Frequently Asked Questions

What is a psychologist?

A psychologist is trained in the science of how people think, feel, behave and learn. In Australia, all psychologists must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia and listed with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Registration involves a minimum of 6 years’ university training and supervised experience, as well as ongoing education to keep skills and knowledge up to date. Psychologists are also required to keep to strict standards of service and ethics.

At Portal Psychology, our psychologists are members of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), and are involved in ongoing training and supervision.

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How do I know if I need to see a psychologist?

This is probably different for everyone. However, one indication that it would be worthwhile talking to a psychologist is that you are finding that your issue is not improving, despite all your efforts to resolve it yourself.

Other people say that they decide to see a psychologist when an issue starts to impact on a number of areas in their life. It is important to note that you don’t have to wait until an issue becomes severe to get help. No problem is “too small” to deserve your active attention if it is causing you discomfort.

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What should I expect during my first session?

In the first session, the psychologist will find out from you what you want to work on, and what you hope to achieve from therapy. The first session also involves a thorough assessment of your current issues (along with any relevant past issues), and a review of the stressors and supports in your life.

The psychologist will then formulate a plan for you, based on scientifically-tested strategies and interventions. Over subsequent sessions, you and the psychologist will put the plan into action, while further exploring and addressing the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and relationship dynamics that may be contributing to your difficulties.

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How many sessions will I need?

The answer to this question very much depends on the type of issues you are bringing to counselling, and the amount of benefit you feel you are gaining. Some people, who have a particular issue that they want to resolve, may find that they have achieved their goal in one or two sessions. Others, who might have several complicated issues that they want to address, are likely to find that they attend sessions for a longer period. There is no minimum or maximum number of sessions. Usually, people continue to come for sessions as long as they feel that they are benefitting from counselling.

If you are intending to claim the Medicare rebate, please bear in mind that under a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan, there is a limit of 10 sessions each calendar year.

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Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?

A referral is only needed if you wish to claim a Medicare rebate. Otherwise, you don’t need a referral to see a psychologist.

To know whether you are eligible to claim a Medicare rebate, you need to make an appointment with your GP or psychiatrist. They will make an assessment about your eligibility, and may refer to you a psychologist under a Mental Health Care Plan.

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What do I do in an emergency?

If at any time you require immediate support outside of your session there are a number of options:

  • Contact your GP
  • Telephone counselling (all available 24/7)
    • Lifeline – 13 11 14
    • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36
    • Kids helpline – 1800 55 1800 (5-25 years of age)
  • Local hospitals
    • Northern Hospital – Mental Health Triage Service Ph: 1300 874 243
    • Austin Hospital – Mental Health Triage Service Ph: 1300 859 789
    • Monash Medical Centre – Psychiatric Triage Service Ph: 1300 369 012
  • Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre Ph: 1800 015 188 (available 24/7)
  • If there is immediate danger/threat to life please call ‘000’

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How long is each session?

All sessions last between 50 and 55 minutes, unless alternative arrangements are made beforehand.

How much will it cost?

See fees for more information on costs.

Can I claim a rebate through Medicare or private health insurance?

See fees for more information on rebates.

How often will I need to attend?

It is up to you how often you attend sessions. Counselling is often more effective if clients can attend regularly in the initial stages. Most clients attend weekly or fortnightly to begin with, and then drop back to monthly sessions as therapy progresses.

Do you provide court reports or formal assessments?

At this time Portal Psychology is unable to provide any formal assessments and/or written reports. This includes cognitive assessments and any report that may be required for formal purposes such as those needed for court-related issues (TAC/Workcover/Victims of Crime).

Do you offer counselling remotely as well as face-to-face?

We consult face-to-face at two locations, Yarrambat and Camberwell. We also offer remote sessions, using videoconferencing or telephone. Please contact us for more information.

Please note, Dr Marianne Lloyd is only available at our Yarrambat location.