Frequently asked Questions

How will counselling help me?

Counselling for everyday problems often enables clients to gain a new perspective about their difficulties and the context in which they occur. Clients are encouraged to consider options for resolving their problems. This work is conducted privately and confidentially with a psychologist who has specialist qualifications and experience in counselling.

Counselling uses a wide variety of techniques that are tailored to meet each client's needs.

Some of the benefits available from counselling include:

  • Strengthening your self-esteem and gaining self-confidence
  • Practical and sensible outcomes achieved in a relatively short time
  • Recieving encouragement and support to handle stressful life circumstances
  • Improving your skills of communication so you can express your feelings in more constructive ways
  • Learning effective ways to deal with intense emotions
  • Recognising the triggers for stressful, anxious, angry and distressing feelings
  • Identifying and examining unhelpful and self-defeating patterns of thinking
  • Managing anger, anxiety stress, depression and other emotional pressures
  • Resolving relationship issues and discovering new ways to enhance your relationship
  • Obtain help to actively pursue goals that are important and meaningful to you
  • Developing relaxation and self-calming skills

How many appointments should I / we attend?

This varies depending on the specific issues that you would like addressed and their complexity. Some clients require as few as 3 to 4 sessions, while others require many more.

Your psychologist is interested in helping you resolve your difficulties and achieve your desired outcomes in an efficient and timely manner.

Attendance at sessions, their frequency and anticipated quantity will be discussed with you within the first two sessions, once your psychologist has an understanding of your goals and the history and nature of your issues.

What is the length of sessions?

Sessions are between 50 to 60 minutes in duration.

What is the cost of sessions?

You are welcome to phone (03) 9578 7655 to inquire about CG&CS's fee structure. After-hours appointments and couples counselling sessions have slightly higher fees than individual sessions that are held within normal business hours.

Concession rates are available for full-time students and for people who hold a low-income health card.

CG&CS requires a $25 booking fee to secure your initial appointment. This should preferably be paid by credit card and the amount will be deducted from your first appointment fee.

You may be eligible for a Medicare rebate (limited number/calendar year) providing they have an appropriate doctor referral and Mental Health Care Plan. GPs are knowledgeable about the process of referring to psychologists and will complete a Mental Health Care Plan prior to writing a referral. You may wish to book a long consultation with your GP to enable the Care Plan and referral to be completed in one session.

You may choose, instead, to claim rebates from your Private Health Extras Insurance. You will need to check with your fund to determine eligibility.

How do I pay for sessions?

Fees are paid at the end of each session. You can pay by cash or cheque. Most credit cards are also accepted for payment. A small fee is charged if you choose to pay by credit card.

Once you have paid the session fees then you will be issued with a receipted invoice. Then, if you are seeing your psychologist under a current doctor's written referral, you can lodge your receipt at a Medicare office to receive your rebate.

What is a registered psychologist and what are the advantages of seeing a registered practitioner?

Psychologists are required to register with the Psychology Board of Australia . This ensures that they are competent and follow professional and ethical standards and that they abide by the Board's Code of Behaviour.

Counselling Psychologists and Child Educational & Developmental Psychologists are specialist psychologists with a minimum of six years full-time university training and two years of further supervision in each specialty area.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialised in the treatment of mental illness. They can prescribe medication such as anti-depressants.

Psychologists have usually trained for a minimum of 6 years with a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science background. They have expertise in talking therapies, providing therapy to help people deal with emotional issues, stress, grief, work-related concerns, relationship difficulties and general life change.

Are sessions confidential?

Psychologists follow a professional code of ethics. Psychologists can join professional bodies such as the Australian Psychological Society. The APS website states that "APS members are required to abide by principles of professional conduct, responsibilities and confidentiality. These are set and monitored by the Society in its Code of Ethics. The Code was developed to safeguard the welfare of consumers of psychological services and the integrity of the profession. The APS Ethics Committee may investigate breaches of these standards, and those found guilty of breaches may be censured or excluded from membership of the Society".

Psychologists must adhere to their professional Code of Ethics and this protects the confidentiality of what you discuss in sessions. There are a few exceptions where confidentiality is limited and this is generally mandated by law. Such exceptions are:

  • When the psychologist is served Court Orders
  • When failure of the psychologist to disclose information would place you or others at serious risk of harm
  • You give your approval to the psychologist to:
    • a) Forward a written report or letter to an organisation or another medical professional
      b) Discuss your situation with another person (such as a partner, parent, employer)

CG&CS upholds the National Privacy Principles from the Privacy Amendment (Privacy Sector) Act 2000.

Will the psychologist collect information discussed during therapy?

Information is gathered as part of the assessment and treatment of a client's problems. This information will only be viewed by the treating psychologist. It will be retained as a record of what took place during each session and is valuable for reviewing progress and fine-tuning therapy.

What is couples therapy or relationship counselling?

There are times when people experience difficulties in their relationship with their partner. When these difficulties are left unresolved they may cause stress, insecurity, conflict and emotional pain. They may leave partners feeling angry, trapped, sad or frustrated and these feelings are likely to be heightened when partners engage in negative and unhelpful patterns of communicating and relating. Sometimes the difficulties can involve trust issues.

Couples counselling is undertaken in a safe and supportive environment where partners are encouraged to examine the ways they communicate and they are helped to develop new and healthier ways of relating.

How could my child be helped by a psychologist who is a specialist in educational and developmental psychology?

Educational and developmental psychologists specialise in child development and matters of education.

They work with children who may experience emotional, social or cognitive difficulties with their schooling or within their family life. Educational and developmental psychologists help children to improve their learning and to function more effectively.

They frequently undertake student intellectual and learning assessments, diagnose learning difficulties and make recommendations for educational programming. They can also provide therapy to children whose problems have an emotional basis.

Parenting strategies are another avenue of help provided by educational and developmental psychologists. They can help parents investigate and choose the best options for managing their child's behaviour.