Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour. Psychologists work with people to explore a range of human phenomena, including perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behaviour, and interpersonal relationships. Psychologists apply such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including issues related to daily life – e.g. family, relationships, and work. Thus, the discipline of psychology embraces all aspects of the human experience.
Why do people see Psychologists?
Psychologists help people to find ways to function better. For example, they help people handle stress, family problems, relationship problems, and physical illness / injury such as chronic pain. Psychologists also treat people a wide variety of psychological conditions such as:
- Mood disorders: depression, bipolar disorder etc
- Anxiety disorders: phobias, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder etc
- Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder etc
- Addictions: substance abuse, gambling, smoking
- Low self-esteem
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
How effective is Psychological Treatment?
Research shows psychological treatments are effective in managing many common mental health disorders. Some treatments are as successful as medication in treating the most prevalent conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
A review of current research shows that a range of well-defined psychological treatments are:
- Effective at treating the most common mental health conditions
- Effective in treating most anxiety and depression disorders;
- The treatment of choice for most childhood problems;
- Tend to be more effective than medication over the long term, because people receiving medication only are more likely to relapse after they stop taking it; and
- viable treatments, in terms of both their effectiveness and costs.
Do I need a referral?
No, a referral is not required. Your Psychologist may contact your General Practitioner to discuss aspects of your health, but this will be discussed and approved by yourself beforehand. The only instance when a referral is required is if you are being treated under Medicare (see below).
New Medicare Rebates
Since the 1st November 2006, Medicare can provide rebates for patients with a Mental Health Disorder who are treated by a Registered Psychologist. The client must be referred by their GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician who must also review progress after 6 sessions with the psychologist. If referred by a GP, the doctor must complete a GP Mental Health Care Plan with the patient (which usually takes 30-40 minutes), register it with Medicare and forward a copy to the psychologist. Clients will be allowed to claim a maximum of 10 sessions per calendar year (1st Jan to 31st Dec) for individual counselling/therapy and 10 sessions of group therapy with a registered psychologist.
More information about Medicare rebates, including a full list of Mental Health Disorders that are claimable under this scheme, is obtainable from the Consumer fact sheet on the APS website www.psychology.org.au.
In certain cases your GP can refer you to a Psychologist under what is called an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan. This is only available for certain complex, chronic conditions so discuss this with your GP. Psychology is otherwise covered by most major private health funds with rebates available immediately at our clinic.
Please use the following links for fact sheets on the following topics directly from the APS website:
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