Whether you’re going through a particularly difficult time or simply need some emotional support and guidance, a qualified psychologist can make a world of difference.
A psychologist is a registered, university-trained professional with expertise in emotional wellbeing and human behaviour.
There is nothing shameful about seeking the services of a psychologist or admitting that you need help. A skilled psychologist will listen to your thoughts, feelings and life experiences and teach you practical coping strategies that can improve your life.
A psychologist is not the same as a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist has a medical degree and and can prescribe medication. Psychologists offer treatments that focus on changing behaviour and emotional responses without medication.
It is important to find a psychologist that you can trust. To help you with this process, we’ve compiled a list of the top psychologists in the Canberra region.
Let’s get started.
What type of psychologist do you need?
There are several different types of psychologists in Australia, including:
- General psychologist: A general psychologist is trained and qualified to treat a range of psychiatric and mental health conditions. They have completed at least six years of university training and supervised experience.
- Clinical psychologist: A clinical psychologist has completed additional specialised training compared to a general psychologist. They often treat more complex and specialised conditions.
- Forensic psychologist: If you need a psychological assessment for court or any other legal purpose, you may need to see a forensic psychologist. A forensic psychologist has completed extra studies in forensic psychology.
Many psychologists and clinical psychologists have special areas of interest, training and experience in treating particular disorders. These might include eating disorders, sleeping disorders, working with children and adolescents, educational assessments, autism spectrum disorder or trauma.
So, in addition to finding a psychologist who you trust and feel comfortable with, you may also need to seek out a psychologist with experience managing the specific challenges you are facing.
Accessing Medicare benefits and private health rebates
If you would like your psychologist appointments to be covered by Medicare, you will need a referral from an appropriate medical practitioner (i.e. GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician) before booking your first appointment. Your medical practitioner will make an assessment that you need a psychologist before making the referral.
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, not both.
What makes a great psychologist?
A great psychologist can help you identify and overcome problems that negatively affect how you feel and/or impact your ability to function properly at work, home or in your private life.
To help make your search easier, we recommend keeping an eye out for the following traits:
- Experience and qualifications. Look for a psychologist who is highly trained and uses well-researched methods that have been proven to work.
- Convenience and affordability. Since therapy is usually an ongoing process, your psychologist should be easy, convenient and affordable for you to access regularly.
- Expertise. Some psychologists choose to specialise in certain areas. You may like to work with a professional that has expertise in in an area relevant to you.
- Compassion. At the end of the day, you will be sharing personal, sensitive information with your psychologist. You want them to respond with compassion and understanding, never judgement.
- A customised approach. Psychologists often work with people in vulnerable positions. The best professionals understand each client’s unique needs so they can lead them towards recovery. This is something that takes more than just a degree in order to do well.
The top psychologists in Canberra – according to you
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
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 has provided assessments and psychological treatments for mental health conditions since 2005. 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.
PsychSessions offers mental health services including therapy for depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders (a multidisciplinary approach alongside dieticians and GPs), insomnia and sleep problems. It is also the only psychology service provider in Canberra that offers multidisciplinary insomnia assessment and treatment services in collaboration with Canberra Sleep Clinic.
Some of the most common reasons people access PsychSessions is for help with depression and/or anxiety – especially if symptoms have been going on for more than a few months, or having a significant impact on their ability to function at work or in their personal lives. This includes generalised anxiety, phobias, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
PsychSessions’ treatment approach focuses on relieving distress, restoring functioning, and preventing relapse.
City: Suite 4, 10th Floor, AMP Building, 1 Hobart Place, Canberra City ACT
Deakin: Ground Floor, Building 2, Equinox Business Park, 70 Kent Street, Deakin ACT
Capital Psychology Clinic provides best practice, evidenced-based psychological services to children and families in the Canberra region. Located in Garran, its 13 clinical and general psychologists have a variety of clinical expertise and can conduct both therapy and assessments (i.e. autism assessments, ADHD assessments and behavioural & developmental assessments).
While Capital Psychology Clinic specialises in child and family psychology, you can access support and counselling at any stage of life. Areas of expertise include children and adolescents, perinatal support, eating disorders and adult counselling.
Conveniently located on Marcus Clarke Street in Civic, Top Psychology can help with challenges ranging from depression and anxiety to grief and loss, workplace issues and stress. If you’d just like to become more confident and improve your communication and assertiveness, its team can provide strategies for those too.
Top Psychology is run by clinical psychologist Randolph Sparks, who offers therapies including cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, pain management, preventing relapse of depression and positive psychology.
Based in Barton, Canberra Clinical and Forensic Psychology has provided psychology services to Canberrans since 1998. The practice is founded and led by Dr Bruce Stevens, who, in addition to working as a practicing psychologist, is former chair of the ACT branch of the Clinical College of the Australian Psychological Society, a six-time author and an academic.
If you need a forensic assessment (such as for a parenting capacity & family assessment report or a pre-sentencing report), Canberra Clinical and Forensic Psychology has a number of practitioners who are able to help. Its practitioners also treat conditions including depression and anxiety, grief, trauma, relationship problems and eating disorders.
The Canberra Psychology Centre for Children and Families (CPCCF) provides psychological services from the antenatal period through to young adulthood, as well as therapy for parents, families and adults. If you need support for behaviour or parenting issues or child mental health, CPCCF’s team of psychologists (led by clinical psychologist Jo Richardson), could be the right choice for you.
CPCCF has two central locations: Acton and Braddon. Both offer services for children, adolescents and their families, including therapy for ADHD and autism, and IQ testing.
Your experience with 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 psychologists listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.