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What will happen in a normal session?

What will I do between sessions?

How many sessions will I have?

How often will sessions be?

FAQ - Process


What will happen in a session?

The first session goes for 90 minutes so there is time to explain how therapy works, the limitations of confidentiality, complete any paperwork (unless already completed using the online intake form provided beforehand), and answer any questions.  The remainder of the session focusses on assessment of presenting issues, identifying goals for therapy, and starting to develop a plan about what the focus of subsequent sessions will be.  You will not be required to discuss anything you do not wish to talk about until and unless you are ready.  At the end of the session you will have the opportunity to schedule further sessions if you are happy with what is planned, or bring the process to an end.


Subsequent therapy sessions will usually last for approximately 50 minutes.  Every session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals but will generally involve reviewing progress on issues from previous sessions, identifying the area of focus for the current session, exploring potential ways to understand and address these issues, and then make plans to apply what is learnt to the real world between sessions.  


What will I do between sessions?

At the end of each session plans will be made for suggested homework tasks to help translate the session content into action. 


It is your choice whether you complete these tasks but participation will impact significantly on any benefits gained from the sessions.  This homework will include things such as making observations of behaviours, feelings and/or consequences, trying out new skills, or further reflecting on issues discussed. This homework is intended to assist with processing, exploring the effectiveness of strategies, and integrating change into your life.

For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions.  You will generally be encouraged to increase your capacity to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and actions both during and between sessions.  It may be useful to take notes in the session and/or keep a therapy journal. 


How many sessions will I have?

The number of sessions required for therapy varies depending on the goals and needs of the individual.  It is usually at least 4-6 sessions, often around 10, but sometimes it can be considerably more depending on the complexity of the issues being addressed and your willingness to work on these.

Under the Better Access initiative, an eligible person can receive a Medicare rebate for up to 10 sessions in a calendar year (1 January to 31 December). However, a GP referral cannot be provided for the full 10 sessions in one go, so your doctor will need to review progress after the first 6 to determine if additional sessions are required.  This review requires a feedback letter from your psychologist which must be received by the doctor to use at the review appointment.  

Psychiatrists and Paediatricians are able to refer for a 12 month period and do not need to complete a review, although there is still a maximum limit of 10 Medicare rebates in a calendar year.

After you have reached the maximum number of rebates for the calendar year, no further Medicare rebates are available until the new calendar year.  Any sessions still remaining under your last referral/review can be used in the next calendar year but may need to be reviewed if more than 12 months from your referral.

Additional sessions are possible beyond the Medicare limits but only if alternative funding is available such as paying full fees, or private health rebates if applicable.


How often will sessions be?

Subsequent sessions will take about 50 minutes and are initially scheduled every 1-2 weeks (if possible), with the gap gradually lengthening to allow more time for integration and consolidation between sessions.

It is important to schedule your appointments when you can give them your full attention and time and space to process and reflect before and after the therapy hour.  Remember it may not be realistic to expect to return directly to work or school after a session, depending on the emotional content discussed.  Appointments will not always finish on time so please avoid scheduling other commitments too soon afterwards so you do not feel unduly rushed or anxious. 

It is often best to reschedule appointments if they clash with important events that will cause resentment if they are missed.  This is especially relevant for children who are unlikely to engage well in a session if they are missing a special excursion or their favourite class.  Unfortunately appointments are currently only available between 9am and 4pm so it is likely some school will be missed, but it may be appropriate to vary the timing of the session so that the same class is not always forfeited. 


Make sure you provide at least 48 hours notice of a need to reschedule to avoid a cancellation fee.

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