Frequently Asked Questions

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.

If you are referred under the Medicare Better Access to Mental Health Initiative, then a referral by your GP or Psychiatrist is required. However, no referral is necessary if you wish to claim through your private health fund.

The Medicare option, known as the Mental Health Care Plan or the Better Access Plan, was introduced in November 2006, and was updated in November 2011. In consultation with a GP, you may obtain a referral to a Psychologist for a series of up to 6 sessions of psychological counselling. At present, it is necessary to have the name of the Psychologist you wish to see placed on the plan by the referring GP. Once this is completed, Medicare rebates are available, which cover much of the fee charged.

In some cases, the number of sessions may be increased by a further 4 sessions following a review, so that up to 10 sessions in total may become available in a single calendar year. Information on this is available through Medicare, your General Practitioner or myself.

Prior to seeing your psychologist for the first time, you need to get a particular GP referral called a 'Mental Health Care Plan'. Most GPs are familiar with this type of referral. Once this has been done, you are entitled to the rebate from Medicare and you can claim the rebate on the spot at United Medical Centre.

There are many private health funds. Levels of cover, types of cover and costs of cover vary, so it is up to each individual to clarify with their fund whether they are covered for Psychological services, and to what extent.

It is not possible to use a combination of Medicare and Private Health Fund cover for the same session. However, it is possible, for example, to commence a series under Medicare and eventually extend the number of sessions using Private Health Fund cover.

Yes. I specialise in psychological treatment for individuals with Workers Compensation related injuries. This treatment can be in relation to workplace stress, bullying or trauma related to an incident at work. It may also be in the form of adjustment to injury / disability or pain management. Your GP must complete a referral requesting 'psychological treatment' and approval must be gained from your insurer before therapy can begin. Please call to discuss any of these issues further if you have any questions.

Sessions are 50 minutes in duration. Good results may be obtained quickly - but this will depend on the nature and severity of each problem and the individuality of each client. It is at your discretion as to when you are ready to finish counselling.

Firstly I will ask you to complete some questionnaires that assess your level of depression, anxiety, and stress. When we meet I will ask you questions about your history, current concerns, and what you would like to gain from psychological treatment. This will help me to begin to thoroughly understand your concerns and plan treatment.

After most sessions I will either give you something to read, ask you to think/write about something, or try a new coping strategy. Usually this will not take a lot of time during your week but giving some time to your treatment in between sessions is important for maximising the effectiveness of the treatment.

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.
Yes. All sessions with a psychologist are private and confidential. The information that you share during a session is used for assessment, diagnosis, and planning treatment, so that optimal care is given. As set out in the Psychology Board of Australia's Code of Ethics, limitations to this confidentiality apply if there is an immediate or specified risk of harm to an identifiable person's safety, or if a client's file is subpoenaed by law

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, is a form of therapy that has been shown to be a very effective treatment for a range of psychological problems. CBT aims to help patients identify and change unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours in order to produce a positive emotional change. It is a treatment that is focussed in the 'here and now' and it requires that the patient is very active in their treatment. It can be challenging to make changes, but you will be supported every step of the way.

If you can't make your scheduled appointment please contact me as soon as possible to reschedule. It's usually possible to find another time that is more suitable. Appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours notice will incur a cancellation fee