Who should I seek assistance from?

There are so many psychologists, counselors, life coaches, psychotherapists, and social workers in Melbourne. Understandably, you will be doing your research with regard to who you will benefit most from seeing. I’m going to suggest you consider a few factors – these factors affect what you, as the client, will receive. The latter part of this page outlines what you can expect at Dennison Psychology. This may help you decide whether the practice is right for you.

Psychologist, counselor, psychotherapist, therapist or life coach;
What qualifications/ training are involved in these different disciplines?

There is no law in Australia that requires a person who calls themselves a ‘counsellor’, ‘therapist’, ‘psychotherapist’ or ‘life coach’ to have either qualifications or experience. This means that people without training or skills can give themselves these titles and advertise their services. For those who choose to complete qualifications in ‘therapy’, ‘counselling’ or ‘life coaching’ the training may be brief, extensive, or anything in between.

However, the law in Australia requires that you undertake recognized study before you can call yourself a ‘psychologist’. The extent of academic study psychologists complete varies. One psychologist may have completed a post-graduate diploma (4 years of full-time university study and then on-the-job experience), one may have completed a Masters degree (6 years of full-time university study) and one may have completed a doctorate (7 years of full-time university study). Both Masters and Doctorate programs require on-the-job experience (in the form of placements, with supervision, in different areas of the mental health field), as well as a research thesis, and seminars/ lectures/ tutorials (including assignments/ coursework).

Counselor, psychologist, therapist, psychotherapist or life coach;
How effective can I expect each to be at improving my emotional wellbeing?

It is not guaranteed that the skills taught in ‘therapy’, ‘counselling’ or ‘life coaching’ courses are ‘evidence-based’. You may wonder, what I mean when I say ‘evidence-based’. ‘Evidence-based’ refers to theories/ treatments that scientific research has found to be significantly effective. Here is an analogy – if you receive a cancer diagnosis, it is unlikely that you (or your doctor) will choose a treatment without research having demonstrated that it is effective for your particular illness. With regard to your emotional wellbeing, you should make sure that the person you consult with is trained to assess your needs and can deliver treatments that you may benefit from.

To become a psychologist in Australia, an individual is required to complete academic courses, in which evidence-based treatments are taught, and obtain significant experience in working with clients to demonstrate they can put what they learn into practice. Furthermore, for psychologists to be able to provide Medicare rebates, the courses they completed must have passed particular criteria – this criteria has been established in an attempt to ensure clients will receive a reasonable standard of care.

Can psychologists only help those diagnosed with a mental health disorder?

A psychologist’s training leaves them well equipped to help across issues that may present in life. Clients can benefit from seeing a psychologist for anything from depression or schizophrenia, to improving self-confidence or adjusting to a change in circumstances (e.g. career change, relationship breakdown).

What about the psychologists at Dennison Psychology?

All the psychologists at Dennison Psychology are recognized as healthcare professionals by Australia’s regulatory body (AHPRA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Furthermore, they can all can provide Medicare rebates. To obtain this recognition, our psychologists had to demonstrate to AHPRA that they completed sufficient training (through accredited programs, that taught ‘evidence-based’ treatment and required them to complete ‘on-the-job’ experience).

We are proud to say that all the psychologists employed at Dennison Psychology have completed either Masters (6 years of full-time university study) or Doctorate degrees (7 years of full-time university study). The main difference between Masters and Doctorate degrees is the amount of research each involves. Those who complete Doctorate degrees are not necessarily more effective therapists (research studies support this). As with any professional field, psychologists’ skillsets vary greatly. Dennison Psychology only employs psychologists who have undertaken significant training (over and beyond their university course requirements) and who have values that are complementary to the practice’s culture (see below for details).

 Culture of the Dennison Psychology practice.

Dennison Psychology strives to maintain a culture that is conducive to the needs of its clients. This is reflected in the practice’s values, which include, respect, authenticity, and warmth.