What is a Psychologist Q&A for Psychology Week 2015


To mark Psychology Week we spoke to headspace Dubbo Clinical Lead and Psychologist Ann-Maree Hartley (Annie for short) and asked about what a Psychologist involves and how they can help.

What is a Psychologist and what do they do?

There are many areas in which a Psychologist can work, but overall we work with people to improve their health and general wellbeing via non-medical treatments. We focus on thoughts, feelings, behaviours and reactions.  We also do things like psychological testing to assist with diagnoses, strategies and treatment. 

How can a Psychologist help me at a headspace centre?

headspace is a great place for young people because we really focus on all of the needs that a young person might have.  At headspace a Psychologist can assist by working with you one on one, or working with you and your family.  We also run groups, whether they be social or skills based.  Our job is to help you through tough times or figure out ways to make your life happier and healthier. 

What kind of issues can you deal with?

Psychologists see people with a whole range of issues from mental health (anxiety, depression, psychosis), drug & alcohol misuse, problems with learning, family/relationship issues, school or work issues and even physical health problems.  If you ever wonder whether a Psychologist might be able to help you or your mate, just ask. 

What's the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in the area of mental health, and often work together which can get confusing. Psychiatrists first train as a Doctor and then become specialists in psychiatry which means they can prescribe medications for mental health issues. Some also area trained in therapy. Psychologists on the other hand use non-medical techniques and therapies to improve wellbeing either via individual, group or family work. 

Will you make me lie down on a couch or hypnotise me?

No, long gone are the days of lying on a couch.  We can't read peoples minds either, which is another thing people are often told.  If your worried about what might happen when you first see a Psychologist, ask for a tour of their centre.  headspace is always more than happy to show you around and tell you what we do and what you can expect.  Go with a family member or friend if you are a little nervous about visiting for the first time. 

If I don't get on with the Psychologist I work with can I see someone else?

Because you are talking to a stranger about some really heavy issues it is super important to get on with your Psychologist.  Actually, having a good relationship with them is one of the best predictors of positive change.  Because of this, it is always important for both the Psychologist and yourself to check in about whether things are working or not and make plans if they aren't.  Psychologists won't take it personally because we understand that it can't always be a good fit for a whole heap of reasons, from gender, to style to personality. 

Is being a Psychologist a rewarding job?

Being a Psychologist is an amazing job and a real privilege. To be able to work with people who are struggling with issues in their life and see them flourish and achieve things they may never thought possible is truly inspiring.  I love working with the young people at headspace because they are creative, resilient and honest.

More about Psychology Week at https://www.psychology.org.au/psychologyweek