Frequently Asked Questions

At Relational Minds we will build a relationship with you and help you with your journey towards recovery from any mental health difficulties that us affecting your family. We will begin by working together to understand the issues, build your understanding of why these are happening, and develop therapeutic strategies that promote emotional growth as well as repair your family’s relationships.

Appointment types can include:

  • Engagement
  • Assessment
  • Formulation
  • Diagnoses
  • Safety Planning
  • Goals and Recommendations
In the Discovery Phase we do a mental health assessment and together with you co-create a ‘Formulation’ which is an understanding of why your young person has presented in this way at this time. We will address possible diagnoses, set goals for treatment and together find ways to intervene as early as possible.

Parent:

  • Building Relationships
  • Foundations for Attachment

Child:

  • Emotional Expression and Literacy

The Understanding Phase is the next step where we use the Foundation for Attachment program to work through the challenges of parenting your child, learning skills to parent in a more therapeutic way and learn to look after yourself.

  • Family (Diyadic) Sessions
  • Applying skills
  • Monitoring
  • Mentoring
The Connection Phase is where you implement the different ways you will communicate with your child and as a family. Your clinician can help you monitor your progress along the way.  We will also help you to build connections and a support network with other parents who are experiencing similar challenges.
  • Summarise Learnings
  • Look forward with hope
  • Prevent Relapse
  • Close Episode
The Empower Phase is where we put all of your learnings together and look towards the future continuing to implement your skills. We will consider possible setbacks or pitfalls and how to avoid them.


Appointments are usually 30 or 50 minutes in duration and can be offered face to face or via Telehealth (phone or via Zoom).

It may seem odd that your GP has referred you to Relational Minds because there is a psychiatrist in the clinic but your appointments are with mental health clinicians. Our process may seem a lot different. Our belief is that the family and carers are the most crucial part of treating young people with mental illness. Medications can have a role but our experience has taught us that in many cases young people describe their medications not working. This is because medications only go so far to create a chemical environment that can foster growth but the relationships around the young person will either help or hinder their development. This is why this part of the treatment is the most important to start with. Our philosophy is that medication treatment is not the first option. 

Alberto founded the Relational Minds team because there was such a need for child and family mental health treatment and Psychiatry involvement alone wasn’t helping enough in many cases. Without the team structure the service would have to stop taking referrals due to demand, this way we can adapt to the needs of the community. You will find that with our team approach, you will get a psychiatry appointments sooner than most places and your child’s care also has regular psychiatry oversight through your allocated clinician.

We are a private clinic which means that we do not receive funding from government or other funding sources. Our prices are set to be able to provide a quality service whilst keeping it as affordable as possible. If you cannot afford the fees, please discuss this with your clinician so we can discuss your options to be able to get the care you need.

We are unable to work as a bulk billing practice. All appointments will have an out of pocket fee. Medicare, NDIS, Private Health Insurance or other sources (eg. TAC) may be able to cover some if not all of your costs. We may have to increase our costs from time to time also. Please contact us for specific details of our costs on info@relationalminds.com.au.

GP referrals are only required if your appointment with your clinician allows you to claim from Medicare. These are generally appointments with a psychiatrist, psychologist or an accredited mental health social worker or occupational therapist. If your appointment doesn’t attract a Medicare rebate you can proceed without a GP referral.

A GP referral for a psychiatrist usually lasts 12 months before you need another, we will let you know when this is due. If your referral to the psychiatrist comes from a specialist like a paediatrician, it only lasts 3 months.

A mental health care plan will allow you access for 10 sessions per calendar year to see a Psychologist or an accredited clinician for focused psychological therapy. Due to COVID these have been extended to 20 sessions per calendar year. More information can be found from the Health Services Website.

Before your first appointment our administration team will have made email contact with you to send you information regarding our service and also a consent form that will authorise us to contact other service providers who may have provided care to you. If you do not consent to us contacting certain or all service providers please let us know. Part of the consent process is to obtain an agreed financial agreement to allow Relational Minds to obtain payment for our services. Please ensure you read the consent and financial agreement form in detail before providing your consent. If you have other concerns regarding your privacy please refer to privacy policy on our website.

You will also receive instructions to activate your access to the patient portal on our medical record system named Clinic to Cloud. This portal is an important place for you to be able to upload any documents that you may wish for us to have, and also a place for you to obtain receipts after payment of your consultation. Please be aware that our team I will endeavour to read all documents prior to your appointment but we are unlikely to have the time to be able to read long and detailed documents. We ask for your patience if we need to refer to those documents during your first consultation.

Your first one or two visits will usually be aimed at understanding the nature of the problems that your young person and your family are facing. Our goal is to develop something called a formulation, which is an attempt to answer the question: Why has your young person presented in the way that they have at this time? 

This will involve collection of information that will help us assess:

  • whether your young person’s problems fit certain diagnostic criteria
  • understand the precipitating factors that have led you to seek help at this time
  • understand the background history that might shed light on how your young person’s illness has developed, and
  • information that will help us develop strategies to increase any protective factors that you and your young person are using to cope, and
  • reduce any factors that are maintaining the problems that you are facing.

To develop an accurate formulation, we may need to obtain historical information regarding parental history (this may include information regarding the parental childhood history).

Of most importance in your first sessions with your clinician is to establish specific goals for your treatment at Relational Minds. All care that you will receive from any mental health service will be episodic in nature, in that, your engagement will occur over a specified period of time. In the time that we have together, we generally aim to improve your understanding of your young persons situation, develop some possible solutions to help then cope, and in general improve the family’s capacity to promote the emotional development of their young person.

Appointments at Relational Minds can vary. Most appointments are 50 minutes in duration. Your clinician may book in brief appointments from time to time that last 20 minutes.

Psychiatry appointments are either 50 minutes or 20 minutes. We also offer a 10 minute phone appt for a brief review of medication.

Everything you say in your appointments is confidential. This means if one of your family members has an individual appointment with us, they are entitled to privacy in that appointment. We always endeavour to help families communicate with each other, however this comes in time and we cannot damage trust and privacy to push for outcomes sooner. At Relational Minds, all team members are bound to Confidentiality and Privacy Laws. Your files are electronically stored in a secure clinical records system. We do not keep any paper files.

There are some occasions where we need to break confidentiality. If we believe, from information provided to us, that someone is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or other people, or if child abuse/neglect is disclosed we will legally need to report this to the appropriate authorities, your G.P. and the Next of Kin. We also have legal obligation to provide information to the courts should we be subpoenaed. 

We correspond with your G.P. who made the referral at various points throughout your journey with us, however we only provide an overview of the treatment plan and progress. With your consent, we may speak with another specialist or heath provider, a school or another family member.

All clinicians are trained and experienced in the work that they do at Relational Minds. Our team come from various backgrounds, all coming together with the common goal of supporting families to heal children’s emotional hurts. Your clinician may be a psychologist, a social worker, an occupational therapist, a mental health nurse, a doctor or other allied health professional.

At Relational Minds our foundation training is in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. Our team, including our administration staff are trained to take the attitude of Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. We firmly believe that if all carers in a child’s life employ this approach, we can promote emotional growth.

Our industry and Medicare funding has focused a lot on psychologists providing mental health care. We are fortunate that we have many talented psychologists who can help us in our cities. When it comes to family care, this can often not be the area of expertise for a psychologist. Social workers and other allied health are very often more trained in family work. Furthermore, children who have mental health difficulties can find it very difficult to speak to a psychologist. Non-verbal therapy approaches through art or play are often the better therapy options for some young people. We find that our young people are more able to talk to their Art therapist than the psychologist. Keep in mind that art and play therapists as psychotherapists who are also able to provide talking therapy and can also have training in focused psychological therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Who better to describe DDP than the DDP team themselves from the DDP website. “Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy has been developed by Dan Hughes over the past twenty years. It is based on a theoretical understanding of attachment and intersubjective relationships; and the impact of developmental trauma. The therapy is provided within a model of Dyadic Developmental Practice. This provides network, school and parenting support. It is important that children and families are supported within this practice framework for the therapy to be successful. Therapeutic sessions build upon and complement a DDP parenting approach.” Learn more

Thank you for your patience at Relational Minds clinics as we cope with increased demand. We are able to see you sooner now. Our admin are the busiest of all. Sending us an email is the most efficient way to get a response.