What is a Psychologist?
Psychologists are defined as being experts in human behaviour, and have completed several years of university study on theories of human behaviour. This level of training prepares a psychologist to understand a range of common and more complex presenting concerns including depression, anxiety, adjustment difficulties, trauma, parenting issues, relationship difficulties, substance abuse and a range of other concerns. They also have training in specific therapeutic approaches which help people to improve their well-being.
There are numerous regulations and professional development requirements which are to be met in becoming a registered Psychologist. It is important to note that no such restrictions exist for others who use titles such as therapist or counsellor. This is why it is important to ask for a qualified Psychologist when looking for help with mental health issues.
Psychologists do not prescribe medication but can work with GPs or Psychiatrists who may prescribe medication as part of treatment.
How long does each session take?
A standard consultation is approximately 50 minutes in length.
Do you have after hours services?
Yes. I offer early evening sessions for clients who are unable to attend during business hours. Some appointments are also available on Saturdays.
How much does a consultation cost?
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) have a recommended rate of $254 for a standard one hour consultation. My fees are below this recommended rate at $175 for a standard consultation and $155 for concessions, to ensure that my practice is affordable to all members of the community.
Full payment is required at the time of the consultation and can be made by credit card or electronic funds transfer (EFTPOS). Where relevant, I can process your Medicare and Private Health Insurance rebates on site. Please contact me to find out more about my fees and rebates.
Do I need a referral to see a Psychologist?
You do not require a referral to see a Psychologist. However, if you wish to claim a rebate from Medicare through the Better Access Initiative, you will require a written referral from your doctor (GP, Pediatrician, Psychiatrist) in the form of a mental health care plan.
What is the Medicare rebate?
The Medicare rebate amount depends on the type of Psychologist you that you see. Clinical Psychologists attract a higher rebate than a consultant Psychologist. Your rebate may be higher than those outlined below if you have reached the Medicare safety net threshold for the calendar year.
If you have a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP), I will process your rebate after your consultation. Medicare will then deposit the rebate into your account directly.
How do I access the Medicare rebate?
To access the Medicare rebate for psychology services, you will need to see your doctor to discuss your mental health concerns. Your doctor (GP, Pediatrician or Psychiatrist) can then determine whether you are eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan. It is a common courtesy to book an extended consultation with your doctor so that they have adequate time to develop the care plan with you.
It is important that you bring your care plan with you to your first appointment. I can then process the rebate for you on site after your session. Be sure to bring your Medicare card and bank card, as the rebate will be refunded directly to your savings account.
Are there Private Health Insurance rebates?
There are private health insurance rebates for psychology services. However, eligibility depends on your individual level of cover, and whether you have relevant extras cover. Once you have checked with your insurance provider, and you have determined that you are eligible, I can then process your rebate on site.
Please note that you can only claim a rebate from one provider at a time. You cannot claim a rebate from Medicare and your private health insurer for the same session.
Are my sessions confidential?
Yes. All personal information gathered by me over the course of your assessment and therapy sessions remains confidential with the following exceptions:
- It is subpoenaed by a court or required by law; or
- Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at serious and imminent risk;
- Your prior approval has been obtained to:
- Provide a written report to another professional or agency. eg. a GP or a lawyer; or
- Discuss the material with another person, eg. employer.
Please note that if you have been referred by a medical professional on a Medicare plan, then it is common practice that a written report is provided on completion of sessions 6 and 10. Please discuss this further with me if you have any concerns.
Can I request reports?
Yes. Reports can be written for a range of purposes including Centrelink, schools, employers, WorkCover, doctors and specialists and other relevant individuals or agencies.
Pre-payment is generally required before a report is released, and the cost will depend on the type of letter or report required. The reports sent to your doctor after sessions 6 and 10 are exceptions – there is no fee for the brief progress reports sent to your doctor.
Is there a cancellation fee if I am unable to attend?
I ask for a minimum of 48 hours notice if you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment. Less than 48 hours will result in a late cancellation fee of $85. I will assist you to attend your appointments by sending you a courtesy reminder text message 48 hours before each appointment.
Do you bulk-bill?
To ensure that my practice is accessible to all members of the community, I may offer reduced rates (or bulk billing) to people experiencing significant financial hardship, domestic violence or homelessness. For clarification on fees please contact me to discuss your individual circumstances.
When do I know my problems are severe enough to see someone?
We all have times where we feel down or stressed, and it is considered to be a part of life. Usually these times pass and we begin to feel like our usual selves again. Sometimes these problems persist for a longer period of time, and start to interfere with our daily lives and our sense of well-being.
We are all individual and make decisions to seek help in different ways. The following list outlines some considerations in making the decision to seek the help of a Psychologist:
- Do you feel sad more often than not?
- Do you feel panicky or so nervous that you feel you are losing control?
- Is there a problem in your life that you think about almost all the time?
- Have you lost interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy?
- Do you feel distracted from school or work and have difficulty concentrating?
- Are you having sleep difficulties or are you sleeping too much?
- Do you experience disturbing thoughts or images which you are unable to control?
- Does your ability to control your temper cause you difficulties?
- Are you concerned about your pattern of past relationships which keep occurring?
- Are you relying on drugs or alcohol to help you cope?
- Do you find yourself more irritable than usual and toward those around you?
- Are you trying to cope with hurtful experiences from the past that are hard to talk about?
- Are family and friends telling you that they are concerned about you?
- Do you have thoughts about suicide?
- Are you having problems with your children (for example, behaviour or social skills)?
If you are unsure about whether you would benefit from seeing a Psychologist, please feel free to contact me to discuss your presenting concerns. I may be able to help you with your decision, or refer you to a service that may best suit your needs.
Does seeing a Psychologist mean that I am crazy?
No. There are many misconceptions and negative stereotypes that many people have which make them hesitant about seeking help for psychological concerns. As a result of these views, many people put off treatment when they could have been feeling better some time ago. It is important to acknowledge that many people seek treatment for mental health concerns over the course of their lives. Seeing a Psychologist indicates that you are struggling to cope with certain behaviours, thoughts or emotions, and that you would like to help to improve the way that you feel and behave. This is no different to seeing a medical doctor for a physical health problem.
Over the course of the initial sessions, I will likely describe your symptoms in the form of a diagnosis. The diagnosis assists me to describe the difficulties you are experiencing, to plan the appropriate treatment with you, and to provide relevant reports (where needed). However, a diagnosis does not define you, and it is not viewed negatively. We are all individuals and experience difficulties in our lives in unique ways. I will work with you to identify your individual needs and in achieving an improved sense of well-being.
What happens if I have a referral for my child to see a Psychologist?
Please note that I currently only work with adults and older adults. However, I would be happy to recommend a suitable service for you.