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HealthInfo Canterbury

Diabetes Centre Psychological Services

This page answers some questions that people commonly ask about the psychologists at the Diabetes Centre.

What are psychologists?

Psychologists are registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board and have had at least seven years of intensive university education. They've learned how to listen to and understand people's problems, and how to help people make changes in their lives.

Who can see a psychologist at the Diabetes Centre?

The psychologists at the Diabetes Centre see anyone from adolescence onwards who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

People will often be referred to see a psychologist at the Diabetes Centre when their diabetes is affecting or causing a mental health problem or when they have an existing mental health problem that's affecting how their diabetes is being managed.

Examples of the sorts of areas that psychologists may be able to help with are:

Please note, given the high demands on this service, psychologists at the Diabetes Centre can't offer treatment for mental health problems unrelated to or not significantly affecting diabetes management.

If I have a problem, at what stage is it best to see a psychologist?

From our experience, the sooner you're aware you have a problem, the least time it takes to work through it. If you're struggling to manage your difficulties with your current support network, talk to your diabetes team about whether it would be appropriate to refer you to a diabetes psychologist.

What happens when I first see a psychologist?

Your first appointment is a chance for you to get to know the psychologist as much as it is for the psychologist to get to know you. If at any stage you don't understand what your psychologist is saying, you should ask them to explain again. When you first see a psychologist, they'll ask you about the problem that has brought you to see them and about your past and present life.

Your psychologist will discuss with you the type of therapy they think will help you.

You may continue meeting together or your psychologist may suggest you see another psychologist or agency specialising in the type of help you need. If this is the case, the psychologist will refer you to the recommended agency or psychologist.

In the first session, you can discuss how much information you want kept in confidence.

What happens in sessions with the psychologist?

Psychologists use talking therapy to help you identify solutions to your problems. This means sitting in a chair in an office talking about the way you feel, think and act. The psychologist listens and supports you to help you gain new understandings of yourself so you can make changes in your life. There are also many different approaches to therapy that a psychologist may use.

These include:

Therapy sessions are generally for 50 minutes.

Cultural support or interpreting services can also be arranged for your appointment. Please let the person referring you or the psychologist know if this would be helpful.

How many times will I see a psychologist?

Sometimes people only see a psychologist for one session, sometimes three or four times, and sometimes for much longer depending on their treatment needs.

How many psychologists are there at the Diabetes Centre?

There are two part-time psychologists at the Diabetes Centre.

How can I access psychology at the Diabetes Centre?

During an appointment at the Diabetes Centre, the person you're seeing may suggest a referral if there are problems or difficulties affecting your diabetes management.

If you aren't sure if it would be helpful to see a psychologist, talk to your diabetes team to discuss this.

Given the high demand for this service, there's often a waiting list to see a psychologist.

Your diabetes team will refer you to the diabetes psychologists. If they accept your referral, they'll place you on a waiting list. The diabetes Service will notify you of your appointment time when it's your turn for assessment and treatment.

If you believe you need urgent mental health care, please talk to your GP or call the Crisis Resolution Team on 0800-920-092 (24 hours, seven days a week).

How much will it cost to see the psychologist?

There's no charge to see the psychologists at the Diabetes Centre.

Written by the psychologists, Diabetes Services. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2022.

Page reference: 48340

Review key: HIDIA-21832