Initial consultations are for 50 mins. A good part of the first appointment is getting a detailed history of the concerns/issues. Prior to the appointment, it is helpful to think of answers to questions such as “when did you first notice the problem”, “what else was happening at the time”, “has it got worse or better at times”, “what you have tried”, “what makes it worse etc”. Usually by the end of the first session, you will have some things to try aimed at improving the situation. Further sessions may be required, with the average number of appointments being 3 to 6, depending on the type of problem. Appointments are usually most effective if they are spaced a few weeks apart, depending on the situation.
Sessions are relaxed and informal, because problems are far easier to sort out when you are at ease with the person trying to help. But no apologies are made for telling it how it is, as you shouldn’t be paying just to hear what you want to here. If you have a ‘Medicare’ referral/Mental Health Care Plan from your doctor, it is a Medicare requirement that the person named on the referral is present at every appointment. If the child is old enough to sit in the waiting room unattended, or if another adult can sit with a young child, a limited amount of time can be spent discussing issues with a parent without the child present. If you are attending as a private patient, the child does not need to attend every appointment, and Simon welcomes the opportunity for parents to discuss their concerns openly and not in front of the child.
When visiting a psychologist, you should never feel forced or pressured to say anything you don’t want to, nor should you be asked questions that aren’t relevant to the problem. When working out with the psychologist what can be tried to improve the situation, you should feel comfortable that it is right for you and/or your child, and you should understand completely why it should help.
Emergency or Crisis Situations
In some circumstances, Simon may decide that it is in the patient’s best interests to seek emergency attention. If you are in contact with Simon at the time, such as during a session, or over the phone, Simon will advise you of his recommendation . If you are not in contact with Simon and feel the situation is critical, you need to seek immediate attention. If the person is under the age of 18, and you can transport them, in most instances, and whenever it is outside of normal office working hours, it is advised that you take the person to the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Accident & Emergency Dept, (Ph. 8161 7000) where the person can be seen quickly for an emergency mental health evaluation.
If the person is uncooperative and appears to be an immediate danger to themselves or others, you may need to call the police (Ph 131 444), or if life threatening, Ph 000.
If the person is an adult, you can call ACIS on Ph 13 1465.
Psychologists are required to obtain ‘informed consent’ from every client. This means that the client is informed of what is required and expected as a part of normal treatment. It is therefore important that every client has an understanding of what to expect from their psychologist. Listed below are the important aspects of any service provided by a psychologist:
- The psychologist will need to collect and record personal information that is relevant to your current situation. You may view and /or have a copy of the material recorded in your file upon request.
- Confidentiality – All personal information gathered by the psychologist during the provision of the service will remain confidential and secure except when: it is subpoenaed by Court, failure to disclose the information would place someone at risk, or approval has been obtained to provide a written report to another person/agency and/or discuss the information with another person/agency.
- Your rights as a client of a psychologist https://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/APS-Charter-for-clients.pdf
Please consider the age of your child when discussing these important issues above – it is important that your child feels comfortable that what is discussed during appointments is confidential and they will be treated with respect at all times.
In some instances, it may be decided prior to your first appointment (if information is available) or at some stage during the consultation process that Simon is unable to assist you further. If this arises, every attempt will be made to direct you to another service that is better placed to assist. This will be discussed with you fully at the time.
Feedback to Referral Party (I.e. General Practitioner – GP)
In most instances, where the person is referred by a General Practitioner (GP), written feedback is provided to the GP within a few days following the first appointment. This feedback will only detail the relevant information in relation to the referral. If further sessions are required, further written or verbal communication with the GP is usually required. (Please Note: It is a requirement of a Medicare Referral that written feedback is provided to the referring doctor after 6 sessions and following 10 sessions. It is also a Medicare requirement that the referring doctor be notified if an appointment is not made within approximately 3 months, or if the client fails to attend their appointment. In most instances, Simon chooses to write to the GP following the first session to advise them that he has made contact with the person. If you have any concerns regarding the sharing of information with your doctor, please discuss these at the first appointment.
Feedback to the Client
Feedback will be provided to the client as part of standard consultation practice. If the client is a child or teenager, and sessions have been conducted with only the client and without the parent present, feedback to the parent is still an important part of the therapeutic process. However, psychologists are still bound by confidentiality and this will need to be considered in relation to feedback to parents. Please discuss your concerns with Simon during the appointment or by contacting him by email.
Cancellation and Non-Attendance Policy/Reminder SMS Service
Cancellations of appointments where 48 hours notice has not been given, or non-attendance at appointments, will result in a cancellation fee of $55.00 (plus GST). This fee must be paid prior to further appointments being made. Please note that when appointments are cancelled, psychologists have no way of recouping the costs of making the appointment time available, hence a cancellation fee is charged. Please contact Simon if you have any concerns.
SMS Appointment Reminders are usually sent a day or two prior to your appointment. This is a courtesy service and we would greatly appreciate a reply as soon as possible to confirm your appointment. Please contact the office if you do not want to receive an SMS Appointment Reminder.
Child Safe Environments
Please note that all appointments are carried out in an environment that meets the South Australian Government’s Child Safe Environments criteria.
Codes of Professional Conduct and Codes of Ethics
A copy of relevant Practice Standards is available by following the link here: PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
Complaints regarding Professional Conduct by a Psychologist
If you have concerns regarding the treatment you have received from a psychologist and would like to make a formal complaint, information is available by following the link here: LODGING A COMPLAINT