Helping to renew
your zest for life
Frequently Asked Questions
When might I need to see a Psychologist?
Psychologists have years of professional training and clinical skills to help individuals to cope and function more effectively in their everyday lives. Psychologists help their clients by using a variety of techniques and strategies which are based on the most current research.
Often, people might see a Psychologist when they are experiencing specific mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, psychological symptoms of trauma, or childhood behavioural problems. However, it is not only people who meet criteria for a mental health diagnosis that could benefit from the assistance of a Psychologist.
People who are doing well in many areas of life may find that there are specific areas that would be easier to manage with the support of a Psychologist. Whether due to challenges at work, school or in social situations, chronic pain or other medical conditions, parenting stress, burnout, adapting to new life stages, relationship difficulties and for many other reasons, it is ok to seek support to learn new life skills and coping strategies.
At Adapt Psychological Services we take pride in providing clients with the latest evidence-based treatment methods, and we consistently update our knowledge and skills through training and education. Additionally, we incorporate a multi-dimensional approach to our work with clients. Specifically, each client’s treatment is carefully formulated for their individual needs, taking into consideration each person’s unique values, characteristics, goals, and circumstances. This approach is effective in motivating and empowering every individual to design and achieve the life they love living, every day.
If you are not sure whether seeing a Psychologist would be beneficial for you, please feel free to contact us for more information on how we could help in your particular situation.
How many sessions will I need?
As every client is an individual, the number of sessions you require will depend on the situation you are experiencing. Some clients may attend therapy to develop coping strategies for an easily identifiable problem, and difficulties may be shifted in just a few sessions. Others may not know the exact cause of their concern or may require a longer time-frame to enable changes in more entrenched behaviours and thinking patterns.
At all times we will discuss your treatment with you so that you understand how the treatment is designed to help you achieve your goals, and how to assess whether you are making progress. Long-term treatment maintenance may also be required to ensure relapse prevention. The duration of treatment is less important than the outcomes from treatment.
Whether that takes one session or twenty-one sessions, our aim is to ensure that you achieve positive, long lasting outcomes.
What should I expect from my first session?
Your first session will involve building rapport, collecting personal information, explaining and obtaining your consent for treatment, and conducting initial assessments. You will also receive information on confidentiality and the associated limitations to confidentiality. After completing paperwork, the remainder of the session will focus on what has brought you to therapy. A basic outline of your proposed treatment will be provided, and you will have time to ask any questions you have regarding treatment or the structure of therapy.
How do I know if I am eligible for the Medicare rebate?
If you wish to access Medicare rebates for your psychology sessions, you will need to make an appointment with your GP or Medical Specialist who will assess whether you are eligible under the Better Access to Mental Health Care Scheme. If so, your GP will prepare a Mental Health Care Plan and make a referral to the Psychologist of your choice.
This will allow you a Medicare rebate for up to 20 sessions per calendar year, which will reduce your out-of-pocket expense. To be able to claim the Medicare rebate for your session you will need to bring a copy of your Mental Health Care Plan to your first appointment with your psychologist.
Can I claim private health insurance?
If you have private health insurance that includes psychological counselling as extras cover you may be able to claim for your Psychology sessions. It is recommended that you contact your individual insurance provider for further information about your individual coverage.
You cannot claim sessions where you are receiving the Medicare rebate, but you may wish to use your private health insurance to assist with fees if you are attending privately (not under the Medicare system) or once you have exceeded the number of Medicare eligible sessions for that calendar year.
Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?
No, you do not need a referral unless you wish to access the Medicare rebate for sessions, in which case you would need a Mental Health Care Plan and referral from your GP, Psychiatrist or Paediatrician. If you decide not to access a MHCP you will need to pay the full amount for your sessions out of your own pocket at the time of the session.
How long are sessions with a psychologist?
Psychology treatment sessions are approximately 50 minutes long.
Is my information confidential?
When you see a Psychologist, you have the right to expect that the information you disclose will remain confidential. However, the following exceptions apply to confidentiality:
1. By law, a Psychologist must seek the assistance of a third party if you tell them that you are going to a) harm yourself, b) harm someone else, or c) engage in an activity which threatens to harm your wellbeing.
2. Your Psychologist will usually keep notes regarding the sessions that you have, and if you are involved in a legal situation your file can be subpoenaed by the court.
3. If you are referred through the Medicare system, your Psychologist will need to have contact with your GP and communicate information relevant to your care.
4. A requirement of registration is that Psychologists engage in regular supervision (discussion of cases) with a colleague. As such your Psychologist may discuss your situation with their supervisor to receive feedback about the approach they are using. If this occurs, both parties will limit information to only that which is relevant to ensuring you receive appropriate care and will respect confidentiality of your information as per the Australian Psychological Society's Code of Ethics.
You may have more questions about seeing a psychologist. If you have a question that has not been answered here, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can call us at Adapt Psychological Services on 02 4978 2200 or email [email protected]
Do I need an appointment?
Yes. All appointments must be pre-arranged. Please phone 02 4978 2200 or email [email protected] for more information or to make an appointment.
What can I expect when I see a Psychologist?
As treatment is individualised and dependent on the nature of your issues, it can be different for different people. Once I have had a chance to get to know you and assess the issues you are wanting help with, I will discuss with you your goals for change and work with you to develop a proposed plan of treatment.
Sometimes just talking about the problem to a Psychologist can help you to problem solve, think differently about the problem, increase your motivation to change, or help reduce the emotional distress you are feeling. At other times, treatment might be more active, with you learning new skills in session to practice at home. For younger children, a Psychologist may use games, drawing and activities both to help the child feel comfortable and learn new ways to manage the problem.
Who needs to come to the sessions?
Psychology treatment can be flexible depending on the nature of the issues. Therapy sessions may be with individuals, parents with their children, couples or whole families. Even when it appears that only one person is experiencing difficulties, outcomes can often be enhanced if others in their family network are involved in the process.
Treatment for childhood problems will almost always involve the parent or carer at times, although the extent of involvement may vary as appropriate with the age of the child.
People wanting help with relationship difficulties may attend as individuals or couples, depending on the willingness of each party. Attendance at therapy may even change from session to session depending on the goals of treatment at that particular time. At all times, I can make recommendations as to who should be involved in the treatment, and discuss the pros and cons of different options with you.
What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
The Australian Psychological Society describes a Psychologist as follows:
"Psychologists study the way people feel, think, act and interact. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress and to enhance and promote emotional wellbeing. Psychologists are experts in human behaviour, and have studied the brain, memory, learning and human development. Psychologists can assist people who are having difficulty controlling their emotions, thinking and behaviour.”
Psychologists have completed University degrees in the area of human behaviour and emotions. Usually this involves a 4-year undergraduate degree in the area of Psychology or Behavioural Sciences, followed by either 2 years supervised practice or a 2-year postgraduate degree in Psychology.
What is the difference between a Registered Psychologist and a Clinical Psychologist?
The title of Psychologist is a restricted title and can only be used by someone who has completed a minimum of four years of university training followed by a two-year program of supervised practice. Psychologists who meet this standard and hold registration with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are called Registered Psychologists.
In addition to meeting the minimum tertiary requirements for Registered Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists have completed a further two years of postgraduate university training and practical placements, followed by a two-year program of supervised practice to become endorsed as a Clinical Psychologist.
All Psychologists are bound by a professional code of conduct and are required to undertake ongoing professional development and supervision throughout their career to maintain their registration.