At present, counsellors and psychotherapists are not covered by medicare and this is generally reflected in the fees they charge. I am a counsellor and a psychotherapist, but not a psychologist, so I am unable to offer medicare rebates at this stage. However, my standard fee of $130 takes this into account and is less than the standard fee of a psychologist.

The Australian Psychological Society recommended hourly fee for psychologists in 2012-2013 is $222 per consultation hour. Under specific circumstances registered psychologists have limited sessions available for rebate through Medicare for each client per year. The type of treatment they may offer under Medicare is limited.

According to the Australian Psychological Society website there are two categories of mental health Medicare items for psychologists:

  1. Focussed Psychological Strategies items which can be provided by all fully registered psychologists who are competently skilled in this area; and
  2. Psychological Therapy items which can only be provided by clinical psychologists who have been assessed as eligible.

Both categories of Psychology Medicare items can only be provided to people with an assessed mental disorder - that is being managed by a GP under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or a psychiatrist assessment and management plan, or on direct referral from a psychiatrist or a paediatrician (for treatment of a child).

All Psychology Medicare services are limited to a maximum of 12 individual sessions per client per calendar year, with a review by the referring doctor required after the initial six sessions. In addition, clients are also eligible for 12 group session services, where appropriate, in a calendar year.