The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the relatively new program developed by the federal government that people with a disability or medical condition can avail of supports and services to assist them in their everyday lives. These services and supports are usually administered by registered NDIS service providers and include a plethora of services including assistance with self-care and other daily tasks (e.g. household chores or home maintenance), transport, or therapeutic services such as psychology, speech therapy and occupational therapy. This article outlines how an NDIS psychologist can help NDIS participants deal with their personal issues and better manage their difficult thoughts, emotions or behaviours.
What is psychology?
Psychology is the science of human brain; its many functions and how external factors may affect its functionality. Believed to have begun in the 1800s, psychology has forwarded humankind’s understanding of concepts such as intelligence, personality, feelings and emotions, memory and cognition, motivation and concentration. At the core, psychology aims to improve our comprehension of how individuals and groups of people (communities and societies) interact and operate to enhance productivity and flourishment of our species.
In Australia, psychologists spend several years in tertiary education to become registered psychologists and can be employed in a variety of industries such as in health (both public and private sectors), science, education (universities) and in the management of organizations and enterprises. Psychologists work with people of all ages and with a variety of medical conditions and/or other issues such as mental illness, behavioural difficulties, intellectual impairments, physical or intellectual disability, addictions, phobias or compulsions, or issues with trauma, grief or loss.
The NDIS helps people up until the age of 65 years old, thus many Australians can avail of psychological input and assistance if psychology is identified as a need or goal by the client. The NDIS support category that psychology falls under is the ‘Capacity building’ class of supports.
An NDIS psychologist performs a professional, therapeutic role in their client’s life and can offer advice, support and therapeutic interventions to facilitate people and their families to better handle hardships and difficulties in their lives. A psychologist does not set out to merely dictate how a person should manage their problems, however they provide guidance and assist them to acknowledge, accept and deal with their problematic emotions or behaviours. A psychologist aims to support their client to make healthier decisions in their own life, and how to reduce or eliminate habits and behaviours that are often unhelpful or negatively impact on the person’s well-being.
As with most therapeutic interventions, the initial step in the psychological process is for the psychologist to gain an understanding of the client’s personal and medical background which commonly includes information about their upbringing and childhood, any medical conditions (both physical and/or mental) development, family, education, employment and current primary concerns or issues.
Once the client’s history and needs are established, the goals for therapy can be developed, in consultation with the client as well as carers, parents or friends who play pivotal roles in their life. Therapy is often administered in a one-on-one setting, however can be done in small groups, such as family or group therapy. Psychologists frequently employ evidence-based therapies such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, relationship counselling, or group or family therapy. In children, play therapy may also be used to better engage with the child.