Where possible, many of our psychologists are continuing to provide a range of options for therapy including face to face, video-conferencing using Zoom and telephone sessions. To improve access to therapy in these times of physical distancing, the government has announced that the Medicare rebates that already apply to sessions where a valid mental health care plan is in place, will now extend to sessions conducted via video-conferencing or telephone. Normal billing and rebates apply to those sessions meaning that for most people seeing a psychologist in private practice, there is a co-payment.
We appreciate that this is a challenging time for everyone and that many people are experiencing financial hardship or are anxious about their future financial security. If you have been impacted financially by COVID-19, please talk to us about your individual circumstances and we will do our best to find an arrangement that works for you. The continuity of your treatment is our main priority at this difficult time.
Will it still be a therapeutic experience?
This was one of our main concerns too. While we believe that the ideal therapeutic experience involves meeting face to face, we have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of sessions and the feedback from clients using telehealth. Many patients have commented that the experience was more positive than they had expected and that they were able to adjust to the new format relatively quickly.
What about confidentiality?
We will maintain the same level of confidentiality in a telehealth or phone session as we would in a face to face appointment. All sessions will be conducted from locations that ensure your privacy and confidentiality. We have chosen to use Zoom for our telehealth sessions as it meets the strict security criteria recommended by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Further information can be found on the APS website.
I’m not very familiar with this kind of technology- what should I do?
We will send you instructions on how to install Zoom on your computer and will email you a link to your online session. Once Zoom is installed, all you need to do is click on the link and it will take you to the session. If you need help with any aspect of the installation process, your psychologist would be happy to give you a call prior to your session to help you. If this all seems too complicated and you’d prefer a telephone session, we are more than happy to provide that instead.
Will I still be able to continue the same type of therapy?
We will do our best to continue to provide you with the treatment that is best suited to your needs. Most forms of therapy translate very well to online sessions, while others such as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, might require some adjustments. Your therapist will discuss your personalised treatment plan and any modifications necessary to continue to provide your therapy safely online.
Are there any advantages to telehealth sessions?
Many people find telehealth sessions to be more convenient than coming to the office in person. Traditionally, these tended to be people in rural or remote areas, or people who found it difficult to travel to the office due to medical conditions or other personal responsibilities. With the current, unprecedented health advice to limit personal contact as much as possible, telehealth now provides the additional peace of mind of knowing that you are contributing to protecting your health and the health of those in your community.
Additional benefits include:
A few tips for using Zoom that can help the session run smoothly: