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Frequently asked questions

What is evidence-based practice?


Evidence-based therapies and treatments are based on the integration of the best available research evidence and clinical expertis, along with the unique circumstances and vlaues of the client. Psychology is a science that is underpinned by the scientist-practitioner model and the treatment for disorders including depression, anxiety, phobias, relationship problems, addictions, etc, have all been researched and shown to be effective for these psychological disorders. Our psychologists at Poulton Respondek Clinical Psychology are highly trained in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders. We will select the model of therapy that is best supported by research and scientific evidence as effective and efficient for your treatment or that of your child.




Why should I see a psychologist?


Clinical and registered psychologists have completed many years of university training, and supervised practice. All psychologists are legally required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the Psychology Board of Australia, in a similar way to medical practitioners. Psychologists must be qualified and competent, and must follow a strict Code of Ethics. They are trained to use evidence-based therapies and interventions. To maintain registration, psychologists must continue to undertake professional development which ensures they are adequately qualified to provide clients with the most effective and up-to-date therapies. Not all counsellors or therapists are registered psychologists. Seeing someone who is registered ensures you receive high quality ethical treatment.




Can I see a psychologist under Medicare?


Individuals who meet criteria for a clinical disorder (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders, an eating disorder, alcohol dependence or abuse, grief, adjustment and so on) are eligible for Medicare rebates for psychological services. However, you do need a GP or psychiatrist referral to claim the rebate. Your GP will need to complete a detailed assessment and prepare a Mental Health Care Plan before referring you to a psychologist.




Do I need a referral, and how do I obtain one?


You do not need a referral to see a psychologist. However, in order to claim a Medicare rebate you will require a Mental Health Care Plan and a referral which your GP or psychiatrist will provide should he or she consider that a Mental Health Care Plan is necessary and appropriate for you or your child.




How many sessions am I entitled to under Medicare?


Under a Mental Health Care Plan and referral from a GP or psychiatrist, individuals are entitled to 10 individual and 10 group sessions per calendar year (January to December). Your GP will review your progress following the sixth session, and again after 10 sessions. During 2021 you are also entitled to an additional 10 sessions under the Better Access Pandemic Support Scheme once you have used the 10 sessions under the Better Access Scheme. How will need a new referral from your GP or psychiatrist to access these additional 10 sessions should your doctor consider this appropriate.




Can I claim a rebate through my private health fund?


Private health funds provide rebates for psychological services, but this will depend on your level of cover. However, you cannot use your private health cover to claim simultaneously with the Medicare rebate. You can choose whether you want to claim through your private health fund or through Medicare. You are able to see a psychologist for 10 sessions in a calendar year under Medicare, and when this allowance has been completed, you can claim future sessions through your private health fund if this suits your needs. It is best to consult your private health fund for further information about your particular level of cover.




Am I able to attend by Telehealth rather than in person?


Yes you can attend via Telehealth. We offer appointments via video conferencing or telephone during COVID-19. So, you can attend from the safety and convenience of your own home.




How long are the appointments, and how many will I need?


Appointment times can vary at times, but generally sessions will be between 50 to 60 minutes.

The number of sessions will vary for each individual. Some issues may only require brief interventions while others may be more complex, requiring. At the outset, your psychologist can provide you with some initial recommendations regarding the duration of therapy. Then, as you work with your psychologist over the first three to four sessions, you will develop a plan with them to give you a better idea of what to expect in tersm of the length of treatment.




What should I expect from a therapy session?


There are generally no typical therapy sessions as different problems require different types of therapies. Still, as a general rule, your psychologist will initially conduct an assessment and negotiate a therapy plan with you. Prior to the first session, the psychologist may ask you to complete a number of questionnaires to help gain a more complete understanding of your situation. During the initial session, your psychologist will ask questions relevant to your background history. This will include information about your family, social relationships, work history and any past treatment you may have received.Your psychologist will then discuss with you your treatment options and will make specific goals with you for you to achieve. Your psychologist may also encourage you to complete activities and exercises between sessions to enable you to practise the skills learned during sessions. Sometimes people are worried about what to say when they see a psychologist, but rest assured your psychologist will know what questions to ask in order to gain the relevant information they need to assist you.




Will my sessions be confidential?


Clients are often concerned about their privacy and confidentiality prior to seeing a psychologist. At Poulton Respondek Clinical Psychology, all psychological therapy with adults is confidential, and we are committed to protecting the confidentiality of children and adolescents within the bounds of the law. Any information disclosed to us in session or through testing is confidential and cannot be communicated to anyone else without the client’s permission. If there is a need to disclose information (i.e., to a doctor, solicitor or third party), it is our policy to discuss this with you first and ask you to sign a release of information document. There are, however, some ethical and legal limitations to protecting confidentiality and your psychologist will discuss these with you in the first session.




What models of therapy do you offer?


Our psychologists are highly qualified and experienced in the integration of a variety of evidence-based therapies. Depending on your needs and preferences and the problem at hand, we will work with you to tailor your intervention to assist you to overcome problems, and improve your mental health and wellbeing. Examples of the therapeutic approaches we use are:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Schema Therapy

Dialectic Behaviour Therapy

Solution-focused Therapy

Motivational Interviewing

Interpersonal psychotherapy

Narrative Therapy




Can you work with my child or adolescent?


Yes. We are highly experienced in working with children and teenagers. We understand they can struggle with a variety of mental health issues. We work effectively with children on the autism spectrum, and those with disabilities. We address behavioural and social difficulties, and we assist young people who may be struggling with self-esteem, bullying, anxiety and depression. At Poulton Respondek Clinical Psychology we use a strengths-based approach to helping young people, and we are also able to provide parents and carers with the tools they may need to be constructive and supportive in assisting their children with their challenges.




How do I prepare my child before seeing a psychologist?


It is quite normal for children to feel unsure and nervous about coming to see a psychologist. They will not know what to expect, and may have received misinformation through peer relationships and the media. They may worry that something is "wrong" with them, or that they are "the problem". They may also be concerned about confidentiality, being embarrassed or not having a say in decisions. It is often helpful to explain that coming to see a psychologist is similar to seeing a GP and that psychologists help with thoughts, feelings and behaviours. At Poulton Respondek Clinical Psychology, we see many children for all kinds of reasons and difficulties. We are skilled in building rapport and assisting children and adolescents to feel safe, respected and accepted. Most often after the initial session, children look forward to further sessions and feel like they can be themselves and talk about difficulties and solutions.




How do I prepare my child for a cognitive assessment?


There is no specific preparation required, but to ensure valid and reliable evaluation of abilities, we only conduct intellectual and academic assessments in the morning. Both children and adults end to be more alert in the morning and more likely perform to their full potential. We recommend that your child has a good night sleep prior to testing, and has a nutritious breakfast on the day. We also ask that parents bring some snacks and a drink for their child on the day of testing. If your child wears glasses for reading, please ensure they bring them on the day. We suggest that you let your child know exactly what will happen during the testing session and focus on the positive outcome. For example, "he/she will be working with a psychologist to find out what he/she is really good at doing. There will be puzzles and blocks to play with, and it will be an enjoyable experience." Please bring a snack and drink for you or your child on the day of the assessment.