FAQ

Therapy Basics

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Therapy Basics

What is personal information?

Personal information is any information which identifies you or could reasonably be used to identify you.

Is therapy for me?

Yes, it’s for you. It’s for everybody who has an elephant in their room.

Therapy is not only for people diagnosed with a mental health condition, it can also be very effective for people who are preparing for or experiencing a significant life event.

Put it this way, if you broke your leg you would not think twice about seeing a doctor to get it fixed. You would not expect yourself or your family or friends to put your cast on or perform your surgery.

See a professional when something is wrong, no matter what kind of health problem you’ve got going on. That’s what we’re here for.

Why do people go to therapy?

Because their life and their mental health is impaired or affected by an old thing, a new thing, a thing they thought was sorted but has become an issue again.

Because they realise they need to process; resolve; change or accept this thing.

Because they realise it’s very hard to see the wood for the trees when you’re in the middle of the thing, and that they don’t have the skills they need to cope or deal with it effectively.

Because their friends and family aren’t trained to work with complex human behaviour and emotion issues and can’t teach them how to get through it.

Because they need an objective professional trained in human behaviour to help them work their thing out, and to be have their back while they do it.

Will therapy help?

That depends. 

Therapy is not easy and sometimes it’s downright hard. It requires a strong therapeutic relationship with your therapist and a lot of commitment, engagement and motivation from you both.

But when it’s working, it’s worth it and you can expect to:

 

    • Develop self awareness and insight;
    • Build an understanding of what is happening, and why;
    • Learn to identify and manage triggers;
    • Learn and implement healthy and effective coping skills;
    • Learn to regulate your emotions;
    • Feel supported, heard and understood;
    • Feel safe and never judged; and 
    • Be challenged and held accountable to help you get to where you want to go.

What if it's not working?

If therapy is not helping or working for you, it’s important to take a look at a couple of things:

1. The therapeutic relationship is the single best predictor of successful therapeutic outcomes.

So the relationship needs to be strong and there needs to be a fit between you and your therapist in terms of style and therapeutic approach. That doesn’t mean this relationship will be without challenges or bumps but it should always feel safe and you must trust your therapist.

If you don’t like the therapist’s style and/or their therapeutic approach you will become disengaged quickly and this is not going to get you where you want to to go. Speak to your therapist about it, and if it can’t be resolved, look for another therapist with a different style or approach.

2. It won’t work without your real engagement and commitment to the process.

You won’t get the outcomes you want if you are not truly committed to the therapy, especially when it feels hard.

Everyone’s motivation waxes and wanes, that is normal. But if you are consistently disengaged in sessions, often cancelling, not completing tasks between sessions, or not practicing any of the suggested strategies, then perhaps you need to renew your commitment to your therapy or take a break and resume at later date.

What are therapeutic frameworks?

A psychologist may use a variety of techniques or therapeutic approaches and strategies in therapy with you, and their approach should be evidence-based and suit your individual needs and circumstances.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is the world’s most successful form of talk therapy and aims to reduce distress and improve psychological wellbeing and functioning by changing the way we think about things (thoughts or cognitions) and the way we do things (behaviours).

CBT utilises a variety of between-session tasks (homework tasks) for clients to assist the therapy process, including keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviours, questioning and testing thoughts and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic, gradually facing activities which may have been avoided, and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT aims to equip you with the psychological skills required to 1) accept what is out of your personal control and 2) commit to actions that improve your life.

ACT works to reduce the impact of painful thoughts and feelings through the development of mindfulness skills, and focuses on helping you identify and clarify what is important to you by exploring your values and using this knowledge to motivate you to positive change.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT is a therapy approach that is time-limited and focused on building your interpersonal skills. Exploring how you interact with people can help you better understand your emotions in relation to them and learning new skills in the area of interpersonal interaction can assist you to improve your relationships at home, at work, with family and with friends.

Schema Therapy

Schema therapy assumes that we have developed blueprints for how we cope with and respond to the things that happen to us in our life.

Maladaptive schemas create problems in our functioning and schema therapy aims to help you understand how your schemas are impacting on your thoughts, feelings and behaviour, and helps you develop more adaptive ways meet your core emotional needs.

What is the APS?

Many practicing psychologists are also members of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), identified by MAPS after their name or title. These practitioners have had to further demonstrate their competence and appropriateness to practice as psychologists.

APS psychologists follow guidelines about professional conduct, responsibilities and confidentiality that are set and monitored by the Society in the APS Code of Ethics.

 

What is a psychologist?

Psychologists are experts in human behaviour. They are scientist-practitioners who assist people to understand and regulate their emotions, thinking and behaviour and their clients may or may not have a diagnosed mental illness. 

Psychologists use non-medication based strategies and therapeutic approaches to help clients reduce distress and encourage adaptive functioning and emotional wellbeing and there is a considerable amount of evidence showing psychological treatments are effective.

Psychologists are legally required to register with the Psychologist Board of Australia (PBA) via AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency), in the same way medical practitioners must be registered. Some psychologists have studied further and have qualified in a specific specialised area of psychology (e.g., clinical psychology, which involves working with serious and enduring mental illness), and in addition to being generally registered these psychologists have also been endorsed to provide specialist services.

 

What is the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists?

Psychologists and psychiatrists both work in the area of mental health, and often work together. However, there are some significant differences between the two professions in the following areas.

Psychologists

Psychologists study human behaviour in their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees before undertaking supervised experience and gaining registration. They may have further specialist postgraduate qualifications for example in clinical psychology, but their academic path does not involve a medical degree and they do not prescribe medication.

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists have a general medicine degree, followed by further study to specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and emotional problems. Psychiatrists treat the effects of emotional disturbances on the body and the effects of physical conditions on the mind, can prescribe medication, and often work from a primarily medical and medication driven framework. 

Therapy @ BMD

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Therapy @ BMD

What is personal information?

Personal information is any information which identifies you or could reasonably be used to identify you.

What therapeutic frameworks does BMD use?

We are foundationally trained in CBT and use quite a lot of CBT in our work because it has a large evidence base as being effective for many different presentations.

Other frameworks we often use in our work include Schema Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Rational Emotive Therapy, Positive Psychology, Solution Focused Therapy, ACT and Gottman methods when working with couples.

What sort of therapeutic style does Brenda have?

Brenda prioritises building strong collaborative therapeutic relationships with her clients, knowing this is the most important variable in therapeutic success. 

She is direct, transparent and honest, as well as warm, compassionate and respectful. She is involved and engaged in her work and expects the same from her clients. She will provide you with information and resources outside your sessions, and she will offer you unstinting support, kindness and compassion while challenging you to do the work and achieve your therapy goals.

What sort of psychological issues does BMD work with?

We work with a wide range of presentations, and there are not many issues we have not dealt with in our 25 years of experience.

It will be easier to clarify what we do not work with in our private practice:

 

  • We don’t provide family systems therapy.
  • We dont see clients with current active/unmanaged psychotic disorders or those currently experiencing psychosis.
  • We dont usually see adolescents under the age of 18 at time of referral.

What are the most common issues BMD works with?

The most common issues walking through the door at the private practice are:

 

– Depression and mood disorders

– Anxiety and anxiety disorders

– Stress management

– Trauma 

– Grief and loss

– Relationship problems

– Problems with confidence

– Problems with assertiveness

– Communication issues

What are Brenda's qualifications?

Brenda has a Masters in Psychology with First Class Honours; a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology; and a post graduate Certificate of Applied Criminal Justice Psychology.

She is registered as a general psychologist in Australia and NZ, and is additionally endorsed as a clinical psychologist in both countries as well.

What are Brenda's registrations?

Brenda is registered with the Psychologist Board of Australia (PBA) via AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency), and with the NZ equivalent.

She is also a registered Medicare Provider, and a full member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and its Clinical College, as well as both of the NZ equivalents.

What does the intake process involve at BMD?

Our intake process is comprehensive and completed online. This allows you to complete the forms in your own time at your own pace.

It includes a Consent Form, a Social History form, three brief multi-choice assessments, and one long multi-choice assessment. 

Completing the intake process is often quite a clarifying experience for clients, helping them to fully consider what they’d like to work on, and what their priorities and goals for therapy are.

Does BMD have any special interest areas?

Brenda has special interests in the following areas of practice:

 

  • Human sexuality and diversity
  • Trauma and post-trauma growth
  • Relationships 
  • Offending behaviour

What's the process of starting therapy at BMD?

– Contact us and Helen will explain the current wait times and offer you options around start dates.

– Helen will put you on our waitlist and within 2 weeks of your first session Helen will send you our intake forms to complete.

– If you intend to access Medicare rebates you need to get your referral organised at this stage.

– We generally start all new clients off on fortnightly sessions to begin with and review the frequency after about 4-6 sessions.

Does BMD offer professional supervision?

We provide individual and group clinical supervision and broader non-clinical support services to a range of staff including registered psychologists and other allied health staff, as well as support and debriefing services to non-clinical staff working in complex environments.

We have a particular interest in providing debriefing and supervision services to practitioners and staff working in complex environments and/or with complex clients or situations, including those working in correctional, forensic, police, emergency services or other complex environments.

BMD Practice

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BMD Practice

What is personal information?

Personal information is any information which identifies you or could reasonably be used to identify you.

Do I need a referral to see BMD?

No, you don’t. You can self refer and do not need a referral from anyone to see us.

If you want to access Medicare rebates however you will need a referral from your GP.

Can I see BMD via telehealth?

Yes.

Telehealth is now our default session delivery format and all sessions are booked as telehealth session by default.

We use Coviu for telehealth which is a secure video-link platform, and we can also do telehealth via phone if required.

You can convert any telehealth session to F2F on a session by session basis, just SMS us to request this at least 2 days ahead of the session.

Can I see BMD face to face?

Yes.

While all sessions are booked as telehealth session by default, you can convert any session (except tuesday afternoons) to face to face on a session by session basis.

Just SMS us to request this at least 2 days ahead of the session and Helen will arrange it. The first time you see us F2F (post 2022) we will ask you to complete the In Person Session Consent Form.

This essentially outlines what BMD will do to keep you COVID safe (e.g., we wont see you in person if we are unwell, we have a HEPA filter in the rooms, we are careful with social distancing and hygiene) and what we expect you to do. 

We ask you not to come in person if you are in any way unwell (just convert the session back to telehealth if this is the case on the day), and we ask you to either wear a mask during sessions or demonstrate a negative RAT test on the day of the session. 

We see lots of people, some of whom are particularly vulnerable, elderly or immunocompromised and we therefore need to keep our rooms virus-free, so we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation in this regard.

Does BMD bulk bill?

No, we do not bulk bill and there is an out of pocket cost to see us.

Can I access Medicare rebates?

Yes, we are a registered Medicare Provider and you can access Medicare rebates towards your session fee at BMD.

How do I access Medicare rebates?

You get a MH treatment Plan set up with your GP, and then you have your GP refer you to us under that plan.

You can have multiple referrals made against the plan over an indefinite period of time. Each referral can be for a maximum of 6 sessions at a time.

If you receive Medicare rebates BMD is obligated to send progress updates to your GP at the conclusion of each referral.

After each rebatable session we will submit the Medicare claim on your behalf and the rebate will be paid into your bank account by Medicare the next day. 

How much is the Medicare rebate?

It increases a tiny bit every 01 July and is currently:

 

$133.65 for clinical psychologists

$89.65 for general psychologists

 

Brenda is a clinical psychologist so the rebate will be $133.65.

How many Medicare sessions are rebated per year?

Currently the maximum number of Medicare rebated sessions per calendar year is 10. 

Once you have been rebated for 10 sessions in a calendar year, Medicare will decline further claims until 01 January of the next calendar year.

You can continue to see your psychologist at BMD, you just wont receive any rebates towards the session fees until a new alotment of 10 sessions starts for you on 01 January of the following year.

What is the cost of sessions?

This year the cost of a 50 minute session is:

 

$252 for individual sessions

$290 for couples sessions

What is the out-of-pocket cost of sessions?

The out-of-pocket (OOP) cost is the difference between the full session fee paid to BMD and the Medicare rebate paid to you by Medicare the next day.

The OOP depends on the current amount of the Medicare rebate and our current session fee.

In 2023 (up to 01 July when Medicare may slightly increase the rebate amount) the OOP is:

 

$120 for individual sessions

$158 for couples sessions

Can I claim on private health cover?

Yes, if you have psychology as part of your extras cover, and only if you are not also claiming Medicare rebates for the same session. 

You can only claim either Medicare or private health per session, not both.

Our invoice for non-Medicare sessions includes the standard private health item number to make claiming easier for you if you choose to do that.

We can’t make private health cover claims on your behalf so you will need to use the invoice to submit your own claim to your private health insurer.

What is the payment process at BMD?

Payment for the session is required in full on the day.

We will process your payment against the card on file after the conclusion of your sessions.

We will also submit the Medicare claim (if you are accessing Medicare rebates) for the session on your behalf.

Medicare will pay the rebate into your bank account within 24-48 hrs.

Does BMD let me know when I need a new referral?

Yes, we track the number of sessions you have used on each referral as well as how many sessions you have had rebated each calendar year.

We let you know when you have used all available sessions on the current referral and and when you have reached your 10 rebatable sessions for the calendar year.

Does BMD send session reminders?

Yes, our system sends you session reminders 3 days before the booked session by both email and SMS. Please respond with a Y or N to the SMS reminder to confirm or cancel your booking when you receive the reminders.

Helen also sends you an SMS on the day of your previous session to let you know what your next date will be, even if this is weeks in advance, so you can put it in your diary early.

Note that despite all the things we do to inform and remind you of your session bookings, it is ultimately your responsibility to be across your scheduled sessions and to cancel in time if you can’t make it.

What is BMD's cancellation policy?

Yes, we do.

The financial and scheduling burdens imposed on the practice by late cancellations are significant and we mitigate these somewhat with a cancellation policy.

The policy is:

– late cancellations are defined as cancellations within 24 hours of the booked session.

– late cancellations will be charged 75% of the standard fee for that booking irrespective of the reason for the cancellation.

What is BMD's cancellation fee?

Late cancellations will be charged 75% of the standard fee for that booking irrespective of the reason for the cancellation.

In 2023 this means:

 

$189 for individual sessions

$217 for couples sesisons

How is the cancellation fee paid?

Our system will charge the card on file with the cancellation fee for late cancellation on the day the session was booked.

An automatic invoice is emailed to you and we also send you an SMS to let you know the cancellation payment has been processed.