As the Director and Principal Clinical Psychologist of Attuned Psychology, a private practice in North Adelaide, I am aware how often people inform me about how challenging it was to find the right psychologist for them in Adelaide. If you are ready to take a step towards consulting a psychologist, think about what you most need from a therapist.
Specialist qualifications and expertise are certainly very important as are the therapeutic style and approach, but if you can get a recommendation by a GP or friend who has met a particular psychologist you may also get a sense of them as a person in order to make your decision. Like any relationship, it is important for us to feel it is the right fit at multiple levels.To assist in your decision making process, I hope that this blog helps break through some of those barriers and allows you the opportunity to get a glimpse of the person and professional from behind the “psychologist” title. I hope it will also give you an idea of what I stand for and what the practice Attuned Psychology stands for.
In making the choice to see me or any other psychologist, you are making a big step and it only seems fair and equitable that I address that power difference by letting you know a little more about me, how I think about psychology and the art of therapy.
So you might ask what made me choose psychology as a profession? I knew I wanted to do something that helped people in a meaningful way, that would have a lasting impact. It was clear that I wanted my choice to be a helping profession, but it felt important that for it to be something I would be proud to stand for, to be remembered by in years to come.
It was only in the first year of my Arts degree that I realized that psychology had the potential to meet all those criteria – it was scientific, required problem solving but also seemed fascinating, creative and abstract and most importantly had the ability to have a positive impact on people’s lives. I realized that this seemed to appeal to my mind, values and sensibility and my natural sense of curiosity about people. 9 years later after lots of study and a journey of university tutoring to support myself through my postgraduate studies, I reached the goal of registering as a psychologist and it is hard to believe that is 17 years ago now!
The choice of this profession was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Each day I am privileged to witness people’s journeys, remain curious and interested in both the uniqueness of people’s stories and the patterns across time and get excited when I see people achieve goals they sometimes never expected to achieve. This reward is indescribable and never taken for granted.
So you might ask where did the name Attuned Psychology originate? This was indeed the result of a brainstorming session with my family. Sitting there in a café many years ago we were tossing around ideas and discussing what I wanted the practice to stand for. My eldest brother, who is probably the most creative of all of us, in hearing me speak about the importance of being at one with the client, suddenly had a brilliant brain wave. The word Attuned struck a chord with all of us and the dream suddenly started to take shape. Years later a brand was developed with the tuning fork as the symbol – it has stuck and symbolizes everything I am about. Being attuned and in harmony characterizes my relationships with my clients and also has a musical meaning that allows people to see that I have a passion in working with performers being one myself.
As psychologists, even though we are trained to be objective and fair, we also bring ourselves as people to the room just as you do. It is one of the only professions where change is based so strongly on the quality of the therapeutic relationship formed between two people. We are all trained extensively over 6 years in understanding human behavior, and every day we draw on this knowledge and refine our skills. But in the end, after doing this work for 17 years I can say that one of the simple and most important things I learnt when studying family therapy was that 40% of the outcome of therapy is based on our ability to build rapport, establish trust and build a strong therapeutic relationship.
I believe that this is one of my biggest strengths as a psychologist, the ability to match others and to truly step into their emotional and mental space, bringing wisdom, perspective, humour, practical strategies and tools and the willingness to balance gentleness and compassion with the need to challenge as appropriate. Everyone has their own style as a therapist and it is important that you find the right match that suits you.
So how do I build a trusting relationship with you? By being truly present in the moment, becoming attuned to your needs and by always recognising the big step you have taken to allow me into your life in this way. I encourage you to work with me collaboratively to address what you want as outcomes rather than pushing my own agenda, but also guide you through this process based on my clinical experience. I strongly believe in the importance of clients having a clear say over what they most want from therapy and each session I make sure that you will walk out feeling heard, having a perspective that helps address your needs and goals, strategies to assist you, while always remaining outcome focused.
I take time to understand the impact of family and other relationships in your life, significant events and turning points while always seeing the present and future as the main focus with the past being a key to understand. I believe that the initial session of 1.5 hours allows you to have the time and space to tell your story, to not feel rushed and to ensure that by the end you walk away with a greater understanding of yourself and your situation and a clearer direction forward for therapy. Most importantly it allows for the therapeutic relationship to form more easily as time helps build trust.
As a psychologist, I am passionate about the possibility for change and development in people, believing we are all capable of developing the capacity for self reflection and the ability to better understand and improve our relationships, break unhelpful patterns and strive for a life that is rich, meaningful and driven by our values.
As a young graduate I had an exciting dream; a dream that was nurtured by a number of highly skilled and inspiring mentors and after many years of hard work and persistence this dream has been realized. I wanted a little renovated old cottage with several consulting rooms decorated artistically, providing a safe, comfortable space for people to share their stories and facilitate change. Some 5 years ago after many years in solo practice in shared rooms, this dream was formed and is now humming along wonderfully. The rooms at North Adelaide have the most beautiful relaxing and uplifting energy that I never tire of, with clients giving such positive feedback.
This practice has indeed been built upon a simple dream I had at 23 years old and now Attuned Psychology comprises a group of like minded psychologists with a passion for working with people of all ages. Each day we come together in collaboration to provide quality, progressive client focused therapy that is always attuned to your needs. I believe in the idea of looking beyond the individual to the systems around us and feel inspired everyday by the change I witness in my clients as I guide them through challenging issues. This process provides you with an objective sounding board, a safe and sacred space for reflection and an opportunity to be challenged.
Good luck on your journey. Choosing the right person is important…..
If you feel that what I have said resonates with you have a closer look at my profile (Alexandra Frost), act today and contact us for an appointment. I would feel privileged to welcome you into my practice. Alternatively one of our other psychologists may be suited to your needs. Feel free to have a closer look at our website to learn more about our therapeutic approaches, services and psychologists.
I wish you all the best in choosing the right psychologist for your needs….
Alexandra Frost, Director/Principal Clinical Psychologist
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