What to expect Most people feel a bit nervous about coming to see a psychologist for the first time. I understand that, so I aim to help you feel welcome and safe when you come to see me. Most importantly, our conversations will be confidential. Before your first session I usually ask you to fill in an intake form and email it to me before we meet. The form asks you to provide some information about what's concerning you, and what you're hoping to achieve by coming to see me. There's no couch! Most of us have an image of the therapist's couch where the client lies while the therapist psycho-analyses them. Rest assured, therapy is not like that! We'll sit together in a comfortable, private and informal room for our conversations. In the first session or two while we're getting to know one another I'll explain what to expect, and I'll ask you to talk to me about what's brought you to therapy, about your own history and background and the changes you'd like to make. Therapy works best when the relationship is good and when the client and therapist are clear about the goals of therapy. Once we've worked out what you want we'll work together to make a clear plan for trying to bring about that change. It is less about me 'doing therapy', and more about us working together. Knowing what works A large part of the benefit of therapy is simply having someone listen deeply to what you say. We don't always have someone who'll listen to us, but when you come to therapy you will. Alongside the talking and listening, I practice effective therapies such as Schema Therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). These therapies are good for helping people to change old patterns of thinking and behaviour, for learning new skills and strategies for managing the effects of depression, anxiety and stress, for improving communication in relationships, and for working towards recovery from trauma. My background in communication is helpful for many clients who come to therapy because of communication troubles at home or work. In our work together I will always talk to you about the options, and will use the approach that appeals most to you. Medicare and private health rebates I am registered with Medicare to provide services under the Better Accessprogram. This will mean that if you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP you can receive Medicare rebates for up to 20 therapy sessions in a calendar year. Many Private Health Insurance providers also reimburse therapy clients. Telehealth - video or phone therapy I provide therapy for clients who live a distance from my practice in Dubbo, NSW. For clients to be eligible for a Medicare rebate for Telehealth services, the client must live more than 15 kms from the therapist and must live in a rural or remote region as classified by the Modified Monash Model. To be eligible, you must live in a region classified as 4 or higher. If you'd like to see whether your location makes you eligible, you can view the MMM map here. I have many years of experience providing therapy and coaching services by phone and via video conference. Many people are somewhat wary about whether or not "telehealth" therapy is as effective and satisfying as being face to face with the therapist. People are often surprised to find how beneficial and satisfying this sort of therapy can be. Telehealth appointments are also eligible for Medicare rebates under the Better Accessprogram. Speak to your GP about whether you are eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan. Walking Therapy Research clearly shows that regular exercise is very beneficial for physical and mental health. As well as offering clients the opportunity to meet in person (COVID permitting) at my office, or via video or phone (telehealth), I also offer the opportunity to hold the therapy sessions out of doors - and to walk while we talk. In my experience clients love having their session this way. Of course, before we agree to use walking therapy, we will meet firstly in person or by telehealth, to make sure you have the opportunity to ask any questions you have, make sure we have discussed privacy and safety for you, and worked out whether or not walking therapy is right for you. As for the effectiveness of walking therapy, in my experience it can sometimes be easier for a client to speak about difficult topics during a walking session, than in the office. Also, researchers are increasingly reporting the mental health benefits of exercise on mood and mental health - in addition to the physical health benefits. Please make sure to ask if you would like to try walking therapy. As for where we walk, mostly the walking therapy takes place along the beautiful walking tracks that run alongside the Macquarie River in Dubbo. Even if you have a telehealth session we can arrange to walk while we have our session. I'll be flexible to make sure the session suits you.