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When you need to find a psychologist in Sydney or elsewhere in Australia, you’ll quickly discover that there are a lot of options.
Sorting through qualified people to find a psychologist or counsellor who’s the best fit for you can be challenging.
We’re here to help.
Associated Counsellors & Psychologists provides a personalised matching service. We help you choose from pre-vetted, qualified and experienced psychologists and counsellors near your suburb, or online. We’ve put together this brief guide to finding the best professional for your needs.
The best psychologist is the right psychologist for you
Before we get stuck into the criteria that will help you find the right professional, remember that the best psychologist is the right one for you.
Instead of looking for “the best” psychologist, consider this a search to find the psychologist who best meets your needs. This is the person who:
You may want to start your search with recommendations for psychologists from people you know. If people you trust and value have found meetings with these psychologists helpful, it may ease your mind about speaking with someone new about intensely personal experiences and feelings.
However, it’s important to remember that just because a friend had a good experience with a therapist does guarantee you will as well. And that’s okay. Everyone comes from a different place, with backgrounds and experiences that can change how your interactions go and whether or not you feel your meetings are productive or helpful.
Consider your unique needs
One way you can start to narrow the field is by taking a close look at your needs:
Once you have your list worked out, identify the three most important criteria. If you know you only want to commute 15 minutes, will only see a woman psychologist, and you need someone who specialises in grief, the list of potential psychologists has probably become much more manageable.
If more than one person will be seeing the psychologist, it’s important that they’re all included in this part of the process. Have each person create their own list and use them all together to help identify the psychologist that best fits everyone’s needs.
If anyone fitting those requirements also happens to be on that list of recommended psychologists from your friends, reach out and make an appointment. If not, it’s time to do some searching of your own and have a few sessions to see which psychologist is right for you.
A word of caution, though. This isn’t the time to pick out a name that sounds good to you or choose an option based on a headshot. Don’t be afraid to meet more than one psychologist before you make your final choice. And, if you meet someone who isn’t right for you, don’t feel obligated to continue meeting with them.
Increased access to online counselling has been amazing for mental health, especially during a worldwide pandemic with stay at home restrictions and lockdowns that never seemed to end.
And now that we’re moving into a post-Covid era, plenty of people are choosing online therapy over in-person sessions for the convenience factor.
It’s not the best choice for everyone though, consider whether you’d prefer to work with your psychologist online or face to face. If you’re not sure, and if online is more convenient, give it a try to see if it suits you.
Criteria to consider when choosing a psychologist
Knowing who’s a good fit for your personality and who can help you identify and achieve your goals is a great place to start. If you think you have a pool of potential psychologists who fit the bill, there are a few other things you may want to consider before moving forward with one over the others.
It goes without saying that you want to make sure you’re working with a licensed care provider. Any psychologist in Sydney or anywhere in Australia will need to be registered with the Australian Psychological Society (APS) or the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA).
Any non-psychologist counsellor should be a member of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) or the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).
These groups host databases that can make it easier to find your new psychologist. Or to make it easier, get in touch with us and we’ll help you make a booking with a fully licensed and vetted professional.
You may be hoping to find a psychologist that has significant experience in a certain area. In fact, if you’ve followed that initial step to outlining your needs, you’ve probably identified an area you’d like your psychologist to specialise in.
Unfortunately, you won’t find psychologists in Sydney identified by specialisation. This is due to the advertising guidelines that have been put in place by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
These guidelines have been designed to keep patients safe, but the result is that you won’t be able to search for “specialists.” Instead, look for other indicators about the type of concerns a practitioner or a practice focuses on.
For example, you may see psychologists with a “focus on self-worth and acceptance,” or a practice “experienced with treatment plans for patients with anxiety.” Little snippets like this can give you information about the psychologist and their practice to help you identify their strengths and focuses. Then, you can see how well they align with your needs.
After all, there’s little sense in choosing a psychologist who is a good fit for you otherwise but can’t meet your actual therapy needs.
It might sound funny, but in some ways, trying to find the best psychologist is a bit like dating.
Chemistry matters! That means it’s not just how you feel about the psychologist, but also that they give you confidence that they can help.
After all, the most in-demand psychologists aren’t accepting every client who comes to their door. They want to bring on patients they feel they have the expertise and drive to help heal.
A psychologist and patient relationship should be built on mutually agreed goals. The right psychologist for you will never make you feel like you’re one of many patients or like your needs aren’t important. They will show a close and careful interest in understanding the issues close to your heart.
One other way dating and trying to find the right psychologist might be similar? Don’t be surprised if meetings with your psychologist aren’t always perfect, or exactly like how you’d wished they’d gone.
Even the best psychologists are still people, and you’re still navigating a relationship with them. This means there can be miscommunications and even hurt feelings. This can be especially true when you’re working with complex feelings and issues.
Choosing A Pyschologist who is The Best Fit for You might take some time
As you begin to search for your new psychologist in Sydney, try to keep in mind that it may take some time to find the right psychologist for you. That’s okay and it’s to be expected. Be patient and try to keep in mind that it’s part of your journey, which may well be about making a lifelong change. After you’ve identified a pool of psychologists you think might work for you, you’ll need to start meeting with them.
You may not know after your first appointment if this is where the search ends. Instead, commit to a few appointments, and allow yourselves time to get comfortable with each other. After a few sessions, take a thorough look at your experience up to that point and see if you think continuing to meet with that psychologist will be valuable to you.
You may choose to check out more than one potential psychologist at a time to help you understand if you have a preference. It’s valid to tell a new clinician that you are still learning about the different styles and approaches and that you’d like to have an initial meeting to see if you are a good match together. An experienced clinician will be comfortable with your questions and with you taking your time to find a good fit.
Of course, seeing more than one psychologist has the potential to cloud or confuse your feelings in the process. It’s important to get a good feel for your own needs and how you want your search to go before committing to an approach. Once you decide on who to work with, it is good to stick to one psychologist at a time for treatment. Different approaches can contradict or be out of sync with each other and can make the journey less effective.
A 2014 study from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that more than 50 per cent of people who have mental health issues or illnesses do not seek help.
Deciding it’s time to find a psychologist is a step in the right direction as you’re taking control of your mental and emotional well-being.
To best manage the process of finding a psychologist, break it down into bite-size, manageable steps:
Yes, thinking about finding the best psychologist can be daunting in itself. But the actual process doesn’t need to be. With a little bit of forethought and planning, you may be one of those people giving a psychologist referral to a friend in no time at all.
Need assistance finding a psychologist?
Associated Counsellors & Psychologists can help. Please get in touch with a member of our friendly team and we’ll help you find the psychologist or counsellor for your unique needs.
Whether you’re located in Sydney or elsewhere in Australia, our network of professional clinicians has you covered.
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With a wealth of experience and a board of certified professionals, you know you’re in safe hands.
Telephone counselling can be a great way to get valuable help in circumstances where you might not otherwise be able to access our services.
Telephone counselling can be a great way to get valuable help in circumstances where you might not otherwise be able to access our services.View Page
My therapist retired I was very scared I wouldn’t pick the right new one. These guys are really understanding of your individual needs and made sure I was shown all the best options before I got to choose. My previous psychologist was a man, so I wanted another man and in the end, I was provided with a choice of 3, the first of whom I am chatting with online tomorrow.
Phillip A. April 7, 2022
I am a new mum and wanted a therapist near me who specialized in postnatal depression. I thought at first I was just tired and overwhelmed but I just seemed unable to cope with anything. I wanted someone who could help me refind myself. The whole process, from finding Counsellors Sydney via Google to attending my first session with a therapist, was 10 days. Really happy, was the best decision to contact Associated Counsellors Sydney.
Tess W. April 6, 2022
Moved from interstate and had a mountain of other stuff to deal with other than therapy when I got here. I’d seen Counselors Sydney on a Google search and thought it might take some items off my plate, and it sure did! I had time to focus on everything else because I knew therapy was being sorted for me. Thanks for all your help guys!
April 6, 2022
Nice people. friendly service, happy with the counsellor I was provided. I’ll be recommending this service In the future for sure!
Sandra Q. April 6, 2022
I found Counsellors Sydney via google and I'm very happy with their help. They only got the required information from me, kept it light, and were very time efficient. Sadly, I did not feel comfortable with the assigned counsellor, but within 2 days of raising my concerns, I was speaking with a new one, so I was glad to have the help of a service rather than having to do the shopping around myself.
Bennet E. April 6, 2022
I have a very full schedule and wanted to find a therapist close to both where I work and where I live but I’ve found it harder than expected. I have had counselling before, but was not happy with my counsellor. Just not a great fit, and I was looking for a better one. Google, led me to stumble upon the great team at Counsellors Sydney; they’re professional, efficient, and really nice to speak to on the phone. I am sure they will provide me with some great options for who my new therapist will be.
Karlie A. April 6, 2022
My wife has declined in health in recent years and I was looking for support for my carer's stress. There isn’t a lot of information online about specific therapists for this but Counsellors Sydney was able to find me someone suited to what I need. The questions they ask aren’t too confronting or personal but still make sure they get the information they need to match me with the right counsellor. They found me a therapist who was able to see me online(leaving the house as a carer is problematic) which is great. Best possible result.
Martin R. April 6, 2022
Mental health has never been a priority in my family and so when it came time to find myself some support, I didn’t have anyone to get some guidance on where to start. Counsellors Sydney was able to find me some matches really quickly and their helpful team enabled me to trust they know what they were doing. If I ever need to find therapy in Sydney again, I know where I’m heading first :) .
Lachlan R. April 6, 2022
If you need to cut the time and effort of finding yourself a therapist Counsellors Sydney was simply the best. They require only one form and phone call to get all the info they need to find you a matching therapist. I was surprised at the amount of effort that goes into the whole process. (Theirs, not mine) You guys have done a great job!
Phoebe A. April 6, 2022