How many sessions do I need?
Because all situations, problems and persons are different, the approach to help and advise you will be tailored to your needs. Some clients come with a rather small, isolated problem for which they just need some affirmation, advice or strategies to be able to deal with it by themselves. Some people have more severe problems or problems that are impacting on different areas of their lives. It is hard to give you an exact amount of sessions required, as your circumstances or needs might also change during the therapy process. But in general it usually takes about 3 to 5 sessions to understand your situation, to provide valuable advice or strategies and to discuss the outcomes of these strategies. To improve your situation when there are more serious mental health issues we advise a longer process to enable you to understand the causes of your symptoms and to make relapse prevention part of your therapy process. Of course we will always listen to your preferences about the length of the therapy process while informing you about our professional opinion.
How often do I need an appointment?
The answer to this question is a result of the discussion Selma will have with you about your availability, your presenting problems, your needs and Selma’s professional opinion. To realise initial improvements, it is beneficial to schedule sessions weekly or fortnightly at the start of treatment, and leave some more time in between sessions in later stages of the therapy process. The time between sessions is as valuable as the time in sessions as this is the time you can spend on processing the information discussed, applying the tools provided, writing down or noticing the effects of the tools, and changing your behaviour to discover new outcomes. You will be guided throughout this process by Selma and she will keep a close eye on your improvements or stagnation during your process. There will always be an option to push out your appointment or book earlier if needed. Just let us know and we will follow up on your suggestions.
Do I need to bring my partner or can I come alone?
This depends on your own preference as well as your presenting problem. If your presenting problem affects your partner or other members of your family it might be helpful to bring them along to one of the sessions. This depends on their willingness and your preference. If you would like to solve relationship issues or sexual problems we usually advise to bring your partner. This doesn’t necessarily apply to the first session though. If you would prefer to have an individual session to start your therapy process, you are more welcome to come by yourself. Selma will share her professional opinion with you if she thinks it would be beneficial to bring your partner and will discuss your thoughts about this.
Do I need a referral to see you?
You don’t need a referral to book an appointment, but it could be financially beneficial to be referred on a Mental Health Care Plan-MHCP. If you have private insurance cover you could use the psychology cover -if available- to receive rebates for the sessions. Some clients come without a referral and visit their doctor after the first (couple of) sessions. Whether you would like to be referred by your doctor depends on your own preference and your presenting problem (for example relationship problems are not covered under a MHCP but anxiety/depression or sexual problems are). Please discuss the options of referral with your doctor or give us a call if you would like to learn more about it.
Are you going to inform my GP after the appointment?
If you have been referred by your GP (for example on a Mental Health Care Plan-MHCP), Medicare requires us to inform your referring doctor about the therapy process. In line with Medicare requirements, we provide a written report after 6 sessions (to inform whether we think that extension of the Plan with 4 more sessions is required) and after 10 sessions (the maximum amount of sessions each calendar year Medicare will provide rebates for). The level of detail provided in the letter to the GP will be discussed with you.
If you have not been referred by a specialist we will discuss your preferences about reporting to your doctor or not. If you have started your psychological treatment because of severe mental health issues we would recommend informing your doctor to provide you with the option of having an additional person to confide in and turn to in case of an emergency or relapse.
Can I reschedule or cancel my appointment if needed?
Of course things can happen and you might need to reschedule or cancel your appointment. In general we advise you that cancelling or rescheduling is possible when keeping in mind a 48 hours notice. Cancelling or rescheduling within these 48 hours of your appointment results in a fee to be charged. Please contact us by phone as soon as possible if you can’t attend. Our cancellation policy is in accordance to the advice of the Australian Psychological Society. Timely cancellations or changes to your appointments allow us to provide services and offer suitable appointment times to all clients.
What happens to my personal information and notes of the sessions?
Before your first session Selma will ask you to fill out a personal details form and provide you with a copy of our practice policy in which the details about storage of personal information is explained. The notes taken during the sessions will only be accessible to your psychologist and will be stored in a secure place. We are legally required to store your psychological file for 7 years. Your information will remain confidential and inaccessible to anyone other than you and your psychologist (unless a court orders differently). You can request access to your file during or after treatment. Please contact us if you would like to learn about the options.
If your question has not yet been answered, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to answer your questions and make your choice to find the right psychologist easier.