We are Counsellors and Psychotherapists
Many of our clients access funding via the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We partly base our fee schedule on this model, which is lower than the recommended fees of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). However, we are not psychologists.
Many people are surprised to learn there is a difference between counsellors and psychologists. Our Counsellor and Psychotherapist registration body is the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). Under the ACA Scope of Practice, Counsellors and Psychotherapists in Australia do much of the same clinical work as psychologists. In some ways our professions are much the same.
However, in distinct ways counsellors are trained differently than psychologists. Counsellor training is traditionally based in advanced graduate clinical counselling and communication skills. These skills are hands-on from day one. A psychologist does not tend to practice clinical skills until after they graduate from a clinical masters degree.
Added to this, most graduate trained counsellors receive advanced psychotherapeutic skills that are tailored to help people with specific issues. These are advanced therapeutic, healing, and change skills usually left for after postgraduate and doctoral level training in other fields. Counselling therapists with post graduate degrees generally have advanced therapeutic skills.
The last note is that we often hear the words, ‘we had no idea you would do that too…’ referring to people’s surprise of the range of services and tasks accomplished by a Counsellor or Psychotherapist with specialist training and experience. People often say ‘we think of psychologists, and you are different.’ Well, we are not all psychologists, so we smile and think, of course we are different in some ways. We work with psychologists and we refer cases very often. So we all have something valuable to offer, and this is true of our approach with our clients whose expertise on their own life and issues is the most important part of our work.
In the therapy field, people do not always ‘get what you pay for’ because therapists charge per hour regardless whether they are effective or not. We base our practice on effectiveness and client satisfaction. Only people who are happy with our work decide to work with us, to refer colleagues, friends, or family, and to come back in future when need arises.
Due to politics Counsellor’s fees are not covered under the Better Access Program released by the government during 2005, with purpose of assisting access to mental health supports under a Mental Health Plan. This said, our fees are set knowing that if you see a psychologist under the Medicare Rebate scheme, unless they bulk bill, you may face a gap payment out of pocket something similar to our standard fee. However, under the Rebate scheme you may find yourself limited to a certain number of sessions that may not be enough. You may need to continue and end up paying fees out of pocket in this case.
Depending on your private insurance coverage, you may or may not have coverage for a certain number of sessions for counselling. You may need to look at your plan and contact your insurance provider.
Our “standard fee” is $175.57 per hour.
Unlike many, we do not charge double for couple and family counselling as we consider this part of our core practice. This being said, couples often need sessions up to the two hour window, costing $351.14.
Fees for psychometric and educational testing are $175.57 per hour, usually with a quote given after an initial assessment of what tools and time are needed to complete the testing. Certain assessment tools often have access fees that we must pay to the company that manages copyright and access, additional fees may apply although we try to limit this as much as we can. Clients can also verify our costs to these tests online, and we readily provide this information.
We do consider requests from clients who ask for a quote for a block of pre-paid sessions with a discount on fees. This can be extremely helpful at times where no other funding sourse is available. However, most private clients pay on the day after the session. NDIS clients pay after a service is provided via the Scheme, and depending on how their NDIS Plan is set up.
For comparison sake, as far as we know, the APS fee schedule for 2018 is $241.00 per hour. This appears to apply for all psychologists including clinical levels. With a rebate you may face a gap of around $120.00 or higher. Certain psychologists in Armidale and region are known to charge between $260 to $295 per hour. Again by comparison, our fees may cost between $0 to $54 more. For some people this makes a big difference. Fair enough. But in many cases people will decide between our specialist service and holistic approach, verses lengthy waiting lists of six to twelve months or more, along with comparing whatever approach the particular psychologist or clinic may provide.
In addition, people using the Medicare Rebate system need to decide if they want to lodge a Mental Health Plan, and to keep this level of personal information in the health care system. In an age of information security, knowing what happens with this degree of personal mental health information is an important part of informed consent. We recommend talking through the pros and cons of public rebate verses private consultation with your GP before making a decision.
No referral is needed to access our service. You can book a session at any time. Many clients see this as a distinct advantage.
To contact us please use our Contact Page form. We will email you back. We do not suggest telephone calls initially, as we are often in session with other clients. We can call you, so let us know the best times to ring. However please feel free to leave us a message on our mobile service.
We wish you every goodness and peace, in heart and life. To you and yours.