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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Counselling?

Counselling assists you to further gain understanding about the issues you are experiencing and provide you with effective tools and support to deal with them. It provides this in an independent and non judgemental way.

Counselling can offer a different perspective and help you think of creative solutions to problems. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone not personally involved in your life can be very beneficial. 

Is it Ok to see a Counsellor or Psychologist?

Yes, most certainly. More and more people are beginning to recognise the assistance that counselling may offer when dealing with other work and personal issues, whether it be for minor or more in depth matters.

It is a fallacy to think that you must be 'crazy' to seek the services of a psychologist.


Is this the right support?

You would not ask your neighbour to check and treat your broken leg, you see a Doctor. Why, because they know what they are looking for and are trained to treat you properly. Just like a Doctor, Psychologists are professionals trained to know what to look for and provide the best treatment to aid your circumstances.


Be aware that backyard help can be more damaging than good.

Not all individuals who provide counselling are as qualified, trained, registered or have the experience. Be aware that you do not have to have qualifications to call yourself a counsellor or psychotherapist. You do need qualifications to call yourself a social worker or psychologist. If you intend to seek counselling, always check the persons’ qualifications and experience. It would be wise to choose a counsellor who has adequate training and the necessary skills to help deal with your circumstances.


What is a Psychologist?
A psychologist is a professional trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn.

In Australia, psychology is a regulated profession. This means that people who call themselves a psychologist or say they are practising as a psychologist must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) and listed with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Registered psychologists are required to have a minimum of six years of university training and supervised experience, and to engage in ongoing education to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

They must also adhere to certain strict standards to keep their registration, and must provide professional services according to a strict code of ethics, written by the APS.

You can check on the AHPRA website to see whether a person is registered as a psychologist.

What is a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has completed specialized training in Psychiatry which involves the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication.

What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and Psychologist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have received further training in psychiatric/psychological disorders.  While psychologists training is in regard to human behaviour.  Psychiatrists are able to provide prescriptions for psychiatric medications, while psychologists are not.

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical Psychologists are psychologists who in addition to their 4 year university degree in psychology have attended 2 or 3 years further specialisation in clinical psychology in recognised university courses and/or supervision.  Furthermore they are members of the Australian Psychological Society, College of Clinical Psychologists. 


How long will my appointment go for?

45-50 Minutes.

How often or how many sessions do clients normally attend?

There is no set number of sessions people need to attend for psychological treatment. At Potential Self we will work with you based on your goals and the nature your circumstances.

After your initial appointment you may wish to make your next appointment sooner (i.e. weekly) to start learning strategies to support your circumstances. After you have built some resilience and acquired further support strategies this may space out to two to three week intervals depending on your needs. From here, we look at maintenance sessions at six to eight week intervals to target any problems areas and refresh skills to keep you going forward and prevent hiccups.

Usually you and your practitioner will come to a mutual decision about when is the right time for you to move forward on your own.

What is the Medicare better access to mental health service?

Medicare rebates are now available for mental health conditions. To access a Medicare rebate you must first have a referral from your doctor, psychiatrist or paediatrician.  See rebates for further information. Rebate Button







What is EDMR?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful psychological treatment that has been used effectively for over 20 years in a variety of international settings and cultures with many different types of psychological distress.



Often disturbing events happen in our lives that stay with us. The brain cannot process information as it ordinarily does. One moment can become ‘frozen in time’ and remembering the trauma may feel as bad as going through it for the first time. This is because the images, sounds, smells and feelings still seem to be there – they haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way that they relate to other people.

EMDR has a positive effect on how the brain processes information. Following an EMDR session, the person no longer relives the trauma. They still recall that an incident happened, but it no longer feels upsetting.

How does EMDR work?

EMDR works by alternately stimulating the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This can be done through eye movement, which is similar to what occurs in Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. You may know this as dreaming. Other forms of processing include tapping (i.e. on the knees), or auditory (clicking).

It is suggested that when we sleep we use our dreams to make sense of the world and our experiences, and discarding memories and other information we do not need. It is proposed that this is why EMDR is so effective. It resembles the REM process and assists in unlocking and healing severe emotional distress in a healthy way.

Is EMDR Supported by Empirical Evidence?

EMDR is one of the most researched psychotherapeutic approaches for PTSD. Since 1989 over 20 controlled clinical studies have found EMDR to effectively decrease or eliminate the symptoms of PTSD for the majority of clients and it is more efficient.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has recently noted EMDR as a Level 1 treatment for PTSD in their recent published results for ‘Evidence-Based Psychological Interventions: A Literature Review’ (2010) for both young people and adults. This is the highest rating that can be applied to a specific therapeutic approach. Additional research has focussed on use of EMDR for Depression and Anxiety and numerous other issues with extremely good results.

What is an EMDR Session Like?

During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as a focus for the treatment session. The client then calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc. The therapist will then begin eye movements or other bilateral stimulation. These eye movements are used until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with a positive thought and belief about yourself.


How Long Does EMDR Treatment Take?

One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment. The therapist will also discuss EMDR with you more fully and give you an opportunity to ask questions. The typical EMDR session lasts from 60-90 minutes. The type of problem, life circumstances and the amount of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions are necessary.



For an EMDR Client Handout, go to:

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