Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of treatment?

The cost of a one-hour appointment is $150, payable in full on the day of consultation.

Skype and telephone appointments are $150 for one hour.

Private Health care rebates are available from most funds (please check your eligibility directly and details of rebates with your private health fund).

Medicare rebates are available for some clients, under certain conditions and with a GP (or psychiatrist or paediatrician) referral. The rebate available for the service that I provide is approximately $85 ($60.00 'gap' payment). Please talk to your GP about your eligibility for this service. Unfortunately, Medicare does not currently offer rebates for Skype or telephone counselling.

Do I need a referral?

If clients are referred under the Medicare Better Access to Mental Health Initiative, then a written referral from a GP is required.

No referral is necessary if clients want to claim through their private health fund. Please check with your health fund for information about rebates because they vary from fund to fund.

No referral is necessary for Skype appointments.

What will the first session be like?

Many clients feel nervous or anxious in the lead up to the first appointment. These feelings are to be expected, especially if you have never seen any kind of counsellor or psychologist before. It's hard to know what to expect and the idea of talking to a stranger about your problems can seem a little odd!

Before your first appointment you will be asked to complete a form with your personal information, in much the same way as a new GP or any other health care worker would. This will be via email for Skype appointments.

It is important that you understand your rights to confidentiality and privacy, so I will discuss with you in the first session. I will keep it brief, but I am legally required to give you this information before we get started.

After we have covered the necessary administration issues I will ask you to tell me about why you have come to see me about. I will also ask you a number of questions to help me understand you and your concerns, and may ask you to complete a questionnaire.

I will take notes as we talk and will do so in all sessions. This will be most obvious to you in the first session as there is so much information for me to take in. You are always welcome to ask me to see what I have written on my notepad or in your file- after all it is information about you!

The first session usually takes about an hour, perhaps a little more.

What approach do you use?

Basically I use supportive interpersonal counselling, while also teaching clients some important skills about thinking, feeling and behaving. Techniques from mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy are regularly used in sessions.

How long do people usually see a psychologist for?

It is always my intention to work with clients in the fastest possible way to get the results they are looking for. This will vary from client to client, however generally eight to twelve sessions is very helpful. Appointments are weekly or fortnightly.

It has been my experience that clients like to do their psychological ‘work’ in blocks of treatment- for example coming for 8-12 sessions initially, having a break to consolidate the work they have done, and then returning six to twelve months later to build and expand of the work previously done.

Will I have to go over all my past issues and talk about my childhood?

No. No one, including a psychologist can ‘make you’ talk about anything that you don’t want to talk about. Neither can any psychologist ‘read your mind’ or ‘guess what your problem is’. I will ask you for some personal history in the fist session, and this will include brief questions about your family life, as well as many other questions. Many psychologists (myself included) are interested in the past only from the point of view of how it affects your current situation and how it may affect the future that you want to have.

Many people find themselves thinking about past issues and/or their childhood during the course of therapy, probably because they are striving to make sense of their present situation. Often this can be a positive experience of increased self- understanding.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

The most basic difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist is medically trained (as a doctor) before their studies in emotional and mental health. Both psychologists and psychiatrists study intensely to receive the qualifications that allow them to practice. Psychologists have generally studied for at least 6 years before they can practice. While psychologists do not study medicine as such, they do study human behaviour, including the way people think, feel, act and interact with each other.

There may be some differences in the way psychologists and psychiatrists view and treat some mental and emotional difficulties, and this is largely because of the differences in their training.

Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, but most do know quite a lot about medications for depression and anxiety, and will be able to talk with you about whether or not medication may help in your situation.