Frequently asked questions
If you are eligible to be referred to Centre for Treatment of Anxiety and Depression (CTAD), please view our frequently asked questions below to find out more about the process.
How do I get referred to CTAD?
We prefer that your general practitioner (or other current treating mental health professional) refers you. There are several reasons for this. Your GP (or the practice they operate from) will provide ongoing care to you and keep your lifelong medical record, whereas CTAD will work with you for a relatively short time. It will help the health professionals who work with you in the future to have available the record of our assessment and the summary of our treatment as part of that medical record.
Also, if we suspect medical factors may be contributing to your symptoms we will need to refer you to your GP to arrange appropriate investigations.
What happens once I have been referred?
Once CTAD receives your referral, if you meet the eligibility criteria you will be sent some questionnaires and a stamped envelope in which to return them. These questionnaires are sent for several reasons:
- we want to make sure you work with the right clinician
- we want to speed up the assessment process so we can begin treatment as soon as possible
- it is a small way to demonstrate that you want to come to CTAD and are capable of doing self-directed tasks.
Once we receive your questionnaires, we will allocate you to either a provisional psychologist or a senior clinician. Advantages of being allocated a provisional psychologist are that:
- you will have less time to wait
- they are likely to be able to see you more frequently and deliver treatment intensively, which is often how it is delivered in the research trials.
The basic treatment approach offered will be no different because the provisional psychologist will be closely supervised and acting on the directions of one of the clinicians.
You will then be offered the next available appointment.
What happens at assessment?
The first session will usually take 90 minutes. Your therapist will ensure you understand the limits to confidentiality of the session. S/he will then ask you lots of questions to get a good understanding of your problems and goals for treatment.
This can sometimes feel a bit daunting and may be different to your experience of other types of counselling where your counsellor encourages you to talk without giving you many directions. We do this to make sure we make sound treatment recommendations. You are welcome to ask a staff member about the process before you commit to accepting an appointment. We also periodically run information groups to give people on our wait lists an opportunity to ask questions and find out about what our service is like.
Can I refer myself?
If you are already seeing a mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist or other counselling professional) we ask that you discuss coming to CTAD with them first and ask them to refer you. It is generally not a good idea to see more than one counsellor at a time as you risk confusing yourself if you get contradictory advice.
If you are not seeing a mental health professional already, we would prefer you discuss your desire to try CTAD with your general practitioner (GP). Your time with CTAD would be brief but your relationship with your GP is long-term. Your GP can help you monitor your mental health into the future and help you decide if you need booster treatment in the future. He or she can also prescribe any medication you may need to complement your psychological treatment.
What is a provisional psychologist?
Provisional psychologists have completed 4 years of undergraduate university training in psychology, are still completing Masters-level university training in psychology, and are nationally registered to provide therapy under close supervision.
Do I have to work with a student?
No, but if you are willing to work with a provisional psychologist or psychiatric registrar you will be able to be seen sooner. The experienced clinicians at CTAD work part-time, are in very high demand and usually have a waiting list of 5 months or more. Provisional psychologists and psychiatric registrars can usually see people within 1-2 weeks.
Is there a cost involved?
No. This is a free service.
How long is the waiting list?
We keep 2 waiting lists: one for provisional psychologists and one for experienced clinicians. The waiting time for these two kinds of therapists varies. Because provisional psychologists have more capacity to see consumers, there is often no waiting time to see them. Sometimes we assess that consumers need the care of an experienced clinician. Unfortunately, our experienced clinicians are in high demand and rarely have a wait-list shorter than 3 months.