August 12, 2010

ACC - Getting Assessed for Counselling.

Well, we all know the drill now. You apply to ACC for counselling and they get you accessed by one of their paid (usually) clinical psychologists to see whether you're eligible. So far so good, right? Wrong!

What is wrong with this picture? 

Well, first of all, you as the ACC client cannot choose a clinical psychologist yourself even if, god forbid, you've been seeing one prior to your claim. ACC don't think that's fair, on them. I mean, you may have struck up too much of a rapport (as if that were a bad thing) and as a result, the report could be bias - against ACC but pro you for a claim. So no, they assign their own, someone they claim is impartial but at the end of the day, their job is to try and find ways in which ACC do not have to process you claim or pay you any compensation. 

If we turned this situation over to the legal world, it can be likened to entering Court whereby you have to "defend" against their lawyer/clinical psychologist saying you have no entitlement. Unlike in Court however, you are not allowed independent counsel, you must defend yourself and against accusations you will know nothing about until you sit in the dock. 

Too bad if you're suffering from the very thing you need help with - depression, anxiety, cloudy memories - cause that will go against you as someone who really hasn't got it together enough to have a claim realised. ACC will claim you're too unstable and delay the claim process for anything up to a few years where you will then spend the same amount of time, desperately trying to suppress your symptoms just so you can hopefully process to the next level and gee, just get some help for God sake.  

In any event, you would think someone who went through that process, was accused of being far too unstable to have their claim approved (I mean she was only just raped right?) would, after years of delay, be met with a little more understanding, right? Wrong again. This particular woman, deemed to be unstable went on to spend years highly medicated in order to suppress the very symptoms they are now, currently, trying to access.  How the hell does that work?

In their more recent line of questioning (as there have been five previous assessments all costing the tax payer thousands of dollars), the clinical psychologist is intent on assigning a proportion of the woman's symptoms on anything other than the initial rape. It's like there is a pie that needs to be cut up and distributed - 20% goes to having a dysfunctional childhood, 10% to that boyfriend who broke your heart and made you feel like crap...and so on. With any (ACC) luck, they'll only really be responsible for the meagre 20-30% left over and that, my dear friends, will be your lump sum/living allowance calculation entitlement. 

The irony... no actually that is not the right word... the pathetic, abusive, inhumane madness behind all this is, ACC will not process your claim if you are unwell. You are deemed to be too unstable. Your encouraged to get better on your own and with no assistance, you know, so they can then assess your needs but if you do this, if you do try and "get better" they will turn around and claim you're cured and don't need their help. 

Oh don't worry, it's not all that heartless. They do throw in a lot of sympathetic "awes" and "arghs" along the way which is the least these ACC assessors can do at $2000 an hour,  but this "damned if you do, damned if you don't" mentality really needs a kick up the arse. 

My advice? Buy a lotto ticket and spend the winnings on private counselling. At the end of the day, you'd have more chance at winning that than getting a claim through the shameful ACC system. If all else fails, join a support group and get "rightfully" pissed off. Vote with your feet!    


  1. Yip, and if you go to an assessment and they say, "Do you have a family history of mental illness"... be sure to say 'NO' even if you do. As, they will say the mental injury is not a result of the assault but genetics.

    Also, don't offer ANY information about your family (especially if your parents divorced or there was any other dysfunction) as they then apportion your current mental injury off to that rather than the sexual abuse.

    Also, don't discuss any big life changes or recent events (ie: shifting, loss of job, being burguled etc) as they again apportion that off to your current presentation/impairment.

  2. Noticing a wee pattern here people?

    My new word for the week is a cynality... a wholesome healthy blend of cynical+reality... and ACC have the nerve to say we're not nuts!

  3. I am feeling so screwed up today and it's all ACC's fault

  4. Hi Anon,

    If you like, you could email me and I could see if there are some people that could help you. As I'm not sure which was ACC have screwed up (cause there are too many to count) I am not sure how much help I can be - but I do know some very clever ACC people for the people, if you know what I mean.

  5. I suppose if you're as politically involved in sexual abuse as you seem to be Jax, ACC is justified in protecting it's interests.


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