Is counselling confidential?
All matters discussed with your psychologist will remain absolutely private and confidential unless you give written consent for information to be shared. Limitations to this confidentiality do apply however, such as if there is an immediate risk of harm to an identifiable person’s safety, or if a client’s file is subpoenaed by law.
At Western Plains Psychology you will be asked to sign a consent form that allows us to contact a nominated person in the case of an emergency; and exchange relevant information with your referring practitioner. For example, in order to receive the Medicare Rebate we are required to write at least one report to your GP about your progress in treatment.
What can I expect from each session?
The first session or two is a time for mutual connection, for your psychologist to learn about you and your issues and do some initial treatment planning. It’s important for you to talk to your psychologist about what you hope to achieve so you can set goals together and measure your progress along the way.
The content of the sessions, which may include discussion, testing, experimenting with new behaviours, or other relevant activities will be determined by your individual need. You may sometimes be asked to do some homework assignments between visits and family members may also be involved in sessions if this is something you would find helpful.
Appointments are held on the hour and run for 50 minutes.
The initial consultation is just about getting to know you and getting a description, or history, of the presenting problem.
A standard consultation may then involve; assessment and diagnosis, supportive counselling, treatment and/or therapy.
How many appointments will I need?
Everyone’s treatment is different. How many appointments you might need will depend on many factors. You may have complicated issues, or a relatively straight forward problem that you want to address. Occasionally a single session will be sufficient to provide appropriate and useful information, however most people require between three to ten sessions, while others require longer-term support. Practically, you might also be limited by finances as only a certain number of sessions can be rebated by Medicare or private health insurers.
The number of sessions required will be discussed between you and your psychologist after the first appointment. The focus will be on balancing financial constraints with ensuring enough time is allowed for you to effectively resolve your issues and work towards what you hope to accomplish.
Clinical Hypnotherapy appointments may require 4 – 8 sessions and sessions with Neurofeedback are dependent on an individual’s diagnosis and treatment plan.
What is the cost of each session?
The cost of sessions depends on a number of factors, such as whether you are able to access rebates, or are eligible for bulk-billing.
Please call us on 8372 5723 or email via our Home page to find out what a session will cost you.
Do you bulk bill?
At Western Plains Psychology we believe access to quality psychology services should be affordable to everyone. For this reason, we are able to offer reduced rates and Bulk Billing to some clients who have a Health Care Card. Unfortunately having a Health Care Card does not necessarily mean we will be able to Bulk Bill your sessions.
Availability is based upon a percentage of each psychologist’s caseload, and the decision is made based upon whether our psychologists have any Bulk Bill appointment spaces at the time of your enquiry.
How can Medicare help?
Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government’s Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. This scheme provides financial assistance to people living with mental health problems, allowing greater access to psychologists and providing more affordable mental health care. More information about the initiative can be found here.
To access the Medicare Rebate, you need to first visit your GP and discuss your mental health concerns with them. Your GP will prepare a document called a Mental Health Treatment Plan which you read and agree to. Your GP may give you a copy of the plan to take to a psychologist, or your GP may choose to forward the plan to your psychologist directly. This will entitle you to a rebate for ten sessions, per calendar year.
You will need to visit your GP again after six sessions if you and your psychologist decide another four sessions would be beneficial.
Your Medicare rebates can be immediately reimbursed back into your nominated bank account when you pay at the end of your session, provided you have your EFTPOS card with you.
Western Plains Psychology is a provider under the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) scheme. ATAPS enables GPs to refer consumers to ATAPS mental health professionals who deliver psychological strategies services.
Through ATAPS, patients are eligible for a maximum of 12 sessions per calendar year – six time-limited sessions with an option for a further six sessions following a mental health review by the referring GP. Sessions can be individual and/or group therapy sessions. ATAPS provides patients with assistance for short-term intervention. If further sessions are required, it may mean that the patient needs a longer term programme to meet his/her needs.
Western Plains Psychology accepts self-referrals and referrals from other professionals however these referrals may not attract Medicare rebates.
What other ways can sessions be funded?
Some other ways that sessions can be funded include through:
- Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT)
- WorkSafe (formerly WorkCover)
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA)
- Private Health Insurance
Some private health funds offer a rebate for psychology under their extras cover. The number of rebated sessions and the out of pocket fee will depend on the level of cover provided by your insurer. Please contact your health insurance provider for more information.
How can I pay for sessions?
The full fee is to be paid at the end of each session. You may use cash or cheque, or EFTPOS (savings, cheque and credit accounts accepted).
If you are receiving counselling under Medicare’s Better Access to Mental Health Initiative, your rebate can be immediately reimbursed back into your nominated bank account, provided you have your EFTPOS card with you.
Do you charge a late cancellation fee?
We ask for 24-hours notice for cancellation of appointments. Cancellations on the day of the appointment may incur a late cancellation fee of $50. This fee is not covered by Medicare or health insurers