Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What is a Clinical Psychologist?
A clinical psychologist has completed undergraduate and post graduate study in learning to apply the scientific principles of psychology in practical settings. This is called the Scientist Practitioner approach.
Most clinical psychologists will have completed an internship during their post graduate study which allows them time to learn and practise clinical skills in applying psychological theories in a supervised setting.
Clinical psychologists are able to complete complex psychological assessments across a number of different settings while also providing different treatment interventions depending on the need and the scientific support for each setting.
How can a Clinical Psychologist help me?
A clinical psychologist will be able to assess what you need quickly and effectively. They will know which interventions are supported in scientific research for your particular problems and will be able to provide therapeutic intervention in a safe and positive approach.
A clinical psychologist can help with emotional difficulties, behavioural difficulties, unhelpful thought processes, relationship difficulties, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, phobias, sleep.
What can I expect at my first session?
Often when you first make contact with a psychologist (phone or email) they will ask you why you are wanting to attend psychology. They will assess if they are able to provide you with the service that you need and if not, they may refer you to someone that is more appropriate.
During the first session a psychologist will discuss confidentiality and consent with you. You should feel comfortable enough to ask questions. A first session will often be a time for gathering information but also for both the client and the psychologist to assess whether there is potential for a good rapport and therapeutic relationship.
Psycho education is often provided at the first session but not always. It is always positive if the client leaves the first session feeling hopeful about the proposed treatment sessions.
Will my information and appointments be kept confidential?
Psychologists are bound by The Code of Ethics for Psychologists working in Aotearoa/New Zealand, The Health Practitioners Competency Act 2003, and the Privacy Act which all provide guidelines on keeping your information private and confidential. Confidentiality should be discussed in the first session.
If you have been referred by an agency such as ACC the practitioner will discuss with you the limitations of confidentiality given the referral source and other limitations. During this discussion you can ask questions and if after the discussion you are not comfortable with sharing your information you can end the appointment and ask to be referred to someone else.
How long is each session?
Usually sessions will last 50-60 minutes however sessions can be longer if needed and agreed upon, or they may end earlier if therapeutic intervention has been achieved.
Can I get financial assistance to see a Clinical Psychologist? (WINZ, ACC, private insurance etc.)
There are different agencies in Aotearoa that may fund your assessment and treatment with a psychologist. You can be seen through ACC if you have had an accident and suffer psychological distress because of the accident and/or injury.
Some private insurance organisations fund limited psychology sessions so it is worth discussing with your insurer or checking your policy. Other organisations that may fund your psychology sessions depending on your situation include: EAP, DHB, community organisations, PHO.
How many sessions will I need?
The length of treatment depends on the nature of the problems and the severity of the problem. Your psychologist should be able to discuss their rationale for how long treatment will take after they have completed an assessment.
Do I need a referral from my GP to see a Clinical Psychologist?
You do not need a referral from your GP unless an agency has requested it (i.e. insurer). You can contact a psychologist and see them without a referral depending on the problem.
Sometimes it is helpful for the psychologist if the GP has written a referral however it is not essential.
What is the process for making an appointment?
Do you have after-hours or emergency appointments available?
There are times when I may see someone in an emergency however this is limited and depends on the circumstances.
Client contact work hours are from 8.30 to 5.30 with limited exception of after work hours appointment depending on the circumstance.