About Us

Welcome to the Ballarat Talking Cure Clinical Psychology Practice

This website reflects the respectful, understated style of our approach to the treatment of mental health issues.

In our practice we are two fully qualified and registered Clinical Psychologists who share rooms but work independently. Each of us offers the culmination of over 30 years of expertise in counselling and psychotherapy which includes an in-depth knowledge based on reputable theory, research and experience.

We offer a confidential environment with a personalized approach to the understanding and treatment of the following mental health difficulties:

  • Depression (Long-standing, recent, ante-natal and post-natal depression)
  • Anxiety, stress and panic attacks
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Grief and loss
  • Self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Fears and Phobias
  • General psychological and emotional problems

One of the aims of psychotherapy and counselling is to remove the barriers that prevent successful, creative and enjoyable everyday living.

Ballarat Clinical Psychologists

The Foundations and Thinking Underlying our Practice

"The talking cure" a therapeutic phrase coined 120 years ago was the method developed by the illustrious father of psychology Sigmund Freud and has been modernized to fit the many psychological issues of the 21st Century. This style of psychotherapy or counselling may be your treatment of choice if you prefer a deeper understanding that goes beyond strategies, with significant and meaningful shifts in your mental health and associated behavioural patterns. Over time, evidence has consistently demonstrated the psychological and physiological benefits of being assisted to express experiences, thoughts and feelings through words.

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Clinical Psychologists

Dr Phyllis Levy

Dr Phyllis Levy, B.Sc.Hons. M.Sc. Ph.D.

Registered AHPRA MAPS

Over 30 years experience as a Clinical Psychologist in private practice. Internationally trained in South Africa, U.S.A., U.K. and locally.

Erica Echstein

Erica Echstein, B.Soc.Sc. M.A.Clin.Psych.

Registered AHPRA MAPS

Over 30 years experience in Clinical Psychology with local and international training in London and South Africa. Accredited Supervisor with experience in teaching post-graduate trainee psychologists.

Both Clinical Psychologists have expertise in the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Life crises
  • Issues related to pregnancy
  • Post-natal anxiety and depression
  • Trauma, grief and loss
  • Self-confidence and Self-esteem
  • Fears and Phobias
  • General psychological issues

More About Us...

Talking through your issues with an experienced and sensitive clinical psychologist can assist you in understanding your symptoms and how and why they developed. This new understanding and increased awareness will assist you to achieve valuable and long lasting behavioural, psychological and neurological changes.

Being able to recognize and understand the origins and possible causes of the mental health issue which has affected you, is an extremely important aspect of the treatment plan. The psychological work required for this process is likely to be of a slow and careful nature but once you gain the new awareness, the desired changes start to take place at their own, appropriate pace. Under these conditions, you can begin to experience general improvements that include symptom-reduction, creative and flexible coping skills, more constructive thinking patterns and increased self-awareness, self-confidence and self-respect in your everyday life.

"At 18 you worry about what everyone thinks of you. At 40 you don't care. At 60 you realise no one was thinking about you anyway! "

—Daniel G. Amen

"Analysis does not set out to make pathological reactions impossible, but to give the patient's ego freedom to decide one way or another."

— Sigmund Freud

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

—Nelson Mandela

Psychotherapy and Counselling

An overview
There are many approaches to psychotherapy and counselling. It may be confusing for you to decide which orientation would be most beneficial and suitable.

Our method is based on over a hundred years of theoretical knowledge right up to and including the latest neuroscientific research. Neuroscience research has demonstrated that psychotherapy is a powerful tool in facilitating constructive changes in brain functioning. This in turn enables positive changes to entrenched and non-beneficial behaviour patterns, moods, feelings and thought processes which may have contributed to mental health issues.

Many psychotherapy or counselling approaches offer strategies and short-term treatment (6-10 sessions). Depending on the nature and duration of the mental health condition and the desired outcome, our treatment may be short or longer term. Recent research suggests that a longer-term psychotherapy is more likely to consolidate and stabilize these changes. There is no defined time limit for treatment and this decision is usually informed by your own state of well-being. You and your clinical psychologist will discuss when an ending is appropriate.

It is important to recognize that who you are today, how you think, how you behave and interact with others is shaped and influenced by your early relationships and experiences as well as your personality and current personal experiences. Our approach offers an opportunity to work together with your clinical psychologist to explore the early learned patterns of relating and interacting in order to change those patterns that negatively impact on your everyday living.

Our counselling and psychotherapy offers you an opportunity to experience a different kind of relationship with your psychologist which is focused on helping you recognize unproductive, repetitive or destructive behaviour and relationship patterns. This new relationship experience is one of the crucial ways of helping you achieve the changes you want for an improved lifestyle.

Who will benefit?
Depression, anxiety and relationship difficulties are a relatively normal part of human experience. Everybody to a greater or lesser extent, experiences the ups and downs of life but sometimes these difficulties become too overwhelming to deal with even with the use of medication. In an exciting advance in brain studies, the latest neuroscience research offers validation that psychotherapy is a powerful facilitator of improved well-being.

As well as the above, many people feel that they have no sense of themselves, no sense of who they are and what they want or need. Some people are fearful of what others think of them, try too hard to please and in addition, self-confidence and self-esteem are low. The reasons for psychotherapy are numerous and sometimes people struggle to put into words what is worrying them or causing distress. An aspect of the work is to assist in finding the words to describe, to communicate and then to understand the focus of the psychotherapeutic work.

Fees and Location

We are registered Providers for Medicare. Medicare rebates are available and our rates include a gap fee. The rates charged by Clinical Psychologists per consultation are higher than fees charged by Generalist Psychologists - this is because of the additional specialist years of study and training. However, the Medicare rebate is also higher. At the present time, Medicare offers up to 10 rebated sessions per calendar year (January to December). You may or may not use all of the Medicare sessions and if you do, you may also decide to continue the psychotherapeutic work in a private capacity. In order to access the Medicare funding, you require a referral from a GP – the GP will provide you with a Mental Health Care Plan and Assessment which you would bring to your first Psychology consultation.

You can choose to access our services privately without the referral process. If you have Private Health Cover, you may be able to claim a percentage of the fees.

Your privacy and confidentiality are important to us and will be given priority.

We are located in Lake Gardens, Ballarat 3355.

We would prefer you to contact us by telephone rather than e-mail or text.
During office hours 9-5:

Dr Phyllis Levy/ Tel: (03) 5337 6615 or 0405 630 365

Erica Echstein/ Tel: 0421 165 230


Erica Echstein is an accredited and experienced supervisor who has over 30 years experience in training and supervising psychologists and psychotherapists in private practice and university settings. Currently she supervises psychotherapists, mental health clinicians, psychologists and trainee clinical psychologists who work in a variety of settings.

She has completed the STAP (Supervisee Trainee and Accreditation Process) training as well as other specialized courses for supervisors.

Erica offers supervision to trainee and qualified psychologists, clinical psychologists and psychotherapists. She has a particular interest in supervising psychologists and psychotherapists who are seeking training and/or supervision in psycho-analytically informed psychotherapy.

Erica is a clinical supervisor at Victoria University. She also offers private supervision to beginning and experienced clinicians in her private practice.