In this episode of The Australia Counselling Podcast, I share my thoughts on why the Australian psychotherapy industry is in crisis.

The seven reasons the Australian psychotherapy industry is in crisis are:

  1. Our professional psychotherapy associations have let us down
  2. Psychotherapy training institutions are spreading propaganda about the profession
  3. Therapists are not promoting themselves effectively
  4. People don’t understand what psychotherapy is
  5. We have taught people to go to a G.P. when they have a mental health issue
  6. We have created a culture of quick fixes for mental health issues
  7. There is still a lot of stigma for seeking treatment for mental health issues

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

Listen to the audio with the player at the top of this post, or listen on SoundCloud, Stitcher Radio, or subscribe in iTunes.

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  • Justin Hunter

    Excellent Podcast, Clinton.

    Although being new to the industry as a student, I found your points to be valid, and your views to fixing these issues, progressive and insightful.

    As a student of Counselling, I found concern in regards to ‘getting out there’ and the promotion of oneself.

    I’m glad I’ve been given a heads up now so I have plenty of time to think about getting myself into the public eye, when ready.

    Again, great Podcast. I’ve subscribed to future Podcasts via iTunes.

    Regards,
    Justin.

    • Thank you Justin. I’m glad you found the podcast helpful. Best of luck with your counselling career!

      • Justin Hunter

        Thank you Clinton. Also, thank you for the Linkedin connect. Appreciated.

  • Jodie Gale

    Excellent podcast Clinton. Agree 100%.

  • Really enjoyed this podcast Clinton. I agree with your points and really like your tips on how to raise awareness of the community about the benefits of psychotherapy and our own role in marketing effectively. One of the drawbacks is the cost for many clients, particularly if they require a number of sessions. The fact that the medicare rebate is available through a GP referral means that many people will stop therapy once the rebate runs out as they do not have the funds to pay the full cost themselves. Almost all professions attract some type of rebate, whether it is via private health insurance or medicare, This is why people will pay for physio, chiropractors, naturopaths etc. as they get some rebate towards the total cost. Very few private funds cover counsellors or psychotherapists unless they are psychologists. More education is needed with private funds too. I know you have built a successful practice without medicare rebates, but it depends on the demographic. I think many of the organisations who encourage people to see their GP as the first point of referral realise that cost is an issue and want to make counselling affordable to all people in the community, not just those who are relatively well off financially or can afford private insurance. For the unemployed, or underemployed, many low income families and students, paying for therapy is often beyond their means. I believe the training institutions have a lot to answer for as all they are interested in making money from people and dont worry if there are jobs out there or not. This is not confined to the counselling training providers by any means – it is rampant in all fields of training at the moment. Thanks for your great podcast.

    • Thanks Dawn. I appreciate your comments and I’m glad you liked the podcast. Yes, there is much work for us to do to get to the point of getting basic recognition by health funds and government. But I firmly believe we need to redirect resources from lobbying government for rebates towards building the profile of psychotherapy in this country and educating the general public about the benefits.

  • Frank Breuer, Clinical Psychol

    I fully support your approach and second your view on the situation of psychology services in Australia, despite (or because) I am a Clinical Psychologist. The budget is blown out, because GPs take a hefty 50% portion of the Better Access budget – just to administer the referrals and reviews, which in many cases is simply superfluous. Also, GPs in Medical Centres contract bulk-billing Psychologists and refer themselves business, which I believe to be a very exclusive practice of generating business. Not enough space to comment on all your points, but thank you for pointing it out, it’s a matter of the heart to me, as you said, that people (including the referrers) don’t understand what psychotherapy is and that the culture of quick fixes. Again, thanks for putting your points out here.

    • Thank you Frank. It’s so refreshing to hear from a psychologist who acknowledges the flaws in the system. I too have seen medical centres that set up bulk-billing psychologists within their offices so they can increase their referrals in-house and increase their revenue.

  • Rita Barnett

    Outstanding podcast Clinton. Like Jodie, I agree 100% with what you shared.
    I found it can become easy to become disheartened, especially when working within the stated training colleges and you’re not listened to about the state of the psychotherapy/counselling industry. The other frustrating aspect is that the same issues have been there for years without our professional bodies doing much to support us, let alone gain employment. Out of all that you mentioned, I find that the most disappointing aspect of all. It’s refreshing to hear someone else say the same thing.
    I’m so grateful that you’ve created a space for our particular tribe to hang out and support each other in a particularly tough commercial environment.

    • Thank you Rita.

      I agree the issues have been there for years and no one seems to be doing anything about it.
      Let’s hope we can start our own revolution to get things going in the right direction!