Here’s how to access treatment.

So, you’ve been going through some challenging stuff… depression, anxiety, stressful life events or maybe you haven’t pinpointed the exact problem, but you know you just don’t feel ‘right’. Maybe you’ve been googling, maybe a family member or friend has had treatment before – some-how you’ve ended up on our page reading our blog about how to access treatment.

We want you to be as informed as possible when you are contemplating whether or not to see a Psychologist therefore this week, we have devoted our blog to educating people on the process of visiting a Psychologist for the first time, as well as valuable information on continuing treatment if you find it is beneficial to you. But, first things first, what is a psychologist?


What is a psychologist?

A Psychologist is a mental health professional educated at University level for a minimum of 6 years, that specialises in the assessment and treatment of psychological disorders and mental health issues. A Psychologist focuses on the mind and behaviour to understand how the two influence a persons’ response to events within their daily lives. Therapy with a Psychologist is tailored to the individual client and typically follows structured processes.


The difference between a counsellor and psychologist?

The main difference between a Psychologist and Counsellor is their education. In order to be registered and practice as a psychologist, a person must complete the required tertiary degree with a minimum of 6 years before having General Registration. As counselling is not a regulated industry, the education of a counsellor varies. Some many only have diploma level education whilst others have masters.


Picking one that’s right for you.

1. Ask friends/family or your doctor for recommendations.
2. If you have some idea of what you’re struggling with, research to find a Psychologist that specialises in it by using the Australian Psychological Society’s search engine Find a Psychologist
3. Ask questions to any Psychologist you are contemplating seeing. Questions about their education, specialities, treatment methods as well as other important information like fees can help you decide if they are appropriate for you.
4. Completing your first session with a Psychologist is a great way to see if you connect with them, if they’re understanding and validating of your issues and if they’re approach matches what you’re comfortable with. It’s ok to decide after you meet a Psychologist that you don’t want to continue but don’t let this discourage you from continuing to look. Sometimes we need to try a few pairs of shoes before finding the perfect fit.


Access to Treatment

There are multiple ways in which someone can access treatment and these differ by the choice of clinic. It is important to call the clinic you’d like to attend directly to gather accurate information to help you along that journey. If you are contemplating booking an appointment with Self Reflections Psychology, our most common pathways are briefly covered below.


Option 1: Referral with a Mental Health Treatment Plan

What is it?

A Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) is a plan prepared by your General Practitioner (GP) if you have a mental health disorder or mental health issue. The plan is used to identity health care needs and states what you, as well as your doctor, are hoping to achieve through treatment. This plan allows you to rebate a portion of your session cost from Medicare.

Who is eligible?

If you have a mental health disorder or mental health issue that has been diagnosed by a GP, you are eligible for a MHTP. It is important to note that approval of a MHTP is always at the discretion of the GP. We encourage you to further discuss this with your GP to see if you’re eligible and if not, what other options they suggest.

What does a Mental Health Treatment Plan cover?

A MHTP covers treatment for a mental health disorder or mental health issue. In total, you are eligible for up to 10 sessions in each calendar year. Initially, your GP will refer you for 6 sessions then ask to see you for a review of your progress before providing you the further 4. Your Psychologist will let you know when you are due for your review and will update your GP about your progress.


Option 2: Private Health Insurance

If you are unable to obtain a MHTP, or choose not to for any reason, but have Private Health Insurance, you may be eligible for your session to be rebated by your Insurer. Rebates vary depending on your fund and level of cover therefore for further information, you must contact your insurer directly. All of the Self Reflections Psychologists are registered with the Psychologist’s Registration Board and are therefore, approved by Private Health Funds for services provided.


Option 3: No Referral & No Private Health Insurance

If you are unable to obtain a MHTP, choose not to for any reason, or do not have Private Health Insurance, you can still access treatment. Without a referral or private health, a fee will be payable by you at the end of each session. This amount varies clinic to clinic and we encourage you to discuss this further with the clinic of your choosing.



Because Self Reflections wants to ensure anyone who needs treatment is able to access it, we aim to ensure we offer a variety of options in addition to the options listed above as well as ensure our fees are well under industry standards with concession and bulk bill rates available to those in significant financial hardship. Please visit our website to see our current fees and rebates.


How do I book an appointment?

Once you have decided which option is suitable for you and if applicable, completed all required documentation, it is time to book your appointment. At Self Reflections Psychology we take bookings via phone, email and our online booking portal. If you haven’t contacted us directly, our Administrative staff will be in contact with you to confirm the booking and discuss important details of your appointment.


What will happen at my initial appointment?

At your initial appointment with Self Reflections, you can expect to be greeted by our Administrative staff who will ask you to fill in our Client Forms that cover your details, your rights and the policies of our clinic. Our Administrative staff will be able to answer any questions and explain any part of the process you may need clarification of.

Once your paperwork is completed, your Psychologist will invite you into their therapy room in which they will begin the session. Your first session is an assessment. You can expect to discuss your current mental health state, your current circumstances in life as well as your background, family dynamics and personal history. This is a very important step in your treatment as it enables your Psychologist to understand what may be impacting you and allows them to establish a plan for treatment that is suitable for your needs. This is also your chance to see if you connect well with your Psychologist.


Can I continue sessions for as little or as long as I feel is necessary?

Absolutely! Regardless of which option you choose to book under, you are able to continue sessions for as little or as long as you and your Psychologist deem necessary. Your Psychologist will discuss the length of your treatment with you and we encourage you to bring this up if ever you need further clarification.

We encourage clients to continue attending treatment even if they start to feel better. We believe this is a great opportunity to learn to help you prevent getting into the same issues in the future. We also believe that just as you may exercise your body regularly to keep your body healthy, it is also important to exercise your mind to keep your mind healthy.


If you believe treatment may be beneficial for you, Self Reflections Psychology is here for you and would love to meet you to help you transition to a healthier, happier mindset. To book, please call 02 4288 4157 or use our online booking portal.

If there is anything you think was important to add into this weeks’ blog that was not included, or if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, we’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you all a lovely week, from the team at Self Reflections.


This week’s blog was based on information found in the following sources: 

The Department of Health

Reach Out

Way Ahead Mental Health Association