The appointment fee is $160
The Medicare rebate is $86.15 so your out of pocket expense may be $73.85
Medicare rebates are available for the treatment of a range of mental health problems (for example, depression or anxiety). Your GP can assess your eligibility for a referral through a mental health assessment and then prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan as part of making a referral. You will need to book a longer session with your GP to enable time for this.
Medicare rebates are available for up to 10 consultations in a calendar year with a registered psychologist. Rebates may also be available through private health insurers’ ‘Extras’ schemes. You are not permitted, however, to use Medicare and private health insurance for the same consultation.
- To receive the Medicare rebate, you need to have a referral from a GP or a psychiatrist.
- If you do have a referral (a Mental Health Treatment Plan), please bring it with you in the first session, as well as your Medicare card.
- The rebate covers 10 counselling session per calendar year and is $86.15 and I am able to process the Medicare rebate automatically for you during payment.
- Alternatively, you may have cover from your private health insurance, or pay the full fee yourself.
- You don’t need a GP referral to make an appointment with a psychologist (but it is a requirement if you want to claim the Medicare rebate).
Who needs counselling?
Practically anyone can benefit from counselling. It is a common misconception that you need to have a diagnosed mental health illness in order to seek professional help. Sometimes people seek counselling to deal with workplace stress, a relationship break-up, general feelings of unhappiness with no obvious cause, or to talk through a particular family issue. Whatever the cause, people often take a while to make up their mind and seek professional help. For example, research shows that it’s typically 6 months between the time when a person first thinks they have some psychological issue and the time they actually walk into the counselling room.
How can therapy help?
Counselling can help in many different ways, below are some of them:
- It provides a safe and non-judgmental space to discuss personal issues that you may not wish to talk about with family or friends.
- It allows you to gain a different perspective on things – often when we are in the midst of a situation it is hard to see all angles or remain objective.
- It helps you come up with various solutions and approach problems in ways you may not have considered before.
- It helps you gain insight into your thinking patterns and core beliefs that often operate under conscience yet guide a lot of your feelings and actions.
- It can teach you new skills in how to better regulate emotions, resolve interpersonal issues, problem solve effectively, or increase self-care.
How do you choose a psychologist?
Choosing the right psychologist for you is very important because establishing a good relationship is the foundation for effective therapeutic work. Research has demonstrated that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is more important than other factors including the type of therapy or the amount of work experience. What it means for a person beginning therapy is that they should pay particular attention to how they feel with their psychologist – do you feel heard and understood, do you feel comfortable in their company, are you able to connect on a personal level? You should listen to your gut feeling and if you don’t click by the second session, move on and find someone else – it’s not you or therapy not working for you, it just means you haven’t found a good match.
What to expect from the first session?
Typically, the first session will feel different from most consequent sessions as there is a lot of history and questions to get through. I seek to get an overview of what is going on in your life currently, what issues have prompted you to seek help, what is your living situation (relationships, work, family etc), and your mental health history. I will also give you a general overview of what to expect from therapy, how it works, and answer any questions you may have. At the end of the session I summarise the main points, give you an opinion of how it may be best to proceed and clarify with you your goals for therapy.
How long will I need counselling?
This is entirely subjective and can vary based on many factors, including your level of motivation, the type of issues presented, financial resources etc. In addition, you do not need to attend therapy weekly unless you are starting out or you are dealing with more pressing or serious issues. I often suggest to clients to start weekly or every two weeks for the first 4-5 sessions and then spread them out if appropriate. Alternatively, if I think you need ongoing support or are at risk of harm, I will strongly encourage you to commit to weekly sessions for a while and try to be flexible so we can make sure this is available to you.