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Clinical Psychologist in Wollongong

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I see a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists have at least six years of university training (incorporating supervised practice) to assess, diagnose, and treat, mental health problems. They are trained to deal with all kinds of problems relating to emotions, behaviour, and thoughts. They are trained to use evidence-based therapies and interventions that have been shown through research to be effective. Clinical psychologists can develop programs tailored to your specific needs.

Why see a registered psychologist?

The advantage of seeing a psychologist is that psychologists must be trained to a level prescribed by legislation, and they must abide by a strict code of ethics as dictated by the Psychology Board of Australia, which is the body responsible for registering psychologists. This means that consumers are provided with a number of protections. Counsellors do not have to be registered psychologists.

Do I need a referral?

You do not need a referral to see a psychologist. However, if you would like to claim a Medicare rebate you will require a Mental Health Care Plan. Your GP or psychiatrist is able to provide such a plan if he or she thinks this is warranted.

Can I see a psychologist under Medicare?

Under the Medical Benefits Schedule, individuals who meet criteria for a clinical disorder (such as, depression, an anxiety disorder, an eating disorder, alcohol dependence or abuse, grief, adjustment, and so on) are eligible for rebates for psychological services. However, you must be referred by your GP or psychiatrist. Your GP will need to complete a detailed mental health assessment and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan before referring you to a psychologist. Under a Mental Health Care Plan, individuals are entitled to 10 sessions per calendar year, with a review by their GP following the sixth session.

See the Australian Psychological Society’s Medicare Fact Sheet for more details.

Will my Health Fund rebate the fees?

Private Health Funds also provide rebates for psychological services, depending on your level of cover. However, you cannot use your private health cover to top up the Medicare rebates for these services. You will need to choose whether you want to claim through your Private Health Fund or through Medicare. Consult your Private Health Fund for more information.

How many sessions will I need?

This depends on a number of factors, including duration and complexity of the issues. Many individuals presenting with anxiety or depression experience a significant reduction in their symptoms over the course of 10 weeks of treatment. For longstanding problems and personality issues, treatment may require many more sessions. At the initial consultation, the psychologist will conduct an assessment and will encourage you to outline your goals for therapy. At this time, a general plan and likely number of sessions will also be discussed.

What should I expect in a typical therapy session?

There is generally no typical therapy session. The psychologist will initially conduct an assessment and negotiate a therapy plan. Prior to the first session, the psychologist may ask you to complete a number of questionnaires to help gain a more complete understanding of your situation. The psychologist may also encourage you to complete exercises between sessions to enable you to practise the skills learned in session.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

We understand that clients are often concerned about their privacy and confidentiality. We are committed to protecting the confidentiality of our clients. Any information disclosed to us in session or through testing is confidential and cannot be communicated to anyone else without the client’s permission. If we need to discuss any information with another professional we will discuss this with you first and ask you to sign a release of information document. There are, however, some ethical and legal limitations to protecting confidentiality and your psychologist will discuss these with you in the first session.