Is Therapy The Same As Counselling?
Counselling is concerned with problem solving and it’s usually short term. It’s designed to help us face and resolve a temporary life problem or issue, often related to a crisis or developmental stage.
Psychotherapy, or therapy for short, is concerned with the meaning and origin of our difficulties and it’s usually longer term. It may involve exploring our internal or unconscious world and sometimes even restructuring our personality or self.
In practice, counselling and therapy overlap considerably according to your needs as a client, as well as your therapist’s approach and style. If we work together, your goals and preferences will guide how far or how deep we go.
Should I Do Individual, Couples, Or Group Therapy?
If you want to work on personal issues the easiest way is to start with individual therapy. You can later add or switch to group therapy, if a suitable group is available and you feel ready for it.
If you have a partner and you’re having relationship problems, and both you and your partner feel ready, you could start with couples therapy.
If one of you is not willing or not ready yet, the one who’s ready can start with individual therapy. Later you could start couples therapy, if appropriate. Or you could add or switch to group therapy.
How Often Do We Meet, And How Long Does Therapy Take?
The session frequency and the total length of therapy can vary widely depending on various factors, including your goals for the therapy and your therapist’s approach.
I have clients that I’ve seen for only a few sessions, and others that I’ve been working with for several years. Most I meet weekly or fortnightly, but some less often.
Although I prefer to work with clients longer term to go beyond ‘problem-solving’ and into ‘transformation’, I also engage in short term work.
Each therapeutic project is unique and if we work together, this is something that we’ll discuss at the start and as we go along.
Your needs, pace preference, and level of readiness will be important aspects to consider, as well as any practical or financial consideration.
How Will I Know If Therapy Is Working?
You may feel gradually better, or you may start managing the problems that brought you to therapy much better.
You’ll also know that therapy is working if you are:
- Learning about yourself and others
- Getting clearer about your values and priorities
- Consolidating a lifestyle that supports your values
- Developing the skills and confidence to better handle life in general
How Do I Pay For Therapy Sessions?
Except for group therapy, you pay for sessions as you go – usually at the start of each session.
For group therapy, you pay for a block of sessions in advance (usually at the start of each term).
You can pay by cash, cheque, debit or credit card (Visa or MasterCard).
If you have private health insurance, you may be able to claim some of your therapy expenses back.
Private funds vary widely so you may need to ask them what services provided by a ‘registered clinical psychologist’ would be covered by your specific plan, if any.
Can I Claim Medicare Rebates?
The Better Access program funded by Medicare is designed for the treatment of individuals with a diagnosed mental health disorder, not for relationship therapy or couple work.
If you come to see me as an individual therapy client to work primarily on your personal mental health issues, with a valid medical referral you may be able to claim Medicare rebates for up to 10 sessions in a calendar year.
If your main focus is on couples therapy, I generally do not accept such referrals and you won’t be able to claim Medicare rebates for these services.
What If I Cannot Make It To A Session?
Except for group therapy, you’re able to cancel or reschedule sessions without charges, provided you give at least 48-hour notice.
If you miss, cancel, or reschedule a session without this notice, you’ll be liable for the full session fee – unless it’s a medical emergency, or you’re too ill to attend.
Please note that workplace ‘emergencies’ and routine medical or dental appointments are not grounds for waiving fees.
For group therapy, you pay in advance for your place in the group for a pre-determined period (usually a term). Fees are non-refundable, whether or not you attend each session.
When Can We Have Sessions?
I’m usually available Monday to Thursday in two locations, as below:
- Heathridge: Mondays and Tuesdays (first appointment at 9am, last at 3pm)
- North Perth: Wednesdays and Thursdays (first appointment at 11am, last at 6pm)
Please note that during busy periods you may have to wait up to 2-3 weeks to get an appointment, especially if your availability is limited.
When you’re ready to book a session, just call me on 0421 176 476.
If I’m not available, I’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.