psychmatch

Psychmatch is an early stage social enterprise aimed at improving treatment outcomes in mental health.

We’re developing an e-health platform that matches a client and psychologist on their working relationship.

We know from a large body of research that a good therapeutic alliance has a significant impact on the success of treatment. But we also know that the drop-out rate for treatment is between 17-50%. Some people drop out for reasons that can’t be controlled for. We want to reduce elements of the dropout rate that can be controlled for.

Close to 80% of people tell us they are not at all confident in identifying the ‘right’ psychologist and more than 60% tell us they personally know of friends or family who have had difficulty finding the right psychologist for them.

Given government spending on mental health is $6.6 billion a year, we think reducing that error rate is essential.

The predictors of a good therapeutic alliance are also a matter of ongoing research. We want to increase the evidence base for different match characteristics and share our findings without paywalls.

Key Ideas

What to match?

Earlier research has tended to examine matches on general values and attitudes that may be quite separate to the processes occurring in treatment between a client and their psychologist. We think psychologist–client matches in attitudes, beliefs, and expectations may be the more direct and important predictors of treatment outcomes. We also acknowledge that more general traits such as personality and similar life experiences have been found to be good indicators of treatment success.

As such, we've adopted the best of both worlds. Our questionnaire is based on psychological scales focused on specific attitudes and perceptions as well as general values.

We match on:

  • how parties prefer to deal with a problem
  • their goals for treatment
  • their personality types and
  • their shared life experiences.

Importantly, we aim to increase the evidence base for different match characteristics and share our findings free of charge. Historical studies are of small sample sizes and the results have generally not been replicable.

Why online?

The platform is fully online using video counselling through an existing messaging app of your choice. Using a delivery method that is native or familair to you may help overcome attendance barriers. On a practical level, it allows psychologists to follow-up late attendees and still do the session. Importantly, consistent studies have found no real difference in treatment outcomes between online vs F2F counselling.

Note: you can choose an in-person consultation when booking, if you happen to be in the same city as your matched psychologist.

F2F @ Stage 2

It's coming! Our aim is to provide ACCESS to better treatment outcomes for everyone so we understand that online consultations will work for some but not others. Watch this space for wider offerings of in-person matches.

advocacy

Online consultations are not available for everyone. Medicare limits online consultations to those living in rural and remote areas.

We are working hard to get this changed. We think online consultations are a valuable treatment option and should be available to all Australians.

Help our advocacy activities by using Psychmatch, liking or following us on social.

Are you a psychologist?

Join our trial. Get free access to clients and improve access to treatment.

Find out more here.

How it works

  1. Psychologists complete our questionnaire. We hand select those who become trial partners to ensure versatility of characteristics in our pool of providers.
  2. You complete our questionnaire.
  3. We match the results and give you 3 referrals. You also get a report of your questionnaire results.
  4. You book with us and choose which existing messaging app you prefer to use for your video counselling. We recommend Snapchat, Signal or WhatsApp for their reputation in privacy and security.
  5. If you happen to be in the same city as the Psychologist you can choose an in-person consultation when booking.
  6. So that your sessions are covered by Medicare, you go to your GP for a mental health plan and referral letter for your chosen psychologist.
  7. Your psychologist will call you to start the sessions or you go to them if applicable.
  8. After an agreed time, we test the match and verify that sessions are going well.

Please note: we are at the testing stage. This site does not currently have matching functionality.




Research

A big part of our minimum viable product is research. At the moment the scales i.e. questionnaires we use are 90+ questions long and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. This length is necessary to ensure we get accurate readings. However as more people complete the questionnaire we can do factor analysis to shorten the questions while still keeping the results robust. Our aim is to get 300 people to complete the questionnaire at this testing stage.

In order to ensure the match is effective we will need to do a follow up questionnaire once you’re part way through your sessions. This revision point is important because it allows us to properly test if the criteria for matching actually works for you.

We want to share this knowledge with the world, without paywalls, so that anyone can get better treatment outcomes. We’ve only been able to develop this tool through open source psychology networks. Once we are sustainable, we pledge to support open source knowledge either through donations, research partnerships or other initiatives.



About us

I’m a lawyer with a background in public policy and regulatory simplification. I started Psychmatch because the lack of medical information and comparison available to consumers has always bothered me from a public policy perspective. It is one of the few markets that is relatively closed and protected. This makes it difficult to find the right professional where word of mouth is often the best option. I hope to do better.

Some will argue that health professionals know best due to their extensive training and they may well be right. But there is also extensive research that supports patient led decision making and opening up the market as well.

On balance, I think why not give consumers the choice?

How much does this all cost?

The match is completely free.

You’ll of course have to pay when you go to see the psychologist.

Normally you get up to 10 free sessions a year covered by Medicare provided you have a mental health plan from a GP and you see a psychologist that bulk bills. That’s why we require 50% of our trial partner psychologists to bulk bill.

However online consultations are not freely available for everyone. Medicare limits online consultations to those living in rural and remote areas. We are working hard to get these rules changed. We think online consultations are a valuable treatment option and should be available to all Australians.

NOTE: you can choose an in-person consultation when booking, if you happen to be in the same city as your matched psychologist and your sessions will be covered by Medicare.

Who is this for?

Anyone who wants a more robust approach to selecting their psychologist.