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Information for the Public

Private Health Rebates 

You may be able to get private health rebates if you have this included in your health insurance coverage. Private health rebates vary between health insurers and depend on the level of cover you have arranged.

Medicare Rebates

To make use of Medicare rebates you first need to see your General Practitioner or a medical specialist for a referral.  

Medicare rebates to see a Clinical Psychologist are currently $129.55 per 50-60 minute session for up to 20 sessions per calendar year. 

Medicare rebates for a Registered Psychologist is currently $88.25.

Other forms of Medicare rebates are also available (e.g. for participation in group sessions). It is worthwhile inquiring if you think this might apply. 

Other Rebates

Services of a Clinical Psychologist may also be covered by your workplace, Veterans Affairs, an insurer, Police, NDIS and other bodies. You might inquire for further information. 

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 specialist skills and capabilities in mental health and are trained to diagnose and treat a range of psychological problems.

To qualify as a Clinical Psychologist, current regulations require a minimum of 8 years training: a 4 year undergraduate psychology program, followed by at least 2 years of postgraduate university training focused on the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of mental health and psychological problems. Then, workplace experience under the supervision of an experienced, Board approved Clinical Psychologist is required. This involves 2 years of supervised practice for graduates with a Masters Degree, or 1 year of supervised practice for those with a Doctorate.

Registered psychologists (also called Generalist Psychologists) do not require the same level of accredited mental health training as Clinical Psychologists. 

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 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

…we use different approaches to therapy and have varying interpersonal styles. Some of us 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 rebates with that practitioner? Can you access Medicare rebates with that practitioner? Can you access the higher or lower Medicare rebate? Please note that Clinical Psychologists attract a higher rebate than Registered or General Psychologists. How long have they been in practice? Do they specialize in particular approaches?
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.