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The Working Edge
Pty Ltd

Telephone
02 6686 4319  
+61 2 6686 4319     (international)

Facsimilie -
02 6686 4176 
+61 2 6686 4176
(international)

Postal address
PO Box 7117, EAST BALLINA NSW 2478

Office
Suite 4/243 River St, BALLINA

Email

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"It is not unusual for people to respond awkwardly when I tell them I'm a psychologist. They think I'm going to analyse them or can somehow see inside their minds. I suggest they are probably analysing me as much as I am them. We size each other up - it's what people do."

Helen Murphy (Director/Psychologist, The Working Edge)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Perceptions of psychologists are influenced heavily by images of clients lying on couches talking about their childhood; "therapy" that goes on for years; "men in white coats", and clients being labelled as "mentally ill, "insane", "neurotic" etc. This can mean that "mentally-well" people who might gain from professional counselling feel uncomfortable about how it reflects on them and fearful that it is a process in which they will have no control.

So, here are some responses to the some of the common assumptions or questions about what we do in counselling.

"People who go to psychologists must be mad!"
Not so. Many "normal", mentally healthy people gain benefit from psychological counselling by having an objective, non-judgemental professional ear to hear their concerns and help them learn new ways of managing stress, change, relationships or difficult emotions. These people realise that sometimes a little expert help can be useful to deal emotional issues, thinking styles or life changing events.

"So you're a shrink - I suppose you are going to analyse me?"
If that means forming an opinion about what sort of person you are or what motivates you, it is what people commonly do when meeting each other in everyday life. Psychologists, however, are trained not to jump to conclusions about a person's behaviour based on limited information, so you could say we might be more cautious in forming opinions from external appearances or casual conversation. We cannot tell your deepest secrets or possible personality flaws just by "reading" your body language or slips of the tongue. And we certainly can't "get into your head" and tinker about with your mind.

"Will I have to lie down on a couch and talk about my childhood?"
No. At The Working Edge there is no couch. The setting is a professional office and if this is not comfortable, we can go for a walk or sit in a park or talk over the phone. Some clients find it valuable to "tell their story" but generally we focus on "here and now" issues and what you can change to make things better now and in the future.

"Do I have keep going to therapy for years?"
In many cases only a few sessions are required. At The Working Edge we offer brief counselling programs, which might mean two to six sessions of 1-1.5 hours each. Sometimes counselling goes for longer if a client has ongoing problems or needs more opportunity to work on issues or develop new skills. We have some clients who appreciate an occasional follow-up session to review how they are going and reinforce their new skills. We work together with the client to determine the length and frequency of the program.

"What's the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist"?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialty training in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness. A psychiatrist treats the physical and emotional aspects of psychiatric disorders and as such can prescribe medication for a variety of mental health conditions.

A psychologist is trained in the study of human behaviour and this includes thoughts, emotions and motivational processes. Not all psychologists are trained in counselling. Some work in organisational or research settings, for example. Those that are trained in counselling can specialise in working with particular groups (e.g. children, adults, couples, families, employees) or in particular types of social and emotional issues (e.g. loss and bereavement, relationships, anxiety, phobias, pain management, trauma). A clinical psychologist has additional specialised training in the prevention, assessment, treatment and management of mental health conditions.

There is more information about what psychologists do on the Australian Psychological Society web site at www.psychology.org.au

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