What is your background and training?

We are registered psychologists, which means we have completed six years of psychological training. We respectively have over a decade of experience working with individual clients, teams and organisations to help improve wellbeing, health and performance outcomes. Nowhere is the need for improved wellbeing more relevant than with parents so this is why we have established The Bumpy Road to do. To focus on you as an individual and as a parent.

What types of clients do you see?

Our central aim is to support women into motherhood and through parenthood, with all the twists and turns in-between. Whilst we see clients with many different sorts of backgrounds and presenting issues, the central themes tend to be:

• Preconception or pregnancy issues
• Postnatal depression/ Postnatal anxiety
• Adjusting to motherhood and through parenthood causing stress, sadness and anxiety
• Parenting challenges impacting confidence, self esteem and wellbeing
• Relationship challenges which have either arisen or been fueled by the arrival of children
• Career navigation and transition post baby

How many sessions will I need?

Often by the time people put their hands up for help, they are feeling reasonably low. Pain can be a great motivator. We remind clients that it may take a few sessions and dedicated commitment outside our sessions to start to establish the change that you are seeking.

The first session will focus on understanding the reasons why you are seeking support and to jointly gain greater clarity around this. This self awareness is a fundamental aspect to the process of change – a change in your perspective and your action. We will work, in session, on practising tools, planning actions and reviewing what is working.

Whilst the number of sessions varies greatly, we find that most clients require 4-6 sessions to identify actions and establish improved wellbeing and outcomes.

How long is the session?

Each session runs for 55 minutes.

What is a mental health care plan and who needs/can access one?

If you believe that you are experiencing diminished mental health which may be manifesting as feelings of stress, fear, sadness, erratic behaviour etc. you may be able to access a mental health care plan. This would entitle you to receive an $84.80 rebate on session cost through Medicare. If you think this applies to you, you will need to visit your GP who will draft the mental health care plan and write you a referral.

Is there any rebate through my private health fund?

This varies widely depending on your level of health insurance and health provider. Please investigate this directly with your health provider.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you are unable to keep a scheduled appointment, you are required to provide at least one business day (24 hours) in advance, in which case no cancellation fee is payable.

Cancellation fees are currently set at 50% of the scheduled fee if you cancel within 24 hours of the appointment, and the full fee is payable if you fail to attend an appointment without prior notice or cancel on the day of the appointment. You will not be charged a cancellation fee if your session time can be reallocated to a client on the wait list.

You can provide notice that you are unable to attend your appointment by emailing your respective psychologist at [email protected] or [email protected]

What is the difference between counselling and coaching?

Whilst psychologists and coaches often appear to be two separate buckets of people, we see the goal of both groups as being the same – improving wellbeing. If you think of mental health as a continuum, we all sit somewhere along it.

Traditionally psychologists have been assigned to treating the mentally ‘ill’ and coaches as helping people with personal challenges. Coaching however is both a vague and unregulated industry. Whilst the term psychologist can be taboo for many people, remember that training for psychologists focuses on supporting behavioural change and optimising wellbeing. We are left to ask the question, ‘so why do we limit ourselves to purely the mentally ill?’ We are all on the same spectrum and depending on what age, stage and life circumstance we will move both up and down it. So, as a psychologist, we seek to help people seeking change, improvement and transition. It is very common for us to draw both on clinical and coaching skills for the one client and with my training and background, we can move fluidly with these techniques to help uncover and address the feelings of distress, stress, discomfort and being stuck.

Where do you offer walking sessions on the Northern Beaches?

The reason Belinda started sessions on foot is that she found it breaks down some of the barriers people have when they think about coming to see a psychologist. Bring your baby or your dog and lets get a start on your weekly exercise quota. People seem to find it easier to talk when walking – whether it’s the lack of eye contact or the endorphins fueled by movement or simply the mood boost of getting outside. Whatever it is, it seems to work and Belinda has had some of the most effective shifts in people when walking.

How do skype or phone sessions work?

We have found that this lowers the barrier to access for many of our clients. With most of us having a phone, ipad or laptop attached to us for much of the day, the hurdles of leaving the workplace, children or not living in the same city, state or country as us, are removed. We do not find that this hinders the partnership and consultation process, in fact we find it to be significantly more efficient. It also means that we can provide a wider range of consultation times for those of you who have work or family commitments or time zone difficulties.

What types of psychological therapy do you use to treat anxiety and depression?

There are lots of different types of psychological therapies available to treat anxiety and depression. We tend to use more evidence-based methods such as cognitive behaviour therapy and interpersonal therapy but we often incorporate mindfulness-based techniques, such as those from the acceptance and commitment therapy framework as well as the dialectical behaviour therapy model. What is often most appropriate is a blended approach aligned to your goals with an emphasis on establishing trust in the therapeutic relationship. Below is a brief overview of the main types of psychological therapies we use:

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on changing negative thinking styles and behaviour patterns typically associated with depression and anxiety. By recognizing and changing thought patterns and behaviours it is understood that an individual can change the way they feel alleviating overwhelming anxiety and depression. CBT encourages clients to limit distorted ways of thinking by examining their worries realistically.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
IPT focuses on a person's disturbed personal relationships making the assumption that they play a significant role in causing and exacerbating depression.

Mindfulness-based therapies such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can be utlisied for people who experience persistent and chronic symptoms of depression, anxiety or grief. Mindfulness is a special way of paying attention that can improve your ability to cope with everyday life or navigate tough times. There are great mental and physical health benefits to cultivating mindfulness in every day life.

We appreciate in some instances, psychological therapy may not be enough to manage anxious and depressive symptoms. This is something we will monitor with you and give feedback to you about as we progress through sessions. It may be necessary for you to be reviewed by your GP or by a psychiatrist. If you are using anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication, augmenting your treatment with psychological therapy is likely to achieve better longer term outcomes for you.