Can Counsellors or Psychotherapists offer Medicare rebates to their clients?
Unfortunately, Counsellors and Psychotherapists have not been
included in the current Medicare rebate scheme. Individuals can only
obtain a Medicare rebate through seeing Psychologists, Occupational
Therapists or Social Workers by referral from a GP. PACFA has been
lobbying the government extensively for inclusion of Counsellors and
Psychotherapists in Medicare. Updates on this progress are available by
subscribing to the PACFA eNews.
How do I choose a Counsellor/Psychotherapist?
The PACFA National Register is available to members of the general
public who are seeking a registered Psychotherapist or Counsellor. The
Register, unlike a membership list or service directory, includes
practitioners who have been accredited through their Member Association
and PACFA’s National Register application process as meeting the high
standards required for professional practice as a Counsellor or
Psychotherapist. PACFA recommends that prospective clients choose a
therapist from the PACFA Register because these practitioners have
obtained a significant level of training, expertise and commitment to a
high standard of ethical and professional practice. If you are looking
for a particular type of therapist, depending on the style and modality
of counselling that you think is most appropriate for you, you can refer
to the Section of PACFA to which the registered practitioner belongs.
Go to the PACFA Sections
page for details.
What can I expect when seeing a Counsellor/Psychotherapist?
It is always best to contact the Counsellor or Psychotherapist before
making an appointment. Discuss your requirements so they can indicate
whether they will be able to assist you, and if not, suggest a more
appropriate therapist for you. Feel free to ask questions about their
training, experience, expertise, style of work, and get an estimate of
how many sessions are likely to be required. Also ask about costs of
missed sessions or cancellations. Please note that the number of
sessions is difficult to predict and some clients opt for an open-ended
contract. Some practitioners work on a short term intensive basis so
they can be clearer about how many sessions will be required.
What does counselling and psychotherapy cost?
Costs vary greatly and range from $60 to $150 a session, although
some practitioners charge outside this range. Some practitioners will
also negotiate their fees on capacity to pay basis and some will not. In
the end it has a lot to do with your personal choice and comfort with
the person you are seeing. If you are in any doubt, seek more
information or change therapists if necessary.
What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy and Counselling are professional activities that
utilise an interpersonal relationship to enable people to develop
self-understanding and to make changes in their lives. Professional
Counsellors and Psychotherapists work within a clearly contracted,
principled relationship that enables individuals to obtain assistance in
exploring and resolving issues of an interpersonal, intra-psychic, or
personal nature. Although Counselling and Psychotherapy overlap
considerably, there are also recognised differences in terms of aims,
approaches and training. While the work with clients may be of
considerable depth in both modalities, the focus of counselling is more
likely to be on specific problems or changes in life adjustment.
Psychotherapy is more concerned with the restructuring of the
personality or self. For more detailed definitions, see the Counselling & Psychotherapy Definitions
What do I do if I want to make a complaint against a Counsellor or Psychotherapist?
PACFA can only hear complaints against counsellors and
psychotherapists who are listed on the PACFA National Register or who
were listed at the time the service in question was provided. Most
PACFA registrants are direct members of PACFA but, as a Federation we
also have some registrants who are Members of a PACFA Member
When making a complaint to PACFA, please check that the
practitioner you are complaining about is listed on the PACFA National
Register, and ensure that you have contacted their Member Association
before proceeding with your complaint (if applicable). If you are unsure
who to complain to please contact the PACFA Office to discuss
Please download the PACFA Code of Ethics
or details of the expected ethical standards for Counsellors and
Psychotherapists. This document provides information about the role of
the PACFA Ethics Committee and Professional Conduct Panels, possible
causes for complaints, who can make a complaint, and the steps that need
to be taken. If you wish to make a complaint against a therapist who is
not listed on the National Register, please contact the Health
Complaints Commission in your state. To make a complaint, go to the Complaints