Frequently Asked Questions
The following lists some of the most common questions asked by parents with some useful answers for parents and their families.
When you call and make an appointment with ACPC, you will receive a registration pack prior to their first appointment. This registration pack includes a Parent Form, Consent Form and a Teacher Form (dependent on case) to be completed prior to the first appointment.
What happens in the first session?
During the first session, the psychologist/ principal psychologist will conduct an interview to gain sufficient information of your concerns and the child/adolescent's backround history. This may include but is not limited to; developmental, behavioural, social and emotional history.
Your psychologist will also discuss with you the assessment process (if necessary) which may include standardised assessments with your child and/or a preschool/ school observation and/or a child interview. Whilst working with you, your psychologist will provide you with feedback, reccomendations, and plan with you the necessary steps to address the concerns shared. During this process, your psychologist will aim to be attentive, knowledgable, and work with you in a collaborative and respectful manner.
What type of therapies does Azza's clinic provide?
Psychologists/ Clinical Psychologists working at ACPC combine a number of strategies and techniques from a range of evidence based practices. This is to ensure that the child or adolescent is receiving the appropriate and effective treatment based on their needs and diffiulities.
Our team of psychologists possess a number of therapeutic skills and training. They are able to provide a variety of approaches and strategies depending on the presenting problem. Such treatment approaches may include but are not limited to; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy, Play therapy, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Neuropsychotherapy and Family Therapy.
When working with children with anxiety for example, CBT is a very effective evidence based approach which provides a number of therapeutic techniques to teach the child/ adolescent skills and strategies to apply to manage their anxiety in a more efficient way. This is acheived through a combination of teaching the child ways to challenge their 'negative thinking' and ways to introduce a change in their consequential behaviours. CBT can also be used for various presentations, solely, or in combination with other treatment programs.
It is important to note that various therapies are usually modified for each case and treatment programs are tailored to meet the child/ adolescent needs.
At AzzA's Child Psychology Clinic, the general assessment & intervention process may include the following three stages
1- Meeting the Family to discuss presentation:
- Initial Clinical Intreview with the family/parents
- Child/ Adolescent Interview and Clinical Observation
- Preschool/ School Clinical Observation
- When necessary, liaising with the school for information gathering
- Liaising closely with referring agents including the GP and Paediatrician, other allied health
2- If required, discussion of assessments required to assist in determining the nature of symptoms and to allow differentiation.
Comprehensive standardized assessments (includes but not limited to):
- Cognitive Assessment to determine intellectual ability
- Learning Assessment to identify any Specific learning difficulties
- Adaptive Assessment to determine level of everyday functioning
- Behavioural Assessment to determine severity of behaviour
- Autism Spectrum gold standard Assessments
- Attention Deficit- Hyperactivity Disorder Assessment
- Anxiety Assessment to allow differentiation
The assessment process includes a comprehensive report demonstrating results, identifying concerns and outlining recommendations, and a feedback session to discuss what will suit the client's specific needs.
3- Intervention & Therapy
Follow up sessions are then booked in with the child, parents and/or family for intervention to improve skills (e.g. anxiety/ anger management, social skills, behavioural management training) using evidence-based therapies.
- Some of the assessments are not covered by Medicare. However, ACPC offers flexible rates & packages for families.
- Medicare Rebates are only available when a mental health care plan is obtained from the GP or Paediatrician upon referral.
Please contact our clinic for further details about our clinical or consultation services for children, adolescents and their families or complete our online form to be contacted by our principal psychologist.
For most cases, the child and adolescent feel reassured by their parents prior to attenting the clinic. However, in some cases, it can be quite stressful for parents to discuss the possibility of attending a psychology clinic. Here is a summary that may assist you in guiding your child to attending the clinic:
- Prior to making the appointment for your child to attend to meet with the psychologist, tell your child about the appointment and explain to him/her the reason for the consult. This needs to be explained in a way that the child can understand at their developmental/ language level.
- In the case of an adolescent- inform them about the meeting when you make the appointment and encourage them to attend the first consult to discuss directly what they think and feel with the psychologist. Ensure them the confidentiality between them and the psychologist.
- In the case of a preschool/primary school child- inform the child a night before who they will be seeing, you may even inform them of the psychologist's name to help ease the situation.
- In the case of a younger child- explain to the child in a way that they can understand (i.e. at their level) where you will be going, and let them know what they should expect (e.g. playing with activtiies, toys whilst mummy talks etc.)
- It is really important that you answer questions that your child/ adolescent may have. If unsure please discuss this with the psychologist or the clinic.
- If the child is feeling anxious/ stressed, reassure your child that you will be there for the whole appointment, or waiting in the waiting room. At times, your child may feel more comfortable if you allow them to bring an object/ toy (e.g. book, toy etc.). If your child may be attending after school hours, it may be helpful to keep an extra snack and/or drink.
- If your child feels awkward or 'different' for seeing a psychologist, explain to your child/ adolescent that lots of people including kids and teenagers have very similar problems and that they see psychologists to assist them through it.
- Please reassure your child that they do not have to inform anyone else that they are seeing a psychologist and that things that they say are confidential (expectional circumstances may include; risk of self harm), and things are reported to their parents with their consent.
As therapists working with children, adolescents and families, we understand that rapport building and a therapuetic relationship between the client and the psychologist is essential. Psycholgists at ACPC have strong skills in rapport building with children and adolescents to help them feel more at ease during their initial consult and during following sessions.
At ACPC, the child/ adolescent is usually matched with the most suitable clinician/ psychologist in terms of skills and experience as well as in terms of personality. The majority of children and adolescents feel less anxious following their first meeting with the psychologist. However, should you have any concerns about the rapport or if you wish to change clinicians, please do not hesitate to contact the principal psychologist via phone or email.
Educational & Developmental Psychologists require a minimum of six years university training and obtain the skills of identifying and clarifying problems, assessing developmental, behavioural or learning difficulties, designing behavioural intervention programs and providing intervention to children, adolescents and families.
Educational and Developmental Psychologists have knowledge and skills for evidence based practice in the following areas:
- Assessing developmental, learning and behavioural difficulties throughout the lifespan
- Diagnosing disabilities and disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Differential diagnosis
- Identifying and using evidence-based interventions
- Consulting with individuals and groups
- Designing training programs
- Evaluating programs and interventions
- Designing and implementing professional development programs
- Case management and liaising with other specialists
- Writing reports for multiple audiences (e.g., parents, teachers, and other professionals)
- Psychological consultancy and professional learning
Educational and Developmental Psychologists specialise in delivering services to children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.
The following lists the areas of specialty across the life span:
- Concerns about a child's cognitive, behavioural, or emotional development
- Assessment of a developmental delay
- Assessment of specific disabilities (e.g., Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorders)
- Assistance with feeding, sleeping or behaviour problems
- Infant mental health problems (e.g., anxiety and disordered attachment)
- Managing a child's difficult temperament
- Assistance with attachment issues, or with 'goodness of fit' between parent and child
- Parenting issues
- Sibling rivalry within the family
- Assessment of school readiness
- Assistance with treatment planning and early-intervention programs
- Problems with the transition to school, or from one phase of education to another
- Separation anxiety or school avoidance
- Psychoeducational assessment
- Assessment, diagnosis and treatment of learning difficulties and disorders (e.g., Dyslexia)
- Poor peer-relationships
- Behaviour problems and disorders (e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Specialist behaviour management planning
- Low self esteem
- Well-being issues
- Mental health problems (e.g., mood disorders)
- Assessment of giftedness
- Family relationship issues
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Assistance with treatment planning and specialist support
- Whole school consultancy or intervention (e.g., social-emotional learning programs and critical incident intervention)
- Conflict between the adolescent and parents
- Friendship issues
- Peer pressure
- Behaviour problems
- Sexuality issues
- Disability issues
- Identity issues and the transition to adulthood
- Mental health problems
- Drug and alcohol problems
- Career guidance
- Adjustment and transition issues
- School to work transition
- Whole school community issues
- Relationship problems
- Parenting and child-rearing
- Adoption issues
- Mid-life concerns
- Career restructuring
- Work stress
- Education and training in the workplace
- Later adulthood
Elderly people or their adult children may seek information or assistance with:
- Healthy ageing
- Coping with decline in functioning
- Adjustment and transition issues
- Issues of loss or grief
At ACPC, our therapists mainly deliver services to young children, school aged children, adolescents and young adults.
Clinical Psychologists develop expertise in specific areas, or practice in sub-specialisations of clinical psychology. They provide a wide range of psychological services to individuals across the lifespan and for mental health conditions that range from mild to severe and complex.
In addition to professional practice, clinical psychologists may be involved in research, teaching and supervision, program development and evaluation, public policy and other activities that promote psychological health in individuals, families, groups, and organisations.
Clinical psychologists work with infants, children, adolescents, adults, couples and families and provide a range of services. The following provides a summary of the skills that clinical psychologists have:
- Clinical assessment and diagnosis, psychometric assessment, counselling and therapy, and consultancy.
- Specialised training in the assessment and diagnosis of mental health problems
- Specialised training in the assessment and treatment of a wide range of psychological problems that include social, emotional, behavioural, developmental and learning difficulties.
- Specialised in the provision of a range of psychological interventions suitable to their clients' needs
- Specialists in applying psychological theory and scientific research to resolve clinical problems across the lifespan.
Clinical Child and Adolescents Psychologists hold expertise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and mental health issues Examples of psychological issues may include:
- Significant anxiety and depression
- Eating disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Developmental disorders (e.g., Autism)
- Pain management
- Drug abuse and addiction.
Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychologists are also experts in designing and implementing individualised age appropriate intervention programs suited for a variety of ages including infants, children and adolescents.
They also have additional training and/or significant experience in working with infants, children and adolescents. They have expert knowledge in normal child development and in social, emotional and behavioural difficulties that can emerge at every developmental age and stage.
At AzzA's clinic, Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists have knowledge of the most recent developments in infant, child and adolescent psychology and are committed to evidence based therapetic techniques and interventions.
A clinical child assessment entails a comprehensive overview of the child/ adolescent presenting problem. The process involves using multi assessments from multi informants which may include; a clinical interview with the parents, a teacher interview (with parental consent), a clinical child interview or preschool/school visit as well as the use of questionnaires and standardised screening measures.
This information in combination with the use of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition, (DSM-V) and/or International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Edition, (ICD-10) is used for case formulation, diagnosis and treatment planning regarding the child's presenting issue.
In certain cases, a clinical assessment may also include the administration of standardised testing to determine the child's developmental, cognitive, learning, emotional and social presentation of the child when compared to peers. Your psychologist will be able to discuss with you during the initial clinical interview what assessments may be required to assist in information gathering for the purpose of treatment planning.
Individual therapy sessions with a child entails meeting initially with the parents to discuss concerns, followed by working one-on-one with the child to commence therapy and target such concerns. We ensure that parents are involved in individual therapy sessions and inform parents at the end of each session about the skills being taught and strategies that can implemented in the home envrionment in order to assist their children.
Individual therapy sessions with an adolescent also entails meeting initially with the parents alone or with the adolescent to discuss concerns. This is often followed by conducting furture sessions with adolescents only. This is because they have the ability to independently learn the skills discussed in session and apply strategies to manage their concerns. It is also because they are more likely to engage in private and confidential therapy.
Individual therapy is useful in a number of ways:
- Ensures that the entire focus is on the child/adolescent and family concerns
- Assists our psychologists in tailoring strategies and skills for individual needs
- Provides a 'safe place' and outlet for children and adolescents to share their thoughts and feelings in non-judgemental and confidential environment.
Family-based therapy sessions entail working with your child or adolescent and your family in the aim of addressing the concerns that you may have. Depending on each case, it may involve a parent and their child/ adolescent, both parents and their child/ adolescent or both parents with their children, all in the aim of addressing the concerns in the home envrionment.
Family based therapy can be useful in various ways:
- Allows a safe place for families to discuss their concerns and seek guidance
- Provides psychoeducation and understanding to the whole family on the child's condition
- Assists in understanding of how your child's concerns can impact your entire family
- Provides ways to understand child and cope with the child's difficulties/ concerns
- Empowering families in developing alternative family strategies and skills to manage your child's concerns
Explain to them what a psychologist is:
Sometimes when you are not well, and feel sick because your stomache hurts or your nose in runny, you visit the doctor and they check you and give you medicine to make you feel better.
Psychologists can also help do, but they are helpful when you feel sad, hurt , angry or worried about something. They can also be know as the "Feelings Doctor" or a "Thinking Coach" and can help you through your troubling feelings or thoughts.
Remember you are not the only kid that may feel these feelings or have problems! Many kids see a child psychologist and many kids get help through them just like they get help from a kids doctor for feeling sick or their teacher for school work. Child psychologists are child specialists and it is their job to listen and work with kids to make them feel better.
Explain to them why kids may see a psychologist:
Psychologists who work with kids understand the different things that can make them feel angry, anxious, sad or upset. The biggest reason why young people see a psychologist is to help them to talk to someone, outisde of family or friends in order to make them feel better.
Some things that young people talk about to psychologists may be that they are feeling very worried that they cannot stop thinking about things, or that it is stopping them from having fun and enjoying their lives. Kids sometimes see psychologists at times because they have problems getting along with their friends or have issues with their friends that they can solve on their own. Other reasons could be that the young person is fighting with their members in their family, like mother, father, sister or brother and they need help on how to handle certain situations.
At times, kids see a psychologist because they have problems concentrating in their class or have problems understanding their school work, or even have problems that they dont know what to do about.
Some young people also see a psychologist during really tough times, like when their Mum and Dad are not living together anymore, when they lose a grandparent or even a pet, or when someone is making them feel uncomfortable and is not treating them right. Your psychologist is able to help you and make you feel better if you are going through any of these things.
Prepare them with an idea of what happens at a psychology clinic:
When you go to see a doctor, we sit in the waiting room and wait for the doctor until it is our turn. This is the same when you see a psychologist. However, the psychologists are normally more friendlier and their room is even nicer! They have a nice comfortable couch where you can sit. You can even talk to the psychologist while drawing or playing a game...
Your psychologist has met with many kids before, and will want to get to know more about you; like your family and friends in order to make you feel more comfortable. You can also get to know them and ask about their family or even pets!
If you feel a little bit worried to speak to your psychologist alone, you can have your mum, dad or even grandma come in with you. Remember you do not have to say anything you may not want to say. But your psychologist will tell you that everything you talk about is between you two, unless there is something really serious, but your psychologist will get permission from you.
In later sessions, you and your psychologist will work together on solving the problems that you may have; whether it may be at home or at school. You may see your psychologist once a week, or every two-three weeks. Sometimes, your psychologist will ask you to bring a journal or diary to write down things in it or at times give you some easy exercises to work on to help you between sessions.
Tell your child that getting help is NO BIG DEAL:
Some people think that seeing a psychologist means that your are "weird" or "different" or that if anyone finds out, then they will get bullied or teased about it. Remember this is NOT TRUE, child psychologists see many kids with so many different problems... many kids feel worried (one in every ten children), many kids have divorced parents, many gets get angry sometimes or even feel sad sometimes... many kids have problems making or keeping friends.. so its NO BIG DEAL to talk to someone about it...
Seeing a psychologist means that you want to learn a different or new way that will give you results; like feeling better, making good friendships and solving problems... So, seeing a psychologist is VERY HELPFUL to give you ways to be happier about your life.
What to say about seeing a psychologist:
Psychologists who work with children and adolescents understand the different things that can make young people feel angry, anxious, sad or upset. The biggest reason why young people see a psychologist is to help them open up to someone who is a professional, outisde of family or friends in order to make them feel better.
Some things that young people talk about to psychologists may be that they are feeling very anxious or worried that they cannot stop thinking about things, or that it is stopping them from having fun and enjoying their lives. Young people sometimes see psychologists at times because they have problems getting along with their friends or have issues with their friends that they can solve on their own. Other reasons could be that the young person is fighting with their members in their family, like mother, father, sister or brother and they need guidance on how to handle certain situations.
At times, young people see a psychologist because they seek advice and mentoring from someone who can understand their situation whether it may be their feelings, their ability to concentrate, their learning performance, or their ability to deal with conflict with people (i.e. friends or family).
Some young people also see a psychologist during really difficult times, like when their parents are separated or divorced, when someone close to them dies, or when they witness domestic violence in the home environment or even experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Your psychologist is able to assist you and make you feel better if you are experiencing any of these issues.
What happens when you see a psychologist
In the first session, your psychologist would like to get to know you and understand the things that may be stressing and worrying you. You will also get to know them and decide whether you feel comfortable to sharing how you feel. Remember you dont have to talk about anything you are not ready to talk about. If it helps you make you feel comfortable, you can have a parent/ carer with you in the room with you if you wish, otherwise, you can see the psychologist alone.
Later in sessions, your psychologist will work with you, for you and by your side, through listening to you in a non-judgemental way and helping you to start solving some problems that you mau be experiencing. Your psychologist will talk to you about how often she may need to see you. Appointments can range from weekly, fortnightly and at times monthly reviews.
At ACPC, we do our best to match you with the right psychologist for you regarding experience and personality. However, it can sometimes feel like a pre-arranged marriage! If you do not feel that the psychologist you meet with is right for you, you can discuss this with your parent or directly with your psychologist so that we can suggest someone else to see you. It is really important to feel comfortable with your psychologist, so please do not feel embarrassed or feel bad if you do this. At ACPC we want to make sure that we find you the right match!
Confidentialty between you and your psychologist:
Remember, what you tell your psychologist is between you and them. Exceptional circumstances may be if you are perceived to be an "at risk" client.
This means that if someone is hurting you, or if you are at risk of hurting yourself or someone else, then your psychologist may need to tell your parents and/or the appropriate authority. Where possible, your psychologist will ket you know of this prior to breaking your confidentiality.
Seeing a psychologist does not mean that you are "Crazy":
There is some bias in society where people think that if someone sees a psychologist, it means that they are "crazy". However, this is not the case... It is always better to tackle issues at an early stage, rather than leave the issue and not obtain any advice or guidance. That is why, seeing a psychologist helps understand your stressors and guides you to thinking and feeling better. Everyone has problems, that's a fact! Anyone that thinks differently, is in denial.. so it is always "smart" to take in charge and work through your probem, instead of 'letting them slide'