Steps to take in reaching out for psychological help


Hi, it’s Dr Jamie here talking to you today about steps to take in your journey of reaching out for psychological help. I use that word journey because we know from the research that it does take people on average about a year, from the time that they begin to develop symptoms, and the time that it actually takes them to reach out for help, 

Recently I started work with a female clients, that had gone through quite a significant traumatic event, six years ago and she had really struggled with a lot of distress, subsequent to that. To the point where things were actually now worse rather than better. 

Certainly what I’ve found in my own practice is that people, see me at a point in their lives where things have really reached a crisis point. So for many people it is not a simple step in reaching out for help.

So I wanted to speak to a couple of different steps that I have found that people commonly take, in reaching out for help in the hope that that might be helpful for some of you out there that might be contemplating seeing a therapist. 

First of all, being able to acknowledge, face and accepts the reality of the situation where things are at for you internally, emotionally, psychologically, is, is really important. A friend of mine recently started seeing a therapist after, contemplating sending someone for a quite a few years actually, and he would, from time to time contact me and ask me about, different recommendation that I might have, and, and just different questions around what happens in a therapy session and what he can expect, and, really if I thought that he could be fixed. I checked in with him after he let me know that he did see something for the first time and asked him how it went for him. And he said to me that I really think that I pretended to be well adjusted for many years, and the next words out of his mouth was that, that that actually sounds really depressing to say that. 

Facing up to things, facing up to the truth of the matter, can be quite a confronting thing, but sometimes it can be that little nudge, that, that people need in order to, to reach out and, and to get help. 

Something else that can be, really therapeutic, and, and really relieving is to reach out to friends, partners, loved ones. someone that can, listen to hold space for and validate your feelings. There maybe some people out there that say look there really isn’t anyone in my life that I could go to with those those kinds of things, That in and of itself is pretty telling, probably suggests that there could be a bit of work that could be done around that. 

Finally as, as good as, having the support of friends and family is, in some cases they really is no substitute for getting professional help. Seeing a GP is often a great first port of call. They are really well versed in different referral pathways for psychologists. The APS find a psychologist website is a great directory that has information about therapists all across Australia. Some of them myself included, have the function of being able to book in appointments online. 

I’ve lost track of the amount of people that have booked an appointment to see me online, without speaking to me ahead of time and meeting them at session one where it’s the first time that I’ve spoke to them and the amount of times that they’ve told me, “look, if I had to call someone to, to make this appointment, there really is no way I think I would have been able to go through that. My anxiety is just too high. I just can’t talk to people on the phone”.

A lot of psychologists, do have the capacity to email for appointments or to book appointments online. So don’t let that be a barrier. if talking on the phone, is, a trigger for anxiety. 

So once again, I do hope that has been helpful for people out there. As always, if you have questions, comments, or any feedback or ideas around, topics that you want to learn more about, do feel free to let me know. Once again, thank you so much for watching and I really look forward to talking to you all again soon. Bye for now.

Dr Jamie Barnier

About Dr Jamie

I’m a Clinical Psychologist based in Melbourne who helps adolescents and adults cope with overwhelming emotions and remove the need to numb negative feelings through food, alcohol, sex or drugs. I focus on addressing the root cause of the problem with the goal of creating happiness, peace and lasting change.

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