You do not need a referral to see a psychologist.
You can make an appointment with one of our psychologists without a referral from your GP or psychiatrist. If you decide to do this you will need to pay the full amount for your sessions out of your own pocket. However, you may be able to claim a rebate from your private health fund.
We accept three types of referrals - Better Access, Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and Open Arms.
Open Arms is a referral service for anyone who has served at least one day in the Australian Defence Force and the veteran community. Open Arms services are available for: current serving personnel; personnel transitioning to civilian life; ex-serving members and peacekeepers; families and children of those who have served; partners of those who have served; and ex-partners.
Please call Open Arms on 1800 011 046 to check your eligibility for sessions.
If you choose to get a referral in order to access Better Access Medicare rebates, the most common way is to see your usual GP. You will need to request a long consultation with your GP to allow sufficient time to prepare the Mental Health Treatment Plan and discuss your treatment options. You should also discuss any aspect of your Mental Health Treatment Plan you do not want revealed to the other members of your healthcare team. Your GP will provide you with a referral to a psychologist of your choice.
Once you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan you will not need another. Ever. A way to ensure this is to take a copy of your Mental Health Treatment Plan and take it with you to subsequent GP visits. A new Mental Health Treatment Plan, or a review of the plan, should not be prepared for you unless it is clinically indicated, which means things have significantly changed for you since the last Mental Health Treatment Plan was developed.
It is useful, but not required, for you to bring a copy of your Mental Health Treatment Plan with you to your first psychology treatment session. This means you always know where a copy of your plan is kept. However, you must bring the referral letter in order to access your Medicare rebate.
Your referral is valid for the number of sessions shown on the referral. After you have completed those sessions, you will need to return to your GP for another referral. Your psychologist is required by Medicare to send your GP a short report on your treatment progress at the end of each referral. Please discuss with your psychologist if there is any information you do not wish your GP to know. It is useful to continue to see the GP that prepared your Mental Health Treatment Plan, as they will be the one who will receive your psychologist’s report. Your GP may provide you with a referral for another 6 or 4 sessions.
PLEASE NOTE: Medicare only allows you to claim a rebate for a maximum 10 sessions per calendar year. If you have unused services at the end of the calendar year, you may use these in the next calendar year without a new referral.