Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Clinical Psychologist?
Clinical psychologists have at least six years of university training that includes supervised practice. They are trained to use evidence-based therapies and interventions that have been shown through research to be effective to deal with a variety of problems relating to emotions, behaviour, and thoughts. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress and to enhance and promote emotional health.
Why see a Clinical Psychologist or Registered Psychologist?
Clinical Psychologists have completed six years of university training and Registered Psychologists have completed four years of university training. All Psychologists are legally required to be registered with the national registration board, the Psychology Board of Australia, in the same way medical practitioners must be registered. This means that they must be competent and follow a strict Code of Conduct. Not all counselors or therapists are Registered Psychologists. Seeing someone who is registered ensures you receive high quality ethical treatment.
Can I see a Clinical Psychologist under Medicare?
Individuals who meet criteria for a clinical disorder (e.g. depression, anxiety disorders, an eating disorder, alcohol dependence or abuse, grief, adjustment and so on) are eligible for Medicare rebates for psychological services. You will need a GP or Psychiatrist referral to claim the rebate. Your GP will need to complete a detailed assessment and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan before referring you to a Psychologist. It is important to book a long appointment with your GP if you plan to request a mental health care plan and referral.
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a referral to see a clinical psychologist. However, if you would like to claim a Medicare rebate you will require a Mental Health Care Plan and a referral. Your GP or Psychiatrist is able to provide such a plan if he or she thinks that a Mental Health Care Plan is necessary and appropriate.
How many sessions can I use per calendar year?
Under a Mental Health Care Plan and referral from your GP or Psychiatrist, you are entitled to 10 individual and 10 group Medicare rebatable sessions per calendar year (January to December).
Can I claim a rebate through my Private Health Fund?
Private Health Funds also provide rebates for psychological services, depending on your level of cover. However, you cannot use your private health cover to top up the Medicare rebates for these services. You will need to choose whether you want to claim through your Private Health Fund or through Medicare. You are able to see a psychologist for 10 sessions in a calendar year under Medicare and when this allowance is used up, you can claim future sessions through your Private Health Fund.
What should I expect from a therapy session?
I will initially conduct an assessment to help gain a more complete understanding of your problem and your life history. Following this, the sessions will be treatment focussed with the aim of teaching you strategies and skills to help you with your problems.
Is my information confidential?
Any information disclosed in sessions is confidential and cannot be communicated to anyone else without your permission. There are, however, some ethical and legal limitations to protecting confidentiality and these will be discussed with you in the first session. If I need to discuss any information with another professional I will discuss this with you first and ask you to sign a document consenting to the release of information.