FAQ

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How much does it normally cost for a Psychology Session?

This depends on who you see. If you choose to see a Generalist Psychologist at our practice the cost will be $165 per standard 50 minute session. If your appointment is with a Clinical Psychologist it will cost $205 for a standard session. An appointment with our Principal Clinical Psychologist, Simon Ashfield-Smith, will cost $220. If you have a valid referral from a GP (including a Mental Health Care Plan) you will be entitled to a sizeable rebate from Medicare. The size of the rebate received is greater for appointments with a Clinical Psychologist in comparision to a Generalist Psychologist.

How much does Medicare rebate for Psychological Services?

  1. $84.80 per session if you see a Generalist Psychologist
  2. $124.50 per session if you see a Clinical Psychologist

Please note that to obtain Medicare rebates you will need to first visit a GP to obtain a Mental Health Care Plan as well as a letter of referral. You can obtain 6 rebated sessions on your first referral and another 4 rebated sessions on your second referral (called a ‘Review’).

It is not a problem if you cannot get a referral from your GP before the first session. It just means you will not get Medicare Rebates for those sessions prior to obtaining a referral.

Can I still see a Psychologist at BlueSky Psychology without a referral?

Yes. You are welcome to attend BlueSky Psychology anytime without a referral. You only need a referral if you wish to claim Medicare rebates.  Many clients do not use Medicare but prefer to pay the full fee or use Private Health rebates.

How do I obtain a Mental Health Care Plan?

Medicare now offers rebates for psychological consultations. You do need however to first visit your General Practitioner (GP) and explain your mental health concerns. It is polite to book a longer consultation with your GP so that they have adequate time to develop a care plan with you. Your GP will give you a document called a “Mental Health Care Plan” and a letter of referral which will entitle you to Medicare Rebates. All you need to do is bring these documents to your first consultation at BlueSky Psychology and our staff will organise the rest.

How can I pay for my sessions?

The full fee is to be paid at the end of each session. You may use cash or cheque, or our service offers EFTPOS so you can use your savings, cheque or credit accounts. If you are claiming health fund rebates you will only be charged the ‘gap’ between your rebate and the session cost.

How does Medicare EasyClaim help?

Medicare EasyClaim is a new facility that allows rebates to be lodged at the time of payment. This means your rebate can be directed straight back into your account. For instance, if you pay $205 at the end of your session and you are eligible for Medicare rebates, you can use Medicare EasyClaim to reimburse the $124.50 Medicare rebate immediately back into your nominated account. Alternatively, you are welcome to take your invoices down to your nearest Medicare office and lodge them over the counter.

How can I find out if my GP has submitted a Mental Health Plan to Medicare before my first session of Psychological Services?

GP practices often submit the Mental Health Care plan details to Medicare at the time of your consultation. However, in some clinics this process is still done manually and can take a few days to be submitted andprocessed by Medicare. If you are unclear whether a Mental Health Care Plan item number has been submitted to Medicare you can contact your GP, or ring Medicare on 132 011. Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact BlueSky Psychology and our staff will be happy to assist.

What’s the difference between a Generalist Psychologist and a Clinical Psychologist under Medicare?

Generalist Psychologists have completed a four year degree in Psychology at University and has either completed two years of supervision or have completed a Masters Degree in various psychology streams. A Clinical Psychologist has completed either 6 or 7 years of university training, has been supervised for a further two years in a range of mental health settings and had been endorsed to practice in the area of Clinical Psychology by the Psychology Board of Australia.

All of the Psychologists at BlueSky Psychology have completed a University Masters Program in Clinical Psychology. The only difference between our Generalist and Clinical Psychologists is that the latter have completed additional supervision to be ‘endorsed’ by the Psychology Board of Australia as “Clinical Psychologists”.

Be reassured, at BlueSky Psychology, despite the titles, all of our Psychologists have received specialised training in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

There are a number of important differences between these two types of mental health professionals. The first is that Psychologists have completed university degree focused on human behaviour, emotion and thought, whereas Psychiatrists have an undergraduate qualification in Medicine. The second difference is that Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications whereas Psychologists are not licenced to do so.

Psychologists treat mental health issues with thought and behavioural techniques, such as thought analysis, thought restructuring, skills training, education, lifestyle adjustment, exercise, goal setting, problem-solving and making positive environmental changes. Psychiatrists are particularly helpful when one’s mental illness has a strong organic presentation where a medical examination and medications may be required. These types of presentations may include psychotic disorders, bipolar disorders or dementia.

Should I take medication for my concern?

There is a growing body of scientific evidence indicating that medication should be the front line of intervention in a few specific mental illnesses. For example, Bipolar Disorder and the varying types of psychoses are best treated with medication in the first instance.  Once these presentations have stabilised a clinically trained Psychologist may be vary helpful with residual symptoms and regaining one’s independence.

Having said that, the answer depends on your symptoms and the levels of severity being experienced. There is a wide range of non-pharmacological interventions that have also been scientifically demonstrated to be effective in treating depression, anxiety, panic, addictions and stress, to name a few. Clinical Psychologists can provide you with information and guidance in these matters, as they have completed some post-graduate training at University in Psychopharmacology, and are very experienced in observing the possible therapeutic benefits and side effects of medications. Psychologists based in Australia cannot prescribe medication but they can provide you with information, explain all of your options and point you in the right direction.

It is very important to appreciate that the choice of medication versus therapy is not mutually exclusive. Just because you may be already taking an antidepressant does not mean you would not benefit from therapy.Conversely, if you prefer in the first instance to use thought and behavioural therapies this does not necessarily mean you should not consider using a medication as an adjunct if it is needed. Many clients have found relief from their struggles by utilising a combination of psychological therapy and medication.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

This is a form of “talk” therapy that involves learning thought and behavioural strategies to better manage emotions. Strategies used in this form of therapy include: understanding your emotional experience, noticing your thoughts, observing your thought patterns, evaluating the accuracy of your thoughts, and then either problem-solving or restructuring these thoughts.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be very effective in treating depression (particularly mild to moderate episodes) and a range of anxiety concerns. Many clients prefer CBT over medication because they are concerned about becoming dependent upon antidepressants, as they are worried about the aversive side effects of medication and because they are concerned they will relapse once they have stopped medication. The skills in CBT are easy to learn and our Psychologists will provide you with all the support you need, so that you can take these skills into the rest of your life.

What happens after 10 sessions with the mental health care plan?

Changes which took place from the 1st of November 2011 included reducing the number of psychological counselling sessions available following the completion of a Mental Health Care Plan and letter by a GP to 10 sessions. This means that you can still get a referral for 6 sessions following your intial referral but will only be able to be referred for an additional 4 sessions following a review by your doctor.

Rest assured that the majority of our clients are able to resolve their concerns within their first 10 sessions, and that we can assist you to access other schemes if you wish to proceed beyond 10 sessions of psychological support.

How can counselling help alcoholic people?

People who have difficulties in managing their alcohol consumption can be assisted to develop both behavioural and cognitive skills to reduce or eliminate their alcohol consumption. Your Psychologist will help you to determine whether controlled drinking or abstinence is the appropriate strategy for you.

 

BlueSky Psychology, Level 10, 108 King William Street, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000. Phone 08 8212 3944

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