find a Free or Cheap Psychologist
If you are looking for a free or cheap psychologist or counsellor in Sydney, there are a few things you can do.
Ask about a sliding scale & Bulk billing
Some psychologists offer a sliding scale to their clients. This means they adjust their fees to match the financial circumstances of their clients. Some psychologists also offer bulk billing. When first calling up a psychologist that you would like to see, ask them about the sliding scale and bulk billing.
Get a Mental Health Care Pan
Ask your GP if you qualify for a mental health care plan. If you do, you can claim back some of your psychologist's fee on Medicare. If you are seeing a general psychologist, you will be able to claim back approximately $84 from Medicare per session. If you are seeing a clinical psychologist, you will be able to claim back approximately $124 per session. You can do this for 10 sessions in a calendar year.
Use Private Health Insurance
If you have private health insurance, ask your provider if they provide rebates for psychological services. Some insurance companies offer rebates, some don't. For those that do, they vary in the amount they rebate per session.
Free Telephone/Online therapy
Some organisations offer free telephone and online therapy. The MindSpot clinic (www.mindspot.org.au) is such an example.
Lifeline is a crisis support and suicide prevention service. Their service is free and they can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their phone number is 13 11 14.
Sometimes it is not possible or desirable to get free or cheap therapy. If you are finding it hard to meet the expense of therapy, consider spacing your sessions apart. Also, ask your psychologist how you can make the most of your time between sessions.
Therapy can be a highly rewarding and worthwhile venture. It can also be an expensive one too. I hope the above tips will go some way to removing the barriers to you finding the right psychologist.