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Psychological services

Psychology is the study of human behaviour and examines the relationship between behaviour, mental processes (thinking, feeling and memory) and environment. Clinical psychology as a specialty provides psychological services to individuals and families across the lifespan and from all ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as groups and communities. Through psychotherapy, clinical psychology addresses behavioural and mental health issues faced by people across their lives including: 

  • Emotional, psychological, social, intellectual and behavioural issues;
  • Disability and discomfort;
  • Minor adjustment issues (e.g. symptoms of anxiety, depression or stress, relationship conflict) through to severe mental health disorders.  

In psychotherapy, psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people develop healthier, more effective habits. There are several approaches to psychotherapy — including cognitive-behavioural, interpersonal and other kinds of talk therapy — which help individuals work through their problems. 

Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive and confidential environment which allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. You and your psychologist will work together to identify and change the thought and behaviour patterns which concern you. 

After a course of therapy, you will have developed insight into the problem/s you brought to the sessions, have improved daily functioning and feel happier (e.g. connected, mindful, calm) as a result. You will also have learned new skills and strategies so you can better cope with whatever challenges arise in the future. 

Psychologists versus Psychiatrists

People are often confused about the differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Psychologists deal with people in their everyday lives or within their work environment to help them function better and to prevent the development of problems in mental and physical health. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in the treatment of mental illnesses. Their training in medicine means that they may prescribe medication in treatment. 

GP Mental Health Care Plans

The Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative aims to improve outcomes for people with mental health issues through evidence-based treatment. Under this initiative, Medicare rebates are available to clients for selected mental health services provided by general practitioners (GPs), psychiatrists and psychologists (clinical and registered). Medicare rebates are available for up to ten individual and ten group allied mental health sessions per calendar year to clients with mental health issues who are referred by: 

  • A GP managing the client under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or
  • Under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan or
  • A psychiatrist or paediatrician