Psychotherapy with Bernie McCarthy
We cannot change our childhood. But we can let go of the defensive postures formed at that time. We can make sense of what has been repressed and forgotten. We can reexperience dissociated feelings with a new appreciation for ourselves as we were as children, for the situation that existed at the time, for the parents who may have caused us to suffer. And we can successfully mourn our losses. If we’ve managed to hold onto an alternative model, and if we are wise or lucky in love, we may be able to work through our childhood experience in the context of a marriage or something like it. If the grip of the past is too strong, we may work it through in therapy. In either case, if we remain conscious of ourselves and of the pull of early models (of ourselves and others), even if various kinds of hangups remain, as inevitably they must, we have a better chance of creating satisfying relationships with our mates and secure relationships with our children. To that extent it seems that in emotional life, much as in history, we are only doomed to repeat what has not been remembered, reflected upon, and worked through. (Robert Karen, Becoming Attached, 1994, pg. 408.)
Psychotherapy is a non-drug approach to a range of emotional and psychological problems including depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship difficulties. These problems may cause you to ask for help from your doctor or other health professional and s/he may refer you to a psychologist for treatment.
We offer clinical and counselling psychology services to people of all ages, usually referred by GPs with a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This entitles the person to claim a rebate for up to 10 services per annum. We bulkbill pensioners and health care card holders.
People living in Commonwealth Government funded aged care beds are not eligible for Medicare rebated psychology services and so will need to pay for these services themselves or may access private health or other sources of financial assistance.
Type of therapy
Bernie McCarthy uses Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), an approach developed for over 40 years by Dr Habib Davanloo and used internationally. ISTDP focuses on assisting the person to experience feelings that are blocked as a result of early life experiences in attachment relationships. These blocks often cause problems in relationships, work, enjoyment, self-understanding and self-esteem. By identifying the blocking habits or patterns, and the function of anxiety in avoiding feelings, we can alleviate much of the distress caused in the problems the person experiences in life.
ISTDP uses the insights of attachment theory and the dynamics of the psyche to help the person arrive at a new understanding of themselves, what they want in life and how they need to live to achieve their goals. There is a strong and increasing evidence base for the effectiveness of this therapy for a wide range of problems including depression, anxiety (OCD, PTSD, panic, agoraphobia, generalised worry), personality difficulties, and eating disorders. For more information please go to www.istdp.net.au
To look at more evidence go to www.istdp.ca
A recent meta-analysis of 28 randomized-controlled trials (the highest level of evidence) of Experiential Dynamic Therapy ( a form of short term psychodynamic psychotherapy, showed that EDT outperformed supportive therapy at follow up. This means that people continue to get better after they finish therapy. This is very different to most therapies from which people more often than not relapse and are back where they started from.
Level 1, 43 Diamond Street Eltham
Mon AM and PM, Wed AM, Thursday AM and PM, and Friday AM and PM.
McCarthy Psychology Centre is located in the heart of Eltham Victoria on the first floor of the St Vincent’s Care Services administration building. Entrance to the centre is down the side of the St Vincent’s Care Services Eltham administration building. It is well signposted, so please follow the signs. Rooms are easily accessible by car and are opposite the Eltham train (Hurstbridge line) and bus station. A lift provides easy access for people with disabilities or elderly clients.
Sunrise Medical Centre, 2 Sunrise Drive Greensborough.
Tuesday AM and PM, and Wed PM.
Bus Route 901 (Stop at St Thomas Primary School).
Bernie conducts an initial two hour session so he can thoroughly assess your issues. Doing this can save considerable time later on. This is a benefit to you in the long run. Rapid progress can be made if a thorough assessment is carried out in the initial session.
It is also more cost effective for you as two sessions would usually cost $360. This way you are only paying $70 for the second hour.
Fee for an individual 50-60 minute session is $195.00.
Payment is at the end of the session. You may use cash, EFTPOS, cheque or credit card.
Clients of psychologists may obtain Medicare rebates for psychological therapy services. A Medicare rebate fact sheet is available to help you find the service you need and information about rebates.
To obtain a Medicare funded service from a psychologist you must follow the steps below:
1. Visit your GP if you think you have a psychological condition that requires treatment (eg. depression, anxiety, stress)
2. Obtain from the GP a referral letter to the psychologist and a Mental Health Care Plan
3. Contact the psychologist to make an appointment
You may be eligible for 6 sessions followed by another 4 sessions if necessary, per calendar year.
Video recording of therapy
It is standard practice with Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) to video record all sessions. This enables the psychotherapist to pay close attention to you during the session instead of writing notes, and to review the video of the session and sometimes consult with their supervisor (all psychologists have a supervisor or mentor with whom they consult to review and improve the quality of their psychological practice). Your consent will be obtained for the video recording to occur. The usual privacy and confidentiality provisions apply to this aspect of your engagement with the psychologist, i.e., video recordings will be kept securely and no other person will have access to the recordings as is usual practice with patient notes.
Medicare payment at this psychology practice
You pay for the service at the end of the session and a refund is processed electronically from Medicare on the spot for the difference between the rebate and the fee charged by the psychologist. You are only out of pocket for the difference between the fee charged and the rebate. Currently the rebate is $124.50.
People on low incomes and holders of Healthcare Cards, Pension or other government assistance may be charged a low fee (discuss this with your psychologist) or bulk billed, ie., charged the Medicare rebate so that you do not pay money for the service. This is also processed on the spot immediately after the session.
If you need to cancel an appointment, please tell us at least 24 hours ahead of time, otherwise you may be charged for the missed session.
Health insurance rebates
If you are using your private health insurance with extras (including Clinical Psychology) to fund your therapy you will need to make payment at the time of the session and take your receipt to obtain a rebate for part of the fee by presenting your receipt to your health fund. The Australian Psychological Society has more information on health insurance rebates and psychologists.
Length and frequency of treatment
Psychotherapy typically involves regular sessions, usually 50-60 minutes in length. The first session may be longer (two hours). Duration and frequency vary depending on the nature of your problem and your individual needs. Short-term psychotherapy is regarded as under 40 sessions. Symptom relief can be achieved under 10 sessions. Deeper character change takes longer.
Information you share with us will be kept strictly confidential, and will not be disclosed without written consent. By law, however, confidentiality is not guaranteed in life-threatening situations involving you or others, or in situations in which children are put at risk (such as sexual or physical abuse or neglect). A court may subpoena records. If we need to discuss your treatment with a colleague, we will take pains to disguise identifying information including a pseudonym.
Phone and Emergency Contact
If you need to contact the psychologist by phone, do not hesitate. When they are not available an answering voicemail will take a message. We are usually able to return calls within the day. You will not be charged for phone calls unless we have a scheduled conversation of an information exchanging or problem solving nature that lasts more than ten minutes. If you cannot reach us in an emergency, you can find help at the Accident and Emergency Department of the nearest public hospital or by phoning 000.
Physical and psychological symptoms often interact. We encourage you to seek medical consultation if needed. In addition, medication may be helpful for psychological problems. When appropriate we will arrange a referral for medication evaluation.
Code of Ethics
Psychologists are bound by the laws of the state, Commonwealth of Australia and a professional code of ethics, which guide our professional relationship with clients. They serve to protect your rights in any professional relationship with a psychologist.
Charter for clients
Freedom to withdraw
You have the right to end therapy at any time. If you wish, we will give you names of other qualified psychotherapists.
We value your opinion of our service and ask that if you have a complaint about any service provided by McCarthy Psychology Centre please contact us first so we can address any issues and provide you with any information that may help to respond to your complaint.
Complaints about the conduct of psychologists can be made to the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA)
Australian Psychological Society (APS)
All psychologists employed by McCarthy Psychology Centre are full members of the Australian Psychological Society, the major professional body for psychologists in Australia. That means they have at least four years training and two years supervision under an experienced senior psychologist.
A range of valuable resources are available on the APS website for clients of psychologists.
College of Clinical Psychologists
In addition to membership of the APS we engage full members of the College of Clinical Psychologists who have specialized six years training or more (usually a Masters degree or doctorate) and supervision for two years under an experienced senior psychologist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. Clinical Psychologists have specialist expertise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of severer mental health conditions.
Telephone 03 9431 0311 or 0408 145 819