Counselling in Melbourne has two online appointment types available:
Online Counselling with an existing MCHP
Medicare has approved 20-sessions
and Gap Fee ($72.55 – $92.55)
Online Counselling – Private & Confidential
> Session fee $180, no Medicare rebate available
What is online counselling?
Online counselling is a therapy session which is conducted through an internet-based platform.
In Australia, it’s also known as e-therapy, telehealth, e-counselling or cyber-counselling.
Online counselling involves an interaction between a professional psychologist or counsellor and the client using a digital or mobile communication device such as a laptop, smartphone, iPad or tablet.
These devices normally use a 3rd party app such as Skype, FaceTime or Zoom which are known as platforms. However, some psychology practices have telehealth software inbuilt with their practice management software and are not reliant on 3rd party apps to provide their service.
As over 88% of people in Australia have access to the internet and an incredible 83% of Australians own a smartphone, online treatment has become an increasingly popular alternative to face-to-face therapy.
How effective is online counselling?
Online counselling has rapidly been accepted by both practitioners and clients with research confirming it can be an effective alternative service to face-face sessions or can be used to complement face-to-face counselling services.
For example, if you were unable to attend a session due to an unexpected work commitment, transitioning to an online session will give you the continuity of care. Many people find this a very effective method of treatment.
Face-to-face vs Online Counselling
Historically, face-to-face has always been the preferred option compared to virtual or video-based communication.
Psychologists and Counsellors are trained to ‘read’ body language, listen to the client’s tone of voice, watch for micro-expressions during a face-to-face session. All these interpersonal ‘signs’ help contributes to the building of rapport and trust with you during the client and psychologist relationship.
However, if you have a more introverted personality, then possibly you could find face-to-face engagement intimidating, speaking with a psychologist online can be the ideal solution to achieve the positive outcomes you’re seeking.
Speaking with an online counsellor can also be non-confrontational, which allows for barriers to be broken down more quickly and can help quicken the healing process by “rediscovering the real you”.
Top 5 common benefits:
Private and anonymous: you don’t have to visit the practice or clinic.
No Boundaries: With online sessions, there is no longer a need to seek out help within the suburb you reside and or work from. Due to technology, people can connect with professional Psychologists and online counsellors from anywhere in Australia.
Efficiency: If you’re working full-time, the chances are you have very little personal time to see a psychologist for help. Speaking with a counsellor online can provide the opportunity to receive counselling in a more accessible way and can fit into your busy lifestyle.
Communication Channels: Online counselling enables you to open your communication app and start immediately. This includes SMS/chat, video (Zoom, Skype, Face-time), and other phone options.
Stigmas: Often when someone needs help, they end up deciding not to seek help or won’t take the first step by scheduling an appointment as the major barrier why is the stigma about counselling. It’s also quite common for first-time clients who schedule an appointment who don’t show up or cancel their appointment at the last minute.
Why? – “The stigma surrounding counselling”.
Online counselling, negates stigma!
Snapshot of who online counselling may appeal to:
- an individual who has to self-isolate or is quarantined due to COVID-19
- an individual living or working in a regional, remote or isolated regions who needs support
- an individual seeking an after-hours counselling session
- an individual unable to travel due to transport or mobility difficulties
- a busy parent with young children or active teenagers
- parents who don’t have the luxury of someone to babysit
- a hard-working yet time-poor professional or shift-worker
- young people who are struggling with ongoing challenges due to COVID-19
Top 7 mental health conditions suitable to be treated by online counselling (no set order)
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Relationship issues
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
**While online treatment is OK for the above mental health conditions, consideration should be given to supplementing these sessions by also having face-to-face counselling sessions. More so at the start of a therapeutic relationship between the client and psychologist**
Disadvantages of online counselling
While it can be potentially helpful for clients subject to their circumstances, it can pose some disadvantages or risks over traditional face-to-face sessions.
- Due to the scarcity of non-verbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, body language, and voice tone, Psychologists or counsellors can potentially not be able to provide an accurate diagnostic assessment of your mental health condition.
- Inaccurate diagnosis or missed interpretation of non-verbal cues is rated as the biggest disadvantage for therapy via online or telehealth sessions.
- Eligibility for the client to access the Medicare rebate scheme or to claim a portion of the online session from their insurance companies may not be covered. (Client’s should check their eligibility before scheduling an appointment)
- Assuming your psychologist or counsellor is a registeredprofessional. Due diligence should be done before selecting a practitioner to verify who the practitioner is and their qualifications are legitimate. Using the ‘practitioner’ search tools from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA) or Australian Psychology Society (APS) and/or authorities such Australian Counselling Association (ACA), it’s a quick and easy exercise to find the relevant information to verify who your counsellor of choice is.
- While the internet and technology have evolved to become an indispensable ‘must-have’ in today’s world, on occasions disruptions to your session can happen such as the computer monitor/screen freezing or the voices becoming muted or distorted. These ‘glitches’ can be frustrating and for both client and psychologist.
- Online counselling can pose some extra-risks to client’s confidentiality and security, especially considering if your personal information is sent using e-platforms that don’t have end-to-end encryption capabilities.
- Not suitable for all clients suffering from a clinical mental health illness. For example, some conditions such a serious addiction, self-harm, suicidal thoughts or if you have more severe-complex list of symptoms for such conditions as chronic depression or psychosis may require a more traditional (face-to-face) intensive treatment approach compared to what the telehealth options can provide.
How does it work?
If you think online counselling is right for you, Counselling in Melbourne has tried to make it as easy as possible to schedule an appointment for people in all situations. Or either call 1300 967 734 and chat to our reception staff if you require further information.
After your appointment has been scheduled, you will receive an appointment confirmation email which will contain your Zoom meeting ID (Our practitioners can also use Skype or Face Time e-platforms).
Before your session date, you will receive an email and SMS reminder 24-hrs before the appointment date and another email 1-hr before the session is to commence with all of the required information.
All you need is a smartphone, laptop, computer or tablet with a web browser and an internet connection. There are no plugins or downloads required!
Please, there is no need to stress as your practitioner will personally guide you through the process if you have any trouble and once you’ve had your first session, you’re set!
Who should not consider using online counselling
When are appointments available?
What to do before your session starts
- You should set yourself up session 5-minutes before your appointment time
- You should have a pen and paper handy.
- You will need a reliable high-speed internet connection, and your webcam setup.
- Please turn off your mobile phone if not using and reduce any background noise or distractions
- It’s also good to have a glass of water and a box of tissues close by
How long are the sessions?
How much does an online counselling session cost?
Saturday session fee is $210.00.
*There is an out-of-pocket fee payable if you have an MHCP*
Do you provide any free sessions?
Do you provide an online chat service?
Is my session covered by Medicare?
Eligibility Criteria for a Bulk Billing Client
- a person who has an existing and new GP referral, specifically MBS item number #91170
- a person who is a concessional beneficiary holding low-income health care or seniors cards
- a person who is under the age of 16
- a person who is ‘more vulnerable’ to COVID-19 virus
The definition of more vulnerable to COVID-19 virus means a person who:
- is required to self-isolate or self-quarantine in accordance with the guideline issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee concerning COVID-19; or
- is at least 70 years old; or
- is at least 50 years old and identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
- is pregnant; or
- is the parent of a child aged under 12 months; or
- is being treated for a chronic health condition; or
- is immune-compromised; or
- meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.
Eligibility Criteria for Reduced Online Counselling Fees:
- a person who does do not hold a concession card but has suffered from a reduction in pay
- a person who is a sole trader or own their own business
- a person who is employed but has been instructed to work from home and has suffered from a reduction in pay
- a person who is under the age of 70
- a person who is under the age of 50 and is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
- a person who is not pregnant
- If you are a parent, you must still pay a gap if your child is over 12 months.
- if you are a parent, you must still pay a gap if your child does not require treatment for chronic health conditions/ compromised immune system.