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North Coast Psychotherapy, bringing the Jungian tradition to the Northern Rivers

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist, an analyst, a psychotherapist and a counsellor?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has taken a psychiatric specialisation. They are able to prescribe drugs and may or may not do psychotherapy.

A psychologist is trained at a university. There are different types of psychologists: some work in education, some in testing, some in research, some in advertising and other specialities. Some psychologists do one-to-one therapy. Clinical psychologists work on one to one therapy and tend to use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and to do only short term work. Some clinical psychologists also do psychotherapy.

An analyst is someone who has trained through a Psychoanalytic Institute. Their training is post-graduate in nature and involves high educational standards and personal qualities. Selection into the training institutes involves exhaustive personal, professional and clinical appraisal and rigorous interview processes. Analysts work from a set of theory from the various Psychoanalytic perspectives, e.g. the Jungian perspective for the analysts at North Coast Psychotherapy. They have to undergo a long, personal analysis as part of their training. This means they know what it is like to be in the place of the client or patient. Analysts are the only group that have to do a compulsory personal therapy as part of their training.

A psychotherapist can be trained through a university degree or a psychotherapy training organization. They work with individuals, couples, families and groups to help them overcome a range of psychological and emotional issues. With the client as an active participant, psychotherapists use personal treatment plans and a variety of non-medical-based treatments usually working with the unconscious dynamics of the mind. Some psychotherapy trainings include a compulsory personal psychotherapy process.

A counsellor can be trained at a university or a counsellor training organization. Counsellors assist people to understand themselves by explaining options, setting goals and helping them to take action. They tend to work on a short-term basis.

Why can’t I get a rebate for psychotherapy?

The Federal government rebate scheme, the Better Access Initiative, only supports rebates for psychologists (and some other providers) who do short term therapy and who use primarily CBT. The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia has approached the government to widen the scheme to include suitably credentialed psychotherapists and counsellors.

How long will my therapy last?

Therapists often answer this with the colloquial expression: “how long is a piece of string?” It is hard to generalise on the matter of time because all cases of therapy are different. The ending of therapy is an important event and it is something that is discussed as part of the psychotherapeutic process. “Endings” and “not seeing you anymore” can bring up a lot of issues in people. The ending process is something that is discussed and agreed to by both the client and the therapist and is usually phased in over a period of time to facilitate an organic ending to the psychotherapy process.

Why are Jungians so interested in dreams?

Freud described dreams as the “royal road to the unconscious”. This is because dreams are not influenced by conscious will. As such, they can give an unbiased statement on the emotional life of each of us in symbolic and metaphorical form. They also help stimulate the psychotherapy process itself and allow the client and psychotherapist to delve into the issues that need to be looked at.