Frequently Asked Questions.
The initial, ‘get to know you better’ session, when we first meet is when we might ask questions such as:
– Identifying information
– The source of your referral
– Mental status examination or risk assessment questions
– Your presenting problem, medical history, family history, substance history and psychosocial history
– Whether you have completed any psychological tests in the past
This information may be used to develop a treatment plan for you.
It’s perfectly OK not to have most of your information on hand. The first session could simply involve listening to your concerns, understanding where you are in your life and where you would like to see yourself with respect to your mental health or, the current issue you’re facing.
Caveat: Quite often, in the course of these questions about your personal issues or symptoms, thoughts or feelings may arise. It’s important to be aware of them, but not react to them.
Our role as psychologists could be to explore challenging or difficult feelings, thoughts and behaviours in this journey. We can help you find a way to close the gap from where you are now to where you want to be.
The initial part of the therapy process is akin to developing a roadmap to improving your mental health. Developing this ‘roadmap’ will include the use of evidence based psychological therapies that take into account your personal circumstances and goals.
If you have been struggling with mental health symptoms for a while, you may understand what it feels like to be trapped within certain thoughts patterns, beliefs and behaviours. Identification and awareness of these problems are often hurdles in the beginning. Being able to recognise triggers and symptoms allows you to gain a bird’s eye perspective and understand different facets and ways of looking at your problem.
This will bring light to the psychological processes that keep you stuck in maladaptive, inflexible or negative states. This is when the journey of change begins.
Working closely together with your psychologist in the initial sessions to analyse your situation carefully will help you to see the necessary steps and vital planning you need to undertake to move forward. This is the reason why the initial sessions are essential to understanding and key to finding resolutions to your core problem. Your psychologist will use evidence-based principles and techniques to help you resolve these issues.
Caveat: In some cases, the key issue will only reveal itself much later down the track.
Undertaking the initial assessment process will help you understand more about yourself and help us understand you better. It is not uncommon to observe an initial session that dives very quickly into the core issues, especially amongst mental health conditions that have been accurately diagnosed before or where symptoms can be determined accurately, however this is not be the case when you are not ready to open up about your issues or symptoms or have a longstanding mental health issue where symptoms can be hidden quite well or where the discussion of symptoms needs time to build that trust.
After the initial session, there’s a good chance you would gain some awareness, be able to identify and develop a deeper an understanding of what’s required to overcome your mental health issues or concerns. During this period, that’s where the clinical expertise of a psychologist who has experience with a range of mental health and life issues similar to yours is highly beneficial. We hope to be able to share with you some of the valuable insights into your situation that can be attained from evidenced based research and clinical interventions that:
– Highlight and address difficult symptoms or potentially unnerving issues that you experience
– Help you derive a solution or better manage your situation- Assist your understanding of how to stay committed and to develop resilience around the issue you are facing
– To provide ‘life hacks’ if possible, that not only help you look at life differently, reduce uncertainty, but to help you feel like you have somehow accessed the ‘cheat codes’ (like in video games) to life to help you work through the issues you are facing as efficiently as possible.
At Chat Clinic, the therapeutic alliance is the most important part. Without a strong therapeutic alliance, it would be hard for us to discuss more sensitive and difficult topics in a way that allows us to be open and honest.There is a common misconception that solely having the gold standard tools and techniques (i.e. therapy methods or modalities with the highest efficacy or effectiveness) is sufficient. In layman’s terms, if you can’t trust the professional that you’re talking to, it’s going to be an uphill battle regardless of how qualified you are.
We provide Telehealth options to clients for several reasons:
– To improve the accessibility of mental healthcare services.
– To provide the option of engaging your psychologist in the comfort of your own home or a suitably quiet area by phone or video.
– We are also aware that some individuals experience great difficulties attending sessions in person, hence this option is offered.
Telehealth bookings are offered during standard office hours and after-hours bookings.
The Department of Health has issued a statement indicating that Telehealth services will be available for all Australians.
Important few key points you should be aware of:
- Providers will also be able to offer audio-only services via telephone if video is not available.
- Services can be provided through widely available video calling apps and software such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Duo, GoToMeeting and others.
- The new MBS telehealth items will allow providers to continue to deliver essential health care services to patients within their care.
- Patients are required to consent to their service being bulk-billed.
- A service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.
- The temporary MBS telehealth services must be bulk billed and are for non-admitted patients.
There may be occasions where a face-to-face consult will strictly be required especially where there is a significant level of risk to the client or the need for a face-to-face assessment or testing. If you feel or our clinicians determine that you would be better served by a psychological services provider in your local community, or if Chat Clinic determines that this service may not be suitable for you, we would recommend that you seek services from a health practitioner in your immediate community and not be able to commence psychological treatment with you.
A statement has been released by the Australian Prime Minister regarding the ability to receive up to 10 psychological sessions under Medicare.
In order to secure your appointment, Chat Clinic will request a deposit of 55 Australian dollars to secure your scheduled appointment time. This amount is retained during the course of your treatment and then returned once your therapy has either concluded or when you decide to no longer continue with therapy. It is solely your choice when you decide to discontinue therapy.
Cancellation Policy for Medicare and Full Fee clients
We gently remind our clients that we have a cancellation policy where if less than two (2) clear business days notice is provided to cancel or change an appointment, or where you do not attend an appointment, you will be charged a full fee for the appointment that was scheduled. The deposit of 55 Australian dollars will be applied to the therapy session you have missed.
Subsequently, in order to reschedule a new therapy session after a missed appointment, you agree to pay the difference between the deposit of 55 Australian dollars and the cost of your session involved and, deposit a new Refundable Deposit for your next appointment.
Cancellation Policy for NDIS clients
The NDIS Price Guide provides that NDIS Participants who notify us of a cancellation less than two (2) clear business days before a scheduled therapy appointment will be charged a cancellation fee of up to 100% of the agreed price.
The number of short notice cancellations (or no-shows) that a provider can claim in respect of a participant is not limited.
Our commitment is to provide safe online telehealth sessions.
The clients we work with are happy to work with us for the following reasons.
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