Have a question about the steps involved? The information below might help.

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The first step is to schedule an intake appointment and then, if mutually agreed that we are a good fit, we will schedule in future therapy appointments. It is usual to schedule the first few appointments close together (once a week for a few weeks). This allows for added support during the early stages, make progress toward your goals, and develop our therapeutic relationship. After the first few appointments are completed, the following appointments may be scheduled further apart (fortnightly or three weekly) depending on your needs and goals. This will allow for more practise of therapeutic techniques between session and to also see what is helpful and what areas may require additional support.

See the client info page for more details about the process.

An intake appointment is a time where we get to know each other and see if we’re a good fit. It involves gathering background information, discussing a range of questions, and discussing an overview of initial goals for therapy. If we both feel comfortable to progress, then we’ll schedule future therapy appointments. Alternatively, in some cases, I may refer you to a practitioner who I believe may be a better fit for you – and the outcomes you seek. We can chat about your options during or after your intake appointment.

Wait times for an appointment can vary. Typically, an intake appointment will be scheduled within two to three weeks from receiving a referral or enquiry. This allows for us to meet and determine if ongoing therapy will take place, or if an alternate referral to another service or mental health professional will be more beneficial and aligned with your support needs.

There are times when capacity to see new clients is limited. We understand this can be difficult when you already need support. If you need to speak urgently to someone, please visit this directory for a list of services, including contact details and operating hours (often 24/7). You could also try contacting various other psychologists via the listings on Psychology Today or return to your GP to discuss referral options.

Depending on how you are feeling at the time, sometimes journaling or writing down some of your concerns or thoughts on a piece of paper can help. If you are more inclined to listen to a podcast or app you may find some helpful resources on the Open Minds website  and the Calm app.

Intake sessions cost $275 and subsequent sessions cost $235. Each session is 50 minutes in duration. Visit the Client Info page for more details.

A referral is not required to access services at Helping Hearts Psychology, however, you will need a referral if you wish to claim a rebate from Medicare ($93.35 per session, up to 10 sessions per calendar year). Please arrange to see your General Practitioner (GP) before our first appointment. Your GP will assess your eligibility to claim Medicare rebates and by providing you with a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP).

Please note that full payment ($275 initial appointment or $235 per subsequent appointment) is due at the time of each appointment and if you are utilising a MHTP a Medicare rebate will then be processed by the practice. Medicare will then deposit the rebate ($93.35) into your nominated bank account.

If you have private health insurance you may be eligible to claim a rebate directly through your insurer after your session.

Please note that you cannot use private health insurance if you are already using a Medicare rebate for your session.

It can be sometimes anxiety provoking or overwhelming when thinking about attending your initial appointment with a psychologist. This can be true for those who have seen a mental health professional in the past or those who may have not been through this process before. It can be difficult when speaking with anyone new, especially when speaking about private and sensitive topics that may not have been spoken about a lot, or at all. It is important to remember that everyone feels nervous, to some extent, when attending their first appointment. Remember that you are not alone, we will help support you through the process.

After an initial session, it’s typical to feel a mix of emotions. This is because you may be talking about things you don’t often speak about – with a new person. During the session we unpack various things and you may feel a little exposed once our session is over. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some space after your scheduled session to feel those emotions that come up – such as tiredness or a feeling of relief.

This will depend on your preferences, schedule, and commitments. Overall, think about how the session benefit may be maximised within your day. This could mean either scheduling the first appointment for the day or perhaps closer to the end of the day, depending how you may feel. Before or after a lunch break can work well as this provides the opportunity and time to transition from your session back into the day without rushing yourself, physically and emotionally. Providing yourself some time and space to process may be helpful to keep in mind, perhaps by taking a short walk before or after the session, grabbing a coffee, or sitting mindfully in the park, car, or wander down to the beach. If possible, it may be helpful to avoid “rush” times where you may have another appointment directly before or after your session. This may impact how present you may feel during the appointment. Remember, this is your appointment time to focus on your well-being.

Making this decision will depend on your circumstances and preference for appointments. Telehealth is completed through a secure video platform within our practice management software. In the days before your appointment, you will receive an email that includes your Telehealth link. At the time of your appointment you will click the link and immediately be connected with your psychologist at the other end of the video. There are no downloads needed. The video will work on a smartphone, tablet or computer with an internet connection, camera, and microphone. Telehealth can be convenient for a number of reasons such as saving travel time if you live a distance away from the office, have many commitments, or if you are feeling unwell. Alternatively, in-person appointments can provide a sense of comfort, nil distractions, and space to immerse yourself in the therapy experience away from the busy world and daily commitments.

Please know there is no expectation for you to prepare anything such as talking points or topics before your session (for appointments either in person or through Telehealth). If you would like to remind yourself of some key points and find comfort in this, please feel free to write a few prompts on a sticky note or ‘notes’ section in your phone.

It may help to keep in mind some of the following ideas in the lead up to a Telehealth appointment:

  • If possible, set aside 15 minutes before the appointment time to start slowing down. Making a warm or refreshing drink can also help with this transition.
  • Find a comfortable and quiet space with minimal distractions where you can talk openly.
  • Keep a notebook and pen close by – just in case you’d like to remember something for later.
  • Be yourself, this time has been set aside to focus on you and your wellbeing.
  • And remember, you don’t need to “know what to talk about” or to “come prepared” in any other way.
  • For an initial appointment we will mostly get to know each other by exploring what’s going well at the moment and what may be more challenging. We will speak through potential goals and create an initial plan for therapy.
  • Sometimes this can be an emotional process so please go easy on yourself and remember, there is no right or wrong within this space, just be yourself.

Everyone will have a different experience of therapy. This can depend on why you’re coming to therapy in the first place and also what you are hoping to get from the therapeutic experience. As therapy is tailored to suit your needs, the timeframe may be short to medium term. There’s no pressure to keep it to the short term, as we can extend the timeframe to suit your individual needs.

It can be helpful to keep in mind that not all progress will be obvious. Sometimes progress can be noticed in small ways. For example, if you’re coming to therapy for depression, you may start to notice you wake up feeling more hopeful and less emotionally weighed down. Some other changes will be bigger and more transformative. Your thinking will change, leading to changes in your body, actions and your relationship within yourself – and with the world around you. You will start to replace unhelpful coping strategies with more helpful ones and deepen your awareness of your thoughts and behaviours.

Ready to take the next step?