Ok, I Want to See a Psychologist, Now What?
People often feel a variety of emotions when they decide they want to seek treatment from a psychologist. Fear, anxiety, relief, panic are all words I hear people in my practice say when talking about first seeking treatment. The other thing I hear a lot is that people don’t know where to go once they have made the decision. Most people don’t feel comfortable asking their neighbor for a referral as they might for a pediatrician or dentist, so where do they turn? Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you begin, to help the search process go more smoothly:
- Do I want to do therapy alone? With my partner/spouse? With my kids?
- Do I want to access the Medicare rebate? If you do you will need to get a referral by a GP. Alternatively your private health care provider may offer a rebate. Check with them as rebates differ between providers
- What are the top 1 or 2 things I want to address in therapy (for example: phobia of spiders, job stress, anger management, parenting strategies for divorced parents).
The First Step: Making Your First Appointment with a Psychologist
The first conversation
Should I email? Should I call on the phone? Text message? There are many ways to make contact with people nowadays, sometimes it can be confusing to know which avenue is most appropriate. A telephone call might be a good, comfortable way to start for many people, but often psychologists are in with clients and rarely answer their phones. That means potential clients have to leave a message. If you decide to do that, just your name, phone number, and a very brief description of your situation is appropriate. For example:
“Hi Anne Marie, my name is Stephanie, and I was referred to you by my GP. Could you please call me back at 0412 657 029 at your earliest convenience?”
Email is a great option because of the ease with which both you and the psychologist can respond to one another. I would recommend emailing to a traditional email account only (and not messaging through MySpace, Twitter, or another social networking site) in order to maintain confidentiality.
Regardless of how you contact the psychologist, expect a phone call or email back within 24-48 hours (during the week).
The answers to these questions will determine whether you can or should proceed with the psychologist.
Making the first appointment
It can be tempting to take the very first opening available when making your first appointment. There are some things to consider, however, in terms of the best time during the day and week to see your psychologist. Some things to consider:
- Generally I ask new clients to fill out a new client form and complete a short questionnaire. Please arrive a few minutes early for your first appointment so that you have time to do this before your session starts
- Ensure you have your referral with you or that your doctor has faxed the referral to me before you arrive.
- Jot down the most important topics you want to make sure you cover – that first session can go really fast!
- The cost of each session is $130. The Medicare rebate, as at Feb 2014, is $84.80. I have a HICAPS machine on site that is able to rebate back to your nominated account in the office.
- A discount is offered to people holding a Centrelink
- My address Suite 1, No 1 Lanyana Way, Noosa Junction. Please note that I sub-let an office from Platinum Tax Solutions. Speak to the receptionist (Kayla) at the front desk and ask for Anne Marie, and Kayla will direct you to me.
- Car parking is available directly outside the building and is wheelchair accessible
- If you have trouble finding me please call me on 0412 657 029 and I will come out and find you.
Making an appointment for Mediation
There are no Medicare Rebates for Mediation. Generally the cost is $180 per hour.
The process is as follows:
Generally one party phones to make an appointment for a pre-mediation session which normally lasts for one hour. Sometimes this session can take longer and if so the session is charged at a pro-rata rate.
During the pre-mediation Anne Marie will assess whether the issues to be discussed a suitable for mediation. Mediation is totally confidential and voluntary. Whilst Anne Marie is a specialist in Family Law Mediation and has the accreditation to issue certificates she is also able to mediate in a variety of other contexts.
For example mediation is appropriate for:
- neighbourhood disputes involving such problems as fences, noise, children, pets and overhanging trees
- family and intergenerational disputes
- workplace disputes
- commercial disputes
- relationship separation
- parenting agreements and property settlement matters
- multi-party disputes, sometimes involving the whole community
- Tenancy disputes.
Telephone the office for further information on 07 5473 5607