Do I need a referral to make an appointment?
No referral is required to make an appointment and see Amy. If you have a referral with a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP then you can claim a Medicare rebate of $84.80 per session for up to 10 sessions per calendar year.
What is a Mental Health Care Plan?
A Mental Health Care Plan is developed in conjunction with your GP asessing your mental health. After doing an assessment your GP will make a plan for you which may include a referral to a pscyhologist. under the Better Access initiative. This is a Government initiative to enable people living with mental health problems to obtain affordable treatment by psychologists via Medicare rebates. To obtain a Mental Health Care Plan you will need to book a long appointment with your GP to discuss your concerns and determine whether counselling is the best treatment plan for you. Better Access is for diagnosable disorders such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and mood disorders. People with a Mental Health Care Plan are eligible for up to 10 sessions per calendar year with a Psychologist as well as up to 10 group therapy sessions. The current Medicare rebate for a standard 50 minute session with a psychologist is $84.80. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan then please call us to discuss it or consult your Doctor.
How do I choose the right counsellor for me?
It is very important when deciding to get help for a problem that you find the person who can best assist you. Firstly, it can be helpful to understand the differences between types of health professionsals. The words counselling, therapy and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably and may be conducted by a psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellor or therapist. It is always advisable to check qualifications, experience and areas of specialty before deciding who to see. Below are some definitions which may help you choose the best practitioner for you.
Secondly, once you meet with someone, check if what they are saying seems to make sense to you and if you feel comfortable talking with the person. Most people feel somewhat anxious at their first visit, but does the counsellor try and put you at ease and seem to understand you. Other things to consider include accessibility and cost of sessions.
Psychologists have completed 6 six years of training with at least 4 of those at University. They must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia which ensures that they follow high standards of ethics and meet ongoing professional development requirements. Psychologists work in a variety of settings and may specialise in different areas including counselling, mental health and assessment. They are not able to prescribe medication. Medicare rebates are available when you see a psychologist if they have a Medicare provider number.
Psychiatrists have completed a medical degree and then further study specialising in mental health. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication. Some psychiatrists offer psychotherapy, while others focus primarily on the medical management of mental health problems.
Counsellors and therapists are not currently regulated in Australia. Many counsellors have completed a degree in counselling or social work and have membership with a peak organisation, such as PACFA, which means they have minimum standards and ongoing professional development requirements. However, there are some counsellors and therapists that have done only short courses or not completed any formal training. Therefore, it is important to check qualifications and experience before deciding to see a counsellor or therapist.
For many making the decision to make an appointment to see a psychologist is a last resort and provokes feelings of anxiety. At Live Well Now we understand this and provide a comfortable, friendly and non-judgemental space for you to confidentially discuss your concerns with a caring professional. Sessions are scheduled for 50 minutes and the first one or two sessions are generally focused on developing an understanding of why you are seeking help and what you have already tried to resolve your issues. You will then work together with your psychologist to develop a plan to meet your counselling goals. The number of sessions required varies, but most people find that they have improvement within 4 to 12 sessions. More sessions may be needed to consolidate changes or for long standing and complex problems.
How to Get the Most From Your Sessions
There are some things you can consider, as well as do, to get the maximum benefit from your sessions at Live Well Now.
- Try and be clear about what you want to achieve from the sessions. For example, how will your life be different when you are finished with counselling, or how will you know the counselling has been helpful.
- Attend all appointments on time. The time scheduled is just for you so don't waste it by being late.
- Come prepared to be open about your concerns. We know it can be hard to open up but we can't help you if we do not have a full understanding of what is happening in your life. It is not our place to judge you, only help you get the most out of your life.
- Be prepared to try new ways of doing things. We know it can be scary but you never know it may help to think and do things a different way!
- Do complete any assigned tasks between sessions. You will save yourself a lot of time and money if you work between sessions.
For concerns regarding children under the age of 12 it is often useful for us to first meet with a parent or caregiver to obtain relevant background information and ensure that seeing the child is the best course of action. Sometimes, especially with younger children, we may be able to assist parents to help their son or daughter without ever having to see the child. As some children may become anxious about meeting with a stranger, it is important to re-assure them that a counsellor or psychologist is someone who can help them feel better. It is not necessary for children to speak about traumatic events, rather the focus is on making sense of feelings and managing symptoms. We may use a combination of talking and play therapy to achieve this.
Victim Assist Queensland is the Queensland Government assistance scheme for victims of violent crime in Queensland. The role of Victim Assist Queensland is to aid in the recovery of victims of crime who have been injured as a result of an act of violence. They are able to reimburse victims of crime for the costs of goods and services they may require to recover from the physical and/or emotional effects of violent crime. For example, Victim Assist can pay for the cost of counselling from a qualified practitioner where a victim of violent crime has suffered psychological distress. Under the new legislations parents of children who have been victims of crime can now also obtain assistance as Parent Secondary Victims. Victims of crime may also be entitled to a compensation payment over and above any expenses incurred.
At Live Well Now we are experienced in assisting people to heal after trauma. We understand the process involved in applying for compensation and can help you with your application. Victim Assist will pay the full cost of counselling sessions for eligible clients whose applications have been approved. To apply for assistance a Financial Application and Medical Certificate need to be completed and sent to Victim Assist QLD.
For more information go to Victim Assist Queensland or speak to a Victims Link Up Information Officer on 1300 546 587.
Quick links to useful Victim Assist documents:
- Guide for victims of crime
- Financial application for victims of crime
- Guide to completing financial application for victims of crime
- Medical certification for victims of crime