What should I expect on my first visit?

On the first visit, I ask you to come about 10 minutes early to fill out some paperwork.

I will come and meet you and introduce myself and we will get started. I will talk to you about the limits of confidentiality and important information, for example the cancellation policy.

This doesn’t take very long and then we get onto information gathering about your situation. It can be helpful for you to decide what is your hoped for outcome from the sessions.

I will ask you some questions and we will decide what needs to happen to reach your goal.

How long is a counselling session?

A session is 50 to 55 minutes long.

How many sessions will I need?

It really depends on your goal. You may only need one session to get a bit of advice about your current situation. Or you may prefer to have ongoing support over a longer period of time. Some situations require tenacity and perseverance and can take longer to resolve. This is something we talk about in the first session.

When should I seek counselling?

The earlier the better. If you feel you aren’t coping with your situation it is best to reach out as soon as you can. Most people report that the simple act of having someone to talk to makes all the difference. Reaching out now is always the best time.

Am I eligible for the Medicare rebate?

If you are eligible for Medicare, then you can receive the rebate with a Mental Health Care Plan in place through your GP. You need to organise this with your GP, and this can be done at any stage. You may decide you would like a session (or sessions) without the plan and this is fine – it is simply a higher out of pocket cost. Once you have the plan we can organise the rebate and I will do this for you to save you the visit to Medicare. The rebate for the service I offer is $84.80. There is a gap to pay over and above this amount. You are eligible for up to 10 sessions in a calendar year with this plan in place.

More Answers

Does it mean I am crazy if I want to see a psychologist?

Not at all. All it means is that you are seeking advice from someone not related to your social circle that can provide an objective opinion and support to you. I have years of training and experience, and know without a doubt that people aren’t crazy, they just don’t have the right support to help them through their situation.

How and when do I pay?

Payment is required at the time of the session.

Can I receive a rebate from my private health fund?

My service comes under Psychology items with private health funds. You cannot claim both Medicare and health fund rebates at the same time. Health funds request that if a Mental Health Care plan is in place, that these sessions be used first. Some funds make a distinction between Clinical Psychology and Psychology, in which case you should check what you are covered for under your policy. Every fund rebates differently and you can find this out from your provider.

What is the difference between Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Counsellors?

It is a matter of qualification. Psychiatrists are doctors who have specialised in talk therapy and they can prescribe and manage medications.

Psychologists and counsellors are trained in talk therapy but do not prescribe medications. Different training streams specialise in certain types of interventions.

In a way, it doesn’t matter what the qualification level is – you need to feel comfortable with your therapist and feel that you have a good working relationship with that person. That could be a psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor. All are equally effective when the relationship is a good fit for the client.

Will I receive a diagnosis?

This depends. I don’t diagnose as a standard part of my work, however sometimes this can be helpful and provide much relief. It depends on your reason for coming and this is something we talk about when we meet.