Psychologists are trained in human behaviour, having studied the brain (non-medically), memory, learning, human development and the processes determining how people think, feel, behave and react.
Psychological treatments are widely used to assist individuals and families and can also help groups and organisations. Many psychologists work across a number of settings, undertaking varied work, while others specialise in particular professional areas.
Are there different types of Psychologists?
Yes. Registered Psychologists have undertaken undergraduate study and postgraduate study in various areas of psychology. Clinical Psychologists have undertaken undergraduate study and postgraduate study in the area of clinical psychology. It is very important to note psychologists cannot prescribe medication. Please refer to the APS ethical guidelines for more information.
If you feel you need a medical assessment before seeing a Psychiatrist, please call your GP and make an appointment to discuss your concerns.
What Treatments can a Psychologist provide?
All psychologists who provide clinical services have been trained in Individual Therapy (also known as “Talking therapy”). Psychologists are trained in a ranges of individual therapies which may include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
- Play Therapy
Some psychologists also provide Group Therapy.
Do I get a rebate if I see a Psychologist?
Anyone can see a psychologist without a referral. However, if you would like to receive a Medicare Rebate for your treatment sessions, you will need to obtain a suitable referral as described below.
Medicare – Better Access Scheme:
To be eligible for a Medicare Rebate you must obtain a suitable referral for treatment under the Medicare Better Access Scheme from your General Practitioner or Psychiatrist. Under this scheme, you will be entitled to receive a Medicare rebate for up to 10 sessions of individual psychological treatment (Individual Therapy) per calendar year (January to December).
In addition, you are entitled to receive a Medicare rebate for up to 10 sessions of group psychological treatment (Group Therapy) per calendar year (January to December). Please note that changes to the number of sessions will occur in November 2019 under the Medicare Better Access Scheme – The new Medicare support will allow Australians with Eating Disorders to access up to 60 sessions of treatment comprising of 40 psychotherapeutic sessions and 20 Dietitic sessions. Please call Medicare for more details.
Structuring your treatment so that you have an opportunity to attend Individual Therapy and Group Therapy sessions can be an effective way of extending your treatment under Medicare throughout the calendar year.
In addition, if you have reached the Medicare Safety Net threshold for the calendar year, your rebate will rise so that your out of pocket expenses may reduce further.
Chronic Health Condition & Team Care Arrangements (TCA):
If you have complex and/or chronic medical illness (symptoms more than 6 months’ duration) you can claim a Medicare rebate for up to five visits with a Psychologist per calendar year (January to December). To be entitled to this rebate, you must be referred by a General Practitioner under a GP Management Plan and Team Care Arrangements (TCA).
At your appointment with your General Practitioner, they will complete:
- A GP Management Plan (GPMP) – (item 721) and
- Team Care Arrangements (TCAs) – (item 723).
Your General Practitioner is required to develop a written plan for Team Care Arrangements (TCA) in conjunction with at least two other allied health professionals (for example a psychologist and dietitian). Your General Practitioner will then provide a copy of this plan to those professionals, and this provides the basis of your referral.
(Please note, the GP Chronic Disease Management (CDM) items have replaced the earlier Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) items, and the new Team Care Arrangements (TCA) have replaced the earlier EPC Multidisciplinary Care Plan items).
It is not necessary to have a new GPMP or TCA prepared every calendar year in order to be eligible for ongoing treatment. You continue to be eligible for a Medicare rebate for as long as the need for eligible services continues to be recommended by your plan under the supervision of your General Practitioner.
Helping Children with Autism:
We can provide treatment for children needing support with the diagnosis and early intervention treatment of autism or any other pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). To be entitled to this rebate, you will require a referral from a Child Psychiatrist or Paediatrican. Under this scheme, you can receive treatment for two specific types of services – assessment services and treatment services.
For further information about psychology services and rebates please go to the Australian Psychological Society website at https://www.psychology.org.au/medicare/, the Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au/mbsonline or call Medicare Provider enquiries 132 150.