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Finding the "Best Fit"Mental Heath Provider

Friday, August 16, 2019

Even though a lot of work has been done to beat stigma, it can still be hard to know how to find a mental health practitioner or service provider that best suits your needs. Unfortunately many people still feel ashamed about reaching out for mental health help – in fact, a World Health Organisation study  found that 30 to 80 percent of people with mental health concerns never receive treatment. Even more alarming, the study found that the more treatable the condition, the higher the rates of not getting treatment - schizophrenia (32%), bipolar disorder (50%), panic disorder (55%), major depression (56%), generalized anxiety disorder (57%) obsessive-compulsive disorder (59%), and alcohol dependence (78%).

Common reasons for avoiding treatment included:
Shame about being mentally unwell and fear of discrimination;
Denial and lack of insight or understanding about the warning signs of mental health problems;
Feeling “like a failure” if they admit to not coping with life stressors or becoming unwell mentally;
Distrust that their personal information will not be kept confidential or feeling worried they won’t be taken seriously;
Practical barriers like assuming the fees will be too high, not being able to find appropriate professional care, not being able to get transport, or limited availability where they live.

Australia’s mental health services have come a long way over the past couple of decades. With the rise of telehealth and recent extension of Medicare item numbers for online Psychology services, access to excellent mental health information and support is now much more easily available. 

Organisations like Beyondblue have put a huge emphasis on providing mental health information and support. People needing mental health information to help decide what service they need can rely on these organisations for up-to-date and valid resources to find out more about symptoms or treatment options. 

Other organisations like Australia Counselling or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine offer online directories that consumers can search to find a mental health practitioner. Services can be provided across vast distances using videoconferencing technology so geographic isolation is now no barrier to connecting with skilled counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with a local service provider, other options are readily available. Many of these will bulk bill through Medicare which means the cost barrier has also been removed.

Two challenges still remain – knowing whether the symptoms you’re having are just stress or whether they indicate a more serious mental health problem, and if you are having mental health symptoms, knowing what type of mental health practitioner you need. There are many different types of mental health practitioners and many people don’t understand the difference. 

Even though we are all skilled in helping people recover from mental health problems, the way we go about it can be very different:
psychiatrists (being medical practitioners) typically use a medication-based approach to resolve symptoms; 
psychologists don’t prescribe medications and focus on performing psychological testing and using psychotherapy to help patients gain insight and build skills for positive mental health; 
clinical social workers may do very similar work to a psychologist providing psychotherapy but not clinical assessments, and in addition may also work in hospitals and health services providing case management and hospital discharge planning as well as advocating for patients and their family;
counsellors (and life coaches) provide general support and basic counselling (some in specialised areas such as drug and alcohol counselling) but don’t work with people facing more serious mental health problems.

How do you know if a mental health practitioner is genuine? This is a good question. In Australia, psychiatrists and psychologists have to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and they should always display their registration number and certificate publicly. Most social workers are registered with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) which has its own code of ethics. 

Counsellors also are unregistered but are encouraged to be members of professional associations such as PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counsellors Association of Australia) and ARCAP (the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) which set the ethical standards for their members. In addition, mental health practitioners may be members of other national and international associations which they will usually display as part of their credentialing or to confirm that they have completed training in specialised areas of practice.

Any member of the community can go to the AHPRA website to check on the registration and credentials of a mental health practitioner they are thinking of using. To be registered, mental health practitioners must have completed at least 6 years of university study (many have completed much more than the minimum), they must show that they comply with their professional development requirements including supervision every year, and they must commit to providing their services according to high ethical standards. 

For example, the Psychology Board of Australia sets out all the codes, guidelines and policies that determine how psychologists must practice their profession, regardless of the setting in which they are working. Consumers have every right to check the AHPRA website or ask any mental health practitioner about their qualifications, areas of specialised training, and work experience, as part of finding the best practitioner to meet their needs – most of us welcome this level of scrutiny as it shows us that the patient is keen to get the best help to meet their needs.

Dr Kate Lemerle, Psychologist
Chrysalis Counselling & Coaching, Norfolk Island
TEL: 52112 or email 

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Is Perfectionism Ruining Your Happiness?

Friday, August 02, 2019

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Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Thursday, August 01, 2019

                   What might putting your Health first look like?
                      ANS: Our "8 WEEK BODY BLITZ PROGRAM".

                          so......... ONLY 8 WEEKS TO SPRING!!!
              Perfect time to start our all inclusive program which includes:

  • Complete Health Assessments on a regular basis
  • 1 Personal Training session per week
  • Full 24 hour Gym access and a Training Diary
  • A Comprehensive guided "Diet" Booklet to help you focus on initial Fat loss. Recipes included.

The program is ideal for Individuals or work with a like-minded Training partner.

All inquiries to Kay or Kelvin on 52809 or 23569.

Please 'contact us' for more information.


Friday, July 19, 2019

FITLOSOPHY: "The secret to staying motivated in the cold Winter months is to focus on Strength Training". You are more likely to see results in this area with commitment and consistency than with Cardio. Best options for Strength training ...Guided Group Exercise, Gym membership including a targeted program or Personal Training.

FOODLOSOPHY: "Eat wise. Drop a size!!"

LAST WEEK to take advantage of the GROUP EXERCISE SPECIAL ... 12 classes for the price of 10.
Purchase in advance and save $ on your Discount Cards.

                           Step into September with our ......
"STEPTEMBER TEAM CHALLENGE" and win some great prizes.
 For more information and for all Gym inquiries please phone 52809.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Friday, July 12, 2019

FITLOSOPHY: "Strong today. Strong tomorrow."

FOODLOSOPHY: If you eat what and how you've always eaten you'll weigh what you've always weighed. Winter is the best time to lose weight as the body needs to work harder to maintain the body's Core temperature.

GROUP EXERCISE SPECIAL CONTINUES through JULY: Buy a DISCOUNT CARD for $100 and receive 12 classes instead of 10. No restriction on the number of cards purchased.

Workout out of the cold in our fully equipped Gym. Memberships, Personal Training and Group Exercise available. Or maybe try our 8 WEEK BODY BLITZ PROGRAM to take you through to SPRING.

All Gym inquiries to Kay on 52809.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Norfolk Island Fitness and Health News

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Join one of our many Group Exercise Classes. Spaces available in all classes including SPIN.
                        GROUP EXERCISE SPECIAL for JUNE/JULY.

  • DISCOUNT CARD with 12 Classes (normally 10) for $100.
  • New participant? First Class is FREE.
  • Current participant? Purchase a Card in advance to save.
  • Cards have a 4 month Expiry.

                    Remember a 1 hour workout is only 4% of your day!

All Gym enquiries to Kay on 52809 or landline 23569

Please 'contact us' for more information.

What is “Mental Illness”?

Thursday, June 06, 2019

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Psychotherapy Is About Repairing the Brain

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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On Compassion for Mental Wellbeing

Thursday, May 02, 2019

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Not Forgetting…But Forgiving: Is It Good for Us?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Grandma’s sage advice that we “forgive and forget” is something many of us have grown up hearing. All well and good, we say. But then we have a life experience that shakes this age-old wisdom to the core. Some things – people – we experience seem almost unforgiveable.

And then there’s ourselves. How many of us spend vast amounts of time in our minds beating ourselves up endlessly without self-forgiveness and moving on. What does this do to our mental health and general wellbeing?

Well, research suggests that holding on to emotions like resentment, blame, bitterness, hostility, hatred, anger, which can be be fostered through rumination (or playing the same idea over and over in the mind), has dire health effects along the same lines as chronic or extreme stress. For example, blood pressure can be affected, and another study found that supressed hostility and anger were linked to carotid atherosclerosis in a sample of Finnish men. The underlying process is that these intense negative emotions re-set the autonomic nervous system into a state of hyperarousal, triggering a cascade of potentially serious physical problems.

Slipping into the rut of repressed rage also has social consequences. To stay so deeply entangled into bad feelings and negative thinking typically leads to social isolation, or can result in us connecting only with other negative people so the hostility and distress becomes magnified as each person shares their dreadful stories.

Self-unforgiveness resulting from getting trapped in the web of thoughts about our personal mistakes may increase levels of guilt, shame, and regret that in turn negatively impact mental health. Not only are we likely to suffer anxiety disorders, but depression is a risk especially if we isolate ourselves from everyday activities and connections with other people.

To achieve forgiveness, we need to focus on what we call decisional and emotional forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness is about the actions we commit to take - a behavioural intention to give up an unforgiving stance and to act differently toward a transgressor. Emotional forgiveness is the replacement of negative unforgiving emotions with positive emotions towards the person who hurt us. Emotional forgiveness involves psychophysiological changes, and it has more direct health and well-being consequences.

Since the pain of social transgressions (people doing things to us that hurt, especially if done deliberately) is deep, making the decision to forgive is challenging. One tip is to do a cost-benefit analysis. Make a list of the benefits, for you and the other, of hanging onto the pain or distress. Write out why it would be good to stay unforgiving. Then make a list of the costs – what price is to be paid by not forgiving? What benefits could come your way if you choose to forgive, and what costs will be incurred if you forgive. Do this on a sheet of paper drawn into four sections, and take a few days to think about it, letting new insights come to the surface.

Emotional forgiveness might sound easier but for many people who are well skilled at regulating or managing their own emotions, it can be equally challenging. Give this a go. Every time a thought or memory related to the transgressor comes to mind, look around you and pay attention to something in the present moment that gives you a good feeling. Notice the sun shining, feel and appreciate its warmth. Take a look at something amazing in nature that reignites your wonder and awe. Learn to shift your attention away from the inner world into the outer world. Or try using a mantra or affirmation that is a small group of words that inspire you. Over time, as you do this, the stranglehold of unforgiveness will weaken. Writing a forgiveness letter can also be a powerful way to move forward.

Whether you do this in relation to another person, or you do it in relation to yourself, there’s no doubt that making the decision to let go of unforgiveness and get unstuck from the pain of unforgiveness is a huge step towards better health and wellbeing. Next week’s Mental Fitness class will explore forgiveness in more detail and give you more tools for healing.

Dr Kate Lemerle, Psychologist

Chrysalis Counselling & Coaching, Norfolk Island


TEL: 52112 or email

Please 'contact us' for more information.

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