Selecting The Right Therapist
Receiving therapy can be life-changing, therefore it's important for you to choose the right therapist. In order to make sure we're a good fit for working together, after you've made initial contact, we'll talk on the phone to establish whether or not I can help you.
If we both decide we're a good fit, I'll offer you a regular appointment time for your first six sessions.
You'll get the best results from therapy if your attendance is regular and consistent and research has shown that weekly sessions offer the optimal momentum to make good progress.
I'll follow up by emailing you my consent form to sign before we start, which contains the information below.
If we're not a good fit, for example if your issues fall outside of my area of professional competence, I'll let you know and give you suggestions for how to find a better-suited therapist. I may also refer you back to your GP.
Clinical Psychology Fees
As per the Australian Psychological Society's recommended fee schedule for July 2020 to June 2021, the fee for an hour's consultation is $260.
Payments are to be made on the day via EFTPOS, direct Netbank OSKO transfer or using a credit card over the phone. Payments made via Paypal incur an extra admin fee of $10. For security reasons, I no longer accept cash or cheques.
Please note: I don’t bill third parties, including insurance companies. I also don’t offer accounts unless under prior arrangements.
Medicare and Other Rebates
Your Medicare rebate is processed directly from my practice management system on the day of your session. That means you should receive your rebate within one business day. I keep your Medicare details on file when you make your first appointment so if you ever leave your card at home, you'll still get your rebate.
To claim Medicare rebates, please make sure to bring in, fax or email me your valid Mental Health Care Plan from your GP. It must include the GP provider number, date of referral, name of medical centre and it must be addressed to me personally in order to be valid.
Under the Medicare benefits scheme you may receive up to 10 sessions of psychotherapy per calendar year, beginning each 1st January. The rebate for an hour consultation is currently $128.50. You will need a referral from your GP for your first six sessions, after which you need to obtain a re‑referral for a total of up to ten sessions, if your GP agrees you require more sessions.
Medicare rebates are now available for up to 10 Telehealth consultations per calendar year for the following clients:
- Clients living in remote and rural areas living in one of the qualifying postcodes.
- Clients adversely impacted by the bushfires of 2019 - 2020 (who receive an extra 10 sessions above those referred by a GP)
- COVID-19 impacted clients (i.e. those in quarantine or with symptoms)
Private Health Insurance Rebates
Clients of psychotherapy may currently claim rebates from the following health funds:
* Medibank Private (MBP)
* Grand United
Enquiries about details of exact rebates are welcome. Provider numbers for other health funds will be acquired on request.
Please give me at least 48 hours' (two days) notice of your cancellation, otherwise you will be charged for a full session.
Any outstanding accounts or cancellation fees will result in an inability to book future sessions until they are settled.
Overdue fees older than four weeks will be referred to a debt collector which will incur additional administration costs and affect your credit rating.
Cancellation fees will only be waived in a genuine medical emergency (yours only). Please note that non-attendances are not rebatable by Medicare or Private Health Funds.
This cancellation policy is routinely adhered to so as to encourage your attendance for a full course of treatment so that you can achieve your desired result. Additionally your generous notice allows another person on the waiting list the opportunity to make an appointment.
Privacy and Confidentiality
All personal information gathered by me during the provision of the psychological service will remain confidential and secure except when:
- It is subpoenaed by a court, or
- Failure to disclose the information would place you or another person at risk, or
- Your prior approval has been obtained to:
- a) Provide a written report to another professional or agency, e.g. a GP or a lawyer; or
- b) Discuss the material with another person, e.g. a parent or employer.
Access To Information
You are entitled to access the material recorded in your file upon request, subject to the exceptions in National Privacy Principle 6.
You will need to make an appointment time with me so that I can go through the notes with you in case there's any technical information you may not understand or information that may distress you.
I keep records in a locked and archived filing cabinet for seven years as required by law, after which time files are securely shredded and disposed of by an accredited security company.
COVID-19 / Safety Policy
If you have any symptoms of a cold or flu, please get tested for COVID and stay home. You will be offered a Telehealth appointment.
Please also note that hostile, aggressive or abusive behaviour will not be tolerated and will result in an immediate termination of services.
Social Media Policy
This document outlines how I conduct myself on the Internet as a mental health professional and how you can expect me to respond to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet. If you have any questions about anything within this document, I encourage you to bring them up when we meet. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy.
I use all of my social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) for business purposes. That means I don't share private information about myself, though I strive to have a warm, approachable and friendly presence. I share information such as articles, blog posts and personal stories to help to connect with and provide useful information to my readers. My social media profiles reflect my views and opinions, which may at times be controversial, especially with regards to my professional interests about workplace bullying and relevant legislation and politics, and perhaps even my sense of humour.
As my social media accounts are intended for professional use, you are welcome to “friend” me and may comment on my posts. However, you are liable for what you post and you must use your discretion about what you are comfortable with in regards to what others may find out about you. By interacting with me on social media, you take full responsibility for your own confidentiality. Please be aware that if you use an easily recognisable name on Social Media sites, it may compromise your confidentiality. We can discuss it and its potential impact on our working relationship.
Please understand that AHPRA’s advertising guidelines prohibit testimonials. I am also required by the AHPRA guidelines to delete all favourable mentions of my services by both clients and non clients alike on my websites and social media pages where possible. However, I have no control over who posts comments about me in arenas outside of my social media profiles.
I publish a blog on my website and I post psychology news on my Facebook business pages, Twitter and LinkedIn. I have no expectation that you as a client will want to follow my blog or Twitter stream.
Your privacy is an important concern of mine. If you share this concern, there are more private ways to follow me on Twitter (such as using an RSS feed or a locked Twitter list), which would eliminate your having a public link to my content. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether and how to follow me.
Please note that if you add me to your Social Media pages, I may inadvertently view material that you may not want me to see. If in doubt, you may block me or not add me to your list. Viewing your online activities without your consent and without our explicit arrangement towards a specific purpose could potentially have a negative influence on our working relationship. If there are things from your online life that you wish to share with me, please bring them into our sessions where we can view and explore them together, during the therapy hour.
Interacting On Email And Personal Messaging
Please use my email address to contact me regarding personal, therapy-related information. It is not advisable to use Social Media for personal messages due to the potential for confidentiality to be compromised. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion. Do not use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with me in public online if we have an already established client/therapist relationship, unless you are entirely comfortable with your content being publicly displayed. Engaging with me this way could create the possibility that these exchanges become a part of your legal medical record and will need to be documented and archived in your file. Please be aware that if you do choose to communicate with me by email, all emails are retained in the logs of your and my Internet service providers. While it is unlikely that someone will be looking at these logs, they are, in theory, available to be read by the system administrator(s) of the Internet service provider. You should also know that any emails I receive from you and any responses that I send to you become a part of your legal record.
Making Or Rescheduling Appointments
Please do not contact me on social media regarding making or rescheduling appointment times unless it’s an emergency. The proper way to make or change dates and times is to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on: 0422 232 2089. Contacting me in any other way for appointments may lead to scheduling errors, which will be your responsibility.
In An Emergency
You may contact me by mobile phone, SMS or email.
Use of Search Engines
It is NOT a regular part of my practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines. Rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If I have a reason to suspect that you are in danger and you have not been in touch with me via our usual means (coming to appointments, phone, or email) there might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you, find someone close to you, or to check on your recent status updates) becomes necessary as part of ensuring your welfare. These are unusual situations and if I ever resort to such means, I will document it and discuss it with you when we next meet.
I do not follow current or former clients on Google Reader and I do not use Google Reader to share articles. If there are things you want to share with me that you feel are relevant to your treatment whether they are news items or things you have created, I encourage you to bring these items of interest into our sessions.
Business Review Sites
You may find my psychology practice on sites such as True Local, Google Local, Yahoo Local, Bing, or other places, which list businesses. Some of these sites include forums in which users rate their providers and add reviews. Many of these sites comb search engines for business listings and automatically add listings regardless of whether the business has added itself to the site. If you should find my listing on any of these sites, please know that my listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as my client.
Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. But due to confidentiality, I cannot respond to any review on any of these sites whether it is positive or negative. I urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as I take my commitment of confidentiality to you. You should also be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with me about your feelings about our work, there is a good possibility that I may never see it.
If we are working together, I hope that you will bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into the therapy process. This can be an important part of therapy, even if you decide we are not a good fit. None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in therapy with me wherever and with whomever you like. Confidentiality means that I cannot tell people that you are my client and my Ethics Code prohibits me from requesting testimonials. But you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that I’m your therapist or how you feel about the treatment I provided to you, in any forum of your choosing.
If you do choose to write something on a business review site, I hope you will keep in mind that you may be sharing personally revealing information in a public forum. I urge you to create a pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection.
If you used location-based services on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. I do not place my practice as a check-in location on various sites such as Foursquare, etc. However, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may surmise that you are a therapy client due to regular check-ins at my office on a weekly basis. Please be aware of this risk if you are intentionally “checking in,” from my office or if you have a passive LBS app enabled on your phone.
Thank you for taking the time to review my Social Media Policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions on the Internet, do bring them to my attention so that we can discuss them.