Frequently Asked Questions
For most people, choosing a psychologist is a completely unfamiliar and, maybe, confusing experience. See below for an answer to some common questions.
Q: What will happen during the first therapy session?
A: In the first session, your therapist will ask you quite a lot of questions about what you are hoping to gain from coming to therapy as well as about your life up until now, and they might ask you to complete some questionnaires. It's easier than you think it will be (there won't be any tricky questions). At the end of this or the next session, the two of you will have a clearer idea of exactly what you will be focusing on in future sessions, and how, specifically, you will know if you are making good progress on your goals.
Q: How many sessions will I need?
A: This will depend on lots of different factors and it isn't always easy to predict. Feel free to ask your therapist for their best guess.
Q: Is it a good idea to speak to a psychologist before beginning the therapy process?
A: At Janelle Booker Psychology we believe the answer to this is a very strong 'yes.' It is important to feel like you and your psychologist are on the same wavelength, so to speak. Just as no two people are alike, no two psychologists are alike, even if they have the same qualifications and training. Ideally, you will want to have a brief chat with a psychologist (probably on the telephone, despite this not being everyone's favourite way of communicating) to get the 'feel' for them and decide whether this is someone you feel like you can work with. If you contact us at Janelle Booker Psychology, we will always want to speak with you first. This will only be for a brief chat so that, together, we can both work out whether we are the right fit for you. If we believe that we are not, we will do our utmost to give you names of other psychologists we believe might be a better fit for you, to save you the confusion and run-around.
Q: What is a Counselling Psychologist and how do they differ from Clinical Psychologists?
A: Both Counselling and Clinical Psychologists completed 2-year Masters of Psychology courses (after their 4-year undergraduate Psychology degree) to become specialist psychologists. Traditionally, Clinical Psychologists trained to work alongside psychiatrists in mental health settings like hospitals, and Counselling Psychologists trained to work in community and private practice settings but, in reality, both specialisations actually do the same job with very similar skills.
Q: Do I need a Mental Health Treatment Plan - MHTP (sometimes called a Mental Health Care Plan - MHCP) to see a psychologist?
A: To see a psychologist, you do not need a MHTP or a referral from a GP. You might choose to use your private health insurance to claim a rebate on your psychologist's fee, or you might choose to pay completely from your own pocket. Some people choose not to have it on their medical record that they have seen a psychologist but for many this is not a concern.
Q: Does Medicare cover some of my psychologist's fee?
A: To receive a rebate for your sessions from Medicare, you will need to see your GP and request a MHTP (MHCP). For your GP to write you one of these plans, you will need to meet certain criteria e.g., you might need a diagnosis from your GP of anxiety, depression, an eating disorder etc., or you might already have a formal diagnosis of ADHD, etc. In order to adequately discuss your eligibility for a MHTP with your GP, you will need to schedule a long (or a 'double') appointment. The Medicare rebate is unlikely to cover your entire fee so find out from your psychologist what the gap will be.
Should you have other questions, please feel free to email us (below) and we will be very happy to answer them.