Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know if I'm ready for therapy?
The fact that you’re reading this suggests you want something to change but that doesn’t mean you aren’t also ambivalent about changing. If it were simply a matter of wanting, you’d have done it already. What we’ll do together is work on understanding the ambivalence and the function it serves, and then we’ll start to dismantle it, bit by bit, so that you can focus on making the changes you want.
How many sessions will I need?
This will depend on many factors including the reason you are attending therapy, how frequently you attend, and how much work you do in between. Some people may only need a few sessions whereas others will use upwards of 20 sessions a year. Make sure you talk about your expectations and any limitations you have so that I can plan your therapy accordingly.
I’m too busy to come fortnightly. Can’t I just come monthly?
New clients to the practice are generally not recommended to attend less frequently than fortnightly in the beginning as in most instances, it is difficult to create enough momentum to effect change. Maintaining the agreed upon regularity of sessions is really important. When you come in haphazardly, it’s easy for therapy to lose its thread, and sessions can easily become you catching me up on your life, which might feel good for you but is unlikely to help you achieve your goals. Occasionally less frequent attendance by new clients is permitted if you commit to doing the work on your own between sessions.
Do I have to do anything in between sessions? I hate homework.
I wish I could attribute all the gains you experience to the hours with me. My ego would love that! But the truth is that most of ‘the work’ will happen in between sessions. For some of you who tend towards self-reflection, the therapy hour will open up channels of enquiry, and you’ll extend on what we do in the session with further reflection and examination. Some of you will benefit from specific exercises that we’ll set together. This may include things like keeping a log, journaling, engaging in particular behaviours, experiments to test out particular hypotheses, just to name a few. This isn’t school and you won’t be punished for not doing your homework. However, if it seems as if you are just coming to sessions and then not engaging in anything in between, I’ll talk to you about that since it might reflect some ambivalence that we need to address.
My partner has mental health issues and it’s really affecting our relationship. Are we eligible for a Medicare rebate for couples therapy?
Unfortunately, couples therapy is not covered by Medicare, even when one partner is eligible for a mental healthcare plan for individual therapy. However, if the eligible partner sees me for individual sessions, it may be possible for the partner to attend the last 15 or so minutes of the session as a support person. It is important to be really clear here that it will not be couples therapy in which the needs of both partners are attended to equally. Rather the focus will be on the needs of the attending partner, not the support partner.
Will it be uncomfortable?
On a scale of 0 to 10 therapy with me mostly sits between a 2 and 7 for discomfort. When people I work with tell me that they’re scared to do something I’ve suggested, I tell them that’s a good sign that we’re on the right track. This doesn’t mean I set the pace and you have to follow. I work collaboratively with you to make sure we are going at a pace that is manageable for you, but my role is also to make sure that we keep moving forward. That said, I’m a tad irreverent and believe a lot can be achieved through using humour to shift our perspective. When we’re suffering, we can become ‘myopic’ to our suffering, and can easily feel overwhelmed, helpless, and hopeless. Sometimes it is in the lighter moments that the shifts happen.
I really want to fix things faster. Can’t I come in 2 or 3 times a week for a few weeks?
For most people having time between sessions to consolidate, reflect, and practice making behavioural changes is essential. There are a few instances in which coming more frequently can be helpful such as doing intensive exposure treatment for phobias or OCD.
Why do you charge cancellation fees?
When you book an appointment, that hour is reserved for you. I use my existing bookings to help me plan whether I have capacity to take on new people. Applying a cancellation policy means that admin can offer your reserved time slot to another person who may be on a waiting list.
Will you also see my partner/friend/sister etc?
It’s not unusual for people who are benefiting from therapy to want to refer other loved ones to see me. As much as I appreciate it, in most cases it would not be appropriate for me to also treat them. There are many reasons for this but the biggest is that it may compromise my having an unbiased stance if, for example, you have been talking about this person in your sessions. It would only be appropriate if there were no chance of their being any kind of crossover in issues raised in therapy. If you do want to help your loved one find a therapist do let me know as I have colleagues that I can recommend.
Is therapy confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important tenants of the therapeutic relationship. What we talk about in therapy is confidential with several key exceptions:
- If you are at risk of harm to yourself or to someone else.
- If we learn about harm to a child or an elder.
- If your file notes are subpoenaed by the courts.
Finally, I will also need to liaise with any referring GP about your treatment progress. I will only disclose what is relevant.
I need a report written. Can you help?
I do not provide court reports of any kind, medico-legal reports, or letters or reports for workplace disputes.
Do you treat children?
I work with individuals aged 16 and over. I do not work with children.