Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / How do you all afford psychology/psychiatry sessions?

Topic: How do you all afford psychology/psychiatry sessions?

  1. Aunt Jobiska
    Aunt Jobiska avatar
    22 posts
    14 November 2019 in reply to LisaMorris
    Various comments - for many people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression, 10 sessions IS enough. There's actually a heap of evidence out there about it. Those won't be the people on this forum.

    Psychiatrist rebates usually aren't $224 for 45 mins, it's typically more like $189 My psychiatrist bulkbills, and that's what he gets. 50% more than what a psychologist gets. I'd venture to say he trained a lot harder than my psychologist (I'd guarantee my psychologist has never done a 14+ hour shift in her life).

    A lot of the costs you mention for psychologists running there business are discretionary. It's not compulsory for a psychologist to join the Australian psychologists association, mine hasn't joined it. My psychologist can afford to bulk bill all concession card holders, and still have a decent income and lifestyle. If they want a posh office in a posh suburb, then yes, they will need to charge patients more.

    People in country or remote areas - it sounds a nightmare, in terms of your difficulty in accessing services. It's difficult enough for me accessing bulk-billing practitioners in a metropolitan centre.
  2. White Rose
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    White Rose avatar
    6205 posts
    16 November 2019 in reply to WhiteNinja

    Hello WhiteNinja

    I cannot see where I stated I had more than ten psychology sessions which attracted a rebate from Medicare and that they counted towards the safety net. Your ten visits are eligible for a Medicare rebate and any gap goes towards your personal safety net. As you have also pointed out, there are circumstances where you can receive 15 sessions per year with rebates from Medicare. This does not happen very often and I wonder how many psychologists know about this provision. If Medicare give a rebate your out of pocket expenses count towards your safety net.

    I think I was commenting that all sessions with a psychiatrist have Medicare rebates regardless of the number of visits every year. I find people often mix up the two different practitioners or presume that they operate in the same manner and with the same type of rebate.

    So to be absolutely clear, any service from a psychologist or psychiatrist which gives you a Medicare rebate has the added benefit of the out of pocket expense counting towards your safety net. Once you have used up your limit of sessions with a psychologist you are responsible for paying the whole fee and none of it is counted towards your safety net.

    This is the fundamental difference in choosing to see a psychologist or psychiatrist. There are great psychologists around just as there are great psychiatrists. If you find one then I suggest you stick to him/her. There are also great counsellors who often work for organisations such as Anglicare, Relationships Australia, Salvation Army and various other charities. These often have no charge or a small charge. Medibank has no arrangement with these people.

    Hope that clears up any confusion.

    Mary

  3. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10501 posts
    16 November 2019 in reply to Aunt Jobiska

    Hello everyone

    Hi Aunt Jobiska......thank you for your helpful post with your experience with psychologists/psychiatrists. Your contribution can help people help themselves. Evidence isnt a focus on the forums.....Life experience is

    Just a note if I may...You are drawing a long bow by saying that "10 sessions is enough with mild to moderate anxiety/depression". There are many people that have moderate levels of anxiety/depression that may require a lot more than 10 sessions of counseling to build a solid platform on which they can heal more effectively using the various coping techniques available including ongoing counseling

    Thankyou WhiteRose (Mary) for clearing up any confusion on this matter

    my kindest

    Paul

    Note: Moderate levels of anxiety/depression can sometimes exacerbate even after the 10 visits are over

    2 people found this helpful
  4. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    13090 posts
    17 November 2019 in reply to Aunt Jobiska

    Hello Aunt Jobiska, I wish I could agree with you, but I'm sorry I don't, in that 10 sessions is well and truly not enough for someone suffering from a mental illness.

    It takes at least 2 or 3 appointments for the two of you to get to know each other, then you need to have the confidence to open up, then by doing this, you have to accept and maybe practice what has been discussed, this, however, may backfire, so all the previous sessions could have raised other significant problems, so10 sessions is not enough.

    Yes your doctor can prescribe a few more sessions under extreme hardship, but this is not easy to come by.

    'The Mental Health Reference Group's report says research shows that 10
    sessions is NOT enough to improve clinical outcomes in cases of moderate
    to severe mental illness.'

    What would happen if you have the 10 sessions but unfortunately you have a relapse and there could be a risk, so a maintenance treatment plan needs to be put into place to prevent a recurrence.

    It's important to understand what might trigger a possible relapse as your circumstances may have changed, so there shouldn't be any cap depending on the situation you are in.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Miki19
    Miki19 avatar
    1 posts
    7 June 2020 in reply to White Rose

    The Medicare Safety Net is now over $2000. My psychiatrist charges $245.00 for 45 mins.

  6. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    7 June 2020

    i'm wary of therapy that drags on too long without progress, and understand some ppl can maximise help and get to a good place in 10 sessions.
    For me it wasn't enough, especially having the pressure looming over me that soon the sessions would have to end.
    I found it hard to pay for sessions and support myself as well,
    The psychologist charged 235 dollars which is quite high, even with the medicare rebates for 10 sessions. I was able to negotiate it down to 180, and was stilll struggling!!

    it's hard to pay for therapy

    1 person found this helpful
  7. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    3980 posts
    7 June 2020 in reply to Miki19

    Hi Miki19 and welcome to beyond blue.

    *waves to Sleepy21*

    I have been attending therapy (both a psychologist and psychiatrist) for nearly 3 years. With the Medicare safety net, once over the limit the costs are much reduced. The psychologist fees get reduced by a mental health care plan etc.

    It is not cheap, but for me better than the alternative.

    2 people found this helpful
  8. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10501 posts
    12 June 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi everyone

    Tim (Smallwolf) mentioned 'It is not cheap, but for me better than the alternative' Refer just above for Tims post!

    Just from my own experience....I didnt know how helpful a proactive GP* can be....We can see them quicker than a psychologist and they have greater experience treating mental health than even just 10 years ago

    Making a double appointment is always a bonus....even with the cost

    I hope everyone has a good weekend!

    Paul

    Note* where low or moderate levels of anxiety/depression are involved

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    13 June 2020

    Hi Paul -

    thanks that is a great reminder.
    Gps who are compassionate and on your side can be very grounding and supportive throughout the process, when therapy isn't so accesible. I adore my GP.

    If they are sensitive, they will even make themselves more available to you during vulnerable times when therapy isn't accesible in the frequency you need -

    A GP who feels on your level and has empathy is very important throughout the process. helps to open up and get help. I'm not so enthusiastic about GPS who talk down to patients, compassion is key.

    2 people found this helpful
  10. Mara56
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Mara56 avatar
    183 posts
    15 June 2020 in reply to AlexC

    Hi all,

    I totally agree with Alex C. I believe we do need to rally Government to increase the number of sessions available on a Mental Health Care Plan. My fear is that nothing will change unless we do.

    Recently, I was surprised to discover that people with an eating disorder can access 20 sessions with a Dietitian and 40 sessions with a Psychologist under Medicare. I totally understand and fully support the number of sessions available to people with these disorders. I know how complex and life threatening these conditions can be. Likewise Depression, PTSD and many other Mental Health conditions are equally as complex and life threatening.

    I can’t speak highly enough of my psychologist. He has reduced his fee but even so I am struggling to afford to see him as often as I need to. I have been to low income services in the past and while I believe they provide a good service especially in an emergency, for me due to the complexity of my Complex PTSD, those services were limited in their ability to help me.

    The thing that infuriates me most is that I am victim. I endured horrendous trauma which has cost me mentally, physically and financially. Just as I know it has equally impacted other PTSD sufferers. It seems so wrong that through no fault of our own, we cannot get the support through Medicare to access the care we need.

    Today I drafted a letter which I hope to have the courage to email before the end of the week. I intend to email it to the PM, Leader of the Opposition and anyone else I can think of. It’s a huge thing for me to expose myself in this way but I feel I have to speak up in the hope that a politician somewhere will listen.

    Regards

    Mara

  11. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    15 June 2020

    Hi Mara - I am stunned and so warmed by your reply!! I had just found that information today and was very interested in it!!

    I think it is a sign of progress and I hope they will see fit to offer the same support for other mental health problems.


  12. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    15 June 2020
    Today I encountered a therapist I'm considering seeing. I told her I'm not working yet and still in recovery from suicidality. She said that given that, and just generally with covid, she is bulk billing clients. "It's about helping people, isn't it?" she said.

    This may be a stupid question, but does anyone know why more psychologists aren't doing this?
    They still profit and are paid, altohugh just less, with the bulk-billing system, and with the whole economy in dysfunction now, it makes sense to offer bulk-billed sessions.

    I'm confused why bulk-billing pyschologists are so hard to find. Is it just a matter of greed? Again, don't meet to offend anyone, just generally confused why the system is so prohibative to those who don't have the means - and at this time during COVID, that's more and more people every single day
  13. Mara56
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Mara56 avatar
    183 posts
    17 June 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy 21,

    I so hope that the politicians start to get serious about addressing Mental Health. The one single thing they could do that would improve the access to appropriate psychological care is to increase the number of sessions on a Mental Health Plan. I personally think that if a GP and a psychologist recommend extra treatment then it should be available on the MHP. I do get fired up about these things. Lol. Mind I honestly don't think anything will change unless people lobby for it.

    Is the therapist you saw a psychologist? My understanding is they can only bulk bill the number of sessions of the MHP. Once they are used that's it. If they were only to charge the amount a private health fund rebated it wouldn't be enough to cover their costs. My thing is if you break an arm, then any treatment you need is covered by Medicare except physio of course. Why isn't Psychology covered? Sorry very frustrated with it ATM.

    The psychologists are hamstrung by the limits of the MHP. There are other services such as Anglicare etc. And they do provide a good service. However, I know for myself, given the complexity of the sustained and severe trauma I've experienced, they were limited in their ability to assist me.

    I hope that you connect with this new therapist Sleepy 21 and that she is able to help you.

    Hope you're managing to stay warm.

    Love

    Mara

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    17 June 2020

    Hi Mara

    Totally understand you! It is frustrating and exhausting navigating this sytem.
    Yes, the therapist I spoke to was a psychologist - she seems willing to bulk bill me so I pay nothing out of pocket... confusing - the other therapist I saw this year reduced his fees for me, so it was now only 150 out of pocket lol. Of course I felt like this sounded good but it's all still heavily weighing on my finances.

    The words you wrote regarding physical health are so true - which makes it even sadder, no one should have to "fight" for mental health help.

    Without support like this forum and Beyond Blue, I'd probably have given up lol, all the rejections and twists and turns in this pathetic mental health system.

    That said, i recently had a stay in a public recovery centre for mental health and had the best care I've ever experiened in my recovery journey. There are some dedicated individuals out there who choose to work in the public health system because they care.

    In the private system it's very hit and miss to find genuine individuals who will work with a person within their budget and needs, and offer care. i hope for us to all find the angels amongst the not-so-good ones!

    2 people found this helpful
  15. Mara56
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Mara56 avatar
    183 posts
    20 June 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy 21,

    I totally agree with everything you have said re: the mental health system. I am so tired of fighting. When the Govt announced a few weeks back that it was increasing funding to mental health, I nearly burst out in tears when I found out where the funding was being directed. Whilst I don't begrudge the services that received that fund, I firmly believe that if the Govt were truly sincere regarding supporting mental health services then they would increase the number of sessions available on a mental health plan.

    I was all fired up early in the week, ready to send a letter to a whole pile of politicians. Unfortunately I mentioned it to my son. He suffers with mental health issues too and tends to lean towards the negative. His response left me quite depressed. Needless to say I haven't forwarded the letter yet. That said, I am building up to it. It's a huge thing for me to expose myself in that way. And I suppose it's another level of accepting that I need help, something I have always struggled with.

    I am glad you have found a therapist who will bulk bill. At least that takes the pressure off for you for a little while.

    I'm also glad you found the forum and Beyond Blue. Your contribution is really valued by me.

    Pleased to hear you received good care in a public recovery centre. It's good to know that there are some services out there that provide good care.

    You are right about the private system. I went through 14 therapists before I found someone who I could work with and who had the experience and knowledge to deal with the complexity of my PTSD. I'm worried at the minute because he's not getting any younger and I keep worrying that he's either going to retire or die on me. Lol. You can see where my son gets his negativity from. Lol.

    Well I'll leave it there. I haven't been online for a few days and I have a heap of messages to respond to.

    Take care Sleepy 21.

    Cheers

    Mara

  16. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10501 posts
    24 June 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Everyone!

    Hey Sleepy21

    You mentioned an excellent point "I'm not so enthusiastic about GPS who talk down to patients, compassion is key" Fair enough too Sleepy21..I am fortunate that I have only had a couple of GP's that were patronising since I started having treatment in 1983 when I was 23

    Some people that have a mental illness dont open up and discuss their inner feelings still expect a 'quick fix' from their doc/therapist. This is where I screwed up. Doing so makes even partial recovery difficult to achieve*

    my kind thoughts....Paul

    * re mid to high level anxiety disorder that has a negative impact on our ability to function effectively on a day to day basis

    1 person found this helpful
  17. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    24 June 2020

    Hi Paul,

    I don't want to get to political here (please don't boot me off the forum) but do you think it may be an issue of sexism etc-
    When I first had a mental health disorder I was a very skin (barely eating) girl of 20. I saw a lot of older doctors who talked down to me. It happened until I was 30.
    I prefer now to see doctors who are actively getting training for new issues, generally are a little bit yonger (not to be agist but some do unfortunately cease upskilling and find it harder to relate to youth) and also those who seem very down to earth, then it feels like we are figuring out the problem together, sharing notes from the jounrey and working collaboratively on my mental health. For me this approach has helped empower me to be active in my recovery. I made the same mistake of thinking a doctor could fix me. I understand whta you mean there and it's a common issues I think.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    24 June 2020
    Hi Paul, just wanted to say of course I really appreciate your points and ideas. I'm so grateful you got good help. Just venting a little becaus for me the journey was not so pleasant, I had a few condescending GPS who talked down to me. All were 50 + years older than me and seemed to think my problems didn't matter. I'm grateful that the mental health system is starting to tap into the ideas of client-centred support and also a patient having choices - rather than a gp saying you should do this - I can sometimes initiate the convo with my gp about what i'm interested in trying, or disagree with his provided suggestions... it's healthier for me. I'm so glad that you've seen some good gps though, that would've been very supportive
  19. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10501 posts
    25 June 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hey Sleepy21!

    no worries at all...your situation was/is totally different to mine and to have a patronising GP is not what we want for sure....no matter what our level of anxiety is. Absolutely Sleepy21 :-)

    I posted above for people like myself that didnt share our 'real problems'....my dad physically abusing me etc

    I was 'withholding' important background about my pain.....which didnt do my recovery any favors at all

    My female GP is dynamite for diagnosing me in the first place.....and my current doc is a guy who I see every 4-6 weeks for a 'fine tune'

    Your input and support is wonderful to have on the forums Sleepy21....Nice1 :-)

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

  20. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    25 June 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul I really appreciated your share

    Thanks for telling me about your journey in learning to open up to the GP

    The combination of being truthful + a caring gp is the real win. Sometimes though being truthful is hard if the GP isn't going to believe etc...
    Lately I revealed an issue that I've been struggling to reveal because of shame (and seeming pettiness/vain) - related to body image. My GP and I are now finding solutions for it. Can't tell you what a huge weight off my shoulders to be heard and also to be offered solutions. Amazing.

    Your posts here are helping me consider my way forward and get the best help. Thanks as always for listening and accepting me as I am, een though my last post was a little intense!

    1 person found this helpful
  21. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    10501 posts
    26 June 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hey Sleepy21

    you are so proactive with your health Sleepy....you are strong and there is nothing petty/vain about what you discuss with your doc. Many people dont have the strength you have by talking to your doc

    I still have difficulty walking around the block with my dog Prince without having an anxiety attack. My GP has been working with me on this for a while now...Im just happy that I dont have the bad daily anxiety attacks I used to have in my 20's and 30's :-)

    You rock Sleepy! Thankyou heaps too for all the help you provide to so many people doing it hard...Nice1

    Happy Friday

    Paul

  22. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1189 posts
    26 June 2020

    Hi Paul, thank yu so much for sharing those kind words with me

    You are right reaching out is important and not petty
    I haven't always had the courage and would sometimes get dishearted when I tried to reach out and wasn't met supportively by the GP. It's a good sign I guess that the GP can hear you and care- but if they didn't, I still saw them because I assumed I was at fault. I've become more assertive and proactive, as you noted
    You're right that nothing is petty with the GP

    Sometimes actually seemingly small or petty concerns have the largest impact on our mental health and should absolutely be talked about for recovery

    It's taken me a long time to understand the weight of those words. You have given some amazing insight here, thank you!

    1 person found this helpful

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up