Dr Israel Berger

I am available for individual and family/relationship counselling and autism assessment (including ADOS-2) for adults and older teens, as well as consultations for medicinal cannabis and smoking cession. You do not need a referral; you can make a booking here. There is no Medicare rebate available for generalist telehealth services. You may be able to claim counselling services and private prscriptions from your private health fund. Additionally, self-managed and plan-managed NDIS participants can claim counselling services that I provide.

I focus my practice on telehealth to increase access to healthcare for people who have difficulty accessing face-to-face appointments, whether that is because of remoteness, disability, anxiety, or simply preference.  I do not at this time offer face-to-face appointments except to children and adolescents and their families through Relational Minds in Sunbury. Please contact me for more information.

Referrals for telehealth psychiatric consultations will be accepted for late 2024, as I complete my psychiatry training. Please ask your GP to send a referral to me directly. In the meantime, I am able to offer mental health services as a non-specialist. You can book an appointment here.

My approach:

I am autistic and come to clinical practice with the lived experience of ADHD, depression, life struggles, and the difficulty of finding help appropriate to my situation. I have put great effort into social skills and understanding others since I was a teenager. I believe that having experienced mental health difficulties has also made me a more understanding, empathetic, and responsive doctor. I go out of my way to ensure that my patients have a positive experience of seeking mental health assistance. I feel that I work especially well with autistic people, transgender people, people with attachment difficulties or trauma, and people who are experiencing crises in their life. I also enjoy working with people who have experienced psychosis, and I put effort into understanding their world. 

I believe in using an informed consent model, not gatekeeping, for access to gender affirmation services. After careful consideration, I became a member of AusPATH in 2022 due to consistent values including informed consent, and I have since joined the Board as the Treasurer. My aim is to help people consider their options, their own values, and their own goals from a vantage point of realism and having all the facts, nothing more. While I do psychotherapy with trans people, this is only for broader mental health issues and personal choice to engage in therapy. I do not do psychotherapy aimed at changing a person's gender or sexuality (conversion therapy) and support legislation aimed at making this practice illegal. 

I am also a member of the Australian & New Zealand College of Cannabis Practitioners, Australasian Integrative Medicine Association, International Association of Trauma Practitioners, Australia & New Zealand Association for Psychotherapy, and trainee of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. 

About me:

Outside of my clinical and research life, I am a civil celebrant. If you meant to go to that page, you can find it by clicking here. I also enjoy hobbies such as gaming, gardening, sewing, and knitting and love being in the bush. I also have cats and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Before joining the medical workforce, I completed my PhD in psychology at the University of Roehampton in London, where I focused on methodological issues in the qualitative method Conversation Analysis through the analysis of psychotherapy and everyday interactions. After medical school at the University of Sydney, I also have completed a Master of Psychiatry and PGCert in Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. I am currently completing a MMed (Pain Management) at the University of Sydney. 

I believe in engaging with multiple, overlapping subject areas and reject the idea that researchers and clinicians should hyperspecialize, neglecting the many factors that go into an individual or community's experience of health or even a single condition. As a result, my work integrates many aspects of health, incorporating communication and social determinants of health as well as ethical and methodological issues. I enjoy working with people of all ages while maintaining a holistic and developmental focus. I am committed to the idea that one should use methods appropriate to the research question rather than attempt to mould research questions to preferred methods. I also believe that clinical approaches should be tailored to the person seeking help. My top concern is doing what is best for the person in front of me, which does not always mean I get to use the most familiar or comfortable therapeutic approach for me but that which is best aligned with the person's concerns, ways of thinking, and ability to usefully engage with various approaches or ideas.

I am thus experienced in a range of therapies (including psychodynamic psychotherapy, projective cards, family therapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy, and psychopharmacology) and research methods (including conversation analysis, experiments, survey research, systematic reviews, grounded theory, program evaluation, and other qualitative and quantitative methods). I enjoy engaging with innovative research and bringing students into the interesting and expansive world of research and clinical practice.