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Diabetes Clinical Psychology


Psychology Services for People with Diabetes

The emotional side of trying to keep on top of diabetes is just as important as the doing side of self-management. Emotional wellbeing can have a big influence on health, choices, and how well people are able to self-care and therefore self-manage their diabetes.


In any psychological assessment or treatments that we provide, we aim to care for your emotional health, with diabetes in mind. We know that the ups and downs of blood sugars can influence your emotions, and vice-versa, and have expertise in treating conditions where diabetes and psychological health are intertwined. You will be seeing a psychologist who will really understand you when you talk about the ins and outs of life with diabetes.


Psychological treatments for people with diabetes

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) will help you to understand the way that your thoughts, feelings and behaviours influence each other, and how this can impact on your sense of self and approach to diabetes management and self-care. CBT incorporates a range of specific strategies to identify and alter unhelpful thought patterns, as well as evidence based techniques for learning to change your behaviour.

Solution Focussed Therapy

Solution focussed therapy is a short term therapy which focusses on the solution rather than the problem. It is future- and goal-oriented, and guides you to examine your personal strengths to solve the emotional or behavioural challenges you are facing with diabetes. When you are managing your diabetes well, what is different? This question is an example of how you might begin to explore new solutions to your problems with this therapy.

Motivational Interviewing

Want to be in charge of the changes you make with diabetes self-management? Looking for a way to drum up motivation? Change is tough and there are often parts of us that want to change, with equally (and sometimes stronger parts) that want to stay the same. Motivational Interviewing helps you to be sure that the changes you are making are for the better, and is particularly helpful with treatment goals such as making lifestyle changes.

Mindfulness can be used to relieve stress and relax, but also helps you to concentrate and focus on the here and now instead of getting lost in worry or drifting into (and away with) daydreams. Mindfulness can help with the emotional turmoil that comes with a new diabetes diagnosis, or diabetes distress and burn-out. It can aid self-acceptance and encourage you to live a fulfilling life.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is about learning how to accept parts of ourselves, our worlds and other people as they are – rather than as we want them to be. It helps people with diabetes to accept the painful thoughts and feelings they have about life with diabetes, and inspires change for the better by exploring what is personally meaningful and valued, and using these values to guide and motivate change. 

Distress Tolerance

Diabetes can be really tough to live with, and for some people the emotional distress that can come with it feels unbearable - so much so that they will do almost anything to avoid it. This is 'distress intolerance'. The opposite, distress tolerance, is a treatment which teaches you how to sit with and tolerate emotional distress, instead of fearing and fighting it. It also helps you to change unhelpful habits you have made to avoid distress.


What to expect from our psychology service

Our psychology service focusses on the mental heath and emotional support needs of people with diabetes. When we meet you for the first time, we will ask you about how you are coping with diabetes and explore the issues that you want to work on. We will suggest treatment options for you after our initial assessment, and indicate how long we expect treatment to last. Treatment duration varies depending on individual needs and progress, but is usually completed in under ten sessions.


Whilst we are treating you we follow-up on your progress to ensure you are making gains. If treatment is not helping you to achieve your goals, we may suggest alternate treatment approaches, additional supports, or collaborating more closely with other health professionals involved in your care, such as your diabetes educator or endocrinologist. Therapy is about team work; if at any point you feel that we are heading down the wrong track, let us know so we can re-evaluate treatment direction. 

Diabetes psychologist and woman with diabetes

Before your first appointment

Many, but not all, psychology services are subsidised through medicare or private health insurers. We've provided a summary of these subsidies below, and encourage you to seek advice from your GP or health insurer to see if you are eligible.

We accept referrals through the Better Access to Mental Health Initiative from General Practitioners, Psychiatrists and Paediatricians. A referral under this plan allows you to access up to 10 fifty minute individual and /or group sessions with us which attract a medicare rebate. To find out more, please speak to you Doctor prior to organising an appointment with us.

A referral from your GP under this plan allows you to access up to 5 brief 20-30 minute sessions with us which attract a medicare rebate. To be eligible, the mental health services we provide must be part of your diabetes care plan with your GP.


You can always book an appointment with us without a GP referral, however you will not be eligible for a medicare rebate for our service. Private Health Funds (depending on fund and coverage) can provide rebates for non-medicare based consultations.

Cancellation policy


When you make an appointment with us, the whole hour is reserved for you. We require 24 hours notice for cancellation of a session. This allows us to offer the appointment to another client who may be on a waiting list. The full fee will be charged for non-attendance or less than 24 hours notice of cancellation.