Telehealth – Online Therapy Sessions

Attuned Psychology has been delivering therapy via video conferencing (known as Telehealth) for some time to remote and rural parts of Australia but now, in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of recent bushfires, we can extend this offering due to recent Government changes.

The difficulty for our clients historically has been the lack of Medicare or private rebates associated with these services. We are now facing a new exciting era in psychological services as we embrace the use of telehealth as well as face to face therapy to increase access to services to the entire community.

It is heartening to note that research shows online sessions can be as effective as face-to-face sessions to achieve change, which is important to know during this time of social upheaval. Although it may feel awkward or a little anxiety provoking at first, we have found that clients adapt and find the opportunity to connect with a video/audio link or telephone extremely helpful once they try it out the first time.

Sometimes we find that if there is reticence to move to telehealth sessions, committing to a 30 minute session initially allows you and your practitioner to assess whether this feels like a comfortable and workable fit for you.

Our experience is that many people are pleasantly surprised at how helpful it is to maintain a connection in this way and allows them to understand that in times of crisis when support is needed, the benefits of maintaining that therapeutic relationship in difficult times soon shows up in their progress over time.

In the end, we will always work with you to access services in whatever way most works for you to achieve the outcomes you desire, whether through video, phone or face to face, using our clinical judgement also as to what will work best for the issues you face and your particular circumstances.

Having options allows for flexibility according to your circumstances and we are pleased that the Federal government has recently recognised the importance of increasing access via telehealth across the community and responded to this COVID-19 crisis by creating new item numbers for use with Medicare until Sept 30,2020 at this stage.

We are also pleased to announce that private health funds have also joined this trend and 90% of them are now offering rebates for telehealth for either video or phone counselling.

The Federal Government over time has announced that Telehealth may be used with our psychologists in four different ways, four  currently with rebates attached:

  1. COVID-19 – Telephone or video links are used for consultations. Clients may be bulk billed for services at this stage with 30 mins or 50+ minute sessions available depending on the clients situation. Clients must have a mental health care plan in place to be able to access services and are able to use video/audio link (preferred) or telephone if more appropriate or they do not have the technology. There will be further updates from the second week of April, 2020 with some changes to the billing. We will update this page as soon as we receive more information.
  2. Consumers in rural, remote and very remote communities (as classified under the Modified Monash Model (MMM) regions as MMM 4 to MMM 7) – video and audio link required. No telephone allowed.
  3. Bushfire Recovery items over a 2 year period until 2021- video/audio link required for consultations, 10 per year, no GP referral required unlike COVID-19 items. No phone calls.
  4. Private health Telehealth consultations – Clients maynow be able to access a private health rebate if they have already been a client of the psychologist through face to face services under private health. If a new client, provided they have a referral and recommendation from their GP they will be able to access services this way. Private health clients may access services via video/audio or telephone. Checking with your fund is the best way to determine whether you will be covered under your private health insurance.
  5. Private telehealth with no rebate -Clients may pay full fee if they have no private health cover

More information will be posted here as soon as we receive it so please keep your eyes on this page for more detail.

Our neuropsychologist Cate Cheetham and our practitioners that work with children and adolescents are excited to be able to bring their creativity and the latest professional development to provide high quality telehealth services.

They are looking forward to adapting some assessments in the case of neuropsychology for telehealth  and to adapt working with kids and adolescents, drawing on creative ways of engaging kids online with the use of play therapy and games. We promise that we are doing all we can to be providing high quality services in this area that work for all ages.

Also, please note that because Attuned Psychology is deemed an “essential service” we are still offering face-to-face therapy sessions following strict, safe, protocols during the impact of COVID-19. Read about our COVID-19 safety guidelines here

For more details contact our friendly reception staff on 08 8361 7008.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Frost has been interviewed by Steve Davis from Talked About Marketing about the extension of telehealth as a means for conducting therapy sessions online. We hope this addresses some of the myths and fears about Telehealth to reassure you.

08 8361 7008

Our preference is to speak with you because that helps us pair you with the most appropriate psychologist while avoiding a number of emails going back and forth. However, we are happy to communicate with you using either method. And for your convenience, we are here in person after hours until 9pm Monday to Thursday, and on Saturday until 2pm. We look forward to hearing from you.