What can I expect when I speak to a Psychologist?

During counselling, you have the opportunity to discuss your concerns in a non-judgmental and private environment. The psychologist will assist you to explore the parts of your life you would like to change and help you to develop a plan to implement these changes. A psychologist can help you to identify the areas of your life which may be problematic and/or thoughts and behaviours that may be contributing to your difficulties. As a registered Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia, confidentially is not only important but required by law. When you speak to a psychologist you can be sure that your information remains private unless you provide consent for information to be passed on to other health professionals. There are certain limits to confidentiality, for example if the Psychologist has concerns regarding the safety of the client or another person.

What can I expect from my 1st appointment?

Each counselling appointment lasts approximately 55 minutes.  The first time you meet with a psychologist, you can expect to answer a lot of questions.  You will be asked about what areas you need help with and what you want to change.  You will be asked to complete some paperwork and you may be asked to complete some homework tasks before the next appointment.

How often / how long will I have to attend counseling?

Both of these decisions are up to you, and will be discussed with the psychologist during the first session.  Regularity of appointments depends upon the nature of  your issues, your time availability and financial ability to attend.  Usually, weekly or fortnightly appointments are best in the early stages and frequency may reduce as you make progress.  The number of sessions required again depends on the nature of issues and the goals you set.  Some people are able to achieve their goals in 4-6 sessions, however some clients may need ongoing support. Counselling goals are reviewed regularly to ensure progress is being made.  If you are wishing to speed things up, then you need to complete the homework assignments in your own time and practice the new skills / techniques that you are learning.

I’m sick, I’m not crazy, why do I need to see a Psychologist?

Living with a chronic illness can be extremely stressful.  It can impact all areas of life including career, education, finances, relationships, family life and friendships and can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Talking to a psychologist can assist in dealing with the stress of being ill and help you to minimise the impact on your life.  As the CFS  symptoms improve and you begin to get back into life, it can be anxiety-provoking to return to school / work and you may need some support to help form and reach your goals.

I want my son / daughter to see a Psychologist, will I be included in the appointments?

This will depend on what your child wants.  It is usually best for adolescents to have the opportunity to talk openly without their parents in the room.  However, parents will be given updates on their child’s progress and will be included in discussions about what the parents can do to assist the recovery process.  Parents will usually be asked to be present during the first appointment until their child feels comfortable to speak with the psychologist alone.

What will it cost me?

Fees for Psychological Counselling at Active Health Clinic are as follows:

  • Initial Consultation: $150
  • Subsequent Consultation: $130

If you hold a valid Health Care card, you will be eligible for the concession rate of $125 for initial consultation and $105 for subsequent consultations.

If you have Private Health Insurance, you may be able to claim depending on your level of cover.  Please check with your insurer first.  Rebates from private health insurers range from $25 – $75 depending on your level of cover.  Annual limits for psychology services will apply.

Both Lisa and Moira are registered Medicare providers, Workcover providers and registered with most Health Insurers as providers of allied health services.

Medicare will rebate $84.60 per session for up to 10 sessions per calendar year if you receive a referral from a GP (Mental Health Care Plan).

How do I get a referral from a GP?

Through the “Better Access to Mental Health Care” initiative your GP is able to refer you to see a psychologist for up to 10 Medicare funded sessions.  If you wish to pursue this, make an appointment with your GP to develop a Mental Health Care Plan (MBS Item #2710).  You may need to book a double appointment (check with the receptionist).  Your doctor will fill in the mental health care plan and assess your suitability for referral to a psychologist.  A copy of the mental health care plan is available here.

Ask your doctor if you can be referred to:

Lisa Ellis

Psychologist – Active Health Clinic

0434 260 049

Medicare Provider Number:  #4284922W

Moira Callan

Psychologist – Active Health Clinic

0435 794 772

Medicare Provider Number:  #4451922B

The initial referral will allow you to access 6 sessions funded by Medicare.  If, after 6 sessions, you and your psychologist decide you would benefit from more sessions, you will need to make another appointment with your GP to complete a “Mental Health Care review’ This review will entitle you to another 4 sessions, with a maximum of 10 for the calendar year.

Do I need to see the Psychologist at Active Health Clinic or can I go somewhere else?

You can ask your GP to refer you to any psychologist.  The advantage of staying at Active Health Clinic is that the Psychologists specialise in working with clients who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and your treatment will complement the work you do with your Exercise Physiologist.  Also it means that your Psychologist and Exercise Physiologist can work together to plan the most appropriate treatment for you (with your consent).