Counselling services are not covered under Medicare. If you have private health insurance, some funds do contribute, but this depends on your level of cover and you would need to check this with them.
Medicare rebates are offered only for those diagnosed with mental health disorders under a mental health plan prepared by a GP.
Counselling works from a less diagnostic model, and due to the fact that I am working privately, I do not need to report back to the government about our sessions. (Bear in mind there are limits to confidentiality under duty of care, which I am obligated to work within and happy to discuss with you.)
Sometimes, you do not always ‘click’ with the person your GP refers you to. Unfortunately, this prevents some clients from continuing their treatment.
In a counselling relationship, the main focus is on the rapport and connection between the client and counsellor. Outside of the many fields of evidence-based counselling approaches, this is the critical factor to ensuring you feel comfortable and that changes start to happen.
So it really comes down to choosing a counsellor that you feel comfortable with. Generally, fees for counselling are on a par or slightly above what you would pay for the mental health care plan sessions anyway. You can usually also be seen quicker, and more frequently, if you wish. Sometimes a gap of a few weeks can be quite long in between sessions, and means the next session can feel like ‘catching up’ and rebuilding rapport. However, for some, this might be all they need and require. Again, this is something we openly discuss.