FAQs

Common questions about our psychology services

We’ve answered some of our most commonly asked questions below. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please contact us.

How do I know if I need to see a psychologist?

All sorts of individuals consult with psychologists over a range of different issues. Many individuals who see a psychologist at Williamstown Psychology are generally successful people who may be troubled by feelings, behaviours, thoughts or concerns that currently prevent them from functioning to their full capacity or from feeling happy and fulfilled in their lives.

Life changes, new events or circumstances, and changes in relationships or work often trigger difficulties that can be troubling. Alternatively, some individuals have been struggling with difficult feelings or behaviours over a long period of time, and decide that it is time to get some help. Sometimes people have an inexplicable feeling of sadness or pain that they cannot get through and need help to understand the source of these feelings in order to become unstuck.

You may have a brief conversation with one of the psychologist at Williamstown Psychology over the phone or email them to find out if your particular issue is something that would respond well to psychological treatment. In an initial consultation with the psychologist, these issues will be explored more fully.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions required will vary depending on the issue and your individual needs and circumstances. This will be discussed with you in your first session. Most clients require between 6 to 12 sessions. Many clients have issues that have existed for many years and have deeper origins, and sessions may be needed over a longer period of time.

Some clients are interested in doing deeper and longer term insight-oriented psychotherapy in order to understand themselves and their issues in more depth. These clients usually have a deep interest in their own personal development and this can lead to significant and lasting change. Depth psychotherapy generally involves therapy occurring over many months or longer.

What should I expect when I see a psychologist?

It is understandable to feel uncomfortable or anxious in talking to a new person about sensitive personal information. The psychologists at Williamstown Psychology take a relaxed and supportive approach to assist you to feel comfortable to share your concerns. They take an open and collaborative approach in working with you to address your difficulties.

In a first session, your psychologist will talk with you to gain a full picture of your current concerns and circumstances, and any related factors and history. The psychologist will also explain how they work and establish some guidelines for the sessions together (such as frequency of sessions, fees, confidentiality etc). There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have for the psychologist. You could also expect to be given some feedback about how many sessions may be required and a brief outline of the approach that may be taken.

How often will I need sessions?

When you start seeing a psychologist it is most helpful to have sessions close together as you begin to address issues. For this reason we like to schedule weekly sessions while we are actively working together. These sessions may be spread out to fortnightly meetings and become less frequent as positive changes have been experienced and the need for sessions is reduced. This allows time to consolidate changes on your own while also staying connected to your psychologist to review your progress and attend to any further issues that may have arisen.

How long are sessions?

Sessions for individual clients are usually 50 minutes long. The final 5-10 minutes of the hour are dedicated to arranging payment and booking the next appointment.

How do I make an appointment?

Williamstown Psychology is open on Mondays from 8am to 4pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 8am to 7pm Thursdays from 11am to 5pm Friday 8am to 6pm. We also open every second Saturday morning.

What are your hours of operation for appointments?

Williamstown Psychology is open on Mondays from 8am to 4pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 8am to 7pm Thursdays from 10am to 6pm Friday 8am to 6pm.

How long will I need to wait to get an appointment?

If you are flexible with your times, we aim to offer an appointment within 24-48 hours. Some appointments have a higher demand (such as early morning and evening times) and you may have a longer wait for those times. We do keep a cancellation list and it is possible to get an earlier preferred time if someone cancels. Please contact our practice to discuss your needs, so we can respond to your request for an appointment as soon as possible.

Do I need a referral?

A referral is not required for rebates from Private Health Insurance. A GP referral to the psychologist is required for rebates through Medicare, WorkSafe or TAC.

Are sessions confidential?

It is natural to be concerned about your confidentiality when you are sharing intimate details about yourself with a psychologist. Information obtained from you during sessions is confidential and cannot be disclosed without your consent. There are some legal limitations to confidentiality which your psychologist will discuss with you in the first session. Your psychologist will ask you to sign a consent form if there is a need to discuss information about you with another person (such as a GP, lawyer or third party billing source). For more information please see our privacy policy.

Can I claim sessions on Medicare?

Medicare offers rebates for up to 10 sessions per year for eligible clients. Medicare will refund around $85 per session, and the rebate amount is higher if you have exceeded the Medicare family safety net (approx. $125). You must be referred by a GP to access this Medicare rebate and have completed a “Mental Health Care Plan”. You will need to make an appointment with your GP for a “long consultation” in order to assess your eligibility for this scheme. There will be a gap fee of approximately $75 per session. These out-of-pocket gap expenses will count towards the Medicare Safety Net at the end of each Tax year. Once you are over the Medicare safety net for the year, you will receive an 80% rebate from Medicare on further sessions. You may also contact our practice to discuss your eligibility for the scheme.

Can I claim sessions on Private Health Insurance?

Rebates are available for psychology services through Private Health Insurance funds. Please contact your Private Health Insurance fund for information about rates, as rebates vary depending on the fund and the policy you are on. Clients claiming on Private Health Insurance will pay for the session at the time of the consultation, and then take the receipt to your Private Health fund for a rebate. You cannot claim the Medicare Gap fee from your health Insurance. Rebates can only be claimed from either your health insurance or Medicare not both at the same time.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in the area of mental health, and often refer to each other. There are some significant differences between the two professions with each having their own area of expertise and skills.

Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who have gone on to specialise in the field of psychiatry. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications to treat mental illness (such as antidepressant medication for patients who have been diagnosed with depression).

Psychologists generally have at least six years of training in the field of psychological treatments for mental health issues. Psychologists use treatments (sometimes called “talking therapies”) that are focused on improving a person’s mental health without medication. There is considerable evidence indicating that psychological treatments are effective in assisting individuals with mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression). Many people who consult psychologists indicate that they would like to try psychological approaches to address their problem before looking at taking medication. When needed, psychologists also work in collaboration with GP’s or psychiatrists to provide the best possible treatment for their clients (such as when a person may need counselling as well as antidepressant medication).

What is the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor?

Psychologists usually have a minimum of six years of university training and are required to be registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency). Psychologists practice according to a Code of Ethics outlined by the Australian Psychological Society. This Code of Ethics sets out standards of professional conduct for psychologists, to ensure that clients are receiving a high level of professional care.

In Australia, counsellors and psychotherapists are not regulated by a specific government body. This means that anyone can call themselves a counsellor or psychotherapist whether or not they have undertaken professional training in treating mental health issues. If you are planning to see a counsellor or psychotherapist, it is wise to enquire about their qualifications, the professional organisations to which they belong, and whether they practice according to a code of professional ethics.

Where are you located?

We are located in Williamstown, just 15 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. Our address is:

Upstairs at:
98A Ferguson Street, Williamstown VIC 3016
Phone (03) 9397-1698

Street parking is available on Ferguson Street. Parking is also available around the back of our premises in the Coles carpark.

View a location map.

Resources

We’ve put together a list of resources and useful websites that may be of interest to you.

Medicare rebates for mental health
Information on the Medicare rebates for mental health services provided by psychologists.

Links

Australian Psychological Society
Has an online referral service to find a psychologist in your area.

Beyond Blue
National resource for individuals affected by depression.

IPC Health
Community health organisation providing counselling and other health services for Western metropolitan Melbourne.

Medicare Benefits Scheme
Information on the Medicare Benefits Schemes available for psychology services.

Relationships Australia
Non-profit government organisation for family and relationship counselling and mediation.

Swinburne Psychology Clinic
Low cost counselling and psychological assessment clinic.

24 Hour Help Lines

Kids Help Line
24 hour help line for children and young people.

Lifeline
24 hour helpline for adults.