Unsure about seeing a psychologist? We have put together some frequently asked questions to show how we can help and support you and your loved ones.
We have answered your questions about what a psychologist can help with; what the difference is between a psychologist, counsellor, therapist and psychiatrist; whether your need a referral to see a psychologist; how to book and other common questions. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for here, please contact our friendly team.
- What can a psychologist help with?
- What’s the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor or therapist?
- What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
- Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?
- Are any costs covered under Medicare?
- How do I book?
- What should I expect at my first appointment?
- My child needs a psychologist – can I come with them?
- How long do I need?
- What types of group therapy do you offer?
- Are your online courses suitable for me?
What can a psychologist help with?
Psychologists have studied human behavior and the brain (including how people think, feel, learn and behave) and have been trained to assist people who are having challenges coping with emotions, thoughts and actions. This can include those experiencing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, addictive behaviours and childhood behaviour disorders. Psychologists use evidence-based approaches that are tailored to suit each client and circumstance and they assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of clients and areas of concern.
Learn more about whether you should see a psychologist.
What’s the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor or therapist?
Psychologists provide counselling and therapy to clients, but not all counsellors or therapists are Clinical and Registered Psychologists. In Australia, practicing psychologists are legally required to be registered with the national registration board, the Psychology Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. The term ‘counsellor’ is not protected in Australia, so anyone can use this title.
Clinical and Registered Psychologists must have a minimum of six years of university training and supervised experience and take part in ongoing education to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. Seeing someone who is registered ensures you receive high quality ethical treatment from a competent practitioner who follows a strict Code of Conduct. All of Direction Psychology’s practitioners are Clinical and Registered Psychologists.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists are university trained and registered practitioners who assist people with challenges they are facing in their life including depression, anxiety, stress and relationship difficulties, as well as mental health issues. Their focus is on tailoring plans to help their clients develop skills and techniques to cope with difficulties and to prevent on-going issues and they often use a combination of therapies appropriate to the situation.
Psychiatrists are specialist medical doctors who have obtained additional qualifications to practice in the specialty of psychiatry. They specialise in the diagnosis and medical treatment of mental illness and can prescribe medication as well as using other therapies.
Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?
No – you can make an appointment with our psychologists without a referral from your GP or a psychiatrist. If you have private health insurance that includes psychological counselling as extras cover, you may be eligible for a partial rebate on the cost of your appointment.
Are any costs covered under Medicare?
If you have a referral for a Mental Health Treatment Plan from your GP or Psychiatrist, you will be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate of $86.15 per session with a Registered Psychologist, or $126.50 per session with a Clinical Psychologist for up to 10 sessions of individual counselling per calendar year.
How do I book?
Whether you have a referral or not, simply request an appointment online or call us on
1300 322 068 and our team will be happy to assist you.
What should I expect at my first appointment?
It’s very normal to feel anxious, nervous, or unsure about your first session of psychological counselling. Our psychologists will provide a private, comfortable, safe, respectful and non-judgmental place for you to discuss anything you need to.
In the first few sessions, the psychologist will typically ask you questions about yourself, your life, and any presenting problems you would like to work on. Together, you will create a plan of how therapy can assist you with these problems, how many sessions it may take, and how frequently you should meet. Prior to your first session it can be helpful for you to ask yourself what changes you would like to make in your life. The aim of therapy is for us to then work together to help you achieve those changes.
My child needs a psychologist – can I come with them?
In the first session with your child, your psychologist will often invite you both into the session at the beginning, then ask to see the child by themselves. After this, your psychologist will discuss with you the most appropriate structure of future counselling sessions with your child.
In the case of adolescents, depending on the age of your teenager they may wish to see their psychologist without their parent present. However, it is recommended that a parent is always available to attend the sessions if needed, and parental consent is needed for under 16s to attend therapy.
How long do I need?
Each individual therapy session is 50 minutes in length. How many sessions you need depends on your situation and can be discussed with your psychologist. After the first 1-2 sessions, your psychologist will discuss what they think is an appropriate amount of sessions to help you address the presenting problem. This way you can set goals and work together on achieving them.
Many factors can influence the length of therapy including the issues you are seeking help with, the coping strategies you already use, your support network and previous counselling you may have had.
What types of group therapy do you offer?
Our group therapy program for children, teens, and adults offers a variety of different topics including:
• Building resilience
• Forming positive relationships
• Positive thinking
Please check our group therapy page for details of current courses.
All subject matter is age-appropriate and group therapy programs generally run for 6 weekly sessions. Medicare rebates may apply in some situations when you have a obtained a GP Mental Health Care Plan that includes Group Therapy. Please email us or call 1300 322 068 for further information.
Are your online courses suitable for me?
Direction Psychology has developed several online courses to offer general psychological strategies for common concerns such as stress management and emotional resilience. They are designed to help teach evidence-based strategies that our psychologists use with clients every day, at an affordable price. These courses are general in nature – should you need an individualised approach, Individual Therapy may be more appropriate.