Are counselling sessions confidential?
Yes all registered healthcare services are required to maintain confidentiality. Anything you discuss with your therapist will remain 100% confidential and all records securely protected. Whatever information, feelings or opinions you share during your sessions will be used only for the purposes of assessing and diagnosing your problem/s, and providing you with the support you need.
Please note that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency requires some disclosure in limited situations, which is managed through the Psychology Board of Australia. These limited circumstances includes, if there is an immediate or specific risk of serious harm to a particular person’s safety, or if a client’s file is subpoenaed by a court.
What should I expect from my first session?
After making your first appointment you will be sent an introductory email confirming your appointment date and time. This will also outline information about specific fees and rebates, and details of the location of the consulting suite. If you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan you will need to bring along this paperwork to your first appointment.
When you attend the consulting room you will be asked to complete a simple test, which will help the psychologist, understand your situation. At the beginning of your first session your psychologist will briefly run through important paperwork with you. This will include completing a form with basic personal information (such as your name, date of birth, address and contact details) and a consent form that cover issues such as confidentiality, fees and other important information about sessions. If you have been referred by a GP or psychiatrist, we will discuss the details of your Mental Health Treatment Plan at this point.
After completing paperwork the remainder of the session is usually spent discussing the issues that have brought you into therapy. As well as developing a thorough understanding of your concerns, your psychologist will explore relevant background history, for example, information about your family, social relationships, work history and any past counselling that you have done. Based on this information we will begin to help you to understand more about what might be triggering and maintaining your current issues. If time allows we will also work with you to develop a collaborative and flexible plan for future therapy sessions.
How long are the sessions with a psychologist?
Generally the sessions are conducted over a period of between 50 – 60 minutes, this allows the psychologist to provide administrative support and to review notes prior to the next client. A key feature at Brave Health Group is that we strive to coordinate a supervised exercise session prior to psychological therapy and those sessions are generally scheduled immediately before the psychological session if appropriate.
How many sessions will I need to come in for?
Every person has a different life experience, which brings differences in the way therapy is absorbed and understood. This is largely dependent on the nature of why they are coming in and what it is that they are hoping to get out of sessions.
At Brave Health Group we individualise therapy to suit each of our client’s needs and preferences. Some people come to therapy to develop coping strategies to reduce or manage symptoms of mental illness. This type of work can be short to medium term, around 6 to 10 sessions but might also involve checking in less frequently over the longer-term to deal with setbacks or prevent relapse.
Other people come to therapy to understand long-standing patterns (chronic trauma related symptoms) that stem from experiences during their workplace experiences, or to receive ongoing support. This type of work tends to happen over an extended period of time, and can take place over many months although again, this is dependent on client preferences.
Sometimes people come to therapy for a one off session or just a handful of sessions to speak about a specific issue in their life or to talk through a particular concern. Many of our clients return once per year to check in and ensure that their previous therapy experiences are being managed satisfactorily.
Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?
No, you do not need a referral. You can make an appointment with one of our psychologists without a referral from your GP or a psychiatrist. If you decide to do this you will need to pay the full amount for your sessions out of your own pocket.
If would like to see whether you are eligible for referral under a Mental Health Treatment Plan you will need to speak with your GP or a psychiatrist prior to making your first appointment.
How much does it cost for an appointment?
Our fees are below the recommended fees described by the Australian Psychological Society and at Brave Health Group the average cost is $220. You may be eligible for a pensioner or concession cardholder discount. Medicare rebates are also available to help you cover the cost of treatment. Additional costs maybe incurred such as exercise or nutritional sessions if appropriate. We also have some limited Medicare Bulk Billing sessions available.
How can I use Medicare and private health rebates?
If you have a referral from a GP or a psychiatrist for a Mental Health Treatment Plan you will be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate of $88.25 per individual session for up to 20 sessions per calendar year. You will also be eligible for a rebate for 10 group workshops per calendar. For groups run by Brave Health Group psychologists the rebate is $22.55.
After we have processed your payment we can process for rebate for you via Medicare Online. Medicare advises us that these funds will appear in your bank account within 2-3 business days.
Private Health Insurance
If you have private health insurance that includes psychological counselling as extras cover you may be eligible for a partial rebate. It is recommended that you contact your individual insurance provider for further information about your individual coverage.
Will I be able to claim through Medicare?
You will need to make an appointment with your GP who will assess whether you are eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan. You can choose which psychologist or health practitioner you wish to nominate.
To be able to claim the Medicare rebate for your session you will need to bring a copy of your Mental Health Treatment Plan to your first appointment with your psychologist at Brave Health Group.
How are rebates paid?
In most cases, you can claim your Medicare rebate on the spot – although you will need to have your bank account details already registered with Medicare.