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. When you come for your first session, you will be asked to fill out a form that asks for some basic information such as your name and address. Just like your GP that has a file with some basic information about you, psychologists also keep some information. I usually find it easier to take care of payments at the start of sessions so that we don’t have to cut the session short to deal with such matters at the end. It is also helpful if you bring your banking details (BSB and account number) so that I can transfer the Medicare rebate straight to your preferred bank account.
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.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I AM 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 bring the paperwork from your referring doctor to your first appointment, otherwise the rebate cannot be provided until the second session. 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?
Getting the Right Documentation from your GP