There are some significant differences between the qualifications, service, treatment and therapy provided between psychologists and counsellors. Psychologist’s must complete a minimum of 6 years university study and/or supervised practice to become a registered psychologist in Australia. Psychologists do not have a medical degree. They do however study the physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of human behaviour. They are also trained in techniques to diagnose and treat a wide range of emotional, behavioural or cognitive issues. A counsellor can provide psychological support to individuals. They can assist people to make changes in their lives. Currently in Australia, counsellors are not regulated, and therefore there are no uniform standards of qualifications required.
The number of sessions required will vary depending on the issue and your individual needs and circumstances. The process of counselling is unique, as is the number of sessions required per individual or couple. Some issues and circumstances can be resolved in a small number of sessions whilst others require a larger number of sessions to resolve. Depending of the issues at hand and individual circumstances, sessions are scheduled anywhere from a weekly to monthly basis. The gap between sessions may increase as issues begin to resolve.
All appointments at Keeping U On Track are private and confidential. Your psychologist will seek out information from yourself in order to tailor your appointments/sessions to meet your individual circumstances. Information obtained from you during your appointment is confidential and cannot be disclosed without your consent. There are some legal limitations to confidentiality as set out by the Psychology Board of Australia. These limitations include an immediate or specified risk of harm to an identifiable persons’ safety, or if a client’s file is subpoenaed by law. 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).
A GP or psychiatrist referral to the psychologist is required to be eligible for rebates through Medicare. There are also limitations to the number of sessions available for rebates under Medicare. A doctor referral is not required for rebates from Private Health Insurance or for all other appointments.
It is understandable to feel uncomfortable or anxious in talking to a new person about your personal circumstances. In your first session, your psychologist will talk with you to gain a full picture of your current concerns and circumstances. They will also give you an overview of what you can expect from your counselling experience and discuss the strategies you can take to start addressing your issues and concerns. There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have for the psychologist. Your psychologist will take an open and collaborative approach in working with you to address your concerns.