Frequently Asked Questions
Are you a counsellor or a psychologist? What’s the difference?
I am a counsellor, not a psychologist. Lots of people don’t realise there’s a difference, but it is significant!
Psychologists work within the medical model. They work with and diagnose more severe forms of mental illness. To see a psychologist using Medicare, you will require a referral from a doctor.
Counsellors, on the other hand, don’t diagnose and you won’t need a medical referral. Instead, we work from a holistic, person-centred approach which focuses on deep listening, empathy and unconditional positive regard for clients. Counsellors use a range of therapies to help people work through common human experiences such as anxiety, grief, depression, stress, decision-making, relationship issues and low self-esteem.
While it’s not necessary to see your GP before starting counselling, it may be recommended during therapy if you find your symptoms are overwhelming your ability to cope with counselling alone.
What is a Mental Health Care Plan? Can I use it for counselling?
A Mental Health Care Plan is an option for people who have been diagnosed by a doctor as having a mental disorder (here’s how that works). This arrangement covers part of the cost of sessions with a psychologist, psychiatrist and some allied health professionals, but not with a counsellor.
However, in general psychologists tend to charge more than counsellors, even after the Medicare rebate has been applied, and the number of rebatable sessions allowed each year is limited. My fee is currently set at $100, which is below the standard gap amount. This ensures the same affordability you’d get with a Mental Health Care Plan, but with no limits on the number of sessions you can attend in a year.