Frequently asked questions

Below are some frequently asked questions by new clients engaging in therapy. If you have a question that is not listed below, please reach out. We would be happy to assist you during this process.

When can I see someone?

You can book counselling sessions at any time, anywhere, without a referral.

As we experience a high demand for services, waiting times may apply. The waiting time will greatly depend on the individual psychologist and your availability. We can usually book new clients within 2 weeks. In order to assist us in triaging your referral to determine who would be best suited to provide therapy, we will require a copy of your referral or Mental Health Treatment Plan. If you do not have a referral, we can provide an estimation. There may be longer waiting times for evening and weekend sessions.

How will we do our sessions?

Your Telehealth sessions with your Psychologist will be conducted via Zoom. 

We provide all counselling sessions with your psychologist via telehealth. This occurs via Zoom video conferencing on your computer or smartphone. 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. 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, audio and microphone.

Feel nervous about the technology working? You can test your video camera and audio with Zoom before joining a meeting to ensure that everything is working correctly. You can launch a test meeting anytime, click zoom.us/test to try it out. You can also contact the practice and arrange a test run with our Administration team. If your technology fails, in most cases we can switch to a phone session instead.

Is telehealth as effective as face-to-face consultations?

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. When seeing a psychologist via telehealth, you can expect to receive the same quality of care, ethical behaviour and standards of practice.

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.

How can I prepare for my session?

Your time is valuable, and we want you to have productive sessions. Follow these tips, and you’ll be off to a great start!

Plan
Pick a suitable day and time for your appointments where you’ll be most likely to be able to focus and work effectively with your psychologist.

Maintain privacy
Make sure you have a suitable private space, somewhere comfortable and quiet, where you feel safe. You will be discussing personal information, so think about who else can potentially overhear the conversation.

Minimise distractions
Remove potential distractions from the room (e.g. turn off music/television, avoid interruptions from others, ensure any children are supervised by others (this time is for you).

Access to technology
Make sure you have access to appropriate technology (e.g. computer/laptop/tablet/phone, camera, microphone). Check that your device is fully charged and you are connected to the internet. Have your mobile phone nearby in case your internet is not available and your psychologist needs to contact you.
Feel nervous about the technology working? You can test your video camera and audio with Zoom before joining a meeting to ensure that everything is working correctly. You can launch a test meeting anytime, click zoom.us/test to try it out. You can also contact the practice and arrange a test run with our Administration team. If your technology fails, in most cases we can switch to a phone session instead.

Good visibility
Position the camera appropriately so the psychologist can see you clearly on the screen. Make sure you are in a space that is well-lit, allowing a clear image and good eye contact. We are simulating a face-to-face session.

Questions
Think about any questions you have for the psychologist or any issues or discussion points you would like to talk about in session. Feel free to hand write notes and ask for additional session resources like worksheets or information sheets.

Reflect
Plan for some brief quiet time or a soothing activity after the session.

What is the difference between the types of psychologists?

All psychologists in Australia hold general registration with the Psychology Board of Australia, meeting high standards in education, training, supervised practice, ethical and professional standards, and ongoing professional development. Your psychologist is also a member of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and may also be a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), the largest professional organisation for psychologists in Australia.

When you seek help from a psychologist, you might see a psychologist with general registration, or one who also has a specific 'area of practice endorsement' (such as clinical psychology, forensic psychology or counselling psychology). A psychologist with an area of practice endorsement has additional university qualifications and supervised training in that specific area of interest.

Whichever type of psychologist you see, you should expect the same quality of care, ethical behaviour and standards of practice. Lean more

What is a Mental Health Treatment Plan? Do I need one?

A Mental Health Treatment/Care Plan (MHTP) is a GP referral to access Medicare subsidised Allied Health services. You can see a Psychologist at any time with or without a MHTP.  However, a MHTP allows you to receive Medicare Rebates to subsidise the session fees. In order to obtain a MHTP you need to make an appointment with your GP to discuss this.

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

  • treatment options
  • support services available

A MHTP lets you claim up to 20 sessions in 2022* 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 Treatment Plan Review, which usually includes a further 4 sessions.

*Note that it is common for not all 20 counselling sessions to be required. For some clients, they have resolution or change with the presenting issues in a few sessions, for others it is a longer process. Every person, situation and experience is unique.

Once active, a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan does not expire, it is an ongoing document. Clients have 2 years from the date the plan was created to access psychology sessions. Once you have used the initial 6 sessions, the plan can be reviewed with your GP to access additional sessions.

Some clients prefer not to see their GP or medical professional to get a MHTP. 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.

If you have been injured while working and require psychology services as part of your recovery, your GP can refer you to us. You may not need to complete a Mental Health Treatment Plan. You will need to provide us with your approved claim number and your Workers Compensation insurer details, for billing purposes.

Am I eligible for a Medicare rebate?

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

A Mental Health Treatment Plan is required to access a Medicare rebate/subsidised sessions.

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

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 used 10 sessions for the year?

Due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for up to 20 Medicare rebated sessions per year, regardless of your location.

Sessions 10-20 are available during COVID-19 under the 'Better Access Pandemic Support measure' and have been extended to December 2022. The Government understands that many people with a mental health condition will require additional mental health support at this difficult time. The new mental health services are designed to provide assistance to people who are experiencing severe or enduring mental health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you run out of sessions on your 'mental health treatment plan', you can continue counselling sessions privately. A portion of the fee may be rebateable with your Private Health Insurance (if applicable).

For more information regarding the additional 10 MBS mental health sessions during COVID-19, you can read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Consumers.

What issues do you treat?

With the support and guidance of a psychologist, you can gain insight and awareness, create change and work through issues. Psychologists can assist people who are having difficulty controlling their emotions, thinking and behaviour, including those with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, serious and enduring mental illness, addictive behaviours, trauma and childhood behaviour disorders.

There are effective psychological treatments available for a range of mental health issues. Some of the more common presenting issues we treat include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Addictions
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Trauma
  • Grief and loss
  • Workplace issues
  • Mood disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Personality disorders including Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia, binge eating
  • Low self-esteem & body image
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders OCD
  • Adjustment disorders
  • Sexual Assault
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidality
  • Military & Veterans issues
  • Stress management
  • Anger management
  • Domestic Violence
  • Gender, identity & sexuality issues
  • Living with chronic pain & other health conditions
  • Parenting & postpartum issues
  • Forensic & legal issues
  • Health anxiety
  • Somatic disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD
  • Living with chronic pain & other health conditions
  • Parenting & postpartum issues
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS
  • Youth issues, adolescents 12-18 years of age
What treatments will be used for my therapy?

Our psychologists are highly skilled in a range of psychological treatments, enabling us to tailor the therapeutic approach that will be most beneficial to our clients.

With the support and guidance of a psychologist, you can gain insight and awareness, create change and work through issues. Psychological treatment helps people to make changes in their lives to better cope with stress, conflict and other issues. It often involves doing ‘homework’ between consultations to try out new skills.

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) 

CBT is about 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. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages: Accept what is out of your personal control, and Commit to action that improves and enriches your life. The aim of ACT is to maximise your potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT has been used effectively to help treat workplace stress, anxiety, social anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychosis.

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. MI is used to elicit motivation to change a specific negative behaviour. MI engages clients, elicits change talk and evokes patient motivation to make positive changes.

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.

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. Alternatively, you can email your Psychologist directly.

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.

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.

State mental health triage service

Experiencing or caring for someone during a mental health crisis can be frightening but help is available 24 hours a day.
If you need help now, call your state's mental health crisis line for immediate expert support. They will help you work out which services can best help. This could be the doctor, a hospital emergency department, community mental health service or your local CATT team.

ACT1800 629 354 Mental Health Triage Service
NSW1800 011 511  Mental Health Line
NT1800 682 288 Northern Territory Mental Health Line
QLD1300 MH CALL (1300 642255) 24-hour specialist mental healthcare
SA13 14 65 Mental Health Triage Service
TAS1800 332 388 Mental Health Service Helpline
VIC: click here for mental health services in your area, or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24
WA1800 676 822 Mental Health Emergency Response Line

Crisis support lines

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.

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

Yes, absolutely. We recognise that sometimes we don't click with a clinician (this occurs with all types of health clinicians). We make it clear that if this occurs, you can speak with the admin team or your clinician about this and we can transfer you to another psychologist.

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

I would like some more information.

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

I'm concerned about my privacy.

All personal information gathered by the psychologist during the provision of the psychological service will remain confidential except when:

  1. it is subpoenaed by a court, or disclosure is otherwise required or authorised by law; or
  2. failure to disclose the information would, in the reasonable belief of the Remote Psych psychologist, place you or another person at serious risk to life, health or safety; or
  3. your prior approval has been obtained to disclose

Your confidentiality and privacy are important to us. At the initial contact, your preferences for communication will be established so that this risk is minimised. Information will not be provided to family or employers (if requested) without your knowledge and permission.
In the event that unauthorised access, disclosure or loss of a client’s personal information occurs, Remote Psych will activate its data breach plan and use all reasonable endeavours to minimise any risk of consequential serious harm.

The privacy of any form of communication via the internet or a mobile device is potentially vulnerable and limited by the security of the technology. Zoom software is used for all Remote Psych videoconferencing and is end-to-end encrypted and cloud hosted in Australia. Find out how Zoom secures your data and protects your privacy here.
Please be aware that email communication is not secure and should contain minimal personal information.

Reporting requirements

If receiving Better Access rebates or Medicare bulk-billing, there are reporting requirements to your GP. After your sixth (and/or final) appointment, a 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. We send these reports via secure Fax, directly to your GP clinic.
There are no reporting requirements to your GP if not claiming rebates through a Mental Health Treatment Plan.
If you are receiving treatment a Work cover claim or NDIS plan, your case manager or insurer may request a treatment and progress report, or similar.

What you can do to protect your privacy

Make sure you have a quiet, private space for your telehealth sessions, somewhere that you won’t be distracted or interrupted. Choose a space where the conversation can’t be overheard by others.

Keep your device password protected and out of reach of others.