You probably have a few questions, especially if you haven't seen a psychologist before. We've provided answers to some frequently asked questions below, but please contact us if there's anything else you'd like to know.
What is a psychologist?
Psychologists are experts in human behaviour. They use scientific methods to study factors that influence the way that people think, feel and behave, and evidence-based strategies and interventions to help people overcome life challenges and improve their psychological wellbeing. Psychologists complete six to eight years of university studies and training in order to become APHRA registered health practitioners. Extensive continuing professional development is also required for a psychologist to maintain their registration. Psychologists are different from counsellors and therapists, who are not registered health practitioners. Psychologists do not prescribe medication but often work with GPs or psychiatrists who may prescribe medication as part of treatment.
Can a psychologist really help me?
Research suggests that counselling and psychotherapy is helpful for anyone who genuinely wishes to improve their psychological wellbeing and make positive changes in their life. To gain maximum benefit, treatment needs to be collaborative and individuals need to play an active role in working with their psychologist.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
The terms “counselling” and “psychotherapy” are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight distinction. Counselling generally refers to short-term consultation while psychotherapy typically refers to longer-term treatment. Counselling typically deals with present issues that are easily resolved on the conscious level whereas psychotherapy intensively and extensively examines a person’s psychological history. In other words, counselling is more concerned with practical or immediate issues and outcomes while psychotherapy is more focused on helping a person understand their (usually longstanding) life problems as a result of experiences over time. Psychotherapy goes much deeper to uncover root causes of problems, often resulting in more dramatic changes. Ultimately, psychotherapy aims to empower the individual by freeing them from the grip of unconscious triggers through increased self-awareness. Psychotherapy is not always necessary and whether (or not) it is suitable depends on the client’s needs and goals.
How long is a session?
A session is approximately 50 minutes long.
Do you have after hours services?
Yes. We provide counselling and psychotherapy on Saturdays and some weeknights.
I’m a little nervous. What should I expect from my first session?
During your first appointment, your psychologist will invite you to talk about what has brought you to the practice and what you hope to achieve in your session(s) together. If there’s time, your psychologist may also take a personal and clinical history to better understand your situation and concerns. By the end of your first session, your psychologist should be able to provide you with an overview of what to expect from future sessions. If you have a specific concern and only intend to have a single “once-off” session, your psychologist will offer you a brief overview and some strategies to take away with you. Our psychologists understand that first sessions can be anxiety provoking, especially for those who haven’t seen a psychologist before. We will do everything we can to make you feel comfortable. We are committed to making your experience a positive one.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions you will need will depend upon the concerns you are experiencing and your own individual goals. Moreover, the therapeutic process is different for each individual. Some people see changes in a small number of sessions while others require longer-term therapy. Some people have identifiable and specific concerns that can be readily addressed while others have more complex and embedded issues that require greater unpacking and reflection. Some people require short-term counselling while others require longer-term psychotherapy. At the end of your first appointment, your psychologist will be able to talk to you about how many sessions they think you will need. The choice is always yours, however. You are welcome to set a number of sessions at the outset, or discontinue treatment when you see fit.
Are my sessions confidential?
Yes. All personal information gathered by the psychologist during the provision of the psychological service will remain confidential and secure except where:
It is subpoenaed by a court, or otherwise required or authorised by law; or
Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at serious and imminent risk; or
Your prior approval has been obtained to:
a) provide a written report to another professional or agency (e.g., a GP or a lawyer)
b) discuss the material with another person (e.g., a parent, an employer, or a school).
If you have been referred by a GP or psychiatrist and hold a Mental Health Care Plan, it is usual practice for your psychologist to provide your doctor with a written letter after the sixth and tenth sessions. You can advise us if you do not wish for this to occur, or if you would like us to withhold certain information from the letter.
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a referral to see a psychologist privately. You do, however, need a doctor’s referral or Mental Health Care Plan if you wish to claim rebates from Medicare.
What is the cost of a psychology session?
The Australian Psychological Society has a Schedule of Recommended Fees for private practice psychological services. A fee of $251 is recommended for a 45- to 60-minute consultation. At $190, our fees are significantly lower than the recommended rate as we aim to make our services more affordable. Medicare or Private Health Insurance rebates may apply.
Do you have concession rates?
Armadale Psychology offers a concession rate of $160 per session to clients who hold a Centrelink Health Care Card.
What is the Medicare rebate and how can I access it?
Under the Australian Government’s Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative, individuals are able to claim a limited number of Medicare rebates for psychological therapy with a registered psychologist, which can reduce their out-of-pocket expense by a minimum of $84.80 per session. Individuals can claim for a maximum of ten sessions per calendar year. To be eligible for a Medicare rebate, clients must meet certain criteria and obtain a referral or Mental Health Care Plan from their GP or psychiatrist. We recommend that clients speak with their doctor to see whether they are eligible for a Medicare rebate. Once you bring your treatment plan to your initial appointment, we can process the rebate for you on the spot after each session, with funds transferred directly to a nominated bank account.
Our psychologists are also registered with Medicare to see clients under the Helping Children with Autism initiative, Better Start for Children with Disability initiative and Chronic Disease Management initiative, and for Non-directive Pregnancy Support Counselling. The number of sessions subsidised by Medicare and the Medicare rebates for these services vary - please contact us if you'd like more information.
Can I claim a rebate from my Private Health Insurance?
Armadale Psychology psychologists are registered with major private health insurance providers. Most private health extras policies cover a portion of the cost of psychology sessions. Typically, the rebate is about $35 per session for up to $300 per year. As the rebate usually varies depending on the provider and level of cover, we advise clients to call their private health insurer for more information. Clients are provided with an electronic receipt at the end of each session, which they can use to claim a rebate from their private health insurer.
Can I claim a rebate from both Medicare and my Private Health Insurance?
No. You can only claim one rebate (from either Medicare or your private health insurer) per session.
When and how do I pay for my session?
Payment is required on the day. The full fee is to be paid at the end of each session, and payment can be made with cash or using our Eftpos facilities (savings, cheque or credit accounts). Medicare rebates are then processed on the spot and transferred directly into a nominated bank account. When claiming a private health insurance rebate, clients are required to claim from their provider using a receipt.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
Armadale Psychology requires 48 hours notice (to the hour) to avoid a cancellation fee. A 50% consultation fee will be charged if less than 48 hours notice is received and a 100% consultation fee will be charged if less than 24 hours notice is received. This cancellation policy includes cancellations, rescheduling or failure to attend appointments. Medicare or private health insurance rebates cannot be claimed on a cancellation fee. Please note that we always offer to send our clients a courtesy text or email reminder prior to their appointment, as we understand that life can get busy and appointments can sometimes be forgotten.