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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why do I have difficulty connecting with psychologists?

    I have in the last year seen three psychologists but for some reason I don't connect with them. With the last one, it was her that said we are not connecting and basically sent me on my way. I was shocked as I was trying hard to make it work so is there something wrong with me that I cannot found someone to help me?

    I am depressed have many chronic health conditions that I am trying to deal with and I need some help with why I feel the way I do. I have so many things going on in my life. I cannot seem to found someone that can help me deal with them. How do I found the right psychologist or is it me. I am starting to thing that is me.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Karen Amos

    Counsellor, Personal Trainer

    Walk and Talk is just what you need to begin living a life that you love. I'm Karen Amos and at Walk and Talk Australia … View Profile

    Hi, I hope that this answer is not too simple for you, but I believe that finding the right professional for you is similar to finding a GP or even a hairdresser.  At some point you need to be able to connect or to say this is not working.  Clearly you have been there, done that and are wondering if you are the common denominator.

    Again, not to down play your dilema here, I have seen alot of hairdressers and more often than not, they are ‘not the one’.  And when I have found the one, I have been to see her everywhere (I have travelled 2 hours for good hair)!  I would do that because I can appreciate that good theraputic relationship is hard to find.  As it has been for you.

    May I encourage you to keep on looking and even begin to diversify what type of helper you want?  You may find a counsellor or psychotherapist more suited to you, depending on what your needs are. Many of my clients have been to other therapists before and we have noticed that the timing may have been wrong, or the issues are not suited to the therapist and we have success when those 2 things match - timing and therapy.

    You are in a good place.  You are ready to resolve, so don't let mismatches discourage you.  What is good is that you now know more about who you do and don't want to see.

    Kindly - Karen

  • 2


    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    In addition to the excellent points Karen makes, I suggest you think through what it is you want from a counsellor or psychologist. You may need to ask yourself:-

    • What makes me feel comfortable? For some people, a kind, caring and warm counsellor is what's most important. For others, what matters the most is that the professional is able to direct them through a process that feels structured and reassures them that they will be helped in very particular ways. 
    • What frameworks does the counsellor use? Counsellors and psychologists have different training, and within that have completed different specializations. For example, a psychologist who has done their post-graduate training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will be very helpful in assisting you to figure out how the way you think contributes to the difficulties you are having. A counsellor who has completed their post-graduate studies in family therapy or relationship counselling will be skilled in helping you to think about the patterns you create and maintain in relationships that may cause problems for you, and how to do these differently. I imagine that you may need to seek out someone who understands about the complex interactions between chronic physical health problems and emotional wellbeing.
    • Is it important to you if the counsellor is male or female, what age they are or cultural background they have? There's no right or wrong answer to this - it's about what will help you to feel supported, understood and helped to find your own solutions.
    These are just a start - you may have other things that are important to you to enquire about before you make the decision to give someone a try.

    All the best, Vivienne

  • 4


    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 Karen and Vivienne have offered you excellent thoughts.

    In my case (I am a client of a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist, and it took some “shopping around” until I found them), the important criteria are:

    (1) Can I build rapport with this person? Eg, I had zero rapport with the first psychiatrist that I saw (not her fault, not mine) so by mutual consent we ended our relationship - I have excellent rapport with my current one.

    (2) Does s/he listen to me in a respectful and non-judgemental way?

    (3) Does s/he apply clinical skills without telling me what to do - “I am the expert, just do what you are told.”?

    The answers to these questions can take a while to obtain - the first few therapeutic sessions are often spent “getting to know each other”.

    All the best.

  • 1


    Dr Toni Lindsay

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Dr Toni Lindsay is a clinical psychologist whose expertise is working with children, adolescents and adults living with chronic health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, … View Profile

    I agree with all of the above responses, and thought that I may add some thoughts as well!

    As someone who works with people with health concerns, I am astutely aware that there is a significant challenge in managing the interaction between physical issues and psychological well-being. Its hard to make any suggestions specifically based on the information that you have given, but I recommend finding someone who is able to understand your physical concerns, and work with them, as they often become some of the more difficult things to manage in a therapuetic relationship.

    Therapists are a little bit like a pair of shoes, you need to find the right fit, otherwise you will end up uncomfortable, and find it difficult for it to be helpful. Its ok to have not met the right fit yet (this happens for people quite a lot!) and perhaps its worth speaking with someone on the phone before you go for a session to see if it feels ok. I agree with the above, find out how the therapist works and if they use similar strategies to those that havent worked before, examine how they may be able to add to your situation.

    All the best on your search!

    Toni :)

  • 3


    Dr Nitsa Stylianou

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Specialist in Adult Anxiety and Depression View Profile

    Psychologists are caregivers and you have experienced disconnection thus far.  Let's go with your concern that it might be you.  Answer some of the following questions to yourself:

    Who was my primary caregiver and what was my attachment to him or her like?

    Do I believe someone can help me?

    Do I prefer people who are straight talkers or those that are touchy freely?  Why?

    Do I need more than talk?  Do I need some practical common sense advice too?

    Depending on how your answers go, it will help crystallise (in part) the kind of person you will need to seek out in the professional area.  Do not limit yourself to psychologists alone.

  • Daria Florea

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I work on the Central Coast (Hornsby population too if you prefer travelling). As a counsellor I nurture you through your issues, help you find … View Profile

    There are many good points in the above answers and I speak as a counsellor and client. Firstly, I wish to agree that shopping around for a good counsellor or psychiatrist is worth the effort. However, there is no miracle cure and you and your counsellor must be genuine and motivated to solve some hiccups in your therapeutic relationship without giving in or running away. Most likely, this is likely to take longer than the five sessions (on Medicare)

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