Working with a Psychologist

Is your loved one unhappy, stressed, confused or finding it difficult to cope? They don’t need to face these challenges alone.  Noticing the signs and asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. Knowing what psychologists do and how to find the right psychologist is a good first step.

What is a psychologist?


A psychologist is a professional trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn.  They are experts in human behaviour and have studied how the mind works and how people think, react and behave.  Psychologists usually have a 4-year university degree in arts or science with an emphasis on psychology.  After university, they typically complete a further 2 years of education and training to obtain 'general registration'.


General registration as a psychologist enables someone to work in areas of psychology in which they are competent and use the title 'Psychologist'.  Some psychologists choose to complete further training to become endorsed in specific areas of psychology, such as clinical psychology.


Please note, all practising psychologists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).  You can check this at the AHPRA website


Can a psychologist prescribe medication?


No, only GPs, psychiatrists and other medical specialists can prescribe medication.


How do I help my loved one to get the support they need? 


The first step is for your loved one to make an appointment to see a doctor. If the doctor agrees that a referral to an expert like a psychologist is a good strategy for their mental health recovery, they will set them up on a Mental Health Care Plan.


The doctor will then refer them to a psychologist who will work with them to determine the best treatment.