What is counselling?

Counselling involves the development of a relationship between a client and a trained professional (e.g. a Psychologist) that focuses on the client’s concerns and difficulties. It is a process in which individuals have the opportunity to improve upon their understanding of themselves. This includes understanding their patterns of thinking, behaviours, feelings, and the ways in which these may be problematic in their lives. Counselling also provides individuals with opportunities to examine how to use their existing resources and skills or develop new ones to enhance their lives and relationships. Counselling is a collaborative effort as it involves the client and Psychologist working together to clarify the client's goals and develop the skills required to achieve them.


Who may benefit from counselling?

People seek counselling for many reasons. Psychological counselling may be useful if you:


Have a persistent feeling of sadness or depression
Often feel stressed or anxious
Would like to improve your relationships with others
Lack self-confidence or have difficulty being assertive
Feel suicidal

Have thoughts of harming yourself
Are struggling to balance work and family commitments
Are having difficulty making an important decision
Are worried about the health or wellbeing of someone close to you


What fees are involved?

Individual counselling sessions are approximately 50 minutes in duration and the fee per session is $190. Please note, Zoe Parry's sessions with couples are generally 70 minutes in duration and the fee for these sessions is $260.  Other psychologists including Anne Galambosi offer 50 minute couples counselling sessions and the fee is $190 per session.


Please note that accounts must be paid on the day of your session and we have EFTPOS facilities for your convenience. We do not accept American Express.


Can I claim a rebate from my private health insurance fund?

Many private health insurance funds provide a rebate for services provided by psychologists. We encourage you to contact your health insurance fund prior to your appointment to find out whether your policy covers services provided by the particular psychologist you are scheduled to meet with. Our psychologists are registered as providers with most private health funds. We do not offer HICAPS electronic claiming at our practice.


Can I claim a rebate from Medicare?

In order to obtain a rebate from Medicare, your General Practitioner (GP) must complete a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) with you and refer you to a Psychologist. You will generally need to book a long/extended appointment with your GP to discuss whether you are eligible for a MHTP referral. Referral letters from psychiatrists and paediatricians are also welcomed. You will need to bring a referral letter from your doctor to your appointment with the Psychologist. Once a Mental Health Treatment Plan and referral letter have been completed by your doctor, you will be able to obtain a Medicare rebate of $84.80 per session for up to 10 sessions per calendar year. You must visit your referring doctor after attending 6 sessions with your psychologist, to ascertain whether further sessions are appropriate and if so, you may be referred by your doctor for a further 4 sessions.


Please note that Medicare rebates are not available for couples counselling sessions, even if one or both partners have a Mental Health Treatment Plan.


Zoe offers Medicare online claiming, which enables your Medicare rebate to be deposited directly into your bank account, as long as you have already registered your banking details with Medicare.


Do I need a referral from my doctor?

No, you do not need a referral in order to visit a Psychologist. However, you will be unable to claim any Medicare rebate without a Medicare eligible Mental Health Treatment Plan referral from your doctor.


What can I expect during my first appointment?

When you arrive for your initial appointment, our receptionist will ask you to read & complete a few forms which provide you with information regarding our services and enable us to obtain your consent and contact details.  We suggest you arrive 5 minutes early for your first appointment, so you can complete these forms and maximise the time available for discussion with your Psychologist.  If you have any difficulties or concerns about completing the forms, your Psychologist will be happy to assist you with this during your session.  If you have a referral letter or Mental Health Care Plan from your doctor, please bring these to your appointment, along with your Medicare card and provide this information to our receptionist when you arrive.


During the session, the Psychologist will briefly explain important aspects of our service, such as the privacy and confidentiality of any information discussed in your sessions.  They will then give you an opportunity to discuss why you have decided to attend counselling and what you hope to change or improve upon as a result of your sessions.  The Psychologist will also be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the counselling process.  After discussing your concerns in some detail (which may take more than one session) you can expect the Psychologist to provide you with information about how counselling may assist with the difficulties you are experiencing and what would be involved in any future sessions.  If for some reason the Psychologist believes there is a more appropriate practitioner or organisation to assist you, they will explain this to you and with your permission they will help to co-ordinate a referral.


What’s the difference between a Psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a counsellor or psychotherapist?


Psychologists

Throughout Australia (and most of the world) Psychologists are registered by the government. In order to use the title ‘Psychologist’ in Australia you must have a minimum of four years’ university training in psychology and two years subsequent supervised professional practice. As part of their registration, Psychologists’ are bound by a Code of Ethics, which aims to safeguard the welfare of clients. The fact that the Psychologists Board of Australia registers all Psychologists provides reassurance for clients, as any concerns regarding the conduct of Psychologists can be directed to the Board for consideration. Zoe Parry and Yvonne Kilpatrick are both fully registered Psychologists and members of the Australian Psychological Society.


Counsellors and Psychotherapists

The titles ‘Counsellor’, ‘Psychotherapist’ or ‘Therapist’ are not registered. Anyone who wishes to can practice as a Counsellor, Psychotherapist or Therapist.  There is no mandatory training or qualification required to be a counsellor or psychotherapist.


Psychiatrists

A Psychiatrist is a medical practitioner who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications and often work in conjunction with Psychologists. Psychologists do not prescribe medication.


WHAT ARE YOUR OFFICE HOURS?

Amherst Psychology offers appointments from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.  Reception staff are available to answer your queries or schedule appointments on 9456 0411 from 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.  Zoe Parry's first appointment is at 9am and the latest is at 4pm.