FRIENDLY FACES: Harbour City Family Practice doctors Sameer
FRIENDLY FACES: Harbour City Family Practice doctors Sameer "Sam" Pabalkar and Mushoriwa "Mushi" Zinatsa (right) are happy to welcome practice psychologist Colin Desforges (centre). Noor Gillani

New psychologist wants to help patients out of dark places

HARBOUR City Family Practice has welcomed a part-time practice psychologist.

Psychologist Colin Desforges started at the practice in November and works Mondays and Tuesdays, spending the rest of his time in the Gold Coast at a sister clinic.

Mr Desforges's career in psychology began almost three decades ago as a mature-aged student.

"I've been around for a long time,” he said.

"I've worked in three hospital systems, drug and alcohol clinics, worked with veteran communities too.”

He said his role at Harbour City Family Practice involved dealing with various mental health problems, and some were more common than others.

"Well of course the bread and butter is depression, anxiety and stress,” he said.

"Then you get people with trauma who have been in very traumatic circumstances including domestic violence, abuse and childhood neglect.

"There's an element and history of that in unfortunately too many people's lives.”

He said helping manage trauma and men's mental health issues was a highly rewarding aspect of his job.

"Working with the police, army, navy, air force, paramedics,” he said.

"I've been involved with men's centres and men's health groups and I started a men's group too because I knew what it was like as a male to not have a place to go.

"Women are much more likely to reach out to a doctor and say 'I'm having a problem'.

"Men unfortunately are still trapped in that masculine identity where they constrict, they withdraw and isolate.”

Mr Desforges offers bulk-billing for patients with Mental Health Care Plans and said he had always done so because he believed psychology services should be affordable for everyone.

"It's just my passion and the reality is many of my clients can't afford it, they just can't,” he said.

Following Mr Desforges's arrival, Harbour City Family Practice welcomed Dr Antony Madelle in January.

The practice offers bulk-billing for patients under 16 and over 65.

A standard consultation for people between these ages costs $50.