Seeking the Most Appropriate Behavior Based Intervention for Children and the Youth [Interview][Transcript]

Emma_Howard_Child_PsychologyGuest: Emma Howard
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Emma Howard BAPsych/BBus(HRM), PGradDipPsych, MAPsych is the Principal Psychologist and founder of Equilibrium Health. She is also the developer of the revolutionary psychology App Facade Feedback.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, returning guest Emma Howard of Equilibrium Health discusses topics related to Child Psychology. She touches on issues such as child attachment theory, controlled crying and breast feeding. The team at Equilibrium Health believes in wellness being attained through changing one’s thinking style as well as personal/professional development, nutrition, exercise and social connection. They utilise practical tools and the suite of psychological interventions that extend above and beyond the variety of mental health interventions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.


Health Professional Radio – Child Psychology

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today is Emma Howard. Emma is the Founder of Equilibrium and joins us from the Gold Coast in Australia. Emma welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Emma Howard: Thank you for having me Wayne, it’s a pleasure.

W: Now I should say it’s Equilibrium Health I think, isn’t it?

E: Yes it is, Equilibrium Health Psychology Practice. We’re a private practice with a team of almost a dozen psychologists.

W: And you get to enjoy the best part of Queensland in the Southeast corner there.

E: Definitely and we’re only meters away from the glorious water.

W: Now Emma we’ve chatted with you on the program before. Today we’re gonna talk a little bit about child psychology. Tell us what’s been occupying your mind?

E: Wow, where do I start? Wayne we’ve got a whole … of different child presentations that are making their way through the practice doors these days more so than ever. And primarily what I’m seeing with the professional development that I’m providing to the psychologists as well as my interaction with families in a family systemic approach is to see that behavior based intervention for children at an age of early intervention and not happening as readily as what they could for family. So it’s simple as parents are maybe not equipped with the correct skills and tool to be able to bring the best out in their child, to lead that child to live a happy and healthy adult’s life.

W: Now I’m kind of dealing from a position of ignorance here, because I’ve never had the issue myself. But I’m assuming it’s quite a challenging thought for parents to go “I think my child has a mental health problem. I need professional health.”

E: Definitely, definitely. And it’s also enabling that parent to say that or see that it’s not directly their fault and that the process is about finding solutions and not placing blame. So sometimes it’s quite a complex and keen approach mainly the child might have the referral or the youth might have the referral. However we as a team here at the Equilibrium Health eventually in a lot of cases end up working with the family and the parents individually.

W: Now Emma am I correct in assuming that sometimes you’re working with not quite newborns but very young children around the idea of breast feeding and attachment, and control crying?

E: Definitely, absolutely. And so we call it “perinatal.” So it’s around the time that a family is going to identify that they’re gonna bring a newborn into the world. And so we’re discussing with the parents or parent of the options that are available and so at this practice we’re highlighting the pros and cons. I heard you say some are very controversial, they are controversial approaches to parenting whether it happen to be the triple antigen injection or controlled crying, to breastfeed, to not breastfeed, they’re quite controversial because they’re very personal options or choices that a family will make with regards to their new born. So as psychologist we are providing psycho education in a lot of times and saying “These are the benefits and these are the cons involved with this type of approach to a parenting intervention or option.”

W: Now Emma as we’ve talked about before a lot of our audience are clinicians of one kind or another and most of them are either on acute care, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and we get a lot of people in aged care listening. So I guess today with view to the acute care people what’s the message you’d like them to get as a result of having heard you on the radio today?

E: That there is an option available for individuals with the mental health condition to be able to access psychologists in private practice, that is both billed under the Medicare standard, MHCP or the Mental Health Care Plan which is a better access initiative, as an adjunct or as a pathway or as a triage so to speak for a person that maybe accessing acute care services. And so as we see our therapeutic approach here at Equilibrium Health, we work collaboratively with other allied health practitioners and also see ourselves as sometimes a transitional therapeutic process for an individual whether it be they graduate from our services so to speak to be monitored and have top up decision and become what we work for towards worried well or alternatively we are making that referral for them to attend acute care and more specialized pharmacological intervention. So for anyone listening that works as a health professional I think that we implore and expound the collaborative approach with other health practitioners and see that we don’t sit in isolation and don’t see ourselves as an isolated approach for a person’s wellness.

W: Now Emma I notice on your website that I’ve been having a look at and by the way listeners, it’s so all one word And I’ve been noticing on there Emma a big list of conditions and mental health issues that the practice gets involved in. I’m of kind seeing it as the complete list so I don’t think there’s anything particular that’s missing to my mind. So you extend that across the age range to children and teenagers and adults?

E: Absolutely and also to what is that kind of substrate of couple’s therapy and then also family systemic therapy and we’re fortunate to be able to have a diversified team of psychologists that come from various special interest areas, areas of specialization, so that it happens to be that a patient lands or arrive to be given initial treatment by one psychologist and the team. What we like to do is ensure that that is the right psychologist so they’re not actually having to transition but if that transition does occur, we work collaboratively as a team in Equilibrium Health so that a case conceptualization and peer review is given of that person’s presentation so that they can then be internally transferred inside the practice for ongoing treatment. And then as I was mentioning Wayne earlier that we work collaboratively with other health practitioners, namely pediatricians, psychiatrists and the like.

W: Right. Now I understand that if people do want to access that mental healthcare plan process where there is no out of pocket expenses – that does require a referral from a GP.

E: Correct Wayne. So the GP provides the gateway or gatekeeper to the mental healthcare plan. And so a person who is interested in accessing sessions with the psychologist would then go and talk to their GP about the difficulties they’re facing mentally. They may be talking about symptomatology or the symptoms and they would be directed from the dialogue in consultation with the GP, the GP may administer a psychometric such as the K10, which is a stress questionnaire or alternatively a DAS which is a measurement of the D depression, A anxiety and S stress so a measurement essentially all those common symptoms that a person would experience when they’re having some mental health difficulties. And so meeting their criteria from the GP for verification and then the GP may write a referral for initial 6 sessions and then subsequently a review of 4 sessions, totaling a 10 sessions per calendar year should that person be eligible for that maximum number of consultations unto the Medicare scheme.

W: It’s good to know that people need not suffer financial hardship in order to seek mental health care.

E: Definitely. We are fully bulk billed patient or client, individuals accessing our services. And we find that taking down that barrier or that road block or the hurdle of financial stress, with the ‘How are they gonna find this money to be able to get myself well?’ actually create another layer of stress again. So we remove that, go to the service, provide a quality service and inspiriting why we have such a commonly known name here on the Gold Coast which is fortunate because the site is really energized by thing seeing the …coast and people happy and getting the benefits of their years of training.

W: Emma Howard of Equilibrium Health from the Gold Coast, what is the best way for people to get in touch with you?

E: We have a communication portal on our website which you mention earlier Wayne which is and on our contact us page on the website there is a portal for you to just simply make an inquiry on the email. Alternatively we have our practice landine 07 5528 2255 and we’ve got a mobile that’s manned pretty much 24/7 with exception of couple of wee hours of the morning and that goes thru to the message bank as well and that is 0434 493 307.

W: So plenty of ways to get in touch with you there Emma. Thank you for your time this morning, I do appreciate it.

E: Most welcome Wayne, thank you for having me.

W: I’ve been in conversation with Emma Howard, the Founder of Equilibrium Health on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia. If you’ve missed my conversation, the good news is we have a transcript on our website at And also on the website you can find links to an audio archive of the interview on both YouTube and SoundCloud. Thank you for listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!