What is a clinical psychologist?
Psychologists have completed a minimum of 6 years training in the area of mental health and human behaviour. Clinical psychologists have completed additional specialist training in the area of diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioural illness. Clinical psychologists also provide treatment for individuals who are having general difficulties in life and would benefit from external assistance.
What’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists have completed extensive training in mental health issues and their treatment. They use techniques in talk therapy, strategy development, and behavioural change to assist clients, and sessions often last for approximately an hour. Psychiatrists have completed training in both psychology and medicine, which allows them to specialise not only in diagnosis, but also in the medications used in mental health issues. Often psychologists and psychiatrists work together as a treating team, which has been shown to result in better outcomes for clients.
What can I expect at my first session?
Initially you will be asked to review and sign a consent form which details your rights as a client and policies of the psychological practice. The initial session will often involve several questions which the psychologist uses to understand the focus of your issue and what you would like to achieve from your treatment. Some background history may be obtained but the primary focus is on the issue troubling you now, and where possible an initial treatment plan will be discussed with you. Remember, it is perfectly normal to be anxious or nervous when seeing a psychologist and they will try and help you with your discomfort as best as they can.
Why do I have to pay to see a psychologist?
Like all specialists, clinical psychologists are highly trained and have a unique set of skills in the area of mental health. As such, the services they provide are priced at a higher rate. The Australian Psychological Society has recommended a fee of $251 per session for psychological services, however as this is often unaffordable for many people most psychologists offer discounted rates well below this.
What can I do if someone I care about is having trouble with their mental health?
This is a difficult situation for anyone to be in, and watching a loved one suffer with a mental health issue can be particularly upsetting. Sometimes just talking openly with your loved one about your concerns, and encouraging them to reach out to services can open the door for individuals to seek help, and your support through that process can make that step easier. If someone you care about is having significant issues with their mental health, and you believe they or someone else may be in danger you are encouraged to contact your local area mental health service and make a referral. Contacts for your area can be found here. In an emergency, you should always contact 000 and request assistance from police or the ambulance service.
What is a Mental Health Care Plan?
Medicare provides for subsidised access to psychologists through a referral and Mental Health Care Plan completed either by a GP, Psychiatrist, or Mental Health Nurse. This plan provides your details, plus a description of symptoms that the psychologist can use to begin the process of understanding the nature of your mental health and what type of treatment you may benefit from.
How do I get a Mental Health Care Plan?
Your GP is able to provide you with a referral and plan so they are usually the best place to start. Contact your GP and request a double appointment, advising reception (if you are comfortable doing so) that the purpose of your visit will be to obtain a Mental Health Care Plan. This will allow your GP to set aside enough time to complete the plan and discuss it with you fully.
Can I see a psychologist without a Mental Health Care Plan?
Yes. However, without a valid plan you will not be able to access the Medicare rebate, therefore your sessions will be privately billed, leaving you to pay the entire balance of the account yourself.
How and when do I pay?
The full session payment is required on the day of your appointment. Eftpos facilities accepting debit and credit cards are accepted.
How do I access the Medicare Rebate?
Once you have settled your account, your rebate is lodged online immediately via our system. As long as your Mental Health Care Plan is valid, and you have not already claimed your 10 sessions of rebates that calendar year your lodgement will be accepted and funds will be in available in your nominated bank account usually within 24 hours (excluding weekends).
Note: To ensure you receive your rebate, you must have a nominated bank account linked to Medicare via the mygov portal. If you haven’t registered for mygov or you need to link your Medicare claims or bank details, please do so prior to your appointment via the link here
Can I just pay the gap fee?
Unfortunately no. Medicare does not allow psychologists to charge only the gap fee (difference between the full amount and the rebate amount) but require full payment up front before rebates can be processed.
Can I use my private health insurance fund?
Yes, depending on the psychological provisions outlined in your policy. For details on your policy entitlements relating to psychological services please contact your insurance provider. Individuals are entitled to use either private health rebates or Medicare rebates for each session, but can not claim both at the same time.
What if my treatment is covered by another party e.g. Workcover/TAC/ VOCAT?
As long as you provide the relevant documentation to your psychologist all session invoices will be sent directly to your external provider with nothing out of pocket for you on the day. Documentation required will include a letter from your insurer or relevant external provider stating your claim number and approval to access psychological services. Please ensure this document is available to you before making any bookings. If documentation is not provided you will be responsible for settlement of the session fee on that day.
How do I book an appointment online?
Click on one of the booking links and a new window will open. You will need to create an account using your email address and a password. Once you have created an account, click on the Book An Appointment tab.
You will then be asked to make the following selections:
Location: Wallace Avenue Specialist Suites
Service: Current Client Booking (for past or current clients) or New Client Booking (for new clients)
Provider: Claire McCallum
Use the calendar to select your preferred appointment time. Grey-shaded days indicate days where no appointments are available. Click on an available day and select your preferred time from the drop down options. A confirmation screen will appear with full details of your booking. To finalise your selections please accept the Terms and Conditions and click on Book Now. You should shortly receive a confirmation email of your appointment.
To change or cancel appointments, login and click on the My Bookings tab which will list all your upcoming appointments. To cancel, click on the Cancel tab next to your appointment. Confirm your cancellation request, and a confirmation of the change will be emailed to your account shortly after. Note: changes or cancellations are not accepted online within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. For last minute cancellations or change requests please contact Claire directly on 0432 395 291 or