What is counselling?

Counsellors are formally trained to use the same and additional practices to other mental health professionals and assist clients in usually less than 10 sessions.  Lisa Anderson, Counsellor, has a Bachelor of Counselling (among other recognised training).

Counselling visits are not able to be claimed through Medicare but some are covered under many Private Health Funds.

Your doctor recieves a fee from the government to provide you with a Mental Health Plan and refer you to Medicare claiming psychologists.  Your Mental Health Plan is recorded against your Medicare profile.

Counselling fees differ from psychologist and psychiatrist fees.

A 2021-2022 psychologist fee recommendation via the Australian Psychological Society is standard 46 to 60 minute consultation fee at $267.

And then the rebate is: When you have an appointment with an associated psychologists you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate of approximately $84 (if you see a Registered Psychologist) and approximately $124 (if you see a Clinical Psychologist), per session.

So – the gap is either $183 or $143 in additional to visiting your GP to gain a Mental Health Plan.  In Canberra, psychologist can be up to a 4 week wait or more.

Please be advised a GP referral is not necessary to visit a counsellor.  A GP receives a fee from the government to refer you and provide a Mental Health Plan.

Being able to express your inner most private feelings in a GP visit of often 10 minutes is not comprehensive enough to allow you to feel heard. 

However, they may provide you with a prescription, undertake an assessment such as the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) or the K10 Anxiety Test.

The Upside of Me services are charges are noted HERE.

The Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) describes counselling as a professional, safe and confidential* collaboration between a qualified counsellor and client/s to promote mental health and wellbeing, enhance self-understanding, and resolve identified concerns. Clients are active participants in the counselling process at every stage.

Counselling is a profession with a strong evidence base. Counsellors use empirically supported interventions and specialised interpersonal skills to facilitate change and empower clients.

Counsellors are trained in a range of modalities to work with clients from diverse backgrounds. Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and PACFA registered counsellors have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate counselling qualification. They are expected to participate in ongoing professional development and supervision, including their own counselling, to stay current with developments in their profession and to ensure safe, ethical practice.

According to the psychological society, “most psychologists provide assessment and therapy to clients, help facilitate organisational or social change, conduct psychological research, or administer psychological tests to individuals or groups”.

The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists note a psychiatrist is a specialist medical doctor who assesses and treats patients with mental health problems. Psychiatrists often work in collaboration with general practitioners and other health professionals to best meet the mental health and emotional needs of patients”.

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