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  1. #1
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    Default counsellor or psychologist

    I don't want to post up another problem I'm having on the forum but I know I need help but I have a couple of questions for anyone that can answer.

    What is the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor? Are there boundaries they both have and can one do more than another and in what way?

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    Counsellors are not regulated and technically anyone can call themselves a 'counsellor' without any minimum qualifications. Psychologists are a regulated health profession and have minimum qualifications. Psychologists act within a code of ethics. Psychologists can do more in way of psychological assessments that only trained professionals can do. It really depends what you need. Also, you can get a certain number of bulk billed sessions with a psychologist each each through a mental health care plan.

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    I'm sure psychologist is qualified and regulated by AHPRA, where counsellor is not. DH went to the Dr yesterday and has been referred to a psychologist for 6 sessions with Medicare rebate for his social anxiety.
    He's been putting it off for ages and feels a lot better now he's got a plan in place. I'd recommend you talk to a GP first about your best course of action.

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    A psychologist is degree qualified. From memory I think it's a 4 year uni degree, followed by 2 years post grad and also another couple of years supervised (I may be wrong on some of the detail but the upshot is degree qualified with additional study and supervision.

    In Australia counsellors aren't regulated. Quals can range from a degree, a diploma or a shorter course.

    Social workers often work in counselling roles or have counselling as part of their job

    Psychologists focus on the human mind and behaviours and can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.

    Counsellors focus on emotions and feelings and helping people to understand themselves (in a nutshell)

    There are definitely boundaries that each share around privacy and confidentiality, record keeping and also boundaries with regards to what they can and can't do. Neither can prescribe medication (GP or Psychiatrist can). Only a Psychologist can call themselves one and practice as one.

    Each have different focuses

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    I know about the mental health plan but I don't want my doctor to know because he works with other people I don't want this getting back to my case worker, so I want to go directly to someone and just pay for it can I do that without a doctor?

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    I suspect you can, but there would be no Medicare rebate, so you'd be up for the full cost (likely over $150 per session).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mason98 View Post
    I know about the mental health plan but I don't want my doctor to know because he works with other people I don't want this getting back to my case worker, so I want to go directly to someone and just pay for it can I do that without a doctor?
    Can you not go to another GP just this once, away from your normal practice and explain the situation to get the referral. Psych around where I live charge over $170 per session and that was about 2 years ago so be ready for a series of big bills if you don't go via your gp for the mental health plan.

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    Mason98  (21-02-2017)

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    You might be able to find a psych who will see you without a referral. But as PPs have said, you'd be up for the full cost of the consult. I think the AMA recommended charge is something like $240 for a standard psych consult (I can't remember exactly, my psych's practice has a sign up as they charge well below the AMA recommendation.
    I agree with @kylie764 - could you see another GP just for this? See if you can find a GP who has an interest in mental health, even, because they will be better for this instance anyway. I know a few people who have different GPs at different practices for different health areas. They get a more targeted knowledge base that way.

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    Thanks ladies I appreciate the input,
    I don't want a record on my Medicare card so I might just approach them directly, I didn't know you could do that, and if I go to a doctor first there's the whole referral time thing and I'm not doing so well so I think I just want to do it the quick way even if it costs me some money.

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    I'm sorry to hear you aren't doing well. I know you weren't given the warmest welcome when you first posted here, but I hope you don't let that stop you from posting when you are in need of support. There are some wonderful people on bubhub with great information and who can really empathise with you when you need a listening ear or shoulder to cry on, so to speak.

    I'm not sure if this will help you at all, but there is a great website, technically aimed at managing anxiety, but which may have information and strategies you could use as an interim measure for controlling your thoughts, while you sort out who you will see. It's freemindfulness.org - my psych recommended it to me, and I'm pretty sure there is also an app with meditations etc.

    Thinking of you. Hope you can get the help you need quickly.

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