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How to Find a Good Psychologist in Melbourne

Updated 24th September, 2021

There is a good chance you’re reading this article, because you have done one of these three things in your search for a good psychologist in Melbourne:

  1. You have trawled the net and found yourself overwhelmed with all the potentially good psychologists in Melbourne.
  2. You have tried a psychologist or two in Melbourne and not quite “clicked”. Now you feel confused as to how to find someone suitable.
  3. You are not sure what to look for – perhaps you’re confused about what you need help for exactly or you don’t know what differs between psychologists.

Before we get started in helping you in your search for a good psychologist in Melbourne, it’s important to clear two things up. First, there are a lot of psychologists in Melbourne!

Currently, it’s estimated that there are just over 6000 registered psychologists in Melbourne. Second, there are a lot of good psychologists, however, they each differ in their areas of expertise and style.

Also, since the pandemic, there has been a steep increase in mental health problems. The number of psychologists available has not been able to meet demand, causing a mental health crisis with wait times of up to 12 months to see a psychologist and emergency departments overflowing with distressed patients.

Six things to consider when looking for a good psychologist in Melbourne

For a psychologist to be good, they need to make you feel comfortable, cared for and show you they understand your unique struggles. You also should walk away from the session feeling hopeful that you’ll be able achieve positive change and confident in your psychologist’s abilities.

There are six main things to consider in your search when looking for a good psychologist in Melbourne.

  1. Their individual qualities
    For progress to be made in therapy, your psychologist needs to possess the following qualities:

    • Be able to empathise. Empathy is an ability to understand and care about another person’s struggles without suffering alongside them.
    • Be warm, comforting and genuine in their approach.
    • Have training, skills and qualifications in the area you are seeking help for (more on this below).
  2. Your specific needs
    It is important that your psychologist has worked with people before who have experienced similar difficulties (e.g., anxiety, depression, trauma).If you’re struggling to identify what your needs are, ask yourself: If you could remove a particular distress in your life, what would it be?The answer to this question is probably what you are seeking help for.
  3. Location or convenience
    When finding a suitable psychologist for you, it’s important to consider the location of the practice and the convenience of accessing the therapy.This is very important, because if it is not convenient to see your psychologist, you will most likely cancel or miss appointments.Over time this will greatly affect your therapy outcomes. Consider location, hours, and psychologist availability when searching for a psychologist in Melbourne.
  4. Things to watch for
    A lot of clinics offer a matching session for the first appointment, where you meet with a psychologist to be matched with another psychologist. Personally, I think you are better trying your psychologist for the first session and deciding whether they are right for you. This saves money and time.It is also important to ensure your psychologist has experience in the area you are seeking help for. Private practices tend to book clients in with psychologists that are currently available, as opposed to who is most suited. I believe it is better to wait for the right psychologist, then to settle for an earlier appointment.However, keep in mind this may be irrelevant in situations where you urgently need support with deteriorating mental health.
  5. The personal ‘must-haves’
    In finding a psychologist, you may have some things that really matter to you.
    For example, you may not feel comfortable with someone much older than you or you may prefer a male over a female. If you also do not like a certain personality type in your personal life, chances are you may not like this personality in a psychologist.For example, if you dislike people who are very direct and structured, you are likely to feel uncomfortable with a psychologist who approaches therapy in this way.
  6. The pandemic mental health crisis
    The pandemic has caused a steep increase in mental health problems. And there are currently not enough psychologists to service the community.This means there are long wait times to see psychologists. If you cannot wait long for a psychologist, it may be worth ignoring the location of your psychologist and requesting Telehealth rather than in-person appointments.You may also like to consider some of the university clinics (such as this one at Victoria University), which house training psychologists who are intensively supervised.

Three simple steps to find the right psychologist

With the above considerations in mind, here are three simple steps to finding a good psychologist in Melbourne:

  1. Search for psychologists who are conveniently located and available.
    Note, avoid searching in google for “counselling in Melbourne” (read Three Problems with Searching for “Counselling in Melbourne”). You might like to ask your GP or friends for good recommendations.
  2. When you make contact with the practice, ask the following:
  • Who are the most experienced psychologists in the area you need help with (e.g., anxiety, depression, trauma)?
  • What type of work experience do they have in this area?
  • How would you describe the psychologist’s client engagement? Look for descriptors like “amazing”, “excellent”, “everyone loves him/her”. This question helps you ascertain if the psychologist is empathic and warm
  1. If you’re comfortable with the answers you have received, you can confidently make a booking.

Psychotherapy session, woman talking to his psychologist in the studio

How does Peaceful Mind Psychology welcome new clients?

Our support team will discuss with you over phone or email your needs with a few simple questions.

They will then suggest psychologists based on your answers and explain their individual therapy styles.

If none of our psychologists suit your needs, we offer recommendations outside of our practice.

Finding a psychologist near you

In Melbourne, psychologists are very busy due to the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic. This means you may face long wait times and will need to be flexible with other aspects of arranging an appointment.

When it comes to the best way to find a psychologist in Melbourne, you should keep a few things in mind. While considering the wide range of options, it can help to discuss these with a close friend, family member, your GP, and anyone else whom you trust.

You’d be surprised how helpful it is to have someone you trust assist you in your search for a good psychologist.

It is worthwhile in your search for the best psychologist in Melbourne, to check the type of experience an individual psychologist might have, or the clinic’s treatment focus. Most clinics tend to have a strength in treating specific issues.

Overall, psychologists are well trained treating common issues, like anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. However, for issues like eating disorders, trauma or PTSD, psychologists need to further their experience and training.

It is also important that you like your psychologist! This sounds simple, yet it’s often undervalued or ignored. For therapy to work well, the relationship needs to be strong with your psychologist. Therefore, you need to consider your personal preferences when selecting a psychologist near you.

Clinical Psychologist’s In Melbourne

Most of us think of clinical psychologists in quite a general sense: As professionals which work with people struggling with mental and emotional problems.

Furthermore, the fact that someone is a professional therapist does not mean they can help with absolutely anything related to mental health – many professionals, for example, do not possess the training and experience required to help clients overcome specialised areas of treatment like eating disorders, PTSD or phobias.

Ask around in your community (friends and family), consult your GP and do some research of your own online to find psychologists in Melbourne who have focused their training and experience in the area you are seeking professional help.

Consider and understand your personal preferences

Even if there is a local therapist experienced in treating your mental health difficulty, you should also consider your personal preferences.

If, for example, you’re a young woman suffering from low self-esteem and body image issues, you may feel more comfortable discussing these things with a therapist who is fairly young and also female. It’s so important that you feel comfortable and can ‘click’ and relax with the psychologist you’re working with.

At Peaceful Mind Psychology, we offer a personal matching service when you call to make your appointment. We consider your needs and personality and discuss with you who might be a suitable psychologist at our clinic.

In the past, we’ve even recommend psychologists outside of our clinic if we don’t think we’re the right fit for you. At the end of the day, we want to help you  find the best psychologist Melbourne can provide.

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