Frequently asked questions

How much does a counselling session cost?

Fee payment is discussed during the initial intake and allocated to either fee-paying or in some instances, Medicare bulk bill. The cost of a 50 minute counselling session with a psychologist varies from $0 (bulk-billed) to $185 (full fee paying).

Standard Fee
The gap fee (out of pocket cost) per session varies from $32.55-$56.60. The full fee is payable initially, with Mental Health Care Plan holders receiving a Medicare rebate, paid into their bank account. Find out more about your eligibility.

Private Fee
If you do not have a Mental Health Care Plan, are not eligible for Medicare and/or are seeing a Psychologist privately, the cost varies from $120-185. You may receive a portion of this back from your Private Health Insurance (if applicable). The amount you get back will depend on your level of cover.

Bulk-billing
Medicare bulk billing is available for clients with a Healthcare or Pensioners concession card and for those experiencing financial hardship.

Bulk-billing also occurs for clients who have been impacted by 2019/2020 Australian bushfires under the ‘Better Access Bushfire Recovery Telehealth Initiative’. There is no out of pocket expense and you do not need a GP referral.

No payment is required for these clients as sessions are claimed directly through Medicare. 

Payment Options

For standard and private fees, clients are invoiced after each session. Payment via EFT should be made within 7 days of receiving your invoice.

For private clients overseas, payment via PayPal is available for overseas money transfers.

What is bulk billing?

Bulk billing means you don’t have to pay for your medical service from a health professional. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in Medicare and have a valid Medicare card.

At Remote Psych, bulk-billing occurs for clients who have been impacted by 2019/2020 Australian Bushfires and for Healthcare card & Pension card holders.

How this works is we bill Medicare instead of you, the client, and we accept the Medicare benefit as full payment for the service provided to you. You assign the benefit to us by signing a Medicare agreement form.

What is a Mental Health Care Plan & do I need one?

A mental health care plan (MHCP) is basically a GP referral to Allied Health services.

If you have a mental health disorder, you and your doctor can create a plan to treat it. Your mental health treatment plan will have goals agreed by you and your doctor. It’ll also have:

  • treatment options
  • support services available

A mental health treatment plan lets you claim up to 10 sessions* with a mental health professional each calendar year.

To start with, your doctor or psychiatrist will refer you for up to 6 sessions. If you need more sessions, they can refer you for further sessions. Your psychologist will write to your GP  asking for a Mental Health Care Plan Review, which usually includes a further 4 sessions.

*Note that it is common for not all 10 counselling sessions to be required. For some clients, they have resolution or change with the presenting issues in around four sessions, for others it is a longer process. Every person, situation and experience is unique.

Do I need a Mental Health Care Plan to receive counselling?

No, you don’t. Some clients prefer not to see their GP to get a Mental Health Care Plan. The only difference is that you contact us directly, there is no reporting requirements to your referring GP and you would be paying the full session cost (no Medicare rebate). If you have Private Health Insurance, you may be able to claim a portion of this fee. Contact your provider for more information.

You do not need a Mental Health Care Plan or GP referral to access the Medicare Bushfire Recovery rebate.

Am I eligible for a Medicare rebate?

Currently, all Medicare eligible Australians are able to access rebated sessions, regardless of your location.

Rural & Remote Clients
Better Access Telehealth services– If you reside in Australia in Areas 4-7 as designated by the Modified Monash Model, are eligible for Medicare, have a current Mental Health Care Plan, are not currently in hospital and are located at least 15 km from your treating health practitioner, then you would be eligible for the rebate.

You are eligible to access Telehealth services if:

  • you meet criteria for the Better Access initiative: your doctor has assessed that you are suffering from a mental disorder and would benefit from a structured approach to the management of your treatment needs,
  • you reside in Modified Monash Model regions four to seven (MMM 4 – MMM 7)
  • are located at least 15 kilometres by road from the eligible telehealth provider.

Metropolitan & Regional Clients
Better Access Pandemic Support Measure - Clients who reside in non Rural/Regional areas (Regions 1-3) may be eligible to access up to 20 Medicare rebated telehealth services under the Better Access initiative, with COVID-19 MBS items.

To be eligible, a patient must have:

  • an approved treatment plan (either a Mental Health Treatment Plan, shared care plan, psychiatrist
    assessment and management plan or approved written record) developed by their medical
    practitioner (GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician);
  • used their initial 10 individual Better Access sessions before they seek a referral for additional
    sessions; and
  • a referral from their reviewing practitioner (a referral is not required when the GP developing a
    Mental Health Treatment Plan also delivers the psychological therapy sessions).

Further information on the Better Access initiative is available here. You can also contact Department of Human Services: telehealth@medicareaustralia.gov.au

All Australians
Medicare Bushfire Recovery Telehealth Initiative  Bushfire-affected individuals, families and emergency response personnel are eligible for up to 10 sessions per year in 2020 and 2021. These sessions will be bulk-billed. You can get these services from now until 31 December 2021.

Contact us today for more information or to discuss your eligibility.

If you are unsure if Medicare have your correct bank details, you can learn how to update your bank account details using your Medicare online account or Express Plus Medicare mobile app. Making sure your information is up-to-date will avoid any delays in receiving your rebate.

What happens when I’ve reached 10 sessions for the year?

We aim for episodes of counselling more so than ongoing contact (though this does occur for some clients).

You may be eligible for an additional 10 Medicare rebated sessions. Speak to your GP or Psychologist to discuss your eligibility.

If you are not eligible or do not have a mental health care plan, you may continue counselling sessions privately. A portion of the fee may be rebateable with your Private Health Insurance (if applicable).

Which software do you use for videoconferencing and is it secure?

Your Telehealth sessions with your Psychologist will be conducted via Zoom videoconferencing. Zoom is the software that is used by many Australian health care providers. Zoom keeps privacy and security top of mind for all end users. The data is encrypted and operates on a low bandwidth making it suitable for use in regional and remote areas with varying internet reliability and speeds. Find out how Zoom secures your data and protects your privacy here.

A unique link to your clinicians Zoom Room will be emailed to you for access to your sessions. A Zoom account is not required if you are strictly joining Meetings as a participant. Learn more about joining a Zoom meeting.

There is no software cost to you. The data usage for a 50 minute video conference is usually between 50-75MB.

Will my device & internet connection be suitable for videoconferencing?

This is something we sort out at the intake contact, well before you videoconference with your psychologist. The preferred device to use for your zoom sessions is a computer, but a laptop, tablet or smartphone will work just fine!

You will need to make sure your device has a working camera and microphone. We need to have both audio and visual connection to meet the requirements of the Better Access program. That is, we can’t just talk over the phone!

The platform used for videoconferencing has a low bandwidth to accommodate areas with poor internet connectivity and to reduce risk of drop out.

Is a telehealth consultation as effective as a face-to-face consultation?

Psychological treatment provided using videoconferencing technology has been found to be as effective as a face-to-face appointment for a variety of mental health problems. Your GP and psychologist will talk to you about whether telehealth consultations are appropriate and suitable for you.

Continue reading Psychological services via telehealth - Information For Consumers.

I'd like to know more about the therapeutic interventions you use.

The Therapeutic/Psychological Interventions that we use may include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

Psycho-education

Psycho-education is used to help people better understand their mental health conditions. Through this understanding, we can become better accustomed to living with these conditions. For this reason, it can be an essential aspect of all therapy programs, providing greater internal capacity to work toward mental and emotional well-being.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) 

Exploring the way we think, feel and behave and the linkages between these. Cognitive behavioural therapy includes; Behavioural interventions and modifications, Exposure techniques, Activity scheduling, Cognitive interventions and Cognitive therapy.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal therapy helps with resolving interpersonal relationship issues. It is the belief that; relationships and life events impact mood. Similarly, mood impacts relationships and life events.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment therapy involves Values guided action and Mindfulness skills.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a modified version of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) which is designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). It can also be used to treat other conditions including; suicidal behaviour, self-harm, substance use, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and eating disorders.
DBT helps individuals change behavioural, emotional, thinking and interpersonal patterns associated with problems in living.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, person-centred form of guiding ,to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.

Psychological Skills Training (PST)

Psychological Skills Training involves; Problem solving skills and training, Anger management, Social skills training, Communication training, Stress management and assisting with Parenting issues.

Mindfulness Training (MT)

Mindfulness is about focusing on being aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. Learning how to focus your awareness on the present moment, and to acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and bodily sensations as they occur, without the need to control or manipulate them.

Do you have session times out of usual business hours?

Yes we do. This is dependent on individual clinicians but will be discussed with you at the intake contact when we establish what times you are available.

I’m feeling at risk and overwhelmed now. What can I do?

Remote Psych is not a crisis support service. If you are an existing client you will have a Crisis Support Plan in place which will guide you in who can immediately support you.

If anyone’s life is in danger or there is an immediate risk of harm, call 000 or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.

If you’re in crisis and need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

MensLine Australia offers help for men with family and relationship concerns. You can call 1300 789 978 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or abuse, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or through online chat. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Suicide Call Back Service offers crisis support to anyone in Australia who is aged 15 years and older. If you're affected by suicide, you can call 1300 659 467. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you’re between the ages of 5 and 25, you can call the kidshelpline on 1800 551 800. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The kidshelpline website also has helpful information for kids, teenagers, young adults and parents.

If you're still not sure what to do, call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the healthdirect Symptom Checker.

Can I talk with my psychologist between sessions?

If you need to reach out to your clinician between sessions, you can call us at any time on 03 5222 4789 to leave a message with our friendly admin staff.

If anyone’s life is in immediate danger, call 000 or visit a hospital emergency department. If you’re in crisis and need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What if I don’t connect with the psychologist I’m seeing… can I change therapists?

Absolutely. We recognise that sometimes we don't click with a clinician (this occurs with all types of health clinicians).

We make it clear at the intake contact that if this occurs you can speak with the intake team or your clinician about this.

This process is about you and your mental health improvement, so if its not working let's change it.

I don’t want anyone to know that I’m getting counselling!

Your confidentiality and privacy are important. At the initial contact your preferences for communication will be discussed so that this risk is minimised.
Information will not be provided to family or employers (if requested) without your knowledge and permission.

If receiving Better Access rebates (through a Mental Health Care Plan) there are reporting requirements to your GP. After your sixth (and / or final) appointment, a brief report will be sent to your referring GP outlining the treatment undertaken, progress and any ongoing needs together with recommendation of how these needs can be met.

There are no reporting requirements to your GP if not claiming rebates through a Mental Health Care Plan.

You can view our Privacy Policy here.

Do you have psychologists that specialise in talking with young people?

Yes we do! One of our clinicians has spent a number of years working with young people, which together with her rural and nursing background make her well placed to talk with.

I would like some more information.

Feel free to give us a call or email us at any time. You can also find a copy of our Practice Information Sheet here.