Chelsea Psychology provides psychological support for a wide range of problems.  Read more under Frequently Asked Questions in our library or explore our list of Resources.



2 May 2019

How do I know if someone I love is developing dementia?

Many people imagine that memory issues are the only indicators of dementia, but this is a common and misguided error.

People with dementia show a variety of early and sometimes quite unique signs of a developing illness. Of course, forgetfulness and misplaced items are part of the issue, but relatives can be surprised and challenged by some of the less well-known indicators.

Personality changes such as aggressive, out of character outbursts are common, and can surprise and upset family members. People with a progressive dementia can show a tendency to become quieter in big groups, as they find increasingly difficult to follow conversations. They may withdraw from work or social activities as their motivation decreases and their enjoyment of these events begins to fall. Other mood and personality changes include increased anxiety, depression and paranoia.

Language difficulties, in both processing and expressing words, are common.  People with dementia might start to lose track of what they are saying mid-sentence, or forget the name of a common object.  They will find ways to disguise this issue by describing an object - such as saying a watch is “that clock you wear on your wrist”. Sometimes they will blame hearing problems on their deteriorating ability to understand what is being said to them, but it can simply be that their information processing is changing.

Spatial problems are a very common indicator of the start of a dementia process. People might increase in their tendency to have small accidents, like spilling drinks, burning themselves, or have difficulty judging stairs. If they are still driving, judging distances or losing their ability to manage speed humps and roundabouts can become an issue. They might prefer not to read anymore, due to issues with colour and contrast.

Planning and problem-solving issues can manifest in many ways. One of the most obvious issues is that people with dementia seem to take forever to get ready to go out, and are never quite certain if they have everything they need. They may stop using recipes, lose interest in hobbies or start to muddle regular payments e.g. of monthly bills. Even familiar tasks at home or work might start to become challenging for them, and they could forget the rules of a well-known game, like bridge, or become flustered in a household emergency, whereas once they had been extremely competent.

Orientation to time and place is a problem, so that people start to say they are not interested in the date or the day, or even the year.  They will say: “Oh, that doesn’t matter now I’m retired”.  So, instead of becoming offended if someone who cares about you forgets your birthday realise that it could be an early sign of a memory deterioration.  And a common sign it that you might get a call to say they are lost when driving.

Losing things and developing signs of paranoia occurs very frequently with people developing dementia. They might start to lose objects, put kitchen items in the wrong place, and forget how to properly dress themselves.  They might show signs of not caring as much about the way they look. And, to justify their increasingly frustrating behaviour, they might start to become sure that others have stolen their property. Sadly, paranoia can be directed to other loved ones. For example, sometimes people who have been married a long time will believe that their partner is having an affair.

Motivation decreases, along with the ability to make good judgements. People with dementia will be more gullible, and believe telemarketers.  If someone in your family starts to donate more money, or says they might win a car in an online competition, take notice.

Managing money is a problem with people developing dementia.  They will find it more difficult to count small change, so if a relative suddenly has a purse full of coins, you could start to observe them for other signs of impairment. People have been known to take large sums of money from the bank for “safe-keeping” but forget where they have put the cash – or even leave it at the telling machine.  Money management is a sensitive issue for people who have been independent all their lives, but it is important to have things in place such as an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) so you can take over when things become too difficult for your relative.

Of course, we all have little foibles and you might say that everyone has some of the above problems from time to time.  But a person with dementia will be more consistent in their inconsistencies, and love, understanding and patience are the only helpful ways to manage these new, puzzling and sometimes frustrating behaviours.

1 September 2018

Hooray! Rural and remote clients have been given a fair Medicare go. It has been announced that all ten psychological therapy sessions within the Medicare Better Access Telehealth service can be delivered via Telehealth for people living within certain rural and remote areas. Previously, Telehealth clients were required to have three of their ten sessions delivered face to face.


1 August 2018

Chelsea Psychology is delighted to announce the appointment of two new therapists to the practice at the Chelsea Village in Nedlands. 

Clinical Psychologist Michelle Appleyard has recently returned to Western Australia from Adelaide, where she worked with an In-School Psychology program for Child and Adolescent Services.

Michelle has considerable experience implementing psychological assessment and treatment for a range of mental health problems for young children, adolescents and young adults in inpatient, outpatient and outreach care.  She works in a collaborative way with family members and schools to support children and adolescents to achieve a better quality of life. Michelle has a particular interest in supporting adolescents through stressful times such as examinations by addressing both their strengths and struggles.

Clinical Psychologist Dr Jason Brown has an outstanding reputation for the treatment of some of today’s most challenging adult mental health issues including:


Personality disorders and their treatment using Schema Therapy, and

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome/Disorder (PTSD)

Jason has substantial experience working in general adult mental health, and also provides focused neuropsychological assessments and other complex diagnostic assessments for people experiencing a wide range of psychiatric disorders.     


29 January 2018

Last week’s Cathy Newman/Jordan Peterson “debate” is a very hot topic out there in YouTube land and beyond. As a supporter of women’s rights, I would like to say that Cathy did well.  But she didn’t. In my opinion, she steamrolled Peterson by putting words into his mouth that he didn’t say, and I therefore began to listen to the interview with more empathy for his point of view. And I learned a lot.  I learned that it’s important to be very careful with our words. Petersen is very careful, and a deep thinker as well (please don’t throw your tomatoes yet). While Cathy has a point, she stopped Peterson from offering us important information about encouraging young men to grow up and be responsible. Yes, I know Peterson and Newman were talking about the gender gap in pay, but as Petersen suggests, the issues are more far-reaching. The issues are more about freedom of choice, and he offers us a path to follow in terms of how to behave so that that we can survive in the modern world. And it does involve nature, as well as nurture.  Why wouldn’t it?

For more information, I’d encourage you to watch the interview at:


16 January 2018


Some of my clients wonder about the meaning of life. If we focus on this too much, it can become very distracting and potentially depressing. As I said to someone last week, really, there is no meaning – we have to find one that works for us.  She didn’t particularly like this response but I have referred her to Viktor Emil Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, and hope it will help her. 

When it comes to thinking about meaning, J M Ledgard’s Submergence is a compelling book about the ocean. His mind is so broad and deep that his words embrace far more than the (albeit very important) topic of the sea.

He addresses who we are, and in some ways, implies that it is really all for naught except on a physical level. He says basically we are burgling and raping other cells for a seeming eternity. And we are mere tottering towers – so young in terms of evolution.

But at the same time, why shouldn’t we simply enjoy our day. It helps in the short term.

Here’s a quote from his book.

“It is understandable you would want to come back as yourself into a wonderland with the sharpness of colour of the Queen of Hearts in a newly opened pack of cards. But coming back as yourself is resurrection. It is uncommon. It may even be greater than the scope of mathematics. We cannot talk with definition about our souls, but it is certain that we will decompose. Some dust of our bodies may end up in a horse, wasp, cockerel, frog, flower, or leaf, but for every one of these sensational assemblies there are a quintillion microorganisms. It is far likelier that the greater part of us will become protists than a skyscraping dormouse. What is likely is that, sooner or later, carried in the wind and in rivers, or your graveyard engulfed in the sea, a portion of each of us will be given new life in the cracks, vents, or pools of molten sulphur on which the tonguefish skate. You will be in Hades, the staying place of the spirits of the dead. You will be drowned in oblivion, the River Lethe, swallowing water to erase all memory. It will not be the nourishing womb you began your life in. It will be a submergence. You will take your place in the boiling-hot fissures, among the teeming hordes of nameless microorganisms that mimic no forms, because they are the foundation of all forms. In your reanimation you will be aware only that you are a fragment of what once was, and are no longer dead. Sometimes this will be an electric feeling, sometimes a sensation of the acid you eat, or the furnace under you. You will burgle and rape other cells in the dark for a seeming eternity, but nothing will come of it. Hades is evolved to the highest state of simplicity. It is stable. Whereas you are a tottering tower, so young in evolutionary terms, and addicted to consciousness.” ~ J M Ledgard Submergence


26 October 2017: Telehealth under the Better Access initiative (from the October Edition of InPsych | The bulletin of the Australian Psychological Society)

It can be challenging for people living in rural and remote Australia to access Medicare­ rebateable psychological services. While the psychology workforce is better represented in rural and remote Australia than many other mental health professions, we still struggle to meet the high level of need in these communities. In April 2017, in order to address this inequity, the Australian Government announced the introduction of psychological service delivery by videoconference (telehealth) as part of the Better Access initiative.

A whole new world for rural and remote Australia (and psychologists)

New item numbers commence on 1 November 2017 and will be available to consumers living in rural, remote and very remote Australia. The health system uses the Modified Monash Model (MMM) to categorise geographical regions in Australia; rural, remote and very remote regions are classified as MMM 4 to MMM 7. People living in MMM 4 to 7 with a GP Mental Health Plan who are eligible for Better Access, can receive up to seven of their 10 annual Better Access sessions via videoconferencing. The easiest way to check if a client resides in an area that qualifies for access to the telehealth services is to enter their address in the MMM interactive map available on the Australian Government Doctor Connect website at

The new item numbers will have some additional requirements. In addition to only seven of the 10 annual sessions being able to be delivered by videoconference, one of the first four sessions must be face­to­face using an existing Better Access item number. This means that an individual is able to access the standard 10 sessions per calendar year, but only seven of those can be via videoconference and the remainder must be face­ to­ face. The service provider must also be a distance of at least 15 kilometres from the client. All other requirements for use of the Better Access items are maintained.

Technological standards and service delivery

The Australian Government will not mandate the specific type of technology that providers must use to deliver psychological services by videoconference under Medicare. However, the service must include both audio and video, meaning a telephone service will not be eligible for a rebate. The Government will also expect providers to use technology that is capable of supporting the delivery of a high­quality clinical service, is sufficiently secure to meet health information requirements, and conforms to the applicable laws for security and privacy. It is likely that most psychologists in private practice will choose to use web­based software solutions for videoconferencing. Ease­ of­ access by the client must also be considered. There are a plethora of free and commercially available technology options that meet security requirements to varying degrees.


I am very fortunate in that I have friends who love me and also challenge me. This morning I was gently led to think more clearly about how I was making another person wrong to justify my choice to distance myself. I was urged to think about what I was feeling, rather than focus on the behaviour of the other. We all do it, no matter how deeply connected and wise we might think we are. We justify our choices by being right, and making the other wrong. It is far better to sit with our feelings and the origin of the hurt – which is often much deeper than what we initially believe.

I love this talk by Caroline Myss, which addresses how we justify our choices in life. Enjoy, and beware, she doesn’t take prisoners. Caroline goes for the jugular. Life is too short to beat around the bush.

~ Clinical Psychologist Jennifer Wright


We are delighted to announce the appointment of Clinical Psychologist Julie E’silva to the Chelsea Psychology team. She brings fresh perspectives and new areas of expertise to the Clinic. Julie is a skilled Clinical Psychologist with a long track record in delivering high-quality treatment for couples, adults and young adults.  Julie is experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. We believe that Julie will make a valuable contribution to Chelsea Psychology’s team of highly qualified and experienced Clinical Psychologists and psychologists.


Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy, by Viktor E. Frankl

“We [need] to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who [are] being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct. Life ultimately means the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfil the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual". ~ Viktor E Frankl.

My son lives in Berlin and having visited him earlier this year, I've become even more interested in reading all things German - and especially books about the horrors of World War II.  Man’s Search for Meaning is of particular interest as Frankl was a Professor of Psychiatry in Vienna before the war, and he survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.  His Logotherapy method of psychotherapy evolved from his experiences in Auschwitz, where he witnessed his own ways of surviving and drew upon his perceptions of the survival, or not, of other inmates and the camp guards.  His basic premise is that we are more likely to survive if we find meaning in our lives, and that meaning is generally unique to our individual ways of looking at the world.  The Logotherapy approach can be contrasted to other schools of psychiatry which maintain that the pursuit of pleasure or power are primary factors. According to Frankl, when individuals fail to find meaning in their lives, they turn to the pursuit of pleasure or power in the false belief that doing so will fill the void that has been created by an absence of meaning.  In my own experience with clients, a lack of purpose is a major cause of depression. Frankl identified three basic premises upon which meaning can be built:


Frankl used his love of his wife to maintain hope in Auschwitz, and also noticed how other prisoners used relationships to stay positive in the face of horrific circumstances.


Frankl claims that completion of our objectives results in deep satisfaction and sense of personal value. Frankl’s wrote a book on tiny scraps of paper while he was in Auschwitz, and says that the hope of completing it helped him to stay alive.


Suffering is an improbable source of meaning until it is seen in the light of pain that leads to enlightenment. Many religions are founded on the suffering of their prophets. Frankl maintains that as we lose outer freedom, we can turn inwards and find peace despite external cruelty.

Basically Frankl claims that if we take appropriate action and adopt the right attitude to any situation, a meaningful life can be found. 



Status Anxiety

I’ve been noticing an increasing number of clients presenting with what Alain de Botton would call Status Anxiety.  It’s an anxiety related to how people might be perceiving us – and it’s very much alive and well here in Perth.  A vulnerability to status anxiety seems ageless.  Children as young as eight or nine spend a lot of time online comparing themselves with others, and those in the high-earning executive arena seem to have a particularly strong vulnerability.

Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets don’t help. Even the hardware that gets us to the outlets is a part of the problem.  The latest iPhone, the iPhone 6S, sounds a lot like “iPhone success”.  And some of us seem to think we might achieve success when we acquire an iPhone 6S – until we have one for a couple of days, and then we need to acquire something else to supposedly help us to feel as good as our peers. It’s overt, and it’s subliminal – but mostly it’s frightening.  From the taps in the kitchen to the badges on cars, people are judging their success by the symbols they can afford to buy.

Alain de Botton explains it well. His book “Status Anxiety” describes it as an anxiety about what we believe others think of us. The book was published before social media became as rampant as it is today.  A quote from the book puts status anxiety in a nutshell: “Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition”.

The relentless positive posts about travel, events and “successes” on Instagram, Facebook and other outlets are a continual reminder that the readers’ lives are boring, or not good enough, or inadequate.  Social media seems impossible for some to ignore. At Chelsea Psychology, we are trying to help people believe in themselves, and their own lives, rather than how they compare to others.

We are all delusional to some degree.  Somehow, we imagine that others are having a better time than us – that the other man’s grass is always greener.  And the green grass is now growing all over social media.  But we must break those delusions so we can free ourselves to lead more meaningful, happy lives.


Stay youthful and happy.....

Lately I’ve been saying – to myself and others: “Oh, I’m getting old”. Talk about self-hypnotism. Admittedly, I’m over 60, and possibly closer to 65 than 60. But as I try to teach my clients, it’s the way you think about yourself that counts. And that works across the gamut of wellbeing, from self-esteem to how we age. Of course, illness can get in the way of healthy ageing, but even being unwell has its psychological component. 

This morning I read a blog by Caroline Myss, which tells of her uncle who was vital, funny and happy till he turned 60 – and then came a fear of ageing which turned him into a crippled old man. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

I prefer the advice of Mario Martinez (The Mind-Body Code: How the Mind Wounds and Heals the Body) who clearly states that he is going to be middle-aged in his 90s. Dr Martinez is a Neuropsychologist who urges us to take in only what is good for us – food, fluid and most importantly, our thoughts.

So, today I am going to think of myself as youthful, vital and joyful. I’ll appreciate the wisdom that ageing has brought me. I don’t want to be 20 again. I have much gratitude for the learning I have received since then, and the ability to stay in the present moment mystery. 

Whatever age you might be, watch what you put into your mind and create thoughts that work for you and your well-being. That includes not only the way you see the world and others, but how you feel about yourself.

~ by Clinical Psychologist Jennifer Wright 12 August 2016


CREATURES OF A DAY and Other Tales of Psychotherapy

Irvin Yalom

One of my favourite authors, Irvin Yalom, has come up with one of the simplest yet profound ideas in a long time - how people manage their days, no matter what condition they are in psychologically and physically. I am in constant awe of my clients.  No matter what they are confronting, they seem to continue to maintain a thread of resilience that keeps them afloat - sometimes with only their nostrils above water. But they do it - and I am privileged to observe and participate in the way they find their way to emerge from the deep. Sometimes it doesn’t take long, and in other cases, it can take years. Here’s a summary of Yalom’s book, from the Human Condition bookstore, and a link to the page where you can purchase the book:

In his long and distinguished career, Irvin Yalom has pressed his patients and readers to grapple with life's two greatest challenges: that we all must die, and that each of us is responsible for leading a life worth living. In Creatures of a Day, he and his patients confront the difficulty of these challenges. In recounting his patients' dilemmas, Yalom not only gives us an enthralling glimpse into their personal desires and motivations but also tells us his own story as he struggles to reconcile his emotional life with the demands placed on him. With compassion and humility, he prods his patients to explore the anxiety, fear and vulnerability that accompany their thoughts about death. His patients are reticent, confused and frustrating, but also open, insightful and inspiring - from the former CEO struggling to adjust to life in a retirement home, to the young professional dealing with the loss of both of his parents, to the former ballerina realising that her days on the stage are far behind her. Creatures of A Day provides an intelligent, compassionate, yet still unflinching look at the human soul and all the pain, confusion and hope that go with it. The power of these stories is amplified by Yalom's reflections on his own life as he reckons with its inevitable end. Suffused with humour, great artistry and a profound humanity, Creatures of a Day lays bare the necessary task we each face, each day, to make our own lives meaningful.


The End of Stress by Don Joseph Goewey

Many of today's psychological and medical complaints stem from the deleterious effects of stress.  And because most of us lead such busy lives, we often manage our stress levels by reaching for something to eat, or a glass of alcohol, or prescription and/ or non-prescription drugs, rather than looking for longer term, healthier options. Initially, stress signals can be helpful, but if we ignore them or manage them inappropriately, stress can lead to physical problems like headaches, digestive disorders, sleep disorders, or even heart attacks and strokes. If we are stressed, we can create fractious relationships with family members, colleagues and friends.  And we can make impulsive, misguided decisions under stress that sabotage our personal and work lives.  In his latest book, The End of Stress, Don Joseph Goewey explains in simple terms how we can 'rewire' our brains to reduce our levels of stress.  The End of Stress teaches us the fundamentals of stress reduction.  He explains in simple terms how the brain works, so that adopting his suggestions seems logical, and not a chore.  My clients tell me that the book explains the way the brain works in a way that encourages them to try the strategies for themselves - and they have had great results.  The End of Stress truly supports people in reducing the effects of stress in their lives. JW. 



Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit”

Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” offers readers a fascinating and refreshing insight into how we make (and might break) habits. He achieves this by bringing painstakingly well-researched scientific findings to life in the guise of real stories of habit triumphs and failures at a personal, corporate, community and even societal level.

The book covers a huge amount of ground without skimping on detail. Duhigg manages to explain the function of habits and offers a comprehensive prescription for changing a bad habit. He sheds light on why people revert to bad habits when stressed, the role of willpower and the power of groups and shared experiences.  He then goes on to describe how habits are relevant across all human contexts. He explains, for example, how organisations can create sweeping change by concentrating on one type of habit. He also offers a somewhat chilling glimpse into the marketing strategies used by big corporations to identify our habits and then sell to them. Finally, he suggests an inspiring habit-driven view of the civil rights movement in America.

The Power of Habit is all at once entertaining, enlightening and practical. If you have bad habits (that is, if you are human) you will find it an absorbing and ultimately helpful read.




The Medicare Initiative enables you to receive a rebate when you see a Clinical Psychologist or a Psychologist in a private setting. To qualify, you need a referral from a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician outlining a psychological condition and the treatment required. Up to 10 Medicare session can be held in a calendar year, with a GP review about half-way through treatment, depending on the doctor's recommendation. Rebates for up to 10 group sessions in a calendar year can also be claimed, in addition to individual treatment.

Medicare has now introduced Telehealth which enables people in rural and remote areas to access psychological counselling via video conferencing, supported by a Medicare rebate. 

You will need to bring a GP Mental Health Care Plan to your first Psychology appointment to claim a Medicare rebate. Please arrive a little early so that the paperwork can be completed by Chelsea Psychology's friendly staff.  You can discuss with your therapist whether ongoing psychological support is needed after about six sessions of treatment. You will then need to consult your doctor for a review of your treatment plan.



Chelsea Psychology therapists have broad experience in many mental health fields, and over the years we have gathered a wide range of excellent references of books, online resources and community support organisations that you can access. Please feel free to browse our suggestions below and contact us if you have any recommendations.