Q. What happens at the first session? A. In the first session, the usual focus is to obtain an understanding of your personal history, the history of your difficulties, your current circumstances and the support that is available to you (or not available to you), and how your difficulties impact on your life. Intervention becomes more focussed once this type of detail is understood, usually in subsequent sessions. Q. How much notice is required if I have to cancel or change my appointment? A. In the event that you need to cancel an appointment, 24 hours’ notice is requested. Failure to give this notice results in a “late cancellation/non-attendance” fee being charged.
Q. How many sessions will I need, and how frequently should I attend the sessions? A. This is difficult to comment on before contact commences. We will discuss this at the end of the first session. It depends on the difficulties you experience, your needs, your goals for psychotherapy /counselling, and your resources. Some clients attend for a small number of sessions over a brief period, while others participate for many sessions for an extended time. Clients attending under a Medicare's Mental Health Care Plan will receive rebates for a maximum of 10 sessions per annum.
Q. Are the notes from the sessions confidential? A. All records are strictly confidential and are not released or discussed without the client’s prior written consent. There are some exceptions, which include:
If you were referred by a medical practitioner under Medicare's Mental Health Care Plan, a letter would be sent to your doctor outlining the outcomes of any assessment, the nature of the interventions to be provided and recommendations for future management. Follow-up letters are also sent after 6 and 10 (or final) sessions.
If you were referred by a doctor, but not under a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan, it is usual practice to send a letter acknowledging the referral, with a brief outline of the intervention and the outcome. Such letters are discussed with clients.
Where the fees for your consultations will be paid by an insurance company (e.g. workers’ compensation), the company may request progress reports. I will let you know when such a report is required.
The fee per session (approx. 50 minutes) is $210 . All clients are requested to settle their accounts at the time of the consultation, unless other arrangements have been made. Payments can be made by cash, cheque or EFTPOS (excluding American Express and Diner's Club).
Rebates are payable by Medicare Australia, providing you have a written referral from your General Practitioner (or a psychiatrist , paediatrician) under a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan. You are first required to see your doctor who will determine if a referral under a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan is appropriate. A written referral and/or copy of the Plan are required, and you must return to your referring doctor for a review after 6 sessions. A total of 10 sessions in a calendar are eligible for a Medicare rebate under this scheme. The rebate per session is currently $124.50.
Rebates are also payable by private health insurance funds if you have the necessary ancillary cover. Please check with your fund as to the amount of rebate you can expect, given your level of cover. (Please note that it is not possible to claim a rebate from both your private health insurance fund and Medicare Australia).
Sometimes, another organisation is responsible for the payment of your fee (eg. Employer, Worker’s Compensation, MVA Third Party Insurance, Fertility Clinic). If this is the case, proof of such arrangement is required prior to your first session.