It is important to understand the approaches we use and the type of help you can benefit from when seeing one of our therapists at Bilibio Psychology. We encourage you to read below common Frequently asked questions to better understand a few things.
WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELLING ?
Psychotherapy and counselling are synonymous terms to describe a professional relationship between a trained clinician and an individual, couple, family, or group. The aim is to enhance the psychological wellbeing of the client by guiding individuals in the directions they need to take in order to make right decisions and adopt more constructive life practices. By talking to someone not personally involved in your life you may become more aware of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and experiences, which in turn empowers you to have greater acceptance, choice, and freedom in life.
You don’t need to be experiencing severe mental illness to seek the assistance of a mental health professional. Many people who have never been diagnosed with a mental illness see psychologists and counsellors. Whether due to a particular challenge at work, a difficult social situation, nervousness when speaking in public, difficulty dealing with conflict, relationship stress and for many other reasons, it is absolutely okay to ask for help to learn new skills and to have support in order to manage your life more effectively.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGISTS, PSYCHOTHERAPISTS COUNSELLORS, AND PSYCHIATRISTS?
Many people get confused when it comes to tell the difference between a psychologist, a psychotherapist and a counsellor. All these mental health professionals study the way people feel, think, act and interact. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress and to enhance and promote emotional wellbeing. Psychology degrees in Australia are obtained via universities and take approximately 6 yrs to complete. Counsellors and psychotherapists are also experts in human behaviour, and have studied the brain, memory, learning and human development via diploma or specialisation.
A psychologist studies a science or arts degree with a major in psychology (the study of human behaviour) followed by a postgraduate degree specialising in a particular field of psychology (such as clinical, organisational, forensic etc). A psychiatrist completes a medical degree before continuing study in psychology and pharmacology – hence they are able to prescribe drugs. It is not uncommon for psychologists to liaise with psychiatrists during clients’ psychological treatment.
Source: Australian Psychological Society
WHAT APPROACHES ARE USED IN THERAPY?
Very rarely only one type of approach is used in therapy. It is often a mix of what is appropriate at any given phase of our client’s life, in any given stage of therapy or during a series of sessions. Some of the approaches we use in therapy are:
It is based on the theories and techniques of psychoanalysis. It focuses on increasing awareness of one’s unconscious internal reality and helps identify and understand how historical and developmental influences have contributed to the client’s current issues. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is similar to psychoanalysis in that it attributes emotional problems to the patient’s unconscious motives and conflicts.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a focussed approach that is based on the concept that cognitions influence feelings and behaviours. The therapist assists clients to identify unhelpful irrational thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Therapeutic interventions are aimed to replace dysfunctional thoughts with more rational cognitions, which lead to an alleviation of problem thought, emotions and behaviour.
Source: Better Access to Mental Health Care Initiative
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on the interpersonal context and on building interpersonal skills. IPT is based on the belief that interpersonal factors may contribute heavily to psychological problems. The goals of IPT is to help the client understand these type of factors. IPT explores client’s perceptions and expectations of relationships, and aims to improve communication and interpersonal skills.
Source: Better Access to Mental Health Care Initiative
SOLUTION FOCUSED BRIEF THERAPY
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a short-term goal-focused therapeutic approach, which helps clients change by constructing solutions rather than dwelling on problems. The important issues are how does the client want things to be different and what will it take to make it happen. Envisioning a clear and detailed picture of how things will be when things are better creates hope and expectation and makes solution possible. SFBT focuses on the future (and how it will be better when things change) and majors on the establishing and elaboration of clear goals. SFBT also focuses on client strengths and resources, as a way of helping clients recognise how to use their resources to bring about changes.
Source: Brief Therapy Institute of Sydney
WHAT CAN I EXPECT ON MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
The aim of the assessment appointment is to obtain an understanding of the difficulties that have led you to seek help, as well as some background information about your life. During this time, we will work with you to identify the issues you want help with, and will develop a therapy plan – a way to best address the problem(s), what avenues of exploration to take, interventions to use, and how often we are going to meet.
The length and frequency of the treatment depends on the severity of the problem, your motivation, the type of the problem, and on your particular needs. Most often, sessions are weekly or fortnightly for 50 minutes duration, usually decreasing in frequency as you move towards your goals. Typically, treatment lasts somewhere between 6 and 18 sessions. Some people may prefer shorter or longer-term therapy. The time frame is completely up to you.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A THERAPY SESSION?
Therapy sessions are generally 50 minutes (or longer if required) and scheduled once per week, fortnight or month as appropriate.
Initial sessions with children and adolescents involve interviews with the parent and/or carer, and teacher (if necessary). Sometimes, school visits are also scheduled as part of the initial assessment appointment.
Adult sessions may involve interviews with his/her family or partner (with the consent of the adult client). Couples are usually seen together first and then one individual session with each partner is organised before they come back as a couple again.
Copies of previous reports from health professionals, teachers or school counsellors should be provided prior to the appointment. A detailed clinical assessment is conducted (including standardised questionnaires) in order to gain a thorough understanding and develop the best treatment plan.
HOW WILL MY INFORMATION BE KEPT?
As part of providing psychological services to you, your psychologist will need to collect and record personal information from you that is relevant to your current situation. This information will assist with the psychological assessment and intervention that is conducted.
All personal information gathered during the provision of psychological service will remain confidential and secure except when:
● It is subpoenaed by a court;
● Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at risk;
● Your prior approval has been obtained to provide a written report to another professional, e.g. GP, lawyer, psychiatrist; or discuss the material with another person, e.g. partner or employer
You may access the material recorded in your file upon request, subject to the exceptions in National Privacy Principle 6.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST AND CAN I GET A REBATE FROM MEDICARE?
SESSION FEES & REBATES
Psychology fees are guided by the recommended rate of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), however our fee for service is kept to a minimum leaving clients with a small gap payment so no one is excluded from reaching their full mental health potential.
Discounted rate and bulk billing are also available on individual assessment. You can also check with your private health fund to see whether your private health care plan covers you for psychological therapy.
If your appointment is with a Counsellor or a Psychotherapist, please note that this does not come under the Medicare Scheme. However, our brilliant counsellors and psychotherapists only charge the gap payment keeping your out-of-pocket expense the same as if you were attending sessions with a psychologist.
For more information on our fees please contact us via our ‘Get in Touch’ link or call us today.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MEDICARE REBATES?
You can receive a substantial Medicare Rebate when you have a referral from your GP. In most cases, your rebate will be transferred into your savings or cheque account 24hs after the full payment is made.
You may be eligible to receive a rebate for up to 10 psychology sessions per calendar year. Please contact your GP for an appointment so that the necessary paperwork can be completed for the referral (Mental Health Care Plan).
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information and assistance on how to obtain a GP’s referral to see one of our therapists under the Medicare Scheme.
For more information on mental health services provided by a psychologist please click here or give as a call.