Making high quality mental healthcare accessible for everyone

7 questions to help you choose the right Psychologist for you

7 questions to help you choose the right Psychologist for you

You know you need help to improve your mental health so you’ve decided to see a Psychologist. 

That may have been quite a big decision on its own. But now you’re faced with another decision – choosing the right one. How do you go about finding the right person for your needs? 

Well, you’d probably begin by googling Psychologists in your area (or further afield if you’re considering telehealth) and looking at their websites. Some might not be your cup of tea at all and you can rule them out almost immediately, leaving you with a shortlist of possible psychologists to suss out further. 

Now you need to ask them some key questions to see if they’d be a good fit for you. Here are 7 things to ask a Psychologist you’re interested in working with. 

1. What are your areas of expertise? 

Mental health is a very broad area and, over time, Psychologists tend to develop certain areas of interest or expertise. 

So, step one is to think about why you want to see a Psychologist. 

Are you a mum with postnatal depression, a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder or an overworked executive who’s hit burnout? 

Are you looking for a couples therapist to help your marriage, a psychologist who’s fluent in your language, or someone who works with LGBTIQ communities? 

Do you need someone to help you overcome an addiction, get past a phobia or manage an eating disorder?

Once you’ve clarified your needs, you can find out if the Psychologist you’re interested in has expertise in the right areas. 

2. How many years have you been practising as a Psychologist? 

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. You might prefer a newly qualified Psychologist or one with more experience. You might relate well to a younger person or prefer someone more mature. 

3. How long is your waiting list? 

There’s high demand for Psychologists at the moment – and that can make it hard to be seen quickly. 

The 2021 Census found that one-third of Australians have a diagnosed long-term health condition, with mental health issues surpassing every other chronic illness.

Earlier this year, the Australian Psychological Society conducted a survey and found that 75% of Psychologists now had waiting lists and were turning people away. One in 3 Psychologists had closed their books to new patients – a huge increase on the 1% who were doing this prior to the pandemic. 

So, ask your Psychologist how long their waiting list is. If you’ve decided you need help, you probably want to get it as soon as possible. You might be prepared to wait a little while for the right person but you can’t wait months and months.  

4. Do you offer telehealth or face-to-face sessions or both? 

Again, there’s no right answer to this – it depends on your preferences. You might find it easier to open up if you’re in the same room as your Psychologist. Or you may find it more convenient to use telehealth so that you don’t have to travel to your appointments. 

Just ask each Psychologist what methods they offer then decide how well that will work for you. 

5. What kind of treatments do you use and do they work for my issues? 

Psychology is a ‘talk therapy’ designed to help you gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts and behaviour and help you to make progress in areas of life that are causing you distress. 

There are different types of psychological treatments designed to help with different issues. You can explore some common treatment techniques here

Ask your Psychologist which treatments they’d recommend for your condition.

6. What are your fees and is there anything I can do to reduce the costs? 

You need to know that you can afford the treatment before you start. Psychologists in private practice usually charge fees (though we keep ours below the market rate at The Talk Shop). 

Depending on your condition and situation, you may be able to reduce the costs of psychology care by: 

  • Getting a mental health treatment plan from your GP, which enables you to claim a Medicare rebate
  • Using your private health insurance (if you have the right level of cover). 

7. What will my first appointment be like? 

Your Psychologist should be able to give you a good idea of what to expect at your first appointment. 

If you’re meeting face-to-face, your Psychologist will usually come to greet you in the waiting room and then take you into their consultation room. Such rooms are usually pleasant environments with a comfy sofa, a plant or two and a box of tissues. 

Once you’ve settled in, your Psychologist will probably ask you questions to find out: 

  • Why you’ve decided to come to therapy
  • How long you’ve been experiencing mental health difficulties
  • Whether something similar has happened to you before
  • What the rest of your life looks like – family, work, hobbies, support networks etc.
  • What you’re hoping to achieve through therapy. 

It’s important that you talk honestly to help your Psychologist understand what you’re going through and create a treatment plan to help you. Don’t worry about shocking your Psychologist – they’re trained to listen and have probably heard many confronting things from other patients before you.

How can The Talk Shop help? 

The Talk Shop is a unique psychology practice offering: 

  • Both bulk-billed and fee-paying appointments
  • Ongoing counselling to clients of WorkCover, WorkSafe, VOCAT, TAC and the NDIS
  • Male and female therapists with different backgrounds, experiences and languages (including therapists able to conduct sessions in German, Turkish, Hungarian, Spanish, Mandarin, Farsi/Dari, and Hindi)
  • Therapists who specifically deal with children, adolescents, couples and families.
  • In-person appointments at a number of Melbourne locations, including the CBD, Mooroolbark, Wheelers Hill and Reservoir.
  • Telehealth appointments for clients across Australia. 

If you think we could help you, then please contact us – and feel free to ask your questions. 


All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The Talk Shop can consult with you to confirm if a particular treatment s right for you.