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FAQ

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Merge programs FAQ

What is counselling anyway?

Good question…and hard to answer specifically.  The shape of each session is completely based on how you (our client) feels most comfortable.  We have some clients who like very specific plans of what they need to do and how. They may request worksheets to develop particular skills and enjoy practicing these skills at home, school, or work.  We have other clients who loathe the idea of homework, so we just talk. But talking with a psychologist is nothing like general “talk”. Talking to a psychologist is best thought of as a therapeutic conversation.  Through this conversation, we discuss your challenges, and problem solves our way through them as a team. We definitely give opinions and support, but these are evidence-based psychological interventions – not our personal values and beliefs.   

How do I know if I need counseling?

We create a test to help you to identify if you are facing any issue. Please take our test in the next link to help you follow the next steps just Click here

Do you work with couples?

Yes, we do.  We are trained in a number of evidence-based interventions specifically designed to support couples.

Do you work with children and adolescents?

Yes, we do.  We are trained in a number of evidence-based interventions specifically designed to assist children and teenagers.

How do I know if counselling is helping?

First and foremost, we are always assessing our clients for positive outcomes.  Some psychologists do this by administering a shortly written measure, others do this verbally.  As each session progresses, we are looking for the teeny weeny incremental changes to what you think, believe, and feel which mean your experience of distress/symptoms, is reducing or feeling more manageable.  

Medicare and many of the insurance systems work on a 6-10 session plan. This means that they expect you to notice some improvement within the rebated sessions. We will always try to stick to this, but also understand that some work takes longer.  As we only used evidence-based interventions, we will ALWAYS tell you if we think we need more sessions than those rebated by your insurer.

Don’t forget though, that while we may be content experts, you are the expert on you.

What is the difference between counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists?

Basically, its all about the level of education behind the title.  Counselors could be Social Workers, Life Coaches, or general Counsellors.  There will usually be a Bachelors degree at a minimum behind mental health Social Workers.  With Life Coaches and Counsellors, there will usually be a Diploma or some kind of certificate that has been attained.  

Psychologists will have completed a Bachelors degree at minimum, plus have been through a stringent practicum program to then be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia.  At Merge Programs, our psychologists have Bachelors degree and Masters degree qualifications on top of additionally supervised practicum. We are not able to prescribe medications.

Psychiatrists have a Bachelor of Medicine but have then gone on to additional specialized training in psychiatric medicine.  The focus tends to be upon the biochemistry of mental health, and as such, they are able to prescribe medications. Some psychiatrist are also trained in psychological therapies.  The only way to establish this is to ask when making your appointment.

What happens in my first session?

If it is your very first session with us, we will always start with a discussion relating to the ways that we maintain your privacy and how we obtain something called “informed consent”.  This basically means that the sessions relate to your personal information, and as such all the information we discuss stays between yourself and the psychologist. Once you feel comfortable with this, then we discuss the things you are experiencing and together, we start to form a plan.

How long is a session?

We usually run individual sessions for 50 minutes.  Couple’s sessions can run from 60 minutes to 90 minutes.  Children’s sessions can run from 30 minutes to 50 minutes.

Can I use private health insurance to claim a rebate?

Yes.  At Merge Programs we are all registered psychologists with provider numbers.  This means that all individual psychological services that we deliver are claimable under your private health policy.