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The Best Psychologists in Canberra

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Whether you are working through a particularly difficult period of life or would simply like some emotional support and guidance, a qualified psychologist can make a world of difference.

A psychologist is a university-trained mental health professional with expertise in emotional well-being and human behaviour. The best psychologists listen to your thoughts and feelings and teach you practical coping strategies that can change your life for the better.

Finding a psychologist that you can trust is no easy task. To help you with this process, we’ve read through our users’ feedback, and put together this list of the top five psychologists in the Canberra region.

What Makes a Trusted Psychologists

Psychologists often work with people in vulnerable positions. The best professionals are capable of understanding 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.

When looking for a trusted psychologist, we suggest keeping an eye out for the following traits:

  • Full qualifications. This should go without saying. Psychologists are medical professionals that must work through years of rigorous university and on-the-job training.
  • Experienced. Psychologists who have practiced for many years have seen and heard a lot. This experience gives them a unique insight into the human condition, and may better equip them to help you with your issues.
  • Specialist. Some psychologists choose to specialise in certain areas. You may like to work with a professional that specialises in an area relevant to you.
  • Compassionate. 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.
  • Effective. Even if the psychologist you work with is compassionate and experienced, their diagnosis and treatment must be effective. Otherwise, you are wasting your time and money.

The Top 5 Canberra Psychologists 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.

Life Unlimited

Sue Read is the founder and principal psychologist at Life Unlimited based in Turner. The Chief “meet and greeter” is a beautiful chocolate brown dog named Jack and spends most of his day napping in reception. Referrals are not necessary to book an appointment and initial appointments are usually scheduled for 80 minutes. This helps the psychologist to get a good understanding of your background, your needs and any goals you are hoping to achieve.

Think Psychology

With a list of resident psychologists and their level of expertise across numerous subjects available on their website, it’s easy to select someone who best suits your needs. As well as a detailed explanation of each psychologist and featured blog posts enable potential clients to get a sense of the practice before making an appointment. Helpful professional staff are on hand to assist with referrals and offer a quick over the phone intake assessment.

PsychSessions (City)

Offering a range of services including therapy for eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sleep problems for adults children and adolescents. Director Dr John Brown keeps his finger on the pulse with continuing his education in psychology research at ANU. With 15 members of staff, John and his team are located in Hobart Place and are available Monday to Saturday.

Mindfully Well

Principal Psychologist Kerry has a range of experience working with people who have suffered emotional, personal and relationship difficulties. Specialising in trauma and EMDR therapy, Kerry and her team provide a calming environment with additional services including aromatherapy, remedial and hot stone massages. A holistic approach to mindfulness is also supported by Kerry’s network of colleagues from neighbouring practices.

JMA Psychology Canberra

Psychologist Jacqui has 30 years experience with 28 of those in the ACT. She believes in a practical advice and empathic support and has worked with various forms of counseling. These days Jacqui has moved into a more modern approach. Jacqui doesn’t pretend to have all the answers and is open about her own difficulties and issues, but is dedicated to working through these problems and helping others.

Who did you pick?

Thanks to our commentators who have provided insightful feedback on the best and worst Canberra Psychologists.

If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Please comment below detailing your experience with Canberra based Psychologists. Who would you recommend? Who would you use again? Who would you steer clear of?


What’s Your opinion?


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The Best Psychologists in Canberra
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farnarkler 9:20 pm 09 Mar 15

Remember there is a vast difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist. A psychiatrist studies for double the time a psychologist does and they have to be an MD before they can study psychiatry. 12 years vs 6 for a psychologist.

birder 10:06 am 07 Mar 15

First, do what pibloktoq has suggested. Go to a GP and get a mental health care plan. That will reduce your costs considerably.

I found psychologist Keith Baker through the APS’s “find a psychiatrist” service. He was empathetic, caring and profession, and most of all, effective. With his help, I was able to work through my particular issue in about 5 months. Not only do I really feel that I’ve overcome that problem, but the tools we used have enabled me to face other issues on my own as well (although I’d be more than happy to go back to a psychologist again if needed).

I agree that you should look for someone who uses evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy. The problem is that many people say they use CBT but they don’t, really. I had seen a few other psychologists and wasn’t particularly satisfied. But Keith Baker’s approach is very straightforward and helps you find the real root of your issues, as well as how to deal with them. I believe he is a counseling psychologist.

I just googled him and he doesn’t have a website, but his contact number is listed as 0458 066 232.

Mikey_mike 2:54 pm 06 Oct 11

cleo said :

Do we have a forensic psychiatrist here in Canberra.

TAD said :

@cleo no.

You only have less than a handful in NSW as well.

Its not something you would ordinarily need unless you are trying use a mental health defence in court.

Actually, we do. Dr Daniel Bonner is a forensic shrink. He’s an exceptional psychiatrist. Only thing is, and this is a big one, you have to be sucked into the criminal justice system first before you see him, further, he doesn’t do consultancy work (i.e defence opinions). Hope that helps, but it probably won’t.

hank2604 5:56 pm 14 Jun 11

attention seeker

Calochilus 4:32 pm 14 Jun 11

cleo said :

Do we have a forensic psychiatrist here in Canberra.

Dr Zoltan Zadanyi
http://www.ratemds.com/doctor-ratings/893744/Dr-Zoltan-Zsadanyi-Canberra-ACT.html

valleygirl 1:37 pm 04 Mar 11

farq said :

mp2615 said :

FWIW, I would suggest consulting a GP first. They can probably recommend someone plus help with medication if needed.

Funnybone are in Lyneham:

Phone/Fax: (02) 6230 6022 Email: counselling@funnybone.com.au

Good luck with it, at least the weather is improving.

Ah funnybone is classic. Heard many funny/crazy stories about the lady running it.

Hi, would you mind sharing what you know about this counsellor, I have concerns that she is not supplying correct counselling to my husband currently?

valleygirl 1:34 pm 04 Mar 11

Hi, I see a couple of comments re funnybone counselling. Just wondering if you would like to expand on this counsellor as my husband currently visits this cousellor and I do have concerns as to her conduct and the outcomes he is getting from this counselling. I feel that our troubles have in fact increased since he started seeing this counsellor. I’d be very interested and thankful if those with knowledge of this counsellor could share with me their thoughts on this counsellor. thanks so much

Red Robin 11:50 pm 24 Oct 10

Tom Sutton, in Deakin, is very compassionate with a very caring manner and all the patience in the world. He helped a resident recover from the aftermath of the Bali Bombing.

TAD 7:58 am 30 Sep 10

@cleo no.

You only have less than a handful in NSW as well.

Its not something you would ordinarily need unless you are trying use a mental health defence in court.

cleo 10:19 pm 29 Sep 10

Do we have a forensic psychiatrist here in Canberra.

Dr Strange 8:56 pm 29 Sep 10

+2 to everything pibloktoq said. I can recommend Vanessa Hamilton in Woden. It’s a tough road so good luck solstice68.

troll-sniffer 8:42 pm 29 Sep 10

While we’re here can I spruik my Reiki healing powers, guaranteed to outperform any degree and science based treatment or half your money back after a qualifying period subject to conditions on the reverse of this web page.

BerraBoy68 6:02 pm 29 Sep 10

+1 to everything pibloktoq said. Although, if you feel you want to see a psychologist after seeing your GP try and get an appointment with Susan Pellingaris in Phillip. I highly recommend her especially given the issues you mentioned in your OP.

Best wishes!

pibloktoq 5:44 pm 29 Sep 10

Hi Solstice68,

I’d agree with previous commenters that the first place you might want to start is with your GP to obtain a Mental Health Care Plan. This entitles you to at least 6 (but possibly 12 or even 18) sessions with a Medicare-registered psychologist. Medicare will pay the scheduled fee and you will need to pay a smallish gap, if any.

It’s worth checking the Australian Psychological Society’s ‘Find a Psychologist’ service (http://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/Default.aspx?ID=1204), which will help you find someone close to you who is appropriate to your needs. While your GP should have a standard (small) list of referrals, it’s good to inform yourself of other excellent psychologists out there.

Going via your GP allows her/him to work together with your psychologist to ensure that treatment is effective. Good communication between professionals is very important. Your GP, for example, should do an examination to rule out some some physical causes of low mood or depression. A GP can also prescribe medication if necessary with input from the psychologist. Finding a private psychiatrist can be quite difficult and expensive in Canberra, and may not be the most effective way to address your current presenting problems.

EAP providers can be helpful but are generally limited to a maximum of 3 sessions, which is often insufficient. It may be a helpful (and free) starting point with opportunities for referral for more specialised interventions.

If money is an issue, then the ANU and UC Psychology Clinics (http://psychology.anu.edu.au/psychology_clinic/ and http://www.canberra.edu.au/faculties/health/psychology/clinic) offer evidence-based therapy by provisional psychologists under supervision. The standard of care is excellent and fees are minimal and often negotiable. ANU charges around $20 per session last time I checked.

There is extremely strong evidence that for depression, therapy with a trained psychologist (typically cognitive-behavioural therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy) is much more effective and long-lasting than medication. In particular, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) particularly targets how aspects of relationships and communication which may be contributing to depression. Medication may be helpful for certain people at certain times, but should not be seen as a solution in itself in most cases.

The BeyondBlue website (http://www.beyondblue.org.au) has excellent factsheets and information about where to seek help, what to expect from therapy as well are more information about depression and other problems in various contexts.

Finally, if you’re feeling unsafe (if you are having thoughts of suicide or of hurting yourself or others), immediate 24-hour support and help is available via Lifeline (13 11 14) or Mental Health ACT’s Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (1800 629 354). Note that these are crisis services rather than general referral/information sources.

Good luck with everything!

pajumist 4:00 pm 29 Sep 10

I had a less than inspiring experience with my employers EAP provider, absolutely useless and I provided feedback to that effect.

I can highly recommend Jacqui from JMA Psychology, she was recommended to us and has worked wonders for how we visualise and deal with various issues. Absolutely lovely woman to talk to as well. http://canberrapsychology.com.au/

WillowJim 3:08 pm 29 Sep 10

Inappropriate said :

Be wary of GPs and psychiatrists – they’ll probably just throw pills at you (namely antidepressants).

Rubbish, it depends entirely on the doctor. And, for some forms of depression, medication is the best therapy.

Also, I believe it’s easiest to obtain a Medicare rebate for a psychologists’ fees after you have been referred by a GP.

liability 2:51 pm 29 Sep 10

It’s a pity that the ACT Medical Board, or its replacement, AHPRA, don’t publish the names of medical professionals that are found guilty of misconduct.

You would be surprised at home many medical professionals there are out there that have major problems, such as drug addition, mental disorders, etc, not to mention those that have been found guilty of inappropriate behavior towards patients, medical negligence etc.

Many of these are still allowed to practice with only minor restrictions placed on them.

Unfortunately we will never know who these medical professionals are, as their names are normally surpressed.

I would suggest that anyone looking for a new medical professional ask them or the practice manager if they have ever been subject to any proceedings before AHPRA [or its predecessors] or if there have been any restrictions placed on them by AHPRA.

Katietonia 2:21 pm 29 Sep 10

http://www.higginspsych.com.au
Jeannie Higgins is great.

You might need a referral though, if your GP refers you get them to do a mental health check first and you can get rebates on medicare for some of the visits (not sure how many).

Lillypilly 1:46 pm 29 Sep 10

Dr Aldridge who works out of Deakin Chambers is very good, compassionate and understanding.

jennybel75 1:17 pm 29 Sep 10

Does your workplace have an employee assistance program? All PS Departmentsd do. Otherwise, have you considered a counsellor rather than a psychiatrist/ psychologist?

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