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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I choose the right psychologist for my depression?

    I am depressed and have never seen a psychologist before. I don't really know any friends who do either so won't be getting referrals from people I know. How do I choose the right one for me?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Louise Shepherd

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a clinical psychologist with 15 years experience working with all sorts of goals and issues. I love working with people, helping them to … View Profile

    Good and important question. It can involve a bit of trial and error going along to a couple of people before you feel you have found a good match. Hopefully you feel like you have found the rigth person straight away but if after 2-4 sessions you don't feel that the person “gets you” or has been helpful in some way then I'd encourage you to move on and try someone else. You need to be realistic though - there are no magic fixes and treatment may take some time to feel beneficial. 

    I'm biased and would recommend a clinical psychologist or a psychologist who is very experienced in dealing with depression. 

    You can make a couple of calls and have a quick chat over the phone and see what you think. If the person sounds friendly and caring and makes you feel at ease in making the call that is a good start :-).

    If you want to check out my profile either myself or my associate Emma may well be a good choice!!! I'd be happy to have a chat at least and help you decide where to go next

  • 1

    Thanks

    caryn

    HealthShare Member

    I have been going to my GP for 5 months and she has been helpful but we have tried a few meds which help with the depression but have given me chronic insomnia. I feel like I need to see someone who is more experienced in dealing with depression and has more of a knowledge on what meds to try. The problem is I dont know where to go and my gp will not be happy if i ask for a referral.  I have become anxious when I go to see her because she thinks I should be ok now. Any suggestions?

  • 2

    Thanks

    Dr Louise Shepherd

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a clinical psychologist with 15 years experience working with all sorts of goals and issues. I love working with people, helping them to … View Profile

    I would encourage you to get a second opinion, probably seeing a psychiatrist is a good idea if you want to continue on with meds. It is your absolute right to ask for a referral - and yet I udnerstand that you may feel uncomfortable. Perhaps you could gently say something like, “A couple of people have been surprised I haven't seen a psychatrist at all and I myself wondered if this might be an option worth exploring”. If she says no or is not supportive I'd advise you to consider seeing a new GP. It seems crazy to me that a GP be unhappy if you ask for a specialist referral especially after trialling a few meds and not getting the right one yet. 

    I'd also encourage you to consider if meds are the whole answer (this is assuming that you are not using other approaches at this stage which may be incorrect). Your GP can also refer you to see  a clinical psychologist or find a psychiatrist who is interested in “talking therapies” as well as medications (some are and some are not really).

    Good luck. Let me know how you go :-)

  • 1

    Thanks

    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I think that Louise and Grant have both offered you excellent suggestions.

    From my standpoint (as a client of a clinical psychologist - there was some trial and error until I found one who worked well with me - I am now on a “care and maintenance” basis with her, seeing her once every six months), your answers to these questions might help:

    (1) Does s/he listen to me is a respectful and non-judging way?

    (2) Does s/he have experience of a wide range of therapeutic approaches? As Grant mentioned, CBT is often highly effective, but other approaches might meet your needs better.

    (3) Does s/he view your professional relationship as a collaboration? By that I mean “We are working on  this together.” compared to “I am the expert, just do what I tell you.”.

    Note that there are no *right* answers to these questions but *your* answers to them is what matters.

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