What usually happens at my first appointment?
Your first face to face consultation will usually involve your psychologist developing an understanding of what is troubling you. We are interested in those aspects of your thinking, behaviour, emotions and relationships which are creating difficulties for you, how these underlying difficulties have developed and how you have attempted to manage these up until now. The forms completed will assist with putting the puzzle together. Together we will establish goals that you would like to meet and through a two-way interaction and overtime work with you to understand how you can overcome these issues.
This may involve such things as keeping a record of your difficulties or practising newly acquired skills in everyday situations or reading or listening to new material. If you find this difficult, that's okay, Like any learning process, progress might be challenging, but you will be supported to face any difficulties you may be experiencing. Research shows that individuals who commit regularly to treatment and practice strategies experience the most benefit.
Of course, sometimes clients just need someone outside of their family, friends or colleagues to be an expert, non-judgemental sounding board. However it all depends what is most important to you and if truly committed to the therapeutic process it literally can change the way you see yourself, others and the world.
I’m worried as I have not seen a Clinical Psychologist before?
Like many people, you may not have seen a counsellor or Clinical Psychologist before and it’s only natural to feel anxious about booking the first appointment. Since 2012 we have been providing psychological services to Sunshine Coast teenagers, adults and their family members within a compassionate and non-judgemental professional space.
We emphasise a practical, problem-solving approach to treatment in which we aim to teach you skills you may not have had the chance to learn before. We help you realise that you are not alone and that your feelings and thoughts are not uncommon. Most people require the help of counselling at some point in their lives and we provide the tools to become unstuck, be happier and more connected to other human beings.
How can I make an Appointment?
What forms do I bring to my appointment?
Once you have contacted our psychology clinic you will be emailed some forms to complete and bring to your first session. All the completed paper work must be brought along to your first appointment to help you and your psychologist understand the nature of your difficulties and how to best help you. If you do not have access to a printer you will be required to attend your first appointment 30 minutes earlier, so you can complete the forms before you sit down with your psychologist. This will save you valuable time at the first initial consultation. If you have trouble with completing the forms that's okay your psychologist will support you with this.
What else do I bring to my appointment?
For your initial consultation please make sure you bring your 1) Medicare card and 2) a copy of the Doctors's referral letter with the name of our practice or the psychologist and the 3) Mental Health Care Treatment Plan or Mental Health Care Treatment Review and / or ask your GP to forward the referral letter and mental health care treatment plan to our clinic before your first appointment. This is not required if you are referred by a third party who is paying or you are using your Private Health Insurance. Otherwise you will be responsible for total cost of the appointment.
How do I make a payment?
Payment is required at the time of your appointment. We have EFTPOS and HICAPS machine. If you bring cash you will need to bring the exact amount as we do not hold any cash on the premises. Your rebate can be processed on the spot, if you have a mental health care plan or private health insurance.
What is the standard fee as recommended by the Australian Psychological Society?
The standard fee as recommended by the Australian Psychological Society is $246.00 per consultation; however, we charge much less than this.
How much does it cost?
Please ask the reception about our current fee structure to determine your out of pocket expense. If you have a Medicare Mental Health Care Treatment Plan from your Doctor you will receive a higher rebate from a Clinical Psychologist than a general psychologist. We charge $185 which means you receive a rebate of $126.50 so your out of pocket expense is $58.50. The full payment is due at your appointment.
The cost for the session is greater than the Medicare rebate, so you will need to pay the difference between what the psychologist charges you and the Medicare rebate. The full payment needs to be made on the day and if urgent we can rebate you immediately, otherwise you will receive a rebate of $126.50 the following business day.
If you are experiencing genuine financial struggles and have a health care card, you may be charged less than this at the discretion of your psychologist. If needed check with your psychologist at your initial appointment and she will clarify this with you. As we are a busy practice we have a limit on the number of clients we can apply a concessional amount.
Is there a psychologist available after hours?
After 5:00 pm appointments are $195 and if you have a Medicare Mental Health Care Treatment Plan from your Doctor you will receive a rebate of $126.50. Your out of pocket expense will be $68.50 After hours appointments are available upon request. Saturday appointments are not available at this stage.
How much do I get back with a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan Rebate?
If your GP deems that you are eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan you will receive a rebate. Please allow five minutes, if you are obtaining the Medicare rebate of $126.50 under a Mental Health Care Plan. This will be processed by the treating psychologist at the beginning or the end of the session. If your costs are being paid by a third party you need a clear agreement and approval beforehand.
How do I get more sessions?
Under the Medicare initiative you will be required to go and see your GP after the sixth session for a review and another 4 or 6 sessions are generally approved at the discretion of your GP.
Under Medicare you are only eligible for 10 sessions per calendar year (e.g. from the beginning of January 2018 to the end of December 2018). Remember you can use your private health care insurance or pay privately for further sessions or use this method independent of a mental health care plan.
What is the Cancellation Policy and will I be charged for late cancellations?
You will be explained the cancellation policy when you book your first appointment and when you first meet with your psychologist. If you do not attend a appointment or an appointment is cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice you will incur a fee of $90. As a courtesy each client will receive a SMS reminder with the date and time of their consultation 48 hours beforehand. It is best to make sure you are clear about your appointment date and time ahead of time, as that appointment has been set aside just for you.
If you are unable to keep an appointment because of sudden illness or an unexpected serious emergency, please contact reception to explain the problem and we may waive the fee. If you are asking us to waive your fee for a broken appointment because you were ill, we will ask you to provide a medical certificate. Please note that Medicare and other organisations will not provide a rebate for broken appointments – you will be responsible for the late fee. Appointments at this clinic are in high demand, therefore late cancellations impact both the psychologists and other clients on a waiting list.
Late cancellations also make it unnecessarily difficult to accommodate other patients who urgently need to see a psychologist as the psychologist is left waiting when they could of attended to the care of another patient. Our cancellation policy is based on the same rationale as the airline industry, where you pay for your seat whether you arrive at the airport or not. Given that the time has been set aside for you, if you do not use it, then it is unlikely at short notice it can be used by anyone else. We trust you will agree that this is a fair and reasonable policy and we thank you for your understanding.
Can I use my Private Health Care Cover?
If you have Private Health Care Insurance enquire with your health insurer about your entitlements for our psychological services. Many private health care companies cover psychology services under their extras policy. We use HICAPS who has access to a number of private insurance organisations. We provide you with on the spot efficient and easy processing of your private health fund claims.
Can I use my Private Health Care Cover and Medicare at the same time?
Medicare Rebates and Private Health Care cover cannot be claimed at the same time. However, Private Health Care cover may be used, say, instead of a GP Mental Health Care Treatment Plan or when therapy extends beyond the ten Medicare rebated sessions. Contact your private health fund to find out your entitlements.
Can I book directly with A psychologist without seeing a GP or having a mental health care plan?
Yes, you can see your psychologist privately however you will have to pay the full fee and no rebate will be provided. You can also use private health care cover without seeing your GP.
Can I go directly to a psychologist to receive treatment through Medicare?
You must be referred by your GP or your psychiatrist. Your Doctor will need to complete a detailed mental health assessment and complete a Mental Health Treatment Plan before referring you to a psychologist for your initial consultation for you to claim the rebate of $126.50 per session.
Does the Medicare Safety Net apply to client out-of-pocket expenses under THE Medicare Mental Health Care TREATMENT Plan?
Yes if you have mental health treatment plan and are paying in excess of the Medicare benefit for the items under this initiative. These out of pocket expenses will count towards your Medicare Safety Net.
Can I speak to my psychologist during a crisis?
Your Psychologist is not able to offer a crisis or immediate response service. In an Emergency Dial 000, Lifeline 13 11 14 or the Acute Care Mental Health Team on 1300 767 155 or 5456900 (24 hours). We can only work with clients within a scheduled appointment and are unable to provide treatment or therapy by text message or email or telephone.
What do you not treat or provide services for?
We do not treat or provide services for Couples, Autistic Spectrum Conditions or provide Written Assessments such as Court Reports or Intelligent Testing.
What training does a Clinical Psychologist have?
A qualified Clinical Psychologist has either a Masters or a Doctoral degree and receives one of the highest levels of education of all health care professionals, spending an average of eight years in education and training specifically in psychology. First they do an accredited undergraduate degree in psychology and then either a two-year Master’s degree or a three-year Doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Following their university training they then undertake registrar training for up to two years, overseen by the Psychology Board of Australia to gain endorsement as a Clinical Psychologist. In Australia psychology is a regulated health profession under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency in partnership with the Psychology Board of Australia, however, not all psychologists hold these qualifications. General psychologists without clinical endorsement require much less study and training.
What if I wish to learn more about a specific psychologist training or clinical psychologist qualifications where do I go?
Search the Registers of Practitioners by the psychologist’s name, state and the psychology profession, click on "view details" to examine their qualifications and to determine if they are endorsed as a Clinical Psychologist.
What are my Rights?
Before people can work as Psychologists they must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PBA). Our Clinical Psychologists are Members of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) & Members of the APS Clinical College which is the largest professional association of psychologists in Australia, which includes a comprehensive Code of Ethics and complementary series of Ethical Guidelines.
As a client of an APS Clinical Psychologist, you have a right to expect that
• You will be treated with respect
• You will receive a clear explanation of the service you will receive
• Your consent for any service will be sought by the psychologist prior to the service commencing as it progresses
• You will receive an explanation about the nature and limits of confidentiality surrounding the service
• You will be clear about the goals that you and the psychologist are working toward
• You will receive competent and professional service
• You will receive a clear statement about fees
• An estimate of the number of sessions required to achieve your goals will be discussed
• You will receive a service free from sexual harassment
• You will be shown respect for your cultural background, language tradition
What Ethics, Confidentiality and Standards are a Clinical Psychologist bound by?
All information and records are kept strictly confidential in accordance with the National Privacy Principles of the Privacy Amendment Act 2000. We will not normally release any information about you unless you provide us with signed consent to do so. However, there are some potential exceptions to this rule:
If you were referred to us by a doctor or other health professional, we will send a brief letter to the person making the referral so they are informed, this is required under GP Mental Health Care Treatment Plan with Medicare.
If you are involved in a court case and we are subpoenaed by a court, we would not be allowed to withhold from the court any information you have given us.
If there is an overriding legal obligation to do so, we may disclose information to the relevant authorities about a patient’s serious criminal acts that place another person at risk of harm.
If you disclose that you seriously intend to harm yourself or place someone else at risk of harm or harm someone else or seriously threaten to take your life we are obliged to notify potential helpers or victims.
If you are legally a minor (under 18 yrs) we are not normally obliged to give details of our discussions to your parent(s) or guardian(s). Psychologists are bound by strict professional requirements to maintain a certain code of conduct. These include, but are not limited by the Australian Health Practitioner and the Regulation Agency (Psychology Board of Australia), Australian Psychology Society (APS) Code of Ethics and APS Ethical Standards and National Privacy Principles.