When is the right time to see a psychologist?


2 minutes

24 October 2022

Deciding if psychology is something you would like to explore is a personal and sometimes confronting decision. When trying to assess “the right time” it might be helpful to recognise that it can always be a good time to prioritise your mental health.

You might typically think of psychology as only being helpful to manage an existing mental health condition but there may be some benefit in accessing preventative therapy to help manage mental health.

Psychologist Susannah Kimmel believes in a wellness-focused approach to therapy, which can help you to better manage your stress, and improve relationships, both with others and, importantly, with yourself. In this video, she outlines why you might seek out therapy, how to get the right level of support, and options for talking to someone.

Why therapy?

Therapy can be a form of self-care, making sure there is a space in your life where you feel heard. It can also help you learn and grow.

Psychologists are qualified to help people better understand their own behaviour and where it stems from. They also teach more adaptive ways to work through your feelings, and manage issues such as relationship trouble, grief, or work stress.

When to seek help

If you're already noticing that you're facing issues, it might be best to seek help sooner rather than later to help minimise the impact on your relationships, career or physical health.

It can sometimes take a while to get an appointment with a psychologist, so it's ideal to reach out as early as possible.

Visit your GP to get a referral and Mental Health Care Plan if you want to access the Medicare rebate or you can search online for local psychologists if you plan to pay privately.

Getting the right level of support

  1. Psychologists are trained to work with people managing mental health disorders. They generally work with both clients with diagnosed mental health disorders and people, without a diagnosed disorder who are wanting a better quality of life.

    They use talk therapy to help you build understanding and learn how to better manage stressors. They don't prescribe medication.

    Seeing a psychologist in private practice might work for you if you can manage quite well on your own in between sessions.

  2. If crises come up and you need support in between psychology sessions, it may be beneficial to look into a government service or a bigger therapeutic organisation that works with a team approach. This means they can offer support from a nurse or social worker in between psychology sessions.
  3. Psychiatrists treat more severe mental health conditions especially in cases where medication or hospitalisation is needed.

    If you're not sure which of these therapy options is the best fit for you, see your GP. They can assess your symptoms and provide a referral to an appropriate service.

Medicare, private health, and psychology

Medicare and private health insurance provide rebates for Psychology sessions.

There are also mental health services that bulk bill or adjust their fees based on a client's income. However, the wait for these services can be even longer.

24/7 support, you're not alone.

There are also some great free services available through mental health organisations such as:

For a full list of services recommended by the government, check out the Head to Health service providers page.

Mental health cover you can feel good about

Find health cover that includes mental health services, for extra support when you need it most.

Find out more


This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.