Specialist psychology counselling
to meet your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions - Adult
How long are the psychological therapy sessions?
Each session is usually 50 minutes in length. On occasion, some psychologists may also offer sessions of shorter duration (30 minutes) depending on your needs.
What are your private consulting fees?
WPS fees are less than those recommended by The Australian Psychological Society which recommends a fee of $280 for a standard 45-60 minute consultation, though psychologists are free to set their own rates.
All our private consulting fees are reduced to:
Clinical Consultation Fee is $210
Standard Consultation Fee is $180.
Saturday Standard Consultation Fee attracts a $15 surcharge.
Payment is made on the day of the consultation.
What if I have a Medicare referral?
If clients are referred under the Medicare Better Access to Mental Health Initiative, then a referral is required.
Medicare Rebates may be claimed at WPS via Medicare Online Claiming for payment direct to your account if your bank details are registered with Medicare. Alternatively, you can claim your rebate by visiting Medicare.
You can claim up to 10 individual and 10 group services per calendar year.
The Medicare Safety Net applies to payments above the total of your rebate.
Medicare referrals can be provided to patients with an assessed mental health concern managed by a GP under a GP Mental Health Care Plan or on direct referral from a psychiatrist or paediatrician. Eg. anxiety, depression, sleep problems, grief, drugs and alcohol abuse, ADHD and conduct problems, eating disorders, unexplained physical complaints and sexual problems.
Can I use Private Health Care Insurance?
Private Health care rebates are available from most funds (please check your eligibility directly and details of rebates with your private health fund).
No referral is necessary if clients wish to claim on their private health.
You cannot claim the Medicare rebate and a private health ancillary insurance rebate at the same time.
Will I be charged if I need to cancel or do not attend my appointment?
If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please give us as much notice as possible, so that the time is available for us to offer that session to clients on our waiting / cancellation list.
Cancellation fees are charged when failing to attend or cancelling less than 24 hours (one working day) prior to the scheduled appointment without a medical certificate and where that time cannot be allocated to another client.
Cancellation fees apply to Private, Medicare and Compensable clients (i.e. Workcover, T.A.C, EAP and Comcare clients). Clients are responsible for the fee as rebates cannot be claimed on non-attendances.
What if I can’t afford to pay for counselling sessions?
There are a number of options for clients unable to afford the out of pocket cost of between $85-105 per session for counselling care.
How can I access TPS (targeted psychological services) and suicide prevention (SP) -TPS funding.
A HCC -Health Care Card , is usually the threshold for a TPS referral, as a measure of financial constraint is needed to access funding.
SP funding is not financially assessed as anyone “at risk” is eligible for this type of funding.
Not everyone has to have a HCC for funding to be approved for TPS though…a GP can assess if a client is unable to afford an out of pocket cost… they can just request the service due to this factor.
Frequently Asked Questions - Child
What are some special considerations I need to be mindful of when bringing my child for counselling?
Providing services to children can often be more complex as the counselling can involve many parties including other family members, schools, other services providers etc. Navigating the best course of care can be challenging and often requires commitment by parents/carers to achieve positive outcomes in therapy. Attending all scheduled appointments and undertaking activities at home will be requested and in many instances of counselling for children this will involve recommendations for adaption of the parent's roles. Commitment for action from parents may well be as important as therapy for your child.
How many sessions will I need to bring my child for?
A typical course of care may be expected to run 4-8 sessions or more. Depending on your child’s referral, the length of care can be discussed with your psychologist at the first assessment session. It is best to navigate with your psychologist the appointment outline (weekly/fortnightly/monthly) and book appointments in advance where possible, for times that suit you, your child and the psychologist’s availability.
What about my child schooling? I don’t want to bring my child during school hours.
School absence is a big concern for many parents for a variety of reasons. We advise you to notify your school of the counselling plan so they are informed. Discussing classroom schedules with your child’s teacher may also help guide you to which times/days your child may be least impacted by attending counselling appointments. As therapy is typically for a finite period and often benefits the child’s health and wellbeing within the classroom/school environment, absence from school for counselling support is typically well received. WPS can provide attendance letters for sessions to formally support these absences.
Why might it be better to come in the morning?
WPS provides the bulk of our available psychologist appointments within school hours. Children, particularly those aged 4-10, are better suited to morning appointments when they are alert and attentive. Despite appearing desirable, fatigue after a busy day at school may be less effective in terms of counselling care.
What if I work and can’t bring my child during the day?
Some parent’s state access to WPS for evening appointments is required due to their work commitments. Whilst we understand there are many challenges to attending counselling there are only so many afternoon appointment’s available each week. Many of our clients experience these very issues. You may be faced with less than ideal situations for your child to attend WPS such as extended family bringing your child to some counselling sessions or navigating flexible work time. Other options may be seeing your GP for alternate service providers that can better meet your particular needs. Sadly our practice may not be the ‘best fit’ for you.
I need you to write a report for my lawyer….I would like you to speak with my child’s teacher….
WPS provides services to many clients with complex issues that may involve interaction with schools, Department of Health & Human Services, paediatricians, psychiatrists, RCH, the court system etc. Unfortunately, phone calls and report requests to follow up children often falls outside the counselling session and can be very time consuming for our psychologists. An associated fee for these services may be incurred by the client. You will be advised of costs for these additional services (telephone consultations and report writing fees) outside the client session, should they arise during your course of care. (Please see fees section on our website).
Frequently Asked Questions- NDIS
My child or I have psychology support allocated in their NDIS Plan, how does this work?
If you are accessing counselling via the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) funding, our practice charges the scheduled fee as outlined by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). There is no out of pocket cost.
The NDIS provide a price guide for service providers (ndis.gov.au).
The price controls and associated arrangements is designed to help providers to operate within the NDIS market environment, maximising choice for participants. NDIA pay a rate in accordance with the knowledge that NDIS participants may experience complexity and challenges that affect their ability to attend. The NDIA recommend the same rate for attendance and non-attendance/late-cancellation to ensure client’s continued access to care and to not disadvantage the service provider. They also allow parent-only sessions, telephone counselling and have recommended fees for the writing of reports to support the participants care options/ to better tailor care, unique to the participants needs.
All plans of care are discussed with NDIA plan managers to allocate the appropriate amount of funding to cover the needs of the participant. For example, if the participant requires fortnightly psychology sessions, an allocation of funding will be made to support this frequency of service at the NDIA rate specified. Over the course of an NDIS plan, this takes into consideration non-attendance, planned breaks of care related to holidays/school/life events etc, If annual reviews of the participants NDIS plan do not utilise allocated psychology funding, allowances may be reduced in subsequent funding periods.
Please discuss with your psychologist if you have any questions. The frequency of care is based on clinical need and availability and not funding, and this may change over time.
We have monthly sessions allocated but I think more frequent sessions are needed?
Please discuss the specific needs of you or your child with your psychologist and a request for alteration to your plan may be required. A typical scenario may see you attending more frequently at the commencement of counselling therapy with periods between sessions increasing as changes occur.
The NDIS rate is higher than the private rates. Why can’t I just pay the private rate and use my NDIS funds?
WPS charges the recommended rate for all our 3rd party invoiced clients, including TAC, WorkCover, Comcare, VOCAT, NDIA and TPS. These rates are all different. It is challenging to provide an experienced and professional service that meets the needs of our diverse community when our private rates are well below the recommended rates for psychologists (Australian Psychological Services set rate at $280). Where possible, we attempt to provide services without limitations to access times, availability etc. and NDIS funded session allocation is tailored to the individual participants needs at their allocated rate. NDIS participants at WPS will not be adversely affected in their counselling care when our service bills the NDIS allocated rate.
What is the process for having a Telehealth - phone or video session and what technology do I need?
Our psychologist will call you at or within 10 minutes of your scheduled session to your designated phone number for a phone session. Please be aware this call may be originating from an “unknown or blocked” number, as your psychologist may be working offsite.
We are currently using Video (adults) and Zoom (children) to host video sessions. You do not need an existing Zoom account but if you have one you can sign in with your existing details.
You will receive a direct link/invitation at the time of your appointment from your psychologist to the counselling session via SMS or via email. You can tell us your preference.
The link will look similar to this:
· For Mobile Phone Video/Zoom sessions
You simply click on the link sent via text and open your session with your psychologist. You are now with your psychologist to commence the session.
· For Laptop/Computer/Tablet sessions
This is like the Mobile Phone session process but once clicking the link, you may be asked to ‘run’ or download the Zoom or Video application. You may also need to adjust your video and audio access (bottom left of the video screen) when you join the session. Having headphones may also be helpful.
If you would like more information please go to the Zoom website https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting or to download the Zoom application https://zoom.us/support/download
What are Your Fees for Telehealth services?
i. Fees for Telehealth.
1. Normal session and non-attendance fees apply for 50 minute Psychology sessions. You will still receive your Medicare rebate for attended sessions.
What might be some of the limitations of Telehealth?
A telehealth consultation may not be the same and may not feel as complete as a face-to-face service and this may affect the psychologist’s ability to respond to your expectations. The capacity for crisis intervention may be diminished. There could be some technical problems that affect the telehealth consultation.
To the best of our knowledge, Zoom uses systems that currently exceed recommended Australian standards to protect the privacy and security of the video consultations. However, the service cannot guarantee total protection against hacking or tapping into the video visit by outsiders including tracking your location. This risk is small, but it does exist.
Are there situations where it may not be appropriate to have a video or phone session?
Please talk with your psychologist at your first session about the experience of adapting therapy from face-to-face to phone or video sessions. It can be challenging for some clients to make this transition. Your psychologist can suggest alternate therapy supports and resources or plan your future sessions according to your individual therapy needs.
What Space do I need to Provide when engaging in a phone or video session?
We ask that you provide a private space in the home with a closed door. In this way, you can feel free to talk about whatever you like, without concerns that others may be listening.
If possible, headphones also help create a private environment for a video call.
Please ensure your phone or computer/tablet is on and fully charged/or charging during your session.
What happens if our online connection fails?
Video sessions are reliant on internet connection and sometimes the connection can fail unexpectedly. The first 5-10 minutes of your session may be dedicated to checking that the connection is appropriate to commence the session. If unsuccessful during this time, a phone session may be offered if appropriate.
Can I change my mind?
If the telehealth consultation does not achieve what you need, then you can choose what to do next.
You can change your mind and stop using telehealth consultations at any time, including in the middle of a video or phone session. This does not change your right to health care in the future if you change your mind.
Can I request that the session be conducted over the phone instead of video?
If you do not have the technology to conduct a video session or feel more comfortable talking over the phone, then a phone session may be more appropriate. When working with clients, it is our preference to use video if available. Our psychologists use more than just verbal communication to engage with clients. Subtle changes in mood and behaviour are often communicated in non-verbal ways to our psychologists (such as gestures, body language, posture) and it can be helpful to see the client during sessions. Your psychologist can help you decide what might be most suitable for you during the first phone session.
Are my consultations Secure and Private?
Consultations between psychologists and clients are STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. All psychologists at our service adhere to the legal standards of the Code of Professional Conduct as set by the Australian Psychological Society. This means that communication is private and safe-guarded and your psychologist is not able to provide any information to other persons, unless you give them permission to do so. However, there are some exceptions to confidentiality which primarily relate to psychologists’ ethical obligations or “duty of care”.
Confidentiality may therefore be breached for the following reasons:
· For the purpose of professional consultation to other practitioners legitimately concerned with you or your child’s care.
· If we have good reason to believe that you or your child may be at risk of seriously harming him/herself or another person; or at risk of being harmed by someone else.
· If you or your child are involved in a court case and your psychologist is required to give evidence.
· Only use personal information provided by you for the purpose for which it was collected.
· Psychologists keep records for a minimum of seven years since last client contact. In the case of records collected while the client was less than 18 years old, psychologists retain the records at least until the client attains the age of 25 years.
· You have the right to access personal information WPS has about you at any time. Your psychologist is likely to keep a record of your consultations with him/her. These records are confidential and are stored in a secure locked cabinet and/or password protected computer file.
Standards of Care
As psychologists we are accountable for our professional conduct, and if you are unhappy about any aspect of our service, we would like to hear your concerns. If this does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction you are able to lodge a complaint with the WPS Director - Dr. Angelo Pagano or make a formal complaint with the Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria (03) 9629 8722; all our psychologists are required to be registered. Alternately, you can make a complaint to the psychologists’ professional body: The Australian Psychological Society (03) 8662 3300 - if your psychologist is a member.
Please do not record video or audio sessions without your psychologist's consent. Making recordings may quickly and easily compromise you or your child's privacy. If you record with consent, this may not be published in any form.
Tips for telehealth counselling sessions - Individual or Child/Parenting
Telehealth sessions can feel less safe and engaging than face-to-face consultations.
To help optimise your telehealth experience, there are some actions you can take. These include:
Set up your computer/tablet/laptop/telephone in a location where you have privacy and feel secure.
Try to have your appointments in the same location each time - this will help move you into therapy mode faster. Choose a seat that is comfortable and have tissues nearby. Perhaps also a glass of water or a hot drink.
Visual quality / Internet connection to be considered
Choose your private space as close to your modem as possible to minimise internet connection disruption if you are accessing your device via a wireless connection.
If using your mobile for a Zoom session place it in a set location rather than hold it by hand to reduce movement of your image.
Sit with light towards your face rather than behind you, to improve your image quality.
In your home environment it is easier to be distracted. Limit distractions caused by food, other people, pets and external noise including music. Using earphones may be beneficial. Ideally close doors so others cannot interrupt you.
You may like to create sound eg music playing, outside your room/space to diminish your session content being audible to others outside the room. This may be relevant due to government recommendations requesting all family members “remain at home” and therefore creating private space may be more challenging for some clients.
Please do not undertake therapy whilst driving your car or in a public place.
Ensure you are ready a few minutes prior to your appointment so you don’t feel rushed.
Allow time for yourself to consider anything you wish to raise during your appointment.
Please raise anything that is concerning you during the appointment. This may be related to what is being discussed but may also be related to the technology, the audio or visual quality, any discomfort (physical or emotional) or anything else that is disturbing you.
For Child /Parent sessions specifically
Similar to face-to-face sessions continuing counselling sessions for children may include;
· Parent and child (especially for children too young to be left unsupervised)
· Adult time (parent only)
· Our time (client/child only)
In sessions your WPS psychologist may utilise;
· Role play
· Online whiteboards
What materials might you need for your child’s session?
(if required your psychologist will advise you in advance of the session)
· Paper and Drawing materials (i.e. pencil, markers, crayons, etc.)
· Psychologist may request other materials