I hold in the front of my mind that assessments can potentially be an anxiety provoking and triggering experience. My approach is to be careful, respectful and gentle. I like to have a two-hour assessment appointment. However, I am flexible with this if a client is unable to manage a two-hour session. I highly value having the therapist attend the assessment as this is a familiar person for the client and they can also provide me with information that will help the assessment process. I ask the therapist and client to complete questionnaires at their next appointment together. After we have completed the assessment, I go away and type it up. Once I have completed this, I meet again with the client and the therapist to read over the report to make sure it is correct before I send it to ACC.
In light of covid-19 Level 4 restrictions, I have been offering clients and therapists ACC assessments conducted via zoom. Zoom is a video service which can link up multiple people in the same video session. That means that the client, the therapist and me are in a ‘virtual room’ together by video. Before I do an assessment by zoom, I have a consent form I ask clients to complete. This outlines the pros and cons of zoom sessions and the parameters of confidentiality (i.e. that the session will not be recorded by anyone and that no one else is in the room but the client, the therapist and me). The confidentiality agreement is to keep everyone safe. After the zoom assessment, the client and the therapist usually meet either in another ‘zoom room’ or by phone to process how the assessment was for the client. After I have typed up the report, we meet again by zoom to read through the report together.
- Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology (University of Canterbury) (2005)
- Master of Science – Psychology (Distinction) (University of Otago) (1998)
- Postgraduate Diploma – Psychology (Distinction) (University of Otago) (1995)
- Bachelor of Arts – Psychology (University of Otago) (1994)
- I am registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board in the Clinical Scope of Practice see: http://www.psychologistsboard.org.nz
- I am a full member of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists (NZCCP) see: http://www.nzccp.co.nz
It is of utmost importance to me that my clients feel understood, respected, validated and supported during therapy and assessment. It can be a brave and difficult decision to approach a therapist and I very much respect this. I work with adults from age 16 upwards.
I have over 15 years of specialist knowledge working with anxiety and depressive disorders. Following my training, I worked for eight years at the Anxiety Disorders Service (Canterbury District Health Board, CDHB). This work involved assessing and providing specialist up-to-date therapy for anxiety disorders. Following my eight years at the Anxiety Disorders Service, I worked at The Psychiatric Consultation Service at the CDHB. This provided me with the opportunity to work with clients with a medical condition which was impacting on their mental health, or mental health problems which were impacting on managing a medical condition. I then decided to gain specific skills in diabetes management and worked for 18 months at The Diabetes Centre at the CDHB. These positions in medical settings allowed me to use my skills in anxiety and mood management in a broader context and to develop a specialist interest in the interface between psychological and physical wellness.
In conjunction with my work at the CDHB, I started private practice in 2009 where I now work solely with either private clients or ACC funded clients (with both Sensitive Claims and Psychological Services contracts).