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Seeking psychological help should be normalized

Photo: Psychologists are for 'every' Australian
The Australian Pscyhological Society is asking people to believe in the change a psychologist can facilitate.

Seeking psychological help should be as normal as walking into a doctor's clinic or like "getting petrol" for the car to keep it running.

You don't need to have a diagnosed mental illness to see a psychologist, says Anthony Cichello, President of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Australians are being asked to "believe" in the change psychologists can facilitate in peoples lives as part of a new APS media campaign.

Mr Chichello says psychologists are experts in human behaviour and can help people improve relationships, manage depression or help to be a better parent.
"Psychologists offer solutions that have been proven by research to work," Mr Chichello said.

Mia Freedman, co-founder and publisher of the Mamamia Women's Network, is a "champion" of psychologists. Her mum was one, and she first saw one at the age of 18.

It was the psychological therapy she received after the loss of a baby and collapse of her marriage that helped her start making better life choices, Ms Freedman said at Wednesday's APS launch.

"It was a gift to my child, to my future children and to myself," she said.

A crisis in your life shouldn't however be the only reason to see a psychologist, Ms Freedman says.

"It's also a really good time to see a psychologist if you are at a crossroads in your life or you are just unhappy with the way your life is going - you might just be finding yourself stuck," Ms Freedman told AAP.

"Seeing a psychologist doesn't mean your're crazy," she said.

APS executive director Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM says psychologists are for "everyone" and offer more than just empathy people get from family or friends.

They are really well trained, Prof Littlefield says, to understand people.

"All of our techniques are evidence based, in other words there is research behind to show that they work, that's what friends don't have."

Triple Olympian Belinda Hocking, 26, has been using proven strategies from a psychologist to help her transition from being an elite athlete to a regular person.

The recently retired gold medal-winning swimmer says the transition is difficult because you can feel like "nothing" after the sport is gone.

"You just loose yourself a bit unless you've got that strong life balance outside of your sport," she said.

"It's really hard to figure out that you've also got a happy life, regardless of whether swimming goes well or goes bad.

"Having that life balance and someone to talk to is really important."


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