Psychology - FAQ
If I have a mental health problem, how can a psychologist help me?
Psychologists specialise in providing therapies for mental health problems. These therapies are effective at treating common mental health conditions including anxiety and depression and most childhood problems.
What is a psychologist?
Psychologists study the way people feel, think, act and interact. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress and promote emotional wellbeing. Psychologists are experts in human behaviour and have studied the brain, memory, learning and human development. Psychologists can assist people who are having difficulty controlling their emotions, thinking and behaviour, including those with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, serious enduring mental illness, addictive behaviours and childhood behaviour disorders.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in the area of mental health and sometimes work together for the benefit of a patient. Generally speaking, psychologists assist mentally healthy people find better ways of dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, coping with illness etc. Where as psychiatrists mainly treat people with longstanding mental illness such as schitzophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists have a medical degree and are able to prescribe medication. Where as psychologists have undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in human behaviour followed by supervised experience and professional registration. To be registered as a psychologist requires a minimum of 6 years study with a final 2 years of experience in the field.
Can I go directly to the psychologist?
You can go directly to psychologist; however this will not allow you to gain access to a potential Medicare rebate through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). In order to be eligible for a Medicare rebate, you must be referred by a medical practitioner, such as one of our GPs, or your psychiatrist or paediatrician. If one of our GPs sees you, they will complete a detailed mental health assessment, and where clinically indicated, will prepare a Mental Health Care Plan before referring you to a psychologist.
What is the new Medicare rebate for mental health services?
This is the introduction of new Medicare items for psychological treatment by registered psychologists. This service provides considerable assistance to people living with mental health problems, allowing them greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental health care. Under the Medicare scheme, all registered psychologists, who are endorsed by Medicare Australia, can provide treatment for mental health problems. All psychologists at our clinic are endorsed by Medicare Australia.
What is meant by mental disorder under the new Medicare Rebate?
Mental disorder is a term used to describe a range of clinically diagnosable disorders that significantly impact upon a person’s emotions, thoughts, social skills and decision-making. This includes patients with mental disorders arising from:
Under the Medicare scheme, what will it cost me to see someone with mental health expertise? The out-of-pocket cost to you and the Rebate available from Medicare varies depending on the;
Our mental health counsellors and psychologists generally consult for a full 1 hour session. For further information about Our Fees and applicable Medicare Rebates, please visit Our Fees by clicking here >>>
Under the scheme, eligible patients can generally receive up to 12 individual services in a calendar year. If you are referred by one of our doctors, he/ she will assess your progress after the first six sessions.
What about my private health insurance?
You cannot use your private health insurance ancillary cover to top up the Medicare rebates for these services. As in, the "out of pocket" expense cannot be paid or reduced by private health insurance cover. On this basis, you will need to decide if you will use Medicare or private health insurance 'extras' to pay for psychological services you receive. You can either access rebates from Medicare by following the claim process or claim where available on your private health insurer’s ancillary benefits. The decision to access benefits under Medicare or your health fund can be discussed with your doctor.
How many sessions can I expect my treatment to require?
Everyone is different and because of this, different treatment protocols are needed to deal with different issues. It is usually possible to give a patient general idea of the type of treatments that we offer in relation to their issue and indicate to them how long it will take. If you are considering therapy, we encourage you to call us to further discuss your situation. Our Practice Manager is always happy to assist with any enquiries you may have. As a general rule, around 20% of patients attend for a single session, with most patients attending between 3 – 6 sessions. We have some longer term clients but as an overall proportion, this group is very small.
How can I make an appointment?
The easiest way to make an appointment is by phoning us on (08) 8232-7372. Alternatively, you request an appointment time by using our online form. In some cases, we will require a referral from your General Practitioner, which may or may not be one of our general practitioners. If you are seeking referral from one of our general practitioners, you should arrange a longer consultation to allow sufficient time for a detailed mental health assessment.
How do I pay for my visit?
At the conclusion of your consultation, we require payment of the full amount upfront (i.e. Our Fee). We accept cash, cheque and have EFTPOS facilities on-site. If a rebate is available via Medicare, we can assist by helping you claim your Medicare rebate back on the spot, using Medicare Easyclaim. To make this possible, we will need you to bring along your Medicare Card and a debit card linked to either a Savings or Cheque account. Your rebate is paid directly into your savings or cheque account almost immediately (10-15mins). If you are accessing a rebate under private health insurance extras, we will provide you with a tax invoice and receipt, so you can claim the benefits from your fund.