Clinical Psychologists work in a variety of roles, and in a variety of settings. They may see clients in private practice for therapeutic interventions, work in teams alongside other health professionals in hospitals or clinics, school settings, or in companies providing support for employees. All roles come under the rubric of promoting and bringing about better mental health and well being for people in the Australian community.
As well as therapy, we are trained in assessments for a variety of purposes such as education, personality, psychological issues, occupational performance, autism spectrum and ADHD.
Clinical Psychologists play an important role in recruitment, occupational health, maximising work performance, or assistance in finding a career direction that fits an individual’s interests, aptitudes and abilities.
This breadth means individual Clinical Psychologists develop particular interests, proficiencies and capabilities. It is best to match your requirements with the proficiencies and skills of the individual with the specific needs of the client/patient. Our membership directory is designed to assist with this.
A referral is necessary for a client to receive Medicare rebated sessions (see medicare fact sheet). It is not necessary to write a referral if you are recommending someone consult with a Clinical Psychologist, although a letter or report can be useful.
Private Health Fund and Medicare Rebates
It is not necessary to have a referral to see a Clinical Psychologist. Private rebates are available when an individual sees a Clinical Psychologist on a private basis.
A referral is needed for Medicare rebates to be made available. General Practitioners complete a “Mental Health Care Plan” (see fact sheet).
What is a ‘Clinical Psychologist’ and how can they help?
Clinical psychologists assess symptoms of psychological distress and determine the appropriate psychological therapy. They work with mild as well as complex mental health issues, and may also give advice about lifestyle changes that can help improve well-being and health.
That is the area in which medical practitioners work. Instead, clinical psychologists use psychological therapies to help manage distress and psychological issues. Clinical psychologists work in hospital settings, schools, various government agencies, community mental health settings, universities and in private practice. We work with individuals, couples, families, and groups. We commonly liaise and work alongside other health professionals, employers, and educational agencies.
We are trained in psychological assessment and can use tests, interviews and behavioural observations to assess, interpret and form opinions about personality, thinking and emotions. Assessment can be important for education, work, relationships and other areas where problems might arise. We are also trained in research to understand humans and psychological processes.
This list is not exhaustive.
Clinical Psychologists have amongst the highest level of education of all mental health care professionals. All ICP Clinical Psychologists have either a Master’s or Doctoral degree from their university training, 8 years in university training in psychology, followed by registrar training under expert clinical supervision for up to two years.
To check the qualifications of a particular individual to see whether they are a clinical psychologist (or registered psychologist) go to www.psychologyboard.gov.au then search the Register of Practitioners. Click on View Details to ascertain whether the person is endorsed as a clinical psychologist. Only those practitioners who are endorsed as such by the Psychology Board of Australia are permitted to work as a Clinical Psychologist.
Which classification system is used to determine of a patient is eligible for rebates?
What is a referral?
In essence, the GP must:
A patient does not have to be formally referred by a General Practitioner to claim private health fund rebates. However, it is helpful to the Clinical Psychologist if a referral letter is received because it can assist with management.
If a medico-legal assessment is required, the legal practitioner will often contact the Clinical Psychologist directly and outline the task with a ‘letter of instruction’.
If treatment is required, it is helpful if the patient’s General Practitioner writes a referral. The insurer will often need to be contacted, and in agreement, for payment of this treatment.
No letter of referral is required for rebates under these programmes.
A referral to the Clinical Psychologist is required to commence treatment. There is no formal requirement for reports to be provided on the treatment progress or outcomes, although this can be useful for shared care.
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