About Clinical and Consulting Psychologists
A Psychologist has studied psychology which examines the scientific knowledge base of human development, the functioning of the brain, memory and learning. They have developed an understanding of the range of complex factors that affect how people feel, think and behave – their thoughts, beliefs, emotions, actions, biology, and environment. This training enables Psychologists to design and deliver individualised interventions to identify and address common psychological concerns.
Psychology interventions are evidence based: these are approaches that are supported by evidence, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness based skills. Evidence-based therapies have been evaluated in research trials, and/or draw on psychological theories that are supported by research. Evidence shows that psychological treatments can be effective for supporting people with cancer and many psychological disorders. Psychological consultations can also be effective for people who do not have a psychological disorder, but would like to enhance their well-being, performance, or quality of life.
Research evidence supports a range of interventions that are based on non-drug therapies.
Consulting Psychologists have completed undergraduate training and Honours research in Psychology followed by two years of supervised clinical practice within a structured Registration program. They may also hold other qualifications and training certificates that contribute to the skills they provide.
Clinical Psychologists have completed an undergraduate and Honours research, followed by a Masters or Doctorate in Philosophy in Clinical Psychology, equating to a total of six years of full-time university level training.
Medicare supports contact with Consulting Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists to increase access to mental health care services for eligible patients. Consulting and Clinical Psychologists must be registered with The Psychology Board of Australia through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to allow them to provide psychological services through Medicare. For a register of current members it is advisable to search the official website at www.ahpra.gov.au.
Information on accessing interventions through Medicare is provided in the following resource sheet:
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is the peak body that regulates and manages the psychology profession. A clinician must meet certain requirements to become a Member of APS (MAPS) and use the title Clinical Psychologist or Psychologist (see link). Clinical Psychologists with specialised clinical expertise may apply to become a member of the College of Clinical Psychologists, APS. This typically involves a further two years of supervised practice to apply for membership of the College of Clinical Psychologists.
Ongoing professional development is an essential requirement of practice. Psychologists are required to participate in regular professional development to ensure up-to-date knowledge and the very best delivery of interventions and services.
All our Consulting and Clinical Psychologists abide by the Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics and Australian Psychological Society Ethical Guidelines which include rules regarding confidentiality and all aspects of professional practice (see Client Charter). HeadwayHealth’s clinicians are all registered health practitioners with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Only practitioners with the relevant qualifications can call themselves a Psychologist; titles such as ‘therapist’ and ‘counsellor’ are not bound by these regulations but may have their own requirements.
What to expect at your appointment at HeadwayHealth
Your Psychologist will work with you to identify your concerns and develop strategies to deal with these. Strategies involve non-drug techniques and interventions typically last 3 to 10 sessions; sessions are spaced according to your need.
It can be helpful to list your goals before you come along to the first appointment, to help you and your clinician formulate an intervention plan. Your intervention plan may involve further contact with your clinician, as well as information and links to other services and resources that may be of assistance.
Most people approach a Psychologist because they are keen for change in their life. These changes may concern managing with health changes, emotional issues, such as improving well-being, gaining confidence, reducing distress, anxiety, or anger, and managing moods. Changes may also concern more practical issues, such as enhancing performance at work or home, improving relationships, changing habits, or making the most of your abilities and potential. Your clinician will work with you to identify and understand the complex factors which affect your life, goals and change, and then work with you to develop helpful ways to deal with life stresses and achieve your goals and desires.
This may include problem solving, living a life in line with your values and altering unhelpful patterns of thoughts or behaviours to create new more adaptive, helpful strategies. Intervention aims to develop and refine your skills to equip you to be confident in navigating challenges that you may face.
The length and frequency of contact varies and will depend upon your situation, goals, and your resources available to invest to best meet your goals. We aim to be practical and solution-focused; expectations for contact will be regularly discussed with your clinician. Many clients will identify their main concerns and goals in the first appointment and a proposed intervention plan will be discussed with their clinician. This may involve a number of regular appointments to develop particular skills, with appointments becoming more spaced over time as the client practices and consolidates changes. We do understand that personal situations may change, and appointment may be spaced more closely or apart to best meet your needs.
Our service and professional conduct is detailed in our Client Charter.
Does Medicare help with the cost?
Yes. Please ask your doctor / general practioner (GP) if you are eligible for a GP Mental Health Plan. This document authorises Medicare to rebate (or refund) a large portion of the appointment fee (typically 6 to 10 clinician sessions). If you are eligible for a GP Mental Health Plan, please bring this document and your GP letter of referral, to the first appointment with your clinician.
Some GP’s will prepare these documents while you wait, other GP’s may request you return at a later date to collect it from them. Alternatively and with your permission, they may forward it directly to us. To ensure your GP has sufficient time to prepare these documents, please advise your GP of your appointment date (if known).”
Private health funds also provide rebates depending upon your policy, but both rebate systems cannot be used together.
Concession fees are also offered for Pensioner Concession Card holders, Health Concession Card holders and Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card Holders.
Medicare Safety Net
Medicare provides the Medicare Safety Net scheme to help with out-of-pocket costs. The Medicare Safety Net is designed to assist high users of health services from large out-of-pocket expenses. For more information on the Medicare Safety Net, go to: www.medicareaustralia.gov.au.
For individuals who have qualified for the Medicare Safety Net a larger portion of the fee will be refunded. See link here to Australian Department of Human Services.
Private Health Fund Member?
If you are a member of a private health fund, you may be eligible for a rebate; please note that if you are receiving a private health fund rebate, the Medicare rebate facility can not be accessed as well; the Medicare rebate and a private health fund rebate can not be used together.
Terms and conditions for access to benefits from private health funds vary dependant upon your level of cover; usually you would need to be covered by “ancillary benefits insurance” or an “extras table”. Some private health funds require a medical referral and may only offer a rebate for a visit to a Recognised Provider (for example a psychologist approved by them). For further information, please contact your private health fund directly or visit The Australian Psychology Society.
It may also be helpful to discuss managing your medical expenses with your financial adviser or accountant.
In addition to general practice Clinical and Consulting Psychology services, HeadwayHealth offers more specific clinics. Please click on the links below for detailed information flyers:
HeadwayHealth offers a range of Tip Sheets, public education events and on-line resources with contributions from our team. Click here to learn more about our activities on our Resources page.
Also available are a wide range of resources that may provide you with helpful information and tools (e.g. self-help books, websites, SMARTapps etc.). Please click on the Resources tab to discover more.