The decision to call a counsellor or psychotherapist can often come when we’ve hit a wall in our own resources and coping mechanisms. We’ve noticed that how we’re feeling about a problem despite our attempts to change are actually getting worse. Many people seek a counsellor or psychotherapist when they’ve hit a crisis and they’re in a lot of emotional pain. They may be dealing with anxiety or depression that has interfered with their sleep or how they function through the day, or they have had a relationship break up or a threat of breaking up. The impulse to get help is a natural one. It would be the same if your car broke down, or you broke a tooth. You’d call someone, a specialist who deals with those things to help you.
I offer a free initial consultation for all potential clients, and at some point, (for my Australian clients), the question comes up on whether I can offer a Medicare rebate? This is a public health rebate that is offered through an approved psychologist or social worker.
What Getting A Medicare Rebate Means:
If you are seeking counselling through an approved psychologist or social worker you first need to get a doctor’s referral which can entitle you to getting a public health rebate per session for 6-10 sessions. When you see your doctor they will first talk to you about what is going on for you as they will be assessing you for a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP). This will include questions on your psychological and physiological symptoms. It is this plan that will allow you to access the Medicare rebate for the counselling session
Having A Permanent Mental Health Record
In order to satisfy Medicare that you are eligible for receiving a rebate, your doctor is required to note down a “Mental Disorder” – a diagnosis – that you appear to be suffering from. This diagnosis will then be placed on your personal Medicare records which can be viewed or taken into consideration when you apply for certain government jobs, or can be referred to in other legal or court circumstances.
This may be okay for you as long as you know that this is a permanent record. There are many clients who see me who aren’t 100% comfortable with this and prefer to manage their emotional, psychological and mental health privately.
How Many Sessions Are You entitled to Through an MHTP?
Once you have a MHTP, you are then able to receive between 6-10 rebated counselling sessions (per calendar year), with a Medicare approved Psychologist. Once you’ve completed 6 sessions your Psychologist writes a report that is sent to your doctor. The report will cover their own assessments, further diagnoses, a treatment plan, etc. It will be up to your doctor to decide whether you can have a further 4 sessions of counselling under Medicare.
What You Pay?
According to the Australian Psychological Society (APS), their recommended fees for 2016-2017 were $241 per 45-60 minute session. Medicare rebates for this fee are capped.
If you wish to continue with any further sessions beyond your 6-10 sessions require you then you are required to pay the full fees. There may be some negotiation with the psychologist or you may have a chronic or complex condition that may entitle you to other support options. These would need further discussion with your doctor.
Face To Face Counselling On Medicare Only
Finally it is probably good to be aware that Medicare consultations are only done face to face, which means if you aren’t physically able to get to a psychologist you can’t do online, phone or Skype sessions.
A Holistic Psychotherapy Approach
So in answer to the initial question that I raised at the start of this article: As a Holistic Psychotherapist I am not Medicare rebateable. Despite having over 25 years experience in private practice, training in Process Oriented Psychology and a Masters degree. Please click here to read about my full credentials and experience. My focus is not so much on psychological assessments and diagnosis but on a holistic approach to health and wellness. I work using an integrated approach of working with mind, body and spirit.
I am personally not comfortable with someone having a permanent record of having a mental health disorder. I don’t see the benefit in this sort of pathology as I believe we hit difficult times in our lives and with balanced support and tools we can grow, shift and heal from these.
Having said this, I personally don’t work with clients who have been diagnosed with, or display symptoms of severe mental illness (such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression with suicidal ideation) – in these cases, I would recommend seeing a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
Having An Experienced Therapist Who Gets You
A big part of creating positive change is finding a therapist that you feel hears you and gets you. Having a positive relationship that feels safe and non judgemental is an important part of the healing process in therapy.
I am passionate and committed in supporting and empowering my clients to turn around difficult life experiences and painful circumstances into their strengths and wisdom. I have seen positive results with clients who have taken up sensory grounded, practical tools for shifting out of troubled times, even when they’ve hit a wall or have been in crisis.
How Many Sessions Does It Take?
Sometimes we just need to be heard and validated over an issue that is circumstantial to whatever is happening currently in our life e.g. a job loss, the death of a loved one, workplace bullying, the end of a relationship, struggling with self love, strengthening personal boundaries. Some of these issues don’t necessarily need a clinical diagnoses as a Mental Disorder, but they may require a commitment over several months in order to feel a stronger sense of connection to our life path, to shift blindspots in our relationships or to feel more joy or empowerment around our self worth.
The commitment to your therapy is the commitment to your overall experience of wellness.
National and International Support Is Easy
Many of my clients are in different parts of Australia as well as overseas. With access to modern technology at our fingertips I am happy to offer personalised, professional and confidential support face to face as well as on the phone or via Skype or Zoom.
Please click onto the link more information on my work as a Holistic Psychotherapist.
Please do write to me with your questions or thoughts on working with me.