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Child and Adolescent Therapy

What do I tell my child about going to a psychologist?

This all depends on their age, and the reason for the visit, but it’s important they know that a psychologist is someone who helps people.

Whether it’s because they’re feeling sad or worried, having problems with friends, school or siblings – a psychologist is someone to talk to, who will help them learn how to cope and feel better.

A psychologist will listen to anything they have to say, and will always be there for help and support.

They should know that mums, dads and grown ups can go to psychologists – that it’s normal and nothing to worry about.

If you have concerns about speaking to your child about their visit, feel free to call and discuss your worries.

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What should my child expect?

Again, this all depends on their age.

With younger children, more of the work is done with the parents than the child. This can mean that the first session, or several sessions, are undertaken exclusively with the parents.

However, when your child does meet with the psychologist they should expect to spend sessions doing activities (like games or drawing), that are designed to get them talking about what’s been happening for them, and why they’re feeling anxious or upset.

As the parents, you will initially be in the room with your child for the introductory stages of this session. After this, your child will usually spend some time alone with the psychologist.

With older children, the initial consultation will take place alone between them and the psychologist.  We encourage them to spend it talking about why they have come, and what’s happening in their life that they need help with.

They will decide on some goals they would like to achieve and discuss a plan for how to achieve them. They should then expect to spend sessions learning the skills to successfully work towards these goals. It is important for them to understand that they will likely have some things they need to try to do in between sessions. This “homework” is vital to their success. At the end of the sessions, parents may join if the psychologist feels it would be helpful.

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What should I, as the parent, expect?

Prior to the initial session, you will be asked to complete some questionnaires about yourself, your family and your child.

This will help the psychologist get a full understanding of the family background, better placing them to help.

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Do I stay with my child during the session?

This depends on their age and the circumstances, so it’s hard to be definitive.

Usually, however, parents remain in the session for the first part. They then leave to let their child do some work alone with the psychologist, before coming back in for the last part.

By splitting the time in this way, the psychologist is able to include parents in the consultation and let them understand the issues at stake, whilst providing the child with a safe space to speak and be heard.

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How many sessions will my child need?

This varies significantly depending on the situation, specific goals and the response of your child to the treatment.

Your child’s progress is of paramount importance, and will be reviewed and discussed.

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Who can arrange psychology sessions for a child or young person?

1) A parent with a legal responsibility

2) A young person who can give informed consent, so long as they can pay for sessions

3) An adult with legal authority (such as a legal guardian or carer)

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Do both parents need to provide consent for a child to attend psychology sessions?  What if I’m separated/divorced from my child’s other parent?  

Both parents don’t need to give consent for a child to attend psychology sessions. If you have a legal responsibility/authority, you can arrange psychology sessions for your child without their other parent’s consent.

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What are the limits to confidentiality when providing services to young people?

Psychologists have a legal obligation to report child abuse and neglect.  Also, if not disclosing information may result in risk of harm to the young person or to others, a psychologist must disclose.  This is explained to the child and their parent when they first come to the practice.


If a young person can give informed consent, their consent is needed for any disclosure to the presenting parent, the other parent, and third parties.  


If a young person can’t give informed consent (for instance, they may be too young), the presenting parent’s consent is needed to disclose information.


If the young person’s presenting parent asks the psychologist what’s happening in sessions, but the young person doesn’t want to disclose, the psychologist will discuss this with everyone involved.  The result may depend on who has provided informed consent (the child or the presenting parent), though the psychologist will attempt to resolve the conflict.  The psychologist will keep the young person’s best interests a priority throughout sessions.

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At what age can a child or young person give informed consent?

There is no specified age at which a young person may be found capable of giving informed consent.  This capacity is assessed during an assessment, and on an ongoing basis during sessions.

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My child has an intellectual disability.  Does that mean that as the parent, I give informed consent, and have a right to know what’s going on in sessions?

A young person with an intellectual disability may be able to give informed consent.  The psychologist will assess this capacity, and decide whether the young person or their parent is the person who needs to give consent.   There is no specified age at which a young person with an intellectual disability may be found capable of giving informed consent.  In summary, just because your child has an intellectual disability doesn’t automatically mean that you have a right to know what is going on in sessions.  This is best talked about with the psychologist if you have concerns.

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I don’t want my child’s other parent knowing anything about my child going to psychology sessions, or knowing what’s talked about.  Is that ok?

If you have the legal right to arrange psychology sessions for your child, and you are the person giving informed consent, you can decide who does, or does not, find out about what happens in the sessions.  If your child wanted their other parent to know, it would be important to discuss that with your child, and decide what’s in their best interests.


If your child is the one giving informed consent, as we’ve already confirmed, it would be their right to choose who information is disclosed to.


If consent has not been provided to disclose information to the other parent, if the other parent contacts the practice for information, they will be encouraged to talk with you instead.  Protecting your child’s privacy means we wouldn’t even tell them whether your child has been to the practice.

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My child’s other parent doesn’t want my child going to psychology sessions.  Can they prevent my child from going?

If the other parent also has legal responsibility for your child, the psychologist would discuss the other parent’s concerns with you and your child, so that the psychologist can decide whether psychology sessions should continue.  The psychologist is always thinking about what is best for the child.  


If the other parent does not have legal responsibility/authority for your child, you may arrange psychology sessions for your child without their consent.

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Will you talk to my child’s school?

Only with the parent’s permission will your child’s school be contacted.

However, it is usually helpful for schools to be involved so that they are able to support the child and their treatment goals.

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How do I know if my child needs to see a psychologist?

If you are concerned about your child’s mood or behaviour it may be worthwhile talking with a psychologist.

It can surprise parents that children need to see a psychologist, but often – when they have difficulty coping – it is the most helpful way forward.

Children often demonstrate feeling anxious, upset or uncomfortable with noticeable changes in appetite, sleep or behaviour. They may withdraw socially, become oppositional, or excessively introverted or extroverted.  Behaviour that is unusual for your child, but is becoming a consistent problem, can be discussed with a child psychologist.

If you are unsure, it is often helpful to organise an initial session to discuss your concerns and talk about whether proceeding with a psychologist could be beneficial.

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What if my child or adolescent doesn’t want to go?

This depends on their age.

With younger children there is usually very little resistance, as long as you frame it in such a way as shows that visiting a psychologist is normal and nothing out of the ordinary. If they see that it’s something you support them in, they’re far more likely to feel comfortable about it.

For older children, or adolescents, it can be similar to asking them to do the chores they don’t want to do. Ask them to go, and remain positive about the experience they may have. Remind them – this is not a punishment, but a resource that can help them.

If they feel like they don’t need help, encourage them to just come and talk about what is happening and go from there. They’ll be surprised by how beneficial they find it.

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How are child and adult psychology different?

They are very similar and work with the same concepts. The difference is that child psychology is tailored to your child’s age and development stage, so the sessions can include activities or games as part of the treatment.

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Do my mum and/or dad need to know I am coming?

It would be good if the parent who is responsible for your care could be told if you are coming to a psychologist, especially if you are under sixteen years old.  However, your psychologist will discuss with you what it is important that you share with your parent or carer, and what the limits of the sharing will be.  You will have a big say in this. You can make a confidential appointment without telling your parents, as long as your psychologist is clear that you understand what you are doing and that you can afford to pay for your session.

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What if I tell the psychologist that someone is hurting me?

By law, psychologists have to report any case of a child being hurt or in danger of being hurt, to people who can make you safe.  So, when you tell a psychologist about bad things in your life, we will make sure that you are safe from now on, and you will not be in trouble from anyone for telling us.

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Adult, Couples and Family Therapy

Why should I see a psychologist?

You should see a psychologist if you’re feeling unhappy, unsettled, or unfulfilled in your day to day life. If you’re struggling, and can’t move forward. If you don’t know your next steps, but want the answers. If you’re having problems in your relationships; if you feel unloved, hurt or rejected.

If you want to find out how to move your life forward, and achieve happiness – you should see a psychologist.

By being empathic but independent, the psychologists at Armchair Psychology can give you a crucial understanding of how to achieve your personal and emotional goals.

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How many sessions will I need?

This is a very personal question, and varies depending on the clients and their goals.

After our first few sessions together, we should be able to evaluate how much time you will need. However, there is no hard and fast rule, and this is a process that is a part of your journey.

Life’s important journeys can take time – it’s important to remember that.

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How often will I have sessions?

It is standard practice, although not mandatory, to meet weekly, especially in the early stages of therapy.

However, sometimes more frequent sessions, or spacing them further apart, makes more sense in terms of your growth.  That is something which can be discussed during your sessions with your psychologist.

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What happens if I want to bring my partner or family?

When your issue is around a relationship, it is vital that all the people involved can join the process.

With their participation, change often occurs more quickly, misunderstandings can be resolved, and each can put in their contribution to growing the relationship.

Your psychologist may recommend that a family member joins you for a session, but it will always be your choice as to whether that occurs.  If they do join you and see the Psychologist, everything discussed privately as an individual will remain confidential.

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Do I need a referral?

You don’t need a referral from your Doctor to see a psychologist. However, it may be more convenient to get one, as you can then claim a rebate for a portion of your fees from Medicare.

If you are unsure as to whether your issues are applicable for a rebate, you can see a psychologist without a referral, and then ask your doctor to provide a Mental Health Care Plan.

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How will this help?

Psychological support from Armchair Psychology will help you and your family cope with life’s difficult moments, building strength and resilience to get through the difficult times and on to the good.

We work to achieve your dreams with you. We help you unlock your potential, find out what’s holding you back, and why, so you can move forward.

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What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?

To become a psychologist a person must have successfully completed an accredited university course and gained significant levels of supervised practical experience. Only registered psychologists can use the title “psychologist”. A psychologist must also be registered with the Australian Health Professions Registration Authority (AHPRA) and abide by registration and practice guidelines.

Whilst a counsellor does valuable work, there are no regulations, restrictions or minimum study or qualification requirements required in relation to the use of the ‘counsellor’ title.

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What is confidentiality?

Confidentiality means not telling anyone else what is said in the room, or even that you have been here.

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Are there limits to confidentiality?

Yes, there is. If someone is at risk of harm to themselves or someone else, confidentiality may be required to be broken (for your safety or for someone else’s safety). If your notes are subpoenaed or disclosure is required by law, we are obligated to break confidentiality.

See below for the limits to confidentiality when working with young people.

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What are the limits to confidentiality when providing services to young people?

Psychologists must comply with any legal requirements to report child abuse and neglect. Psychologists must also disclose information in situations where failure to disclose information may result in clear risk to the young person or to others, to avert risk. This is made clear to the child and presenting parent on engaging with the service.

When a young person has the capacity to give informed consent, the consent of the young person is required for any disclosure of the young person’s information by the psychologist to the presenting parent, the other parent (if any) and to third parties. The psychologist has a duty to maintain the young person’s confidentiality and to limit any disclosure in accordance with the express wishes of the young person, unless there is risk of harm to the young person or to others.

Where there is conflict regarding what information the young person wishes the presenting parent to know and what the presenting parent’s requests to know the psychologist will discuss this with all involved and attempt to resolve the conflict and come up with an agreement that is workable for everyone.

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What happens to the notes of the sessions?

Your notes are kept in a file in a locked and secure location.

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Who has access to my notes?

Your psychologist is the only person who has access to your notes (see above for limits to confidentiality if your notes are subpoenaed by a court or disclosure is required by law). Your psychologist will consult with you if they would like to present your story at a supervision session and will ensure that your identity is kept secret.

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How long do you keep the notes?

Notes are kept for 7 years after your last appointment with your psychologist after which they are destroyed.

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Child and Adolescent Therapy


What do I tell my child about going to a psychologist?

What should my child expect?

What should I, as the parent, expect?

Do I stay with my child during the session?

How many sessions will my child need?

Who can arrange psychology sessions for a child or young person?

Do both parents need to provide consent for a child to attend psychology sessions?  What if I’m separated/divorced from my child’s other parent?  

What are the limits to confidentiality when providing services to young people?

At what age can a child or young person give informed consent?

My child has an intellectual disability.  Does that mean that as the parent, I give informed consent, and have a right to know what’s going on in sessions?

I don’t want my child’s other parent knowing anything about my child going to psychology sessions, or knowing what’s talked about.  Is that ok?

My child’s other parent doesn’t want my child going to psychology sessions.  Can they prevent my child from going?

Will you talk to my child’s school?

How do I know if my child needs to see a psychologist?

What if my child or adolescent doesn’t want to go?

How are child and adult psychology different?

Do my mum and/or dad need to know I am coming?

What if I tell the psychologist that someone is hurting me?



Adult, Couples and Family Therapy


Why should I see a psychologist?

How many sessions will I need?

How often will I have sessions?

What happens if I want to bring my partner or family?

Do I need a referral?

How will this help?

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor?

What is confidentiality?

Are there limits to confidentiality?

What are the limits to confidentiality when providing services to young people?

What happens to the notes of the sessions?

Who has access to my notes?

How long do you keep the notes?

Frequently Asked Questions