Many people can benefit from Telehealth Therapeutic Consultations
There are many reasons you may not choose to physically go to a clinician’s office. Whatever your reason, I am more than happy to providing counselling / therapy via Telehealth, for which there is also a Medicare rebate as you are probably aware of. Your Telehealth session may be via Zoom video link or smartphone, whatever your personal preference is.
The development of the newest technologies unstoppably leads to general upgrades of health services. E-health started with medical doctors, and with the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis in March 2020, governments saw the need for therapists and mental health practitioners to help with their skills to those who are affected with mental health issues.
The following questionnaire may help you decide if you, your family member, or your friends, would benefit from telehealth services:
- Do you feel isolated?
- Do you have access to the internet or a smartphone?
- Would you feel OK communicating with a doctor or therapist by phone or computer?
- Do you have a physical or psychological condition that makes it difficult to leave your home?
- Would you like to get more information about your condition/disorder?
- Would you like to receive the same quality of treatment with the same of less fee involved as if you see your doctor or therapist face-to-face?
- Would you prefer to be treated at home rather than in an institution?
- Would you like to receive the same quality of treatment with the same of less fee involved?
The more positive answers to these questions you have given, the more likely you would benefit from telehealth services.
What can clients expect in their first telehealth session?
If clients want to receive a Medicare rebate, they should first discuss it with a person they are arranging their first appointment. It can be a therapist/counsellor personally, but usually they may talk to a receptionist or admin person first. It may include negotiation of paying a “gap fee”. Most therapists are working in private practice and have their own bills to pay, and Medicare payments often cannot come to 50% of the real cost of working in private practice.
I tend to ask my clients at their first session about their goals or expectations regarding attending counselling sessions. I think, it’s important that they know what they should be able to expect. I focus on the client as a whole person – their background, current challenges, and what brings them to wellness. I may also ask clients about their current symptoms or struggles, their interests, strengths, and goals.
Also, at the initial session, the therapist may ask them questions about their presenting concerns, as well as their history and background. If their problem is mental health related, the therapist may ask them a set of questions to assess their current mental state. The therapist may use K10 or DASS-21 assessment tools or some other questionnaires to detect the level of the client’s distress. It is essential that online or telehealth/phone assessment is as comprehensive as face-to-face assessment. It is possible in most situations but does take more effort. The client who has a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) developed by their General Practitioner (GP) may be able to access 10 therapy sessions under Medicare per calendar year and receive a rebate.
If you are considering if you would benefit from a telehealth consultation, you should do your research and learn about the philosophy behind the practitioner’s approach, what type of consultations are being offered and what therapy approaches are mostly used, as well as what are the therapists’ qualifications, credentials and affiliations. No health professional from any background should mind being asked about their qualifications and credentials.
You can find more information about me by visiting www.visionpsychology.com/nenad-bakaj.
- Australian Association of Social Workers – AASW (2020). Telehealth guide for social workers. https://www.aasw.asn.au/document/item/12912 [Accessed: 03/01/2022]
- Department of Health (2021). COVID-19 temporary MBS Telehealth Services. http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/publishing.nsf/Content/Factsheet-TempBB [Accessed: 03/01/2022]
- Hickie, I., & Duckett, S. (2020). Coronavirus has boosted telehealth care in mental health, so keep it up. The Conversation. https://theconversation-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/theconversation.com/amp/coronavirus-has-boosted-telehealth-care-in-mental-health-so-lets-keep-it-up-137381 [Accessed: 03/01/2022]
- Varker, T., Brand, R. M., Ward, J., Terhaag, S., & Phelps, A. (2019). Efficacy of synchronous telepsychology interventions for people with anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and adjustment disorder: A rapid evidence assessment. Psychological Services, 16(4), 621–635. https://doi.org/10.1037/ser0000239 [Accessed: 03/01/2022]
- World Health Organisation – WHO (2020). http://www.who.org [Accessed: 03/01/2022]
- Yellowlees, P. (2001) Your Guide to E-Health. 3rd University of Queensland Press
Author: Nenad Bakaj, MHumServ (RehabCouns), BSocWk, DipAppSci (Comm&HumServ), AMHSW, MAAC, MAASW, JP (Qld)
Nenad Bakaj is a Brisbane based Clinical Counsellor, Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Life Coach and Bigger Bite Out Of Life Trainer with a keen interest in positive psychology, mental health and wellbeing, and is continually developing his professional skills and knowledge. Nenad enjoys working with adolescents and young adults, as well as older clients, and feels it is a privilege to be able to support them. In the counselling room, Nenad aims to build rapport with his clients to assist them to reach their health, relationship, personal and life goals, and a happy and fruitful life.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129 or Vision Psychology Wishart on (07) 3088 5422.