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Sheraan De Souza is a Mental Health Occupational Therapist with over 20 years experience. Medicare rebates apply when you see her for psychological therapy. What exactly does she do? Appointments wit…

Sheraan De Souza is a Mental Health Occupational Therapist with over 20 years experience. Medicare rebates apply when you see her for psychological therapy. What exactly does she do?

Appointments with Sheraan can be made through our mainline 1800 832 588

#mentalhealth #mentalhealthot

What to expect when you see a Psychologist

Feeling anxious about seeing a Psychologist for the first time is very common.. Your Psychologist is very aware that you are going to feel this way. Their first priority is to help you feel comfortable and listened to. Clients have found the following tips to be helpful:

  • Have a look at the website and Social Media platforms of the practice or the psychologist you are attending. This can help to feel like you have got a sense of who they are
  • You are always welcome to call the practice ahead of time and drop in for a casual look aroundIf it makes you feel more comfortable, look through your transport route ahead of time, and aim to be 20 minutes earlier for your appointment
  • Speak to your family about how you are feeling. Consider asking someone you trust to accompany you to the first appointment. They don't have to sit in the session, but it may be nice to have some company in the waiting room.
  • If your appointment is for a young child, you may want to talk to them ahead of time about where they are going. Packing water, some light snacks and comfortable clothing helps too. Sometimes a light cardigan can help with cold air conditioning.

At your first appointment you can expect:

  • To fill up some paperwork providing you information about your confidentiality as well as gathering some of your personal details such as your address and contact details.
  • Your Psychologist will be interested in listening to your story and some of the symptoms you have been experiencing so they have a thorough understanding of what you are going through
  • Collaborative goals and therapy aims are likely to be touched on in the first session and built on in subsequent sessions
  • Your Psychologist will want to answer any questions you may have
  • With young children, Psychologists adopt play and activities to engage with your child to help them feel safe and secure
  • With adolescents Psychologists are keen to get to know you as people with your own interests, thoughts and ideas about your world and what you need

If you are wondering how to open up the conversation with your child or adolescent about seeing a Psychologist, you may find it helpful to:

  • Explore sites such as https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/ and https://kidshelpline.com.au/ as a way to open up the conversation together
  • Watch the practitioner videos on our website and explore our social media platforms (this often gives children and young people a sense of the people they could see
  • Children and young people know what it is to have a coach help them with sport, or a teacher help them learn something new, going to a Psychologist can be explained this way as well - it is a chance to talk about the difficult feelings and situations they are facing and have someone to help them with what they can do.

We are always happy to talk with you further if it helps with those first appointment concerns.

Is it anxiety or something else?

Lately I have noticed there have been enquiries that have come in from parents who have been concerned about whether what their child is experiencing is anxiety, a behavioural issue or just part and parcel of growing up.  It can be difficult for parents who are immersed in their family situation to get some clarity around this.

In general, the rule of thumb is if there are no significant disruptions to their daily lives, and no significant changes to their everyday functioning, and if the episode passes relatively quickly (couple of days, a week) then perhaps it is part of the cycle of growing up and facing everyday challenges.  However, if there seems to be significant changes such as refusing to go to school, impacted sleep, withdrawal from friends and activities that used to be a source of joy, significant physical symptoms (headaches, breathlessness, shakiness, dizzy spells) that are persistent and not easing, or if they are cyclical, they keep coming back - it is worth investigating.  These could point to an anxiety and/or mood disorder. It could also be part of a broader profile of other learning or developmental conditions that may be causing anxiety or a mood fluctuation.  There are some key circumstances we would definitely say warrants professional help - thoughts of self harm, suicidal impulses and panic attacks.  These are signals of significant distress.  In young children, regressing to former stages such as bed wetting, nail biting, having nightmares that do not ease, and increased irritability could also suggest something more is going on.

The following blogs written by our Psychologists will be helpful for more information:

https://www.effectiveliving.com.au/will-a-diagnosis-make-my-child-vulnerable/
https://www.effectiveliving.com.au/child-in-distress/
https://www.effectiveliving.com.au/parenting-an-anxious-child/

What I’ve Learnt Working in Perinatal Psychology

Although having a baby often brings lots of excitement, it can also be a stressful time of change. As a new Psychologist at the Centre for Effective Living, I bring my special interest in working with parents in the perinatal period – the time from the infant’s conception to the first year after birth

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