We are on the move…

It’s an exciting time for me here at Whole Psychology as I start packing up the office to move location. You may have noticed the growing amount of construction in the CBD and the shrinking amount of parks available when you have been in to see me? With this in mind I started looking to relocate the practice to a quieter setting with easier (and cheaper) parking options.

From September 1st I will open up in the New location of 105A Regent Street New Lambton. My mobile number will stay the same but I will have a new fax number to contact me on which I will be sure to update on the website on the week of the move. This move will mean I won’t be open on the Monday-Thursday of the last week of August for appointments but I will still be able to take calls.

For those of you who stop into Good Brother or the Bolton Street Pantry for a coffee before or after your visit you will be pleased to hear there are a few good coffee places located around the new practice for you to try.

I look forward to the move and hope you find the new practice a little quieter!

 

Supporting online interventions

Did you ever have a moment when something you had been waiting for, for such a long time finally happened? For most of my career I have been working towards equity in accessibility for mental health services for all Australians. I’ve worked in a number of different positions to try and affect change on the smaller individual scale, the local community and the bigger picture. Whilst some of the road blocks have been about stigma, others affordability issues, and others eligibility issues the biggest hurdle I’ve recently tried to overcome is equal access to services for those who cant make it into a service because of their location, physical limitations or the hours offered by providers.

As many of you know I worked at The University of Newcastle as the online counsellor, giving me the opportunity to develop online counselling skills to eliminate an inequality of access to mental health services for the students studying at UON. I was able to offer services outside of regular business hours, services that were online and could be accessed by students from an offsite location, and also offer the distance education students in rural and remote parts of Australia the same access to counselling support as those studying on the campus. This was a great success for the students, UON and for me.

I recently left the university in April this year with the goal of continuing this journey and spread my skills to other clinicians across Australian universities. I hoped when I made this jump that I would one day also be making the jump to sharing these skills and experiences with my colleagues in private practice and other organisations so that it was not only students who would benefit from this approach but all Australians. While some of my colleagues are keen there is always a stumbling block of utilisation of the services given the lack of financial support provided by Medicare for eligible Australian’s to be able to afford psychological interventions with a rebate for sessions under the Better Access to Mental Health Care Scheme.

Last week I got the very exciting news from the Federal Government via a media release that there was a break through! From November 1st individuals who are eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan from their GP for Psychological treatment and live in rural and remote areas of Australia, as classified under the Modified Monash Model regions 4-7 (check out this site to see if your area is covered) , will be able to use these services to connect with registered providers anywhere is Australia remotely using online videoconferencing methods. The initiative will last 4 years and have an estimated cost of $9 million.

What a win for the Australian people! People who live in these areas often have reduced access to psychologists and other health professionals, or find it difficult to use the only provider in town because of dual roles that people in remote and rural areas of Australia have. To be able to have greater choice and availability of services allowing for better therapeutic relationships and reduced burden of poor mental health is a big step forward in Australia providing quality health services.

Now in addition to working with my colleagues in universities across Australia I’ll also be looking forward to working with my colleagues in private practice in skilling us up in the technology and strategies to make this a successful outcome for improved psychological services for Australians.

 

Making your kids harder targets

I was going to start this post commenting on the increased media attention on Bullying these past couple of weeks but then I realised that really there has been consistent and increased attention given to this epidemic over the past few years.  I’d love to say that the increased attention was a result of growing awareness on the need to talk about these issues and reduce the stigma and incidence but I’m afraid that it’s more about a growing phenomena.

This month the ABC is focussing on Bullying and there are a number of great videos, tips, and resources for children, adolescents and adults who are victims of bullying. There are also strategies for parents to help their children and adolescents or for bystanders, family and friends on what they can do to help. And not one for shying away from the harder story they have also included strategies for parent’s of children who are bullying.

Click on the link above and check out the resources available. Or if you need more immediate assistance then contact Kids Helpline on  1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or The Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 65 9467.

If you are looking for additional information as a parent then register your interest with us in the Making a Harder Target program for parents or the group program for children.

 

Starting all over again….

It’s with mixed emotions that I sit down tonight to write this blog post. This isn’t the first blog I’ve created, in fact it’s my third. My first attempt was a one-off blog post that I published after the loss of my first baby. Writing about the loss allowed me to work through some of my emotions at the time, which were all over the place, as well as making a statement about the need for society to recognise that the loss of an unborn child is legitimate. Other than my husband and a small handful of friends it went unread. Regardless it was the end of one journey and the start of a new one for me.

My second blog was far more grand in nature and it was part of my role as the Online Counsellor at the University of Newcastle. For the past 2.5 years I’ve developed, implemented and evaluated the online counselling services for the University of Newcastle. Blogging was just one part of this service but it gave me the opportunity to write about mental health, stigma, wellbeing, and student success for so many people who wouldn’t ordinarily reach out for support from a psychologist.

Now I’m starting all over again with my third blog for my own practice. I’m excited and terrified all at once. I’m owning and embracing both these emotions. I have no choice but to do this really. Whenever I think of taking the alternative route I hear myself saying to my friends, family, students and clients “Nothing worth doing is ever easy” and “If it doesn’t hurt then you’re not doing it right”.

So here I am writing my own blog again, for my own practice. I’m hoping that it will reach my friends, colleagues, family members, clients past, present and future and any member of the public who has ever felt mixed emotions. The site looks a little bare right now but stay tuned and you can watch it grow as the excitement starts to win over the terrors!