Information for the Public


Why might you choose to see a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical Psychologists have expertise and a high level of training in the assessment and treatment of mental health concerns.

We work alongside Psychiatrists, Paediatricians, Neurologists, General Practitioners and other medical specialists in promoting and bringing about better health and well being.

We are also involved in assessments for a variety of purposes such as education, personality, psychological issues, occupational performance, autism spectrum, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and many more. 

Do you need a referral?

It is not necessary to have a referral to see a Clinical Psychologist. You can see one of us on a private basis by simply calling to make an appointment. If you choose this route, you may be eligible for private health rebates (e.g. HBF, Bupa), provided you have cover with your health insurer. Private health rebates vary between health insurers and depend on the level of cover you have arranged.

Medicare Rebates

Clinical psychology services may also attract rebates from Medicare. To make use of Medicare rebates you first need to see your General Practitioner or a medical specialist for a referral. Your General Practitioner completes a 'Mental Health Care Plan' on your behalf. You might need to book an extended session for this. You can also be referred by a medical specialist (e.g. Paediatrician, Psychiatrist, Neurologist) in which case no Mental Health Care Plan is needed. 

Medicare rebates to see a Clinical Psychologist are currently set at $124.50 per 50-60 minute session for up to 10 sessions per calendar year. 

There are other ways to see a Clinical Psychologist. You may be referred via a legal practitioner (e.g. lawyer) your employer, school, an allied health professional, government agency or an insurer (e.g.  worker's compensation or Insurance Commission of WA). 

 Police, Fire and Emergency Services

Clinical Psychologists also play an important role in recruitment, occupational health, and maximizing work performance. Referrals for this type of input can be via your workplace, legal practitioner and others. Police, Department of Veterans Affairs, Fire and Emergency Services and other governmental agencies often refer their personnel directly to a Clinical Psychologist for specialized input.

Workers Compensation and Insurance

Workers compensation and other insurance cases are also seen by Clinical Psychologists, with these services paid for by the insurer. There is a role for both treatment and psychological assessment in these situations.

Assessments

Clinical Psychologists also have expertise in assessments of various types. They can provide assessments designed to assist academic placement or academic extension, or to identify Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or a learning problems.

We can also play an important role in helping you to decide upon an appropriate career direction that fits your interests, aptitudes and abilities.

Choosing a Therapist

Click on the subheadings below for tips on finding the best therapist for you

First become aware of the differences between different types of mental health practitioners.

Clinical psychologists have a minimum of 8 years training: a 4 year undergraduate psychology program at university, followed by at least 2 years of postgraduate university training that is focused on the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of mental health. Postgraduate clinical psychology trainees complete intensive supervised internships in hospitals, mental health clinics, and child development centres. Following this, clinical psychologist trainees must complete a further period of intensive supervision with an experienced Clinical Psychologist before they qualify. Two years of supervised practice is required for graduates who have completed a Masters Degree, while one year of supervised practice is required for those who graduate with a Doctorate. This means, all Clinical Psychologists have a minimum of 8 years of training, with 4 years dedicated to postgraduate/ higher level intensive training in mental health.

Registered psychologists complete a four-year undergraduate degree followed by two years of supervision with another (Registered) psychologist. Their undergraduate degree provides only an introduction to mental health. They are not required to complete any postgraduate intensive training. They are not required to receive any training or supervision in hospital or mental health clinics.

Psychiatrists have completed a medical degree and further training and study related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists specialise in the medical treatment of mental illness and can prescribe medication. Some psychiatrists combine medication with psychotherapy. Some work closely with clinical psychologists in treating the same person or group.

In Australia the term "counsellor" is not protected, so anyone with any background, can call themselves a counsellor. A "counsellor" may have no formal training at all. Some, but not all, have completed training in an educational setting and some have completed supervised practice though the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) which is attempting to establish standards and ethical training of counsellors.

The area of "coaching" is similar to "counsellors". Life coaches may come from all walks of life, with "life experience" the guiding medium. Some may come from the field of psychology. It is important to check credentials since there is no formal health training required to become a life coach outside of a short period of supervision by another life coach.

When choosing a therapist, be aware that there is a lot of variety amongst Clinical Psychologists

...they will use different approaches to therapy and have varying interpersonal styles. Some see only adults, some see only children, and some see families- some will provide services to all three. The different types of approach to therapy will include work with groups, or with an individual or couple.

There are also a variety of approaches a Clinical Psychologist might take to therapy such as mindfulness, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Person Centred therapy- to name just a few. The list is very long, and many experienced Clinical Psychologists are adept at a variety of different therapeutic approaches. It is important that the therapist you choose has expertise in the issues/s you wish to bring for therapy.

Do you have a gender and/or age preference?
Some people don't care if their therapist is male or female, old or young, but for some people this choice is important. Make the choice that makes the most sense to you. The same goes for considerations like cultural backgrounds. Sometimes it helps to find a Clinical Psychologist with a similar background to your own, or one who understands your cultural background.
Some other questions you might wish to ask

Does the therapist have postgraduate training in mental health?

Do they have expertise and experience with the issue/s you wish to work on?

What are their fees? Are their fees rebatable through Medicare or your private health fund?

Can you access the higher or lower Medicare rebate? (Clinical Psychologists attract the higher rebate)

How long have they been in practice?

Do they use particular approaches are are they able to adapt and deliver an approach suited to the individual and the particular situation?

Friends and family can be a useful and helpful source of recommendations
...as they might have experience with someone who helped them or know someone who has been helped. It's worth asking. Or, your General Practitioner might help to guide you in this choice.
Other factors for you to consider when making a choice includes things as such as location, hours they work and their availability

...(i.e. how long until you can have your first session and subsequent follow-up sessions after that). These and other considerations important to you will help you select a good fit.

When thinking about your choice, it's helpful to be aware that change is what you are usually wanting when you go to therapy. And, change often feels uncomfortable. Changing attitudes, behaviours, or thought processes (whatever is keeping you stuck or distressing to you) can produce distress or anxiety because old ways often feel comfortable. A clinical psychologist will raise issues that might feel uncomfortable. This is a sign that the therapy is working. It is at these times that it's important to understand that your clinical psychologist has your best interests in mind. So, when choosing a clinical psychologist, it is not necessarily the one who is nice, or feels the most comfortable, but the one who is willing to confront issues and support you through any distress you may feel as you develop new ways of coping, thinking and behaving.