Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it shapes our behaviour, from communication and memory to thought and emotion. Psychology is about understanding what makes people tick and how this understanding can help us address many of the problems and issues we face.

People seek the help and support of psychologists for all sorts of problems. Psychologists can employ their knowledge and expertise to help in many ways and for an array of problems.

Psychology services at Te Whatu Ora Taranaki are offered across different departments of the hospital. Our work as psychologists includes working with patients, teaching within the hospital community and externally, the running of groups, consultation and supervision of other professions. We also provide training placements for University Clinical Programmes students and interns.

The following sections offer some information about how psychologists work within Te Whatu Ora Taranaki as well as links and guidance for finding out more.

Mental health

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Psychology Services:

Psychologists in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provide specialist assessment and treatment for moderate to severe mental health needs for young people up to and including 18 years old.

Treatment typically involves:
Working therapeutically with young people and their whānau, providing one-on-one, family, group, and other forms of therapy.  

The CAMHS psychologists work as part of the CAMHS multi-disciplinary team (MDT).  We are supported by and support other skilled mental health clinicians.

Some common difficulties:
Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma and attachment-related difficulties, eating disorders, and behavioural difficulties.

As part of our assessment for young people with mental health needs, we often explore neurodevelopmental problems such as: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Services are primarily provided at the Taranaki Base Hospital, but also in the Hāwera Hospital and Stratford Health Centre.

How to access Child & Adolescent Mental Health psychology:
Referrals are made via:

  • Heath professionals (e.g. GP, paediatrician)
  • Schools
  • Other community agency

Referrals are processed by the team and allocation to psychologists (and other specialist providers within the team) depend on presenting needs.

See more about the Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Adult Mental Health Psychology Services:

Adult Mental Health Psychology is available for adults over the age of 18 experiencing mental health difficulties.

Treatment typically involves:
Our treatment approach is client-centred with the aim of tailoring the support to the unique needs of each client. Interventions may include whānau and family members, or they may seek to have separate support for their caring role.

We also work with the Perinatal Mental Health team at Te Whatu Ora Taranaki and can offer psychological support to perinatal clients (women who are pregnant and after giving birth) and their families. As psychologists we work as part of multi-disciplinary mental health teams and collaborate with psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and others around the care of those referred to us.

Some common difficulties:
We can offer input in the treatment of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma and attachment-related difficulties, eating disorders, and personality difficulties. We can also offer neuropsychological assessments to identify and support the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Intellectual Disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and cognitive functioning.

Taranaki Base Hospital (including inpatients at Te Puna Waiora) and Hāwera Hospital.

How to access the Adult Mental Health Psychology team:
Referrals are made via:

  • Heath professionals (e.g., GP, ED)
  • Perinatal referrals can come through midwife and well child providers (Plunket & Piki Te Ora)

Referrals are processed by the mental health teams and can then be referred to psychology depending on presenting needs.

Please see our brochures below to learn more about the service and how we work.

Older People Mental Health Psychology Services:

Mental Health Services for Older People (MHSOP) are delivered via a multidisciplinary community team.  Our service offers assessment and treatment for people:

  • Aged 65 years and older living in our community with suspected significant mental illness – presenting in later life.
  • Aged 65 years and older (55yrs for Māori), with dementia, who present with clinically significant challenging behaviour and/or psychological symptoms. Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis for people under the age of 65 whom are experiencing aged related symptoms.

Treatment typically involves:
Assessment and therapy for a moderate to severe mental health issue or assessment for dementia or a related condition.  We also provide education and family support as needed to MHSOP client family / whānau.

Taranaki Base Hospital.

How to access Mental Health Service for Older People:
Referrals to MHSOP generally arrive via the CHIC process, and access to psychological service follows initial assessment by our intake coordinator.

See more about Mental Health Services for the Elderly

Physical health

Adult Health Psychology Services:

Health psychologists provide short term, problem focused psychological assessment and treatment for distress associated with a diagnosis, treatment, or injury which is interfering with daily activities.

There are outpatient services available for people who are having investigation and treatment for cancer. There is a psychologist role with the Persistent Pain team.

The health psychology service is available to adults age 16 years and over.

How to access physical health psychology:
Referrals to Physical Health Psychology generally arrive via the CHIC process.

Referrals for the following are generally excluded:

  • People with risk of self harm or harm to others or where the primary concern is management of a Mental Health condition should be referred to Mental Health.
  • Outpatients other than those having active treatment for cancer
  • GP referrals

Paediatric Psychology Services:

The Paediatric Psychology service is available for children with medical and neurodevelopmental problems. Children and whānau are seen at Taranaki Base Hospital's Child and Adolescent Community Centre or inpatients on Ward 2B, or at Hāwera Hospital.

Some common difficulties:
Medical conditions: We see children with psychological problems (eg adjustment, behavioural) related to a medical or neurological condition. This can include Type 1 diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, persistent pain (including headaches), chronic fatigue and tic disorders.

Neurodevelopmental: We see children for assessment for possible Intellectual Disability and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (usually over 8 years) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (over 5 years 6 months).

How to access paediatric psychology:
Referrals are accepted from:

  • Paediatricians
  • Other health professionals/services
  • Medical staff for inpatients

If you require an assessment, please contact your paediatrician or ask your GP or other health professional for a referral.

Last updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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