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We at The Three Seas Psychology Group rely on evidence-based practice to help people improve their health and well-being. We have four locations that cover broad geographical areas across Melbourne – City (CBD), Inner Eastern (Richmond) Northside (Northcote) and Southeastern (Knox). Our psychology clinics are not in GP clinics. They are purpose-built for client comfort, confidentiality and easy to find. Our Client Connect Team is warm and always ready to help you in the search for the right psychologists for therapy. Contact them anytime throughout the week:

Monday – Friday 8:00am-8:00pm

Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm

(03) 9809 1000 or via email on

How to Find the Right Psychologist?

If you are like most people searching for psychologist counselling services in Melbourne, you have probably read countless mental health articles touting the benefits of therapy. Right treatment does have the power to change lives, but not all providers are the same. With dozens of private psychologists to choose from, it is important you receive the best possible care.

It may be tempting to pick the first psychologist you find or to go with a friend’s recommendation however, psychological care is not cheap and choosing the wrong psychologist may leave you feeling demoralised, perhaps even reducing your willingness to continue your search for someone else.

The right therapist can create a trusting and safe environment, will work with you to choose the ideal treatment plan and guide you to help improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Psychologists draw upon lots of experience with people who have dealt with challenges like yours. If you are ready to begin this life changing journey with the appropriate therapist, below are some helpful tips.

Remember; all good psychologists’ welcome feedback and are pleased to answer questions. Questioning them can help you learn a lot about how well you can work with them.

The Right Referral Source Can Help Find A Clinical Psychologist

If you are like many people, a referral from your general practitioner is needed to see a psychologist. If you trust your doctor, they can be an excellent source for details about mental health services and treatment. You may also consider getting a recommendation from a loved one or friends, but not all recommendations are equal. Before accepting a proposal from a loved one, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this person have sound mental health? Don’t pick someone who was unable to help them, although they went to a psychologist before.
  • Does this person and I share values about mental health? If you don’t agree with taking medication, and they do, then the person they refer you to may not be a good match for you.
  • Has what my friend told me about their psychologist been something I would like to experience? If your friend’s psychologist sounds great, then jump in. But if you keep hearing about an ineffectual psychologist who makes little progress, try someone else.

Remember, you do not have to go to the psychologist your GP refers you to and you can  ask your GP to refer you to a particular provider of your choice. If you prefer, you can find the right service or you can speak to them. Your GP can recommend a psychologist who will have an interest in your mental health and help you with a referral.

Psychology Registration Boards, search engines, and even online ads can also be good sources of referrals. Just make sure you do plenty of research before you make that all-important first call.

Ask Psychologists About Credentials and Registration

It is equally important that your psychologist is registered with a registration board. Unregistered psychologists may have been disciplined or lost their right to practice. Some may even be fakes, pretending to be professional when they have no formal training at all.  Some questions you may want to consider asking about credentials include:

  • Are you registered to practice? How long have you been registered to practice?
  • Where did you attend university, and when did you graduate?
  • Have you ever been disciplined for professional misconduct?

Choose a Highly Experienced Psychologist

It does not matter how impressive a therapist is if they are not equipped to help you. The field of mental health is a complex one, with hundreds of conditions and dozens of possible treatment options. It is of paramount importance, then, that you choose someone who has experience dealing with your particular set of challenges. Likewise, it is best to opt for someone who uses evidence-based treatments.

You may consider researching your condition to find out what the preferred treatment approaches are. As an example; eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), exposure therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, or psychoanalytic therapy are all highly effective in treating PTSD, so if this is what you present with, it is wise to choose a therapist familiar with these approaches.

Some therapeutic approaches have been discredited, and a few, such as primal scream therapy for example are dangerous. Take a few moments to Google any specific treatment protocols the therapist mentions. It allows you to assess how well you and your therapist will work together, in addition to affording you the opportunity to ensure that the treatment your therapist wants to use is efficient and safe.

Some important questions you need to ask prospective therapists or psychologists about their experience with your unique set of circumstances include:

  • What is your speciality?
  • Have you published any books or studies about my condition?
  • How many clients with challenges like mine have you treated in the past?
  • Did you complete any university level coursework specific to my mental health difficulties?
  • What is the most efficient way to treat my condition?
  • What do you do to stay up to date in your field?
  • What kind of results do your clients get? How long does it take to get these results?
  • For how many years have you seen clients with symptoms like mine?

Talk About Values When Doing Therapy

Therapy is an intensely personal undertaking during which you may discuss your innermost thoughts, your political beliefs, your religious ideals, and your goals for your life. Your therapist does not have to share all your values, but they must respect them.  Many people find that a therapist with values like their own is a good fit. A devout Christian, for example, may thrive under the care of a therapist who specialises in Christian counselling; using such an approach with an atheist, though, would be damaging and potentially unethical.

If any values are especially important to you, be sure to mention these at the beginning of your session. If for example you identify as a feminist, you may ask how this will affect therapy and whether your therapist is sympathetic to the challenges of dealing with sexism. LGBTQ therapy clients should ensure that their therapist is comfortable treating them, while people with non-traditional lifestyles – swingers, people in polyamorous relationships, people with sexual fetishes, and those with non-traditional jobs, for example – may wish to choose psychologists who specialises in treating people who have a similar lifestyle to yours. Some questions you might want to consider asking include:

  • Does religion play a role in treatment?
  • What is your political orientation? Are you comfortable with mine?
  • Can you treat someone who does not share your values without forcing your values upon them?
  • What will you do if we have a disagreement?

Ask Psychologists About Treatment Options

Psychologists work with you to develop a coherent treatment plan, then regularly amend that plan with you based on how you feel and if it is working. Good therapy is a collaborative undertaking. You are encouraged to share your thoughts on the treatment process, object to treatments you are not comfortable with, and offer input on what is and is not working for you.

As in every other area of life, accepting criticism is not easy. Listening openly to feedback, though, is a hallmark of a good therapist. To explore your therapist’s treatment orientation, try asking the following questions:

  • What treatment modality or modalities do you use? If you use multiple approaches, such as combining cognitive behavioural therapy and psychodynamic therapy, how do you combine them to be effective?
  • Which approach do you think will be best for me?
  • How will I know if therapy isn’t working?
  • What will you do if I don’t make progress?
  • Can I offer feedback on the treatment plan?
  • Will we regularly revisit my treatment plan?
  • What if I need medication?

You can also look at our couples counselling services for couples or marriage related counselling services.

The “interview” is never over. The purpose of therapy, after all, is to help you feel better about yourself and your life and not to inflate the ego of the therapist you have  chosen.

Therapy can be a challenging and painful process, but it should not leave you feeling deflated or worthless. Use your feelings about therapy to judge how therapy is going. If you are eager to talk to your therapist, it is a good sign. But if you leave therapy each week angry or frustrated, there may be a problem.

Do not be afraid to speak up if you do not  like something. Good psychologists are open-minded and are perfectly adept at changing their approach when the first one they try does not work. As you sit through your first few sessions, consider the following:

  • Is your psychologist usually on time?
  • Do you feel comfortable in their office? Are the staff friendly and helpful?
  • Is there sufficient privacy?
  • Are billing and financial policies clear and easy to understand?
  • Do they follow up on their promises? For example, if their plans to discuss your relationship with your mother, do they get around to it?
  • Is your therapist adept at refocusing your attention when you get off topic?
  • Are they a good listener?

Always Trust Your Instinct When You Choose A Psychologist

The great thing about the world of psychology is that you are not obligated to continue with psychologists you do not like – even if you cannot come up with a clear reason for your discomfort.

The best way to choose a psychologist is to trust your instinct. You may unconsciously pick up on things that you cannot consciously articulate. If someone makes you uncomfortable, feel free to stop therapy. There is no need to apologise, nor continue with therapy that makes you feel uncomfortable.

No matter how you feel about treatment, keep the following facts in mind:

  • A good psychologist will never initiate sexual contact with you or engage in a romantic relationship with you.
  • Psychologists should aim to help you, not try to get their needs met through you. You should not feel like you must reassure the therapist you choose.
  • Sessions should be completely confidential. Your psychologist cannot even discuss therapy with your family without your permission.
  • Billing policies should be clear and upfront.
  • The treatment your therapist uses should be clear and precise. Good therapy is not about just sitting and talking about your problems; it’s directive, progressive, and sticks to a plan and is flexible. If your psychologist refuses to discuss something you need to talk about, move on.
  • Good psychologists solicit and accept both positive and negative feedback.
  • Psychologists will offer lifestyle suggestions to hep improve your health and wellbeing
  • An ethical psychologist will refer you to someone else if they are not equipped to treat you. For example, if your condition is sufficiently severe to warrant medication, the psychologist should offer you a referral to a medical doctor while continuing your therapy.
  • Psychologists do not try to force their values on you by proselytising to you or initiating political arguments.
  • A good psychologist will never insult you or attempt to diminish your values.
  • Your therapist should gently hold you accountable, question your behaviours and offer alternative thoughts and attitudes.
  • The search for a skilled, quality therapist requires some work, but the positive outcomes to your mental and physical health and wellbeing are priceless. 

What is Psychological Therapy?

Therapists use the bio-psycho-social model to assess and assist people with their problems and help improve their overall well-being. They are trained to talk to people about their challenges and concerns. Psychologists help people feel supported and validated. They also help people to understand what they are experiencing and how to navigate a particular path in their human experience.

Psychologists do not prescribe medication. Psychiatrists prescribe medication because they are also doctors. Psychiatrists deal with serious complex mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenic, eating disorders and addiction.

Psychologists generally use a therapy that is involves talking with individuals, couples, families, or other groups. They focus on people’s day to day concerns. They help people develop skills and understanding. Typical personal concerns include family relationship difficulties including abusive relationships, grief, and loss, trying life circumstances, anxiety, forms of depression, stress, and health issues.

Seeking psychological help has become a normal practice for many people. Sometimes some people may require a longer process like psychotherapy.

Therapy with include conversations about a person’s past including their childhood and adolescent years. Often it involves memories of others including parents, teachers, peers or friendships.

At The Three Seas Psychology, we also provide psychological services such as assessment and diagnosis, treatment, therapy, conflict and mediation, goal setting, communication skills training, problem-solving skills development and much more.

Our treatment options can be conducted face-to-face with our trained psychologists in addition to other options such as  online via zoom counselling, Telehealth and phone consultations.

If you have a concern and would like to speak with a private psychologist in Melbourne, call us today, and our Client Connect Team can answer any questions you might have. You can also Meet our psychologists via the link to find out more about the right therapist for you.

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