Do I need a referral?
Yes. For most initial appointments a valid referral from a doctor is necessary. Some exceptions apply if an assessment is requested by an organisation such as an insurance company. If you wish to see a psychologist you will also need a mental health care plan in order to receive the Medicare rebate. A clinician might under some circumstances see a patient without a referral, but that will mean that a full fee with no Medicare rebate will be charged.
Can I bring someone into the session with me?
You can request for a partner, relative or other person to be present during the session if you so wish. The majority of such requests are usually granted but there will be sessions where the Psychiatrist must speak with you alone (regardless of your age).
What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
There are a number of differences between the two types of mental health professionals and it is best if you allow your referring GP to decide which professional will best suit your individual needs.
Generally, there are two main differences. Psychologists are trained at university in understanding human behaviour and psychological issues while psychiatrists are medical Doctors who undertake advanced, specialist training in psychological issues and medications.
Only psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications to treat your mental health, but overall, treatments can overlap.
How long is the waiting list?
Waiting periods for an appointment vary dramatically due to a number of factors. Periods can range from a week to a few months. We recommend making an initial appointment as soon as possible.
How Much Will My Appointment Cost?
Fees will vary depending on the type of visit and the clinician that you see and will always be discussed with you at the time of booking your initial appointment. Some private health insurance funds will cover some Psychology appointments, but none will cover Psychiatry appointments.
Links and Resources
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
SANE Australia: 1800 18 7263
Black Dog Institute
SECASA (for sexual assault advice)
1800 806 292