In the interests of helping to keep everyone safe and slow down the spread of Covid-19, I am switching to Telehealth sessions only for the time being. It’s a difficult decision, because so much of therapy is about sharing space in the room together and Telehealth does feel a bit less personal, but it is only temporary. For now I will be conducting Telehealth sessions using Skype.
The current criteria for being eligible to claim Medicare for Telehealth using one of your existing Mental Health Care Plan sessions are:
- people isolating themselves at home on the advice of a medical practitioner, in accordance with home isolation guidance issued by the AHPPC, and
- people who meet the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection after consultation with either the national COVID-19 hotline, state COVID-19 hotlines, registered medical or nursing practitioner or COVID-19 trained health clinic triage staff
- people aged over 70
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50
- people with chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised
- parents with new babies and people who are pregnant.
If you do not meet these criteria, I can bill you privately (not through Medicare) at a reduced fee of $126.50. This is not much more than you would normally pay in gap fee. Hopefully Medicare will soon relax the criteria around who is eligible for Telehealth sessions so that we can all safely access it.
Many of us have children, and we are understandably worried about our kids picking up on the anxiety around us. It’s hard to know how much information to give a child about what is going on – we don’t want to worry them, but also realistically we know kids have pretty good bullshit radars and they can tell there’s something going on anyway. They can see the massive changes to our daily routines, and all the talk about hand-washing etc.
Rather than cause confusion or fear by not addressing it at all, or pretending everything is completely normal, it is more helpful to explain (at a developmentally appropriate level), that there’s a virus going around and we’re all trying to be extra careful not to pass it to each other. You could try reading a children’s story about Coronavirus to help explain, like this one.
Here’s an article discussing generally developmentally helpful ways to discuss Coronavirus with children.
Children pick up on our anxiety, and understandably, we’re pretty anxious right now. In addition to this, a lot of the ways we might normally manage our emotions (seeing friends, going to an exercise class, sitting in a cafe), have been taken away from us. Finding new ways to manage mental health and connect with others will be key. If you have a Psychologist you see regularly, you can probably continue to see them via Video. Now is a good time to look after your mental health and stay connected with people in any way you can.
Take care everyone.
It’s Black Friday, a day where tonnes of stores have sales, and everywhere I turn I’m being bombarded with alerts about sales and “bargains”. It’s giving me anxiety! Until I reminded myself that the Black Friday sales are a great opportunity to pick up something you’ve been wanting for ages, or things you know you’ll soon need more of anyway. Or grab some Christmas presents for people at a reduced price. But it certainly doesn’t mean we need to buy stuff we don’t actually need or really love, just because it’s on sale. If you wouldn’t have bought it full price (out of need or love) then you don’t need it at 20 or 30% off either. It will just become more stuff in your home that makes you feel bad. So if Black Friday sale alerts are giving you anxiety, try logging off social media for a few days until it dies down, or sitting down and making a proper list of what you really actually need and try to stick to that.
Over the last few weeks, there has unfortunately been some very biased and factually inaccurate reporting in a particular newspaper regarding the treatment of Transgender children. This poor journalism has sparked debate that has deeply hurt many Trans people, including children who are already extremely vulnerable, and their loved ones. Fortunately, health professionals in this field, including the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health (AusPATH) have rallied together to provide a factual and evidence based counterpoint. A reminder that all Trans children treated in Australia are treated according to the Standards of Care guidelines which already have a very well documented evidence base behind them. There have also been some media outlets that have printed factually accurate pieces, such as this one by Teddy Cook, in the Guardian,
As of July 29th 2019, Lovell Psychology will be moving locations. We will be based in Victoria Park (near the Causeway end), at WA Psychology and Wellness, 1 King George Street. There is free parking for clients behind the building, and if that is full there is also a free 1 hour parking lot directly across the road. We are right near the corner of Albany Highway if you feel like getting a coffee or a bite to eat after your appointment.
World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released guidelines recommending that in the new ICD-11 the diagnosis gender identity disorders will be reframed as gender incongruence. It will also be moved from the chapter on mental disorders into a chapter on sexual health. It sends the positive message that trans identities are part of human diversity. Read more about how the changes in this classification could affect trans or gender diverse people here.
Did you know that almost 75% percent of woman have experienced painful sex at some time, with more persistent painful sex affecting 7-22% of women? As this article explains, painful sex can create a cycle of anticipation and tension which exacerbates pain. Seeing a Psychologist, either as an individual or as a couple can be very helpful in interrupting this cycle of pain. Couples can learn how to be intimate in ways that eliminate pain or minimise pain experienced. Unfortunately, lots of women don’t ever seek help with painful sex because they don’t realise how common and treatable it is.
Yesterday the WA Parliament removed outdated laws that forced Trans people to divorce if they wished to update their birth certificate to reflect their gender identity. In the old system, Transgender people who applied to have their birth certificate updated to their affirmed gender could not remain married. Ever since the Marriage Equality Laws were passed the Trans community and advocates have been campaigning to rectify this situation. The law has finally been changed!
The festive season can be a lovely time, but for many people it can be stressful, exhausting, may trigger depression or anxiety or be a reminder of grief and loss. Click this link from Psychology Today on surviving the festive season. In addition to those tips, I would also add to be mindful of not allowing perfectionistic tendencies to take over, particularly if you know you are a people pleaser and get anxious about trying to make everybody else happy. In all likelihood, the demands of family get togethers and managing different personalities or relationships mean you won’t be able to make everyone happy anyway! Try to focus instead on keeping it simple for yourself. Try to also be kind to yourself and recognise that this time might also bring feelings of grief or sadness, especially if you have lost someone or can’t help comparing how things are now to how things maybe used to be (or an idealised idea of how you’d like them to be).
All that being said, hope you enjoy yourself whether that be with family, friends, or something else.
Please note that Lovell Psychology will be closed over the festive period from 24 December through to the 7 January.
If you require assistance during this time, you may find these resources helpful:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Crisis Care 08 9223 1111 or 1800 199008 (for outside Perth metropolitan area)
If you feel unsafe, go to the hospital emergency department. If life is in immediate danger call 000.