The best child psychologists in Canberra

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Photo: Strategic Psychology

Just like adults, children are susceptible to mental health issues. Many factors can influence your child’s wellbeing. Perhaps your family is undergoing a big move, change or transition. Maybe school is becoming too much or your child is developing a phobia.

A psychologist is a registered, university-trained professional with expertise in emotional wellbeing and human behaviour. They aren’t the same as a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist has a medical degree and and can prescribe medication. Psychologists offer treatments focusing on changing behaviour and emotional responses without medication.

It’s important to find a psychologist that you and your child can trust so you can solve issues as quickly as possible.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a child psychologist, and share where to find the best in Canberra.

Accessing Medicare benefits and private health rebates

If you’d like your child’s psychologist appointments to be covered by Medicare, you’ll need a referral before booking your first appointment. You get your referral from an appropriate medical practitioner, such as a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician. Your medical practitioner will assess if your child needs a psychologist before referring.

Once you have a referral you can see any psychologist who is registered with Medicare and has a Medicare Provider Number.

You can choose to claim benefits from your private health insurer instead. You can claim benefits from Medicare or your insurer, but not both.

If your child is already involved with ACT Health and NSW Health services, you may need to check with the service provider if you can access private services at the same time.

What makes a great child psychologist?

Choosing the right child psychologist can help fast-track the issues at hand and help with what can be an emotionally draining experience.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a child psychologist.

  • Area of expertise. Different psychologists offer different services. Choose the clinic that is best for your child’s needs. Some child psychologists are experts in assessing education or for family court. Others focus on addressing behavioural problems. Some specialise in assessing and managing autism, ADHD/ADD and developmental delays.
  • Specialist in children’s health. While children may suffer from similar mental health issues to adults, they often require specialised support. You should therefore select a psychologist who works in children’s health. You might also want to choose a clinic that has facilities such as play therapy and rooms decorated for children. This can make your child feel more comfortable.
  • Experience and qualifications. Look for a highly trained psychologist who uses well-researched and proven methods.
  • Compassion. Different children react in different ways to going to a psychologist so you’ll want to choose a psychologist who understands this and responds with compassion and understanding.
  • Convenience and affordability. Since therapy is usually an ongoing process, your child’s psychologist should be easy, convenient and affordable.

The best child psychologists in Canberra

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To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

PsychSessions

PsychSessions provides assessments and psychological treatments of mental health problems in older children and adolescents. This includes depression, anxiety, panic, insomnia and other sleep problems, and eating disorders in teenagers. For insomnia and other sleep problems, PsychSessions is also the only psychology service provider in Canberra that offers multidisciplinary insomnia assessment and treatment services in collaboration with Canberra Sleep Clinic.

A multidisciplinary approach is also taken with eating disorders, working closely with a person’s GP and dietitians to properly manage the disorder and achieve the best possible outcomes.

PsychSessions’ treatment approach focuses on relieving distress, restoring functioning, and preventing relapse. Each of its 14 psychologists and general psychologists has a post-graduate university degree and has conducted university research, so they understand how to conduct, understand and apply research.

  • Suite 3, Level 7, AMP Building, 1 Hobart Place, Canberra City ACT
  • Or via telehealth either secure video chat or phone

Strategic Psychology

A private practice in the heart of Canberra City, Strategic Psychology's experienced clinicians work carefully with children and adolescents to identify their needs and goals, understand the challenges they face and devise a flexible strategy to help manage impact on their mental health.

"We understand that as children grow and change, their needs will be very different," the team says online. "We offer services aimed at an appropriate level for your child, wherever that may be."

Parents and caregivers are invited to be part of the counselling process for extra support where appropriate. Likewise, psychologists recognise how important it is for a child to have their own space to share away from family members.

"Both myself and my family have received life changing emotional support from psychologists at Strategic," client Michael says online. "The reception team is warm and attentive. I can't recommend them highly enough."

Canberra Psychology Clinic

The Canberra Psychology Clinic offers a team of passionate, committed, and experienced psychologists equipped with the skills and expertise needed to assist children, teenagers, and young adults. With an extensive team of professionals onboard, Canberra Psychology Clinic can assess, diagnose, and treat youth facing a wide range of emotional, educational, and behavioural challenges.

Canberra Psychology Centre for Children and Families (CPCCF)

Canberra Psychology Centre for Children and Families (CPCCF) is a highly-regarded private psychology practice in Canberra that specialises in the assessment and therapy of children, adolescents, and young adults. The qualified team of male and female registered and clinical psychologists at CPCCF are committed to maintaining the highest level of evidence-based services in a welcoming, judgement-free environment.

Brighter Beginnings Psychology and Wellbeing

Brighter Beginnings Psychology and Wellbeing specialise in perinatal mental health. Understanding that having a baby is a time of transition and stress, Brighter Beginnings provides psychological treatment to mothers, fathers and their families before conception, during pregnancy and into the years following birth. Psychologists work with families experiencing antenatal or postnatal depression and anxiety, fertility issues, birth trauma, perinatal loss and difficulties feeling bonded with their baby.

On Google, Sarah Blackledge wrote, “Patient, kind, friendly and genuinely empathethic.”

Michelle Deponte at Corinna Chambers Psychologists

Based out of Corinna Chambers Psychologists, Michelle Deponte is a psychologist that works primarily with adolescents and families. Deponte has a specialist interest in assisting adolescents engaging in risky behaviours, such as drugs and alcohol, anger management, and self-harming.

Your experience with child psychologists in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the child psychologists listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

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Michelle Deponte in Woden has helped my nephew immensely, they rave about her. She’s at Corrina Chambers

Dilandach said :

Are you so sure that it hasn’t already been done? Or do you think this is a spur of the moment decision because they spilt milk on the carpet?

Neither, just making a sound suggestion as to the best way to get help. If it had been done, a psychiatrist and/or psychologist would have been provided, if deemed necessary.

Dilandach said :

Hrmm, random guy who has no idea of the situation, background or history versus the people dealing directly with it. I wonder who has the information to make the judgement call there.

Random guy going on information offered vs people who do not say why they want to take their kid to a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I wonder who has already made a judgement call.

DUB said :

Dr. Pam Connor

http://www.pamconnor.com/

A friend of mine used her not so long ago for several sessions ( Child Protection recommended her), as clinical psychologist report had to be prepared (coincidentally, for her 5 years old daughter as well). We were just talking about it yesterday.

Good luck.

+ 1 for Dr Connor. We are seeing her at the moment and she is excellent.

Dilandach said :

Ben_Dover said :

Why not take him/her to your GP first, and ask for a referral to the child and adolescent mental health services? Or are you so sure in your diagnosis of a five year old that you already know what they need?

Are you so sure that it hasn’t already been done? Or do you think this is a spur of the moment decision because they spilt milk on the carpet?

Hrmm, random guy who has no idea of the situation, background or history versus the people dealing directly with it. I wonder who has the information to make the judgement call there.

+1

Although I agree about the referral bit (just in case you don’t already have one). A doctor might be able to refer you to a psych who specialises in the needs specifically concerning your child.
I believe a referral also makes it cheaper. And psychs can be quite expensive.

You could try asking your child’s teacher or the school counsellor (assuming there is one) for a referral.

Slap the child really hard until they burst into tears – then give them an ice cream.

This will set them up nicely for later life as an employee of the ACT Government, and will also save you a great deal of money that you could have wasted on a psychologist/psychiatrist.

Ben_Dover said :

Why not take him/her to your GP first, and ask for a referral to the child and adolescent mental health services? Or are you so sure in your diagnosis of a five year old that you already know what they need?

Are you so sure that it hasn’t already been done? Or do you think this is a spur of the moment decision because they spilt milk on the carpet?

Hrmm, random guy who has no idea of the situation, background or history versus the people dealing directly with it. I wonder who has the information to make the judgement call there.

Dr Lev Fridgant is excellent and specialises in treating children. He’s located at Calvary clinic.

Why not take him/her to your GP first, and ask for a referral to the child and adolescent mental health services? Or are you so sure in your diagnosis of a five year old that you already know what they need?

I understand the University of Canberra School of Psychology run group classes for children and their parents and also offer one-on-one sessions. May be worth checking out.

There is another recommendation- Dr Sue Packer (Children at risk unit). You can google her.
Here’s a bit about her: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/sue-packer-named-canberra-citizen-of-the-year-20130312-2fxy8.html

Dr. Pam Connor http://www.pamconnor.com/

A friend of mine used her not so long ago for several sessions ( Child Protection recommended her), as clinical psychologist report had to be prepared (coincidentally, for her 5 years old daughter as well). We were just talking about it yesterday.

Good luck.

dannybear said :

Mark Scarborough is very good and treats children, he’s based in wanniassa you can find his details on google.

I’ll look into that thank you.

Any one know a psychiatrist as well?

Mark Scarborough is very good and treats children, he’s based in wanniassa you can find his details on google.

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