We are aware that supporting young people through difficult times can be incredibly challenging for families. It can also be hard to know where to find the 'right' information or support for your family's journey.
Accessing therapeutic support is one way of getting this assistance, and we endeavour to provide this at FSA Psychology. However, it can be helpful to know where to look for additional resources especially when awaiting an appointment for therapeutic services.
We hope that this section can be a useful guide to you. We welcome any suggestions for resources and support options that we may have missed to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is therapy?
Therapy, also called psychotherapy or counseling, is the process of meeting with a therapist (in the case of our service, a Psychologist or Provisional Psychologist) to resolve problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, and/or somatic responses (sensations in the body).
Therapy is typically voluntary and must be consented to by the person accessing therapy. When working with young people this consent is provided by parents or legal guardians where the young person is younger than the minimum age of medical consent, i.e. 14.
What is a psychologist?
A psychologist is a professional trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn.
In Australia, psychology is a regulated profession. This means that people who call themselves a psychologist or say they are practising as a psychologist must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) and listed with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Registered psychologists are required to have a minimum of six years of university training and supervised experience, and to engage in ongoing education to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
They must also adhere to certain strict standards to keep their registration, and must provide professional services according to a strict code of ethics, written by the Australian Psychological Society (APS).
You can check on the AHPRA website to see whether a person is registered as a psychologist.
Therapy with children and young people
Therapy services provided to children and young people are distinct in the need for parents / carers to provide consent to engage in treatment (where the young person is younger than 14). Children and young people are still entitled to the right to confidentiality of treatment except in cases of risk harm to self or others, or legal requests for information (i.e. subpoena). This means that parents and carers may not always be informed of what is discussed in sessions.
Parents and carers do have the right to access a young person's file, where that young person is below the age of consent (younger than 14). In these cases, files will not be freely handed over. Rather, a time will be made to meet the consulting clinician so that they can review the file with the parent / carer. This time will be billed as per session rates.
It is important to establish what therapy with children and young people will not look like. Therapy with a child or young person will not:
Be focused on punishing or shaming a child - therapy may instead be focused on understanding the function of a behaviour or response and will involve exploring a child and family's history with curiosity and respect.
Be about forcing or pressing a child to talk - engaging in therapy is a difficult step for most adults, let alone children who may not have an understanding of what this process is about or how a psychologist can help them. Therapy is about meeting the client where they're at, which is a key principle of our practice here at Warehouse One7.
Involve pushing a young person out of their 'window of tolerance' - working with young people to face anxiety or symptoms related to trauma may involve guided and graded exposure to difficult situations, however this is always a consideration made with respect to the young person's ability to feel safe within therapy.
Be focused on taking sides or convincing a child of what they should do - a psychologist's role is to provide support, validation, and assistance in behaviour change. A psychologist's role is not to give advice or tell a client what the 'best' decision is. In working with a young person, we will always be open to considering the views of parents and carers but therapeutic goals will always be in line with the client's needs as formulated by the client and psychologist.
Books & Resources
Phone supports & crisis lines
Mental Health Line
1800 011 511
The Mental Health Line is a 24-hour telephone service operating seven days a week across NSW. All NSW Mental Health services require triage through Mental Health Line.
1800 55 1800
Kids Helpline is Australia's only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
13 11 14
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
1300 1300 52
Parent Line is a telephone counselling, information and referral service for parents of children aged 0 to 18 years who live in NSW.