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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: [What is psychology? What is psychiatry? What is psychotherapy?]

  • Psychology - See the Information for Clients fact sheet produced by the Australian Psychological Society.
  • Psychiatry - See the booklet produced by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrist that explains what is a psychiatrist; what is a mental illness; treatments used by psychiatrists; specialist areas of psychiatry; the differences between psychiatry and psychology; and how to contact a psychiatrist

Q: [Why undergo psychotherapy?]
A: [FAQ Answer]


Q: [How do I choose a psychotherapist?]
A: [FAQ Answer]


Q: [How does the doctor choose to which psychologist or psychiatrist they will refer the patient?]

A: The General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who provides ongoing general health care. The GP refers the patient to the psychiatrist. The GP has access to a list of psychiatrists in private practice.

If you know the name of the psychiatrist you want to see, you can tell your doctor who will refer you accordingly.

Q: [What are the fees?]

A:

Refugees, asylum seekers and other patients with special circumstances are bulk billed. Otherwise, the standard fees are shown below. As a courtesy, invoices are issued in arrears at the end of each calendar month, when payment falls due.

The usual items that will apply are Item 306 for individual sessions of 45 or more minutes duration.

  • From November 2018, the fee charged for Item 306 is $435. The rebate from Medicare is considerably less. While you have no Medicare safety net (as applies to everyone from 1 January each year), you would be out of pocket by at least $200 for each appointment. However, the Medicare safety net starts to kick in once you have been out of pocket by approximately $2,000 since 1 January of that year. By that time (which usually takes a couple of months of therapy), you should get back at least 80 per cent of the fee.

For group psychotherapy, Item 342 applies.

  • This year, the fee charged for Item 342 is $160. The rebate from Medicare is rather less. While you have no Medicare safety net (as applies to everyone from 1 January each year), you would be out of pocket by approximately $100 for each appointment. However, the Medicare safety net starts to kick in, and then you should get back at least 80 per cent of the fee.

Other Items apply for family and group therapy, consultations at home and other locations, and initial assessments.

You can search the Medicare Benefits Schedule on line.

Once you reach the relevant threshold, the Medicare Safety Net will provide a higher Medicare benefit for all eligible services for the rest of the calendar year. For more information, see Safety Net.

 

Psychotherapy is a commitment by the patient to their own treatment, and by the therapist to the patient. Patients are expected to attend sessions - unless ill or due to non-negotiable work commitments or on compassionate grounds - and cancelled appointments will be charged. If payment needs to be recovered, costs will be borne by the patient.