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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Where do I find help for my ex-military partner suffering from PTSD?

    My partner says he wants professional help for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in the military several years ago. He suffers with drug addiction and alcoholism as well. I am determined to help him find appropriate treatment as we are coming up to a time of year that is particularly difficult for him to cope with.

    My problem is that I'm finding the process of finding help for him very confusing! I seem to be going in circles. We live in Sydney and have had several bad experiences with asking GPs for help or even referrals.

    He says he needs to speak to somebody who has experience with veterans and I think he may need medication as well. Does anybody have any advice to offer on where to look for a specialist dealing with these issues? We are both so lost.
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  • Mariela Occelli

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Mariela Occelli is a Clinical Psychologist with well over 20 years experience in the assessment and treatment of clinical disorders. She has worked in private … View Profile

    A good place to start is the Department of Veteran Affairs or DVA, they have counseling services and run programs which employ psychologists and social workers experienced in dealing with the military. The link to their website is:
    The DVA also has a list of specialists including Clinical Psychologists and psychiatrists experienced in dealing with service-related mental health conditions including posttraumatic stress disorder that your partner can consult. The service is free with an emphasis on providing assistance as quickly as possible. 

  • I am a registered psychologist with many years of counselling experience in the field of relationships and fertility issues. In particular my focus is on … View Profile

    I agree with Mariela to start with the department of veterans.
    You might also get a referral to a psychiatrist that has experience with PTSD for appropriate medication. The alsohol and drug overuse iss linked to PTSD and is a way of him trying to cope on his own for the fear and flashbacks from PTSD.

    There are groups for drug and alcohol overuse that can be useful.

    A private clinical psychologist who has experience with trauma and Ptsd would be able to help him.

    The Australian Psychological Society has a list of psychologists who you can refer to
    I hope you get help as it is very well known condition that is treatable.
    Good luck

  • Michael Guy

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a clinical and coaching psychologist ( with over 15 years of professional experience. Recognized qualifications and lots of experience to give me skills … View Profile

    In addition to the other comments I would note that some Clinical Psychologists/Psychologists are registered with the Department of Veterans' Affairs.  Once your partner has a referral from a Psychiatrist requesting treatment for PTSD the Clinical Psychologist/Psychologist can bulk bill Veterans' Affairs.  (This assumes your partner has DVA gold or white card).  Under these conditions the Clinical Psychologist/Psychologist can not charge a gap and you may find many that do not bulk bill.  I would therefore suggest you ask the practitioner if they are registered with DVA, confirm that the service will be bulk billed and then explore their experience with Veterans, Drug and Alcohol issues and PTSD.       

  • Ralph Graham


    Ralph Graham, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, helping those who are affected by:grief, loss, anxiety, phobias, panic attack.And those who have been traumatised by:crime, assault, sexual abuse and … View Profile

    You may find that the successful addressing of the PTSD will quickly lead to a resolution to the drug and alcohol situation. . There is a psychologist in Campbelltown who uses Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) and related Applied Metapsychology techniques to handle PTSD. This approach goes to the cause of post traumatic stress and comparatively speaking, gets a rapid result where most or all PTSD symptoms can be resolved. Private message me for her name if you like. If you are not in that area I may be able to refer someone else.

    I specialise in trauma therapy and employ  the same methods and have a concession program for veterans, but I am not set up so that the government pays the bill.  

    My very best wishes,
    Ralph Graham

    To ask a question in private or to have me recommend someone in your area
    click Make an Enquiry

  • Dr Toni Metelerkamp

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Toni works with adults and couples, and specialises in diagnosing and treating anxiety (panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder), phobias, substance and gambling, addictions, suicide and … View Profile

    There is also PTSD App for smartphones called PTSD Coach Australia. There is a US version too, and they’re essentially identical expect the local one has local contact numbers. PTSD Coach Australia is free to download, was developed by the US Veteran Affairs and has useful information and self help strategies. A commonly used therapy for PTSD is exposure therapy and there is also an App that PTSD suffers can use, in tandem with exposure therapy, called PE Coach. Again it’s free and has useful self help strategies including a good breathing exercise with visual and auditory cues to help lower your breathing rate.
    I wish you all the best   

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