Seeing A Psychologist Via Skype

Seeing A Psychologist Via Skype by Tess Crawley

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Did you know we’ve been working hard to bring Skype-based psychological services to our clients in rural and remote areas of Tasmania? Have you been one of the lucky people who’s had a Skype-based session with a member of our team? Did you also know we are looking at ways that we can support people in other sectors who might benefit from seeing a psychologist, but perhaps can’t get to our offices?

Some people are busy with work and can’t find time to get away. For others, the juggle of new parenthood makes it difficult … I remember back to when I was a new mum and how hard it was to get out of the house sometimes. We can offer psychological services to you under a number of flexible options. You can see us face to face in our Hobart or Launceston offices, or in one of our rural outreach locations. Or you can see us electronically via Skype. We can even speak to you by telephone. So have a think about what might work best for you and how we can help you achieve that.

We are in the process of updating our website, so if you go to tesscrawley.com.au, you’ll find links to our clinicians. So you can have a little squizz at who’s there, see what their qualifications and their special interest areas are. And then you can make the choice to see us face to face in our offices in Hobart or in Launceston or in one of our rural locations we have in Tasmania or you could opt to see us via Skype or Zoom.

How would it work? We would simply schedule you an appointment and we would either contract you at the appointed time via your Skype “handle” (Skype address I suppose), or we would email you a link to join us on Zoom (my personal favourite). We can take your payment at the same time via credit card, and if a rebate applies we can process that too. If you live in an eligible location (Launceston and surrounds and East Coast Tasmania) you might be eligible for our STPI program funded by Primary Health Tasmania (feel free to contact us and we can let you know if you are elgible).

The main thing is just to ask. If you need some assistance and think a member of our team can support you, just give us a call or make contact through the contact page on our website. We’ll be as flexible as we can, no matter where you are or what your situation.

Best wishes,
Tess.
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AUTHOR: DR TESS CRAWLEY

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Tess has a passion for mentoring new psychologists. She also has a strong interest in supporting executives as they juggle the balance between leadership and new parenthood. You’ll see Tess regularly speaking on our Facebook pages and our YouTube channel. Her mission is to provide as many free resources to the community as she can, so her videos offer tips and strategies that might be helpful to you. Read Tess’s full Bio here.
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Psychology Interns Who Are They And What Do They Do?

Psychology Interns- Who Are They What Do They Do - Tess Crawley

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I am just going to talk very quickly today about what it means to have a psychology intern in private practice with me and what that means for you if you are a client of our practice.

I was interviewed on this topic recently by the lovely Gerda Muller for one of her Facebook groups for private practice owners and it reminded me that it is quite an uncommon thing that we do in our practice, having interns. There are several psychology practices around the place who do take on students but it is not the most common thing to find among private practices. So if you’ve been a client of a private practice psychologist before, you might not have come across this concept.

We have a long-standing relationship with the University of Tasmania, in fact in the past I have been both a lecturer and the director of the psychology clinic there. Through this partnership we have a long history of taking postgraduate psychology student into the practice as interns. So our interns are Masters-level students in their fifth or typically sixth year of psychology training. Part of their postgraduate training involves completely several professional placements in different psychology settings. Our interns typically spend about six months of the year with us. Usually I have two students across the course of each year going through their placement program within the practice, but most recently we have had two interns on placement at the same time. They see clients under the supervision of myself and the other senior clinicians in my team.

By the time they come to us, our interns have usually had at least a year’s experience working with clients in a variety of settings. So typically they would have already done a placement in the University Psychology Clinic working under very close supervision. They may also have done a placement in a hospital setting or a community mental health setting or some other setting such as a school, for example. So before they come to me, they’ve had quite a bit of experience already.

Once an intern starts with us, they might shadow one of the other clinicians by observing sessions. So sometimes you might be asked if a student/intern can sit in and observe your session. This is a great way for them to learn. And most of the interns tell me that the opportunity to observe the treating psychologist (so not just you) teaches them so much. Then once they’ve found their feet, interns might generate their own client list, offering additional treatment options running alongside the primary treating psychologist. Those services are usually offered at no expense to clients. So it really adds value for our clients to know that (for example) if they are requiring a lot of support (e.g., during a crisis period) there is plenty of help available.

This is really important, because sometimes we see clients who have really complicated and long term mental health needs that aren’t going to be covered by the number of Medicare-rebated sessions available to them within the course of a calendar year.

Another role that the interns have is to provide that first contact with clients, especially if they are waiting for quite some time for their first appointment with the psychologist they’ve been referred to see. So we are increasingly reaching out to our new clients via phone or Skype to ensure that they feel comfortable and supported while they wait for their first psychology session. This also helps us gather a little additional information to “flesh out” the referral we’ve received from the GP. Again, this contact is a free service that we offer to you while you are awaiting your first session with your treating psychologist.

So while our interns are with us they are not only gaining valuable experience and learning from us, they are also providing valuable support services to our clients. It is important to point out that you can’t be referred to the practice to see an intern exclusively, it doesn’t work like that, but it is an extra benefit that we offer to our clients. It also offers peace of mind to our GP referrers, who worry sometimes about sending clients with complicated issues to private practice.

So we find that being a teaching clinic and offering internship opportunities to postgraduate students works really well.

What I have also been very lucky to find is that a lot of our interns over the years have actually stayed on with me in private practice. So a number of clinicians within my team started out as students on placement with me.

So if you feel like you want to see someone in our practice and you’re a bit worried about whether or not you are going to get enough support through the Medicare system (keeping in mind we are not a bulk billing practice), this is something we offer as additional support to our clients. So if you feel that this is something that’s going to work for you, call our practice and you can talk to one of the admin team members about what your needs are and whether or not one of our psychologists can help you with perhaps the added support of an intern if necessary. You can also use the form on the front page of our website [add link] to request a free chat with one of our interns who can talk you through what therapy with a psychologist would look like and how it all works. How’s that for try before you buy??

Best wishes,
Tess.
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AUTHOR: DR TESS CRAWLEY

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Tess has a passion for mentoring new psychologists. She also has a strong interest in supporting executives as they juggle the balance between leadership and new parenthood. You’ll see Tess regularly speaking on our Facebook pages and our YouTube channel. Her mission is to provide as many free resources to the community as she can, so her videos offer tips and strategies that might be helpful to you. Read Tess’s full Bio here.
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Anxiety Part 1 – What is it?

Tess Crawley - Anxiety Part 1

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Today I want to talk about anxiety.

I have permission from a long term client who I have known for a number of years, who very kindly agreed to let me tell a little bit of her story. She has battled anxiety for quite some time and she was telling me how the other day she was noticing something going on with her that made her worry that she was going to have a panic attack.

I’ll tell you a little bit more about that later, but first I want to tell you about what anxiety is. What is it that we’re talking about when we talk about anxiety? It’s a word that we use a lot. Sometimes we use the word anxiety when we are really talking about feeling nervous or when we are really talking about feeling worried. But anxiety from a clinical psychology perspective is something quite specific. We are talking about something that can be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, which is where the anxiety has continued over a significant period of time, persists across a range of circumstances, and is so severe that it affects the individual’s capacity to live a happy and healthy life. So, what is anxiety?

If we go back in time for a moment to caveman days, as a species we were all about survival. We were concerned with looking for shelter, looking for food, and fighting off predators. So as a species we developed a number of survival instincts, one of which was the fight or flight response. The fight or flight response is an automatic survival instinct coordinated by the amygdala, a little part of the brain no bigger than an almond. The amygdala is right in the middle of our brain, among the oldest parts of our brain.

When the amygdala detects that you are in some kind of danger, it will kick into gear an automatic response that gets your heart beating faster and gets your breath faster and shallower. Those two things together (the increased heart rate and the faster shallower breathing); are all about getting freshly oxygenated blood to the big muscles in your legs and arms so you can fight or run and increase your chances of survival. It’s a really cool system that we’ve got going on in there! It shuts down your digestive system temporarily, because all that energy is required elsewhere in your big muscles. It sharpens your vision and your hearing so that you are really tuned into what is going on in your environment, looking for further sources of threat, looking for escape options.

That fight or flight reaction operates on a hair trigger. We don’t have to decide to kick it into gear it just happens when you are in danger. Going forward in time, back to the modern world, imagine you are crossing the road and a car comes screaming round the corner. The next thing you know you are on the other side of the street, you almost don’t know how you got there. That’s your fight or flight reaction kicking into gear, giving you that big shot of adrenaline and boosting those other systems into action. And there you go, you’ve taken action without even thinking it through. So as you can see, the fight or flight response is actually quite healthy, because it is aimed at increasing the chances of survival. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Now in the modern world, we don’t have quite so many life and death situations as we might have had in caveman days, so we are not fighting for our survival on a daily basis. So over the course of our evolution, our amygdala is still geared towards detecting threats but sometimes makes a mistake and if you’ve experienced trauma in your life, your amygdala is even more attuned to any possible threat and gets a little over-protective, making it more likely to make a mistake.

How can the brain make a mistake? Well, the amygdala isn’t part of our “thinking brain”, it sits among the inner parts of the brain responsible for automatic functions. All our more complex thinking, decision-making and problem solving happens right at the front of our brain in the prefrontal cortex. (Remember, your amygdala is tucked away right in the middle, which is a very old part of the brain.) So the amygdala isn’t in the business of weighing up pros and cons, it acts on instinct, so to speak.

For example, imagine you’ve just been given a big shock – someone jumps out behind you for a joke, or you get a nasty phone bill, or something else unexpected or frightening happens that might give you a jolt. The amygdala might misinterpret this “shock” as a “threat” and mistakenly kick that fight or flight reaction into gear. Suddenly you’re feeling hot and flustered and your heart is racing, you can’t catch your breath and you start feeling overwhelmed. Some people describe it as feeling like they’re choking or that there is an elephant siting on their chest. When you are feeling any of these symptoms and you are not in a life or death situation, that’s the fight or flight reaction having kicked into gear at the wrong time. Your amygdala has made a bit of a mistake. And that is what anxiety really is. It is that fight or flight reaction kicking off in the wrong moment, in the absence of real danger.

Some people who have experienced trauma or those who are very sensitive individuals, may be more prone to that anxiety response being kicked off in reaction to otherwise benign things. Someone with social anxiety might feel overwhelmed by panic when invited to a party. Someone with a history of physical assault might feel completely overwhelmed by panic when walking to their car at night. These are understandable responses when we understand how anxiety works, within the context of the fight or flight response.

Getting back to my client who was talking to me the other day and was quite happy for me to share this example with you. She has worked really hard over the years that I’ve known her to get on top of her anxiety symptoms and she really has come so far. I am very proud of her and I have told her that. She described a recent episode where she almost suffered a panic attack. The other day, she had a coffee and wasn’t aware that it was a double shot instead of a single shot. So she got an extra boost of caffeine in her system all of a sudden and that increased her heart rate. As she was walking down the street she noticed her heart starting to pound and then she noticed that her breathing was starting to get a bit funny as well and she started thinking “oh my goodness am I having a panic attack”.

Panic disorder is a specific anxiety disorder marked by fear of having a panic attack. This fear can drive that anxiety response higher and higher, spiralling all the way up to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Such that the fear of a panic attack actually makes one happen.

My client was smart, she was able to quickly backtrack in her mind what had happened that morning and realized that it was probably the coffee that had triggered her symptoms. So she was able to bring those symptoms back under control.

Anxiety won’t hurt you in itself, it only feels awful. Now I have had one panic attack in my life and that occurred while I was overseas, I was two thirds of the way through a pregnancy. It was hot, it was summer time and I was having to climb a three story escalator that was broken. So I went inside a plastic tube on the outside of the building. If you’ve ever been to Paris. This is where I had my one and only panic attack.

So I was hot, I was pregnant, I was in an enclosed space and then having to climb. I was about half way up and of course it didn’t matter whether I kept going or went back down as I still had a long way to go in this hot tube. My breathing became shaky and overwhelmed and I couldn’t catch my breath, and of course being pregnant makes it a lot harder to catch your breath too. So I knew what was happening, I knew it was a panic response, I knew why it was happening. But those symptoms—being unable to get my breath back under control—those symptoms overwhelmed me and there I was poor old pregnant me in the middle of a plastic tube on a broken escalator outside the Pompidou center in Paris sweating and in tears.

So there’s a little bit of information about what anxiety is… There are various anxiety disorders that I could talk about but I just thought to give you today a general overview of what anxiety is, what the symptoms are. They are frightening if you’ve experienced some—they are frightening and we certainly understand that. Experienced psychologists and mental health social workers would acknowledge that anxiety is the main thing that we work with. So if you feel anxiety symptoms you are not alone, a lot of people experience it. It is very, very common and we will be more than happy to help you if you need some help with that.

Hope you are having a great day today. Don’t forget to check out our website tesscrawley.com.au for that free mental health checkup if that’s something that interests you.

Look forward to talking to you again soon.

Best wishes,
Tess.

Connect with me on LinkedIn
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AUTHOR: DR TESS CRAWLEY

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Tess has a passion for mentoring new psychologists. She also has a strong interest in supporting executives as they juggle the balance between leadership and new parenthood. You’ll see Tess regularly speaking on our Facebook pages and our YouTube channel. Her mission is to provide as many free resources to the community as she can, so her videos offer tips and strategies that might be helpful to you. Read Tess’s full Bio here.
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Hobart Perinatal Psychology & Skype Chats

Dr Tess Crawley Vlog

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One recent sunny Saturday I did a vlog post to our Facebook page (see the video here if you’d rather), sharing some exciting news.

I had come straight from having coffee with a fabulous perinatal psychologist from Melbourne who I have been very lucky to have some mentoring from over the years. Her name is Bronwyn Leigh and she’s a very skilled perinatal psychologist and supports other psychologist to work in that perinatal field.

Bronwyn and I had been talking about some exciting new developments that will unfold over the next few months around our perinatal psychology service, which will formalize our links with other perinatal psychologists around Australia. So watch this space and I will keep you posted.

If you are interested to know a little bit more about our perinatal psychology service. You can have a look at our Hobart Perinatal Psychology Facebook page or you can even jump onto our Hobart Perinatal Psychology website – www.hobartperinatalpsychology.com

That’s not all there’s some other news.

The other news that I have for you is I have a little present for you. If you jump on to main Facebook page – tesscrawley.com.au – you will see that we now have an option for you to have a free Skype chat with one of our team members.

Now this might be really handy:
• If you’ve not seen a psychologist before and it’s something you have been thinking about doing but are a little bit nervous about
• If you want to know what psychologists can offer you
• If you want to know who might be the best person in our practice to help you
• If you are not sure what happens when you get a referral to a psychologist
• Or you don’t know what questions to ask your GP
So we now have an option for either a Skype chat or a phone chat if you are more comfortable with that, with one of our team members. You are also more than welcome to just call Anita in our Hobart office to arrange a Skype chat to wherever you are (03 6223 2122).

Jump onto our website – www.tesscrawley.com.au – and you’ll find on the landing page the option to sign up for a chat. Someone will then be in touch with you very soon to arrange a time for that to happen. So I hope that’s something that you’ll find helpful and useful.

Also people who have been to our practice in the past and not sure whether they should be returning; feel free to sign up for that as well and you can have a chat with one of our team members about who’s in the practice. It might have been some years since you’ve seen us and there might be some new faces in the team that you might be excited to work with, people who might have some special interest areas that suit your needs so feel free; make use of that little offer.

The bonus there when you sign up for one of those Skype chats it also does sign you up for our monthly little news bulletin so that you can find out all the exciting things that are happening in the practice, we’ll have information there that might be of use that comes out to your E-mail, we’ll have special events that might be happening, we’ll provide some resources, and maybe some book reviews from time to time.

So I hope we’ll hear from you soon. Best wishes for a great day, Tess.
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AUTHOR: DR TESS CRAWLEY

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Tess has a passion for mentoring new psychologists. She also has a strong interest in supporting executives as they juggle the balance between leadership and new parenthood. You’ll see Tess regularly speaking on our Facebook pages and our YouTube channel. Her mission is to provide as many free resources to the community as she can, so her videos offer tips and strategies that might be helpful to you. Read Tess’s full Bio here.
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