Here we answer your most common questions about fees, rebates, private health cover, therapy sessions and questions about psychotherapy in general.
Fees & Payments
The fee for an individual session (normally 50 mins) is $190, including GST. Fees are due on the day of your appointment and you may pay by cash, EFTPOS, credit card, or direct deposit.
Medicare rebates of $129.55 per session are available for individual appointments with Angela. Up to 10 individual sessions can be claimed in a calendar year (6 sessions under the initial Mental Health Care Plan, and a further 4 sessions may be available under exceptional circumstances, following a review by your GP).
- Am I eligible? To be eligible for a Medicare rebate you must first see a GP, who will conduct an assessment.
- Do I need a Referral from my GP? You do not have to have a referral from your GP to see Angela, however without a referral you will have to pay the full fee (unless you have coverage through your private health fund – see below).
- How do I access the Medicare Rebate: Medicare rebates can be accessed in three steps:
- Visit your GP and discuss why you would like to see a psychologist. When making the GP appointment, ensure you ask for an extended consultation for a “Mental Health Care Plan”
- If your GP believes you are eligible they will complete a Mental Health Care Plan and can make a referral to the psychologist you would like to see.
- Progress will be reviewed with your GP after your first 6 sessions with Angela. Following this, if deemed appropriate by your GP, you will be eligible for an additional 4 sessions.
What is a Clinical Psychologist?
Clinical psychologists study the way people feel, think, act and interact. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress and to enhance well-being. Psychologists can assist people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, including those with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, eating disorders, and addictive behaviours, and more. Psychologists use evidence-based treatments and do not prescribe medication.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy may also be known as ‘therapy’ or ‘counselling’, & is a confidential and professional service that assists a person to become more self-aware and emotionally healthy. Therapy involves talking with an objective, yet caring, professional in a way that helps you to gain greater insight, perhaps a different perspective, solve a problem, change unhelpful & self-defeating behaviours, or learn better ways to manage difficult experiences. Therapy is often sought at times of change or crisis; however therapy can be helpful at any time to deepen self-understanding or to enhance well-being.
What should I expect in my first session?
It is normal to feel somewhat apprehensive or uncertain prior to your first session with a psychologist. My aim for our first session is for me to gain a comprehensive understanding of what has brought you to therapy at this time, what is & is not working currently in your life, some background information, & a sense of how you would like your life to be different. We will discuss the therapy process, and by the end of this session, I will give you some ideas on how we might be able to work together, and answer any questions you may have. One thing you can be guaranteed of is that I will provide a safe, nonjudgmental and caring environment.
How many sessions will I need?
The therapeutic process is different for everyone, & the number of sessions required will depend upon your own unique circumstances. It is similar to planting a garden – it is not helpful to go outside & check on it every 15 minutes. Some people see changes in a small number of sessions, while others may take longer. Some clients also prefer to work on their emotional development on a long term basis, which is ok. So while there is no set number, after 4-6 sessions, we should have some idea of whether we are making progress. At various points throughout treatment, we will also stop to review progress. I invite and welcome your feedback on the helpfulness of treatment at any stage in the process.
How many sessions can I have?
There is no limit to the number of sessions you may choose to have; however, the maximum number of sessions covered by Medicare in one calendar year is 10 (please see above). For some issues, you might not need this many sessions, but for others you might find it helpful to continue past 10 sessions.
How frequent will the sessions be?
Again, this depends on your circumstances, and your individual needs. I have found that it is initially most helpful to attend weekly. This helps to build momentum, and to support you in applying strategies and making changes in your life outside of therapy. As therapy proceeds, it may be effective to meet fortnightly, or longer, as you are consolidating changes. Sometimes, clients like to continue to “check-in” every few months after this, to maintain balance and keep on track. We will discuss the most appropriate frequency as we go.
What are the risks?
Not everyone benefits from every type of therapy. The evidence for the effectiveness of psychological treatment for a range of difficulties is very good. However, therapy can be difficult work, and you may at times experience distress as core difficulties and feelings arise. At other times, you may feel excited and empowered about the changes you are making. We can talk about how you are doing along the way & if it seems like this treatment is not beneficial, I will work with you to provide an appropriate alternative.
What if I have private health cover?
Some private health insurance policies cover psychological treatments. You are not able to use private health to cover the gap between the fee & the Medicare rebate, so you will need to make a decision about which way you claim.
Still have questions?
Contact Angela and she will be happy to assist. It is essential that you feel comfortable and safe with any psychologist, and that you have any questions answered to your satisfaction.
Please note: I am unable to provide on-call emergency or crisis services. In the event of an emergency or crisis, please contact your referring medical practitioner, nearest hospital emergency service, a family member/friend who may be able to assist &/or a community service that provides a crisis service (e.g. Lifeline 13 11 14).