All psychologists are legally required to be registered with the national registration board, the Psychology Board of Australia, in the same way medical practitioners must be registered. This means that they must be competent and follow a strict Code of Conduct.
Not all counsellors or therapists are registered psychologists. Seeing someone who is registered ensures you receive high quality ethical treatment.
• Psychotic disorders
• Bipolar disorder
• Phobic disorders
• Anxiety disorder
• Adjustment disorder
• Sexual disorders
• Conduct disorder
• Bereavement disorders • Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Eating disorders
• Panic disorder
• Alcohol use disorders
• Drug use disorders
• Sleep problems
• Attention deficit disorder
• Obsessive compulsive disorder
• Co-occurring anxiety and depression
The list above are examples of those more common psychological disorders. Click here for information about how your eligibility is determined.
The Australian Government has recently announced several changes to the allowable number of treatment sessions a person can receive from a psychologist each year under the Better Access program and claim a Medicare rebate.
Eligible people can receive:
• Up to 10 individual sessions in a calendar year. Your referring doctor will assess your progress after the first six sessions.
• Up to 10 group therapy sessions in a calendar year where such services are available and seen as appropriate by your referring doctor and the psychologist.
Additional treatment under ‘exceptional circumstances’ from 1 March to 31 December 2012
If you have already received the standard 10 individual sessions within 2012, you may be eligible for an additional six sessions of treatment under ‘exceptional circumstances’.
If your referring doctor believes there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ associated with your need for treatment, a new referral can be made for up to six additional psychological treatment sessions. This brings the maximum total number of allowable sessions in 2012 to 16 sessions.
These additional sessions can only be received between 1 March 2012 and 31 December 2012. If you have already received some treatment during January and February of 2012, the sessions you have received will be counted towards the total number of allowable sessions for 2012.
After you have reached the maximum number of allowable sessions for 2012 (16 sessions) you will not be eligible for any further Medicare rebates for treatment you receive from a psychologist until the new calendar year.
If the psychologist decides to bulk bill then you will not have to pay anything.
However, if the psychologist does not bulk bill then you must pay the difference between what the psychologist charges you (a fee set by the psychologist) and the Medicare rebate. This will vary and you should check this with the psychologist before commencing your treatment.
• Pay the full amount of the consultation and use your detailed receipt to claim a Medicare rebate; or
• Pay the difference between the Medicare rebate and the total account amount, and then claim the rebate from Medicare to forward to the psychologist later; or
• Claim from Medicare using your unpaid account.
If the psychologist decides to use the bulk billing method, you assign your right to a benefit to the psychologist as full payment for the psychological service. The psychologist cannot make any additional charge for this service if it has been bulk billed, and will receive the relevant Medicare rebate or ‘benefit’ from Medicare Australia for the service provided.
You need to decide if you will use Medicare or your private health insurance ancillary cover to pay for psychological services you receive. You can either access rebates from Medicare by following the claiming process or claim where available on your insurer’s ancillary benefits. If however, you have used all available Medicare rebated sessions, your health fund may pay a portion of the counselling fee. Contact your health fund to learn more.
Further information is available from: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing