet developed skills to communicate, they will likely require intensive support from a speech and/or occupational therapist to assist them in developing alternative methods of communicating to support them to navigate and interact with the outside world. This is beyond the scope of the service we are able to deliver. In cases like this, JBCP can work with parents and caregivers to support them to understand and more effectively respond to their children’s behaviours and needs.  

20. What do I need to provide prior to or bring to the parent/carer interview? 

  • GP, Paediatrician or Psychiatrist Referral (if applicable) 

  • Medicare Card and/or Health Fund details  

  • NDIS Plan (if applicable), and details of Plan managers (if applicable) 

  • Signed Consent and Release form  

  • JBCP Parent Questionnaire 

  • JBCP Teacher Questionnaire 

  • Court orders (if applicable) 

  • Any previous developmental/psychological/medical reports etc. (if relevant to the presenting issue)  

  • School reports (if relevant to the presenting issue) 

21. Is the parent interview covered under the GP mental health care plan referral? 

From 1 March 2023, the government changed legislation to allow up to 2 family/carer sessions to be eligible for a Medicare rebate under the Better Access to Mental Health program. For clients aged 14+, they will need to provide consent to allow their parent/carer to access these sessions on their behalf under Medicare (please see our consent and release form, for further information).  

22. Is the parent interview covered under the NDIS? 

This depends on what is included in your NDIS plan. However, as a general rule, Yes. The initial interview goes for 1.5 hours, and includes the clinical interview component (to obtain presenting issue, history and goals for yourself or your child), with time allocated to go through your NDIS plan, goals and to complete an NDIS service agreement.  

23. How can I contact my clinician? 

For any queries related to appointment times and bookings, please contact our reception staff on (02) 9622 9610. If you need to contact your clinician directly, you can phone reception, or send an email to: info@childpsychology.net.au. Please note: it is not guaranteed that your clinician will be available to contact you outside of your scheduled appointment time.  

24. Can you provide therapy at school? 

Yes, this may be possible. However, this depends on many factors, including; the individual circumstances of the client, their presenting issue, therapy goals and clinician availability.  

25. Do you do meetings with my child's speech therapist, occupational therapist and school, etc? 

Yes, this is something we regularly do, and is called a “case conference”. Case conferences usually go between 1-2 hours, and are charged at our standard hourly rate. Due to everybody usually having very busy schedules, we require as much notice as possible to schedule case conferences.  

26. Can you provide appointments for my children at the same time? 

Where there are multiple children attending the clinics for appointments, we will do our best to work with you to arrange appointments at (or around) similar times, where requested. However, please note, due to very limited availability of staff and appointment times, this is not always possible. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility regarding this.  

27. Is what I say to a Psychologist private and confidential?  

 

Yes, and no.  

 

Psychologists take clinical notes, which remain on the client’s file for at least 7 years (or until a child reaches 25 years of age). In some cases, a former client (who may now be an adult) may request to view their clinical file and they are allowed to do so. It is important that parents, caregivers, and teachers etc. are aware that any information they provide may be accessed by the child.  

 

In the cases of children under 14 years of age, legal parents and guardians have the legal right to request information pertaining to their child’s medical treatment.  

 

JBCP work very hard to include caregivers and parents in psychological treatment, whilst also balancing the children’s right to privacy, and maintaining the therapeutic relationship. As such, we kindly request that parents also acknowledge and respect their child’s privacy.  

 

The Consent and Release form will allow you to provide details of who you permit us to exchange information with. In the event you are referred for treatment under a GP referral, we will be required to update your referring medical practitioner regarding treatment progress.  

 

We are unable to disclose your personal information without your permission, except under the following circumstances:  

 

  • A significant risk of harm is identified, 

  • There is a disclosure regarding a significant crime, 

  • The notes are subpoenaed, or as otherwise required by law.  

If you have any questions, or concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality, please speak to your treating clinician.  

 

28. Either myself, or my child needs urgent help, what should I do?  

In the event you, or your child, require urgent mental health support or assistance, please see below for key contact details:   

  • Mental Health Access Line, ph: 1800 011 511 

  • Kids Helpline, ph: 1800 55 1800 

  • Lifeline, ph: 13 11 14 

  • Suicide Call-Back Line, ph: 1300 659 467 

  • Mens Line, ph: 1300 78 99 78 

  • White Ribbon Australia, 1800 Respect ph: 1800 737 732 

  • Westmead Children's Hospital, ph: (02) 9845 0000  

  • Local Hospital Emergency Room  

  • Emergency Services, ph: 000 

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