WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT MY FIRST SESSION?

It’s normal to feel uncomfortable prior to your first appointment. It is also normal to feel more at ease once the first session has started. I like to be organised so I will contact you in the lead up to your first appointment to answer any questions you may have and send you an intake form. COVID has changed many things so one of the things I will do before your appointment is let you know of any guidelines, such as the possible need to have a mask with you. If your appointment is via video, you will receive a link to the secure video service at the start of your appointment. If it’s via phone, I will call you at the start of your appointment. I know your time is important so you can expect your appointments to start on time.

The focus of the first session is to develop an understanding of what has brought you to therapy, as well as getting some important background information such as employment history, family dynamics and other factors that shape your experiences. Typically, the first session is an insightful experience that allows you to understand how I work as a therapist and confirm what your goals are.

You will be asked to provide credit card payment at the end of the appointment - this way you only need to interact with me. People tell me they find this easier because it enhances their sense of confidentiality and makes the payment and rebate process much smoother.


AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A MEDICARE REBATE?

You can receive the rebate if you are referred with a Mental Health Treatment Plan by a GP. Alternatively, you are eligible if you are referred by a specialist such as a psychiatrist or paediatrician. Unlike GPs, psychiatrists and paediatricians do not need to create a Mental Health Treatment Plan. It is also important however that you provide a copy of the relevant paperwork prior to your first appointment. A brief guide to what the paperwork should include can be found in the PDF document below (please see 'Getting the Right Documentation from your GP').


DO I NEED A REFERRAL TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?

You are able to make an appointment without a referral. Unfortunately, you won't be able to claim the Medicare rebate but if issues persist, you could consult your GP at a later date. Please note however, you cannot claim the rebate for sessions that occur before the creation of a Mental Health Treatment Plan. In other words, you can only claim the rebate once you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and it cannot be used retrospectively.


WILL MY INFORMATION REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL?

Privacy is something that I take very seriously. I go to extreme lengths and costs to protect people's privacy and use a range of measures to ensure confidentiality is protected. It is important however that you understand that when talking with a psychologist, there can be extreme/rare scenarios that lead to the disclosure of information, for example, a subpoena from a court. Further details about limits to confidentiality will be discussed with you at your first appointment or via a phone call prior to your first appointment. Additionally, more information about confidentiality can be found in my privacy policy (please see the link at the bottom of the page).


Getting the Right Documentation from your GP
Matt Ryan Psychology Privacy Policy Aug 2015