FAQ’s

Psychology is all about helping the person in therapy to feel better, to make healthy decisions and set healthy boundaries, to move from a place of poor emotional health to good emotional health, to make connections with others, and to replace sadness, anxiety, anger, and frustration with happiness, peace, and hopefulness for the future.

When you are looking to find the right psychologist for you or a loved one there can be lots of questions that come up while you are contemplating that decision. Here is a list of our clinics most frequently asked questions to help you with your thought process.

Do I Need a referral?

You do not need a referral to see a Psychologist, however, if you wish to claim a Medicare rebate a referral from a GP or Psychiatrist is required. There are a number of referral pathways to Thriving Minds Psychology Clinic, if you are unsure or would like to know more please call us on 0428 088 8164 and we can assist you.

How long does it take?

Generally as session will last about 1 hour and clients attend between 6 – 10 sessions. However, this varies greatly depending on your concerns and goals and sessions attended may be much less or greater than this. Your Psychologist will work with you to develop a suitable treatment plan.

How many sessions on average do people see a psychologist for?

Every person has a different journey through therapy. This is largely dependent on why they are coming in and what it is that they are hoping to get out of the process.

Some people come to see a psychologist to develop coping strategies to reduce or manage symptoms of mental illness. This type of work can be short to medium term, but might also involve checking in less frequently over the longer-term to deal with setbacks or prevent relapse.

Other people come to therapy to understand long-standing patterns (such as relationship issues) that stem from experiences during their childhood, or to receive ongoing support. This type of work tends to happen over an extended period of time, although again, this is dependent on client preferences.

Sometimes people come to therapy for a one off session or just a handful of sessions to speak about a specific issue in their life or to talk through a particular concern. Although problems and challenges are typically what bring people to a psychologist (at least initially), therapy can also be a space for self-development and growth.

Who may benefit from seeing a psychologist?

Psychological counselling with Melissa might be helpful if you are experiencing:

  • Persistent low, sad mood
  • Feeling stressed or anxious
  • Difficulties in personal or professional relationships
  • Feeling lost or feeling like you are treading water with no real purpose, direction or meaning
  • Difficulties with weight or body image
  • Feelings of suicide or self harm
  • Difficulty finding balance in life
  • Difficulties in prenatal or postnatal period, including: infertility, IVF, and coping during times of change.

Can I use my Medicare card to receive a rebate?

To be eligible for a Medicare rebate, book an appointment with your regular GP and request a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP).  Your referring doctor will assess your eligibility then email or fax your MHCP to our Thriving Minds Psychology Clinic.  Our team will then be in contact with you to make an appointment, alternatively you can use the booking system to book an appointment.  Your MHCP entitles you to a significant Medicare rebate for all of our services.

Please note, when booking your appointment with your referring doctor, please advise their reception staff you will be requesting a Mental Health Care Plan. A long consultation may be required. The paperwork associated with your MHCP will be required prior to commencing your first appointment with the Psychologist if you intend on claiming the Medicare rebate.

How many sessions can I have with a medicare rebate?

Your Mental Health Care Plan entitles you to a Medicare rebate initially for six. At six sessions, your Psychologist may make a recommendation to your referring GP for a review. Your GP may then extend your MHCP and allocate an additional four sessions, thereby making ten sessions in a calendar year available to you.

Please note, when booking your appointment with your referring doctor, please advise their reception staff you will be requesting a Mental Health Care Plan. A long consultation may be required. The paperwork associated with your MHCP will be required prior to commencing your first appointment with the Psychologist if you intend on claiming the Medicare rebate.

What if I need more than 10 sessions?

In special circumstances, your psychologist or social worker may request a Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Plan from your referring doctor. If you have not used this plan for alternative services previously, this plan offers an additional 5 sessions with a reduced rebate. For CDM services, the gap fee changes. Please send us a message to ask about the CDP service gap fee.

Alternately, some clients use their private health fund or pay privately for additional services.

What should I expect from my first session?

On arrival at our clinic, you may be asked to fill out some paperwork. This will include completing a form with basic personal information and a consent form that cover issues such as confidentiality, fees and other important information about sessions. If you have been referred by a GP or psychiatrist, we will discuss the details of your Mental Health Treatment Plan at this point. You may also be asked to complete some brief psychological assessments in order to gain a baseline for you and your psychologist to utilise.

The first session is usually spent discussing the issues that have brought you into therapy. As well as developing a thorough understanding of your concerns and goals your psychologist will explore relevant background history, for example, information about your family, social relationships, work history and any past counselling that you have done. Sessions are conducted in a warm and supportive manner to ensure you feel comfortable and understood. Based on this information we will begin to help you to understand more about what might be triggering and maintaining your current issues. We use evidenced based principles in sessions and  we will work with you to develop a collaborative and flexible plan for future therapy sessions.

What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychologist?

Counsellors can come from a broad range of training and backgrounds. Currently in Australia the term “counsellor” is not protected. This means that anyone can refer to themselves as a counsellor. Having said this many counsellors have undertaken training and education in educational settings, ranging from a Diploma up to a Masters degree. An organisation called the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) has also been set up to protect the standards and ethical training of the counselling profession.

Psychologists are health professionals who work in a range of areas including clinical, health, neuropsychology, sports, forensic, organisational and community settings. To become a fully registered psychologist you must hold a tertiary qualification in psychology and have undertaken and at least two additional years of supervised training and further education in the field of psychology. In total psychologist have completed a minimum of 6 years in education and supervision. In addition, psychologist participate in ongoing and regular professional development to ensure  awareness and knowledge in the latest and most effective treatment interventions.

Psychologists assist people with everyday concerns such as stress and relationship difficulties, as well as mental health issues. Psychologists use “talk therapies” to help people to develop skills to cope with difficulties and to prevent on-going issues. 

What is the difference between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist?

Psychologists study human behaviour in their undergraduate and/or postgraduate degrees before undertaking supervised experience and gaining professional registration. Psychologists do not have a medical degree. Studying to become a Psychologist involves a minimum of 6 years study and supervised practice.

Psychiatrists have completed a medical degree. A Psychiatrist has completed an approved course of study to become a medical practitioner before completing further qualifications in the medical treatment of mental illness.

How does confidentiality work with a psychologist?

All information that you disclose in your session with a psychologist is confidential. There are two exceptions to this rule. The first exception is if you are at risk of harm to yourself or someone else and the second exception is in relation to court orders. If either of these situations become relevant your psychologist will discuss this with you.

Can I claim private health insurance rebates?

Many private health insurance funds provide a rebate for services provided by psychologists. I encourage you to contact your health insurance fund prior to your appointment to find out whether your policy covers psychological services.

What if I need medication?

In Australia currently, Psychologists cannot prescribe medication. If your Psychologist believes you may benefit from medication, he or she may discuss this with you and your referring medical practitioner, who will then make a decision in this regard. If you have any concerns or questions regarding medication, psychologists are happy to provide you with the information you request.

Is my relationship to the psychologist important?

Apart from ensuring that the psychologist has the appropriate qualifications, the next step is finding someone who you feel comfortable with. This is essential if you are to fully explore the issues you want to address.

It is necessary to realise that talking about your issues with a stranger is going to be difficult. So, we ask that you keep this in mind for your first session. However, at the end of your session we suggest that you ask yourself a few questions. Some that we recommend you ask are; do you believe you will become increasingly comfortable with this person as time passes, did you feel supported and understood by this person and did they instil confidence in you that they can help?

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