FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHY DO I HAVE TO DO AN INITIAL ASSESSMENT SESSION BEFORE SEEING A COUNSELLOR?


All potential clients are required to attend an initial intake session to ensure that the Rough Patch approach will work best for you. We want to find you a counsellor that's right for you, and ensure counselling is accessible and sustainable. This session is conducted by a registered counsellor, who will gather some information, answer any questions you have, and make any necessary referrals. If you or the counsellor determine that Rough Patch isn’t the right fit, the counsellor will provide alternative ideas and referrals.

This initial session costs $60 for an individual, or $70 for a couple and is non-refundable whether or not counselling with a Rough Patch counsellor is undertaken. This fee covers the cost of the counsellor’s time and any additional work they will do to ensure you receive appropriate referrals to other services.




WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM COUNSELLING AT ROUGH PATCH?


Rough Patch offers affordable medium-term counselling and mental health services, of up to 15 sessions in a 12-month period. We do this so we can increase access for anyone who needs us without long waiting lists. You’re welcome to come back for another round of counselling after 12 months, if you like.

Medium-term counselling is a great way of getting support and looking at some of the things in your life that cause distress, worry or other difficult feelings. We can find you a counsellor who has experience working with whatever it is you want to address, including depression, anxiety, stress and worry, relationship, family and parenting difficulties, childhood issues, work and professional issues, and communication difficulties. We have counsellors who specialise in helping people who have experienced violence, sexual assault, disordered eating, and addictions in the past.

You’ll be able to do great things in 15 sessions, but might find you want to continue counselling to get even more benefit. For some people, medium-term counselling won’t be long enough to address trauma, complex issues and healing, and that’s totally normal. If this is the case for you, your counsellor will work with you to find longer-term supports.

We want to support anyone who might need us, but having said this, we aren’t a crisis centre or specialised service. We won’t be able to provide the necessary support you if you currently experience domestic violence, are having a mental health crisis, are experiencing severe substance dependency issues, or other acute crises. We will happily connect you with the places that specialise in these issues, so you can get the best possible care.




WHAT IS A REFERRAL SERVICE?


A referral service simply means we will use our expertise and resources to connect you with another healthcare provider depending on your need. This might include speciality counselling services, GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, or other businesses and organisations that can help with counselling, advocacy, or health care.




DO YOUR COUNSELLORS GIVE MEDICARE REBATES OR BULK BILL?


Unfortunately, the Australian Government only offers rebates to clients of psychologists and some social workers. Our unique model does not rely on Medicare and still costs less per session than many psychologists, even after the rebate.




CAN I GET A REBATE FROM MY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE TO SEE A COUNSELLOR?


It depends on the counsellor. Click here to view our counsellor profiles, which includes details on who is registered with Medibank Private, BUPA, AHM and St Luke's Health as a provider. Please note that these are the only private health funds in Australia who currently offer rebates on counselling services.




CAN I USE MY NDIS FUNDING TO SEE A COUNSELLOR?


We currently do not have any counsellors who are registered as NDIS providers, but we're working towards this. However, depending on your NDIS plan, you may be able to engage with an NDIS provider outside of Rough Patch who can arrange brokerage or pay for your counselling sessions through their organisation. We recommend speaking to your NDIS Support Coordinator for more details - we're happy to liaise with them where helpful.




WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUNSELLING, PSYCHOLOGY, PSYCHIATRY AND SOCIAL WORK?


To put it simply, all four practitioners aim to help people with emotional distress and improve mental health. However, their training and approaches differ.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who completes their training and then goes on to specialise in mental health medicine. They can diagnose mental illnesses, prescribe medication, and usually only see their patients for 30 minutes or so. Some psychiatrists are also counsellors, and see their patients once a week for a longer session, but this isn’t very common.

Psychologists complete varying degrees and can specialise in neuropsychology, forensic psychology, educational or developmental psychology, sport and exercise psychology, or counselling psychology. Sometimes, psychologists don’t see clients for counselling, but do things like psychology research or teaching. A Clinical Psychologist specialises in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues.

If you are experiencing extreme mental distress/illness and require a high level of support and mental health care, if you require any assessments or reports for criminal or family court, or generally speaking need a high level of care or specific expertise, a psychologist may be the best support for you.

Social Workers work in many different contexts, such as case work, advocacy, community work, social action, policy development, and education. Counselling Social Workers see clients for counselling, case management and advocacy and tend to be more hands-on with helping people get supports they need from government agencies such as housing, employment, disability support, etc.

Counsellors and psychotherapists have varying levels of training and approaches. Some counsellors and psychotherapists study for many years to complete Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees, and some do not have university degrees at all, although this is uncommon. Unfortunately, counselling isn’t regulated as heavily in Australia as psychiatry, psychology and social work. However, most counsellors are committed to ongoing learning and development, and have a unique approach because of their varied and eclectic training methods.

All Rough Patch counsellors are registered with a professional association, which means they are required to meet strict standards every year, including a certain amount of training, professional development, supervision and learning. They are bound by a code of conduct and ethics which they are required to uphold for their professional registration. All Rough Patch counsellors have a minimum of a Bachelors Degree in counselling or a related field.

At Rough Patch, regardless of a practitioner’s training, approach or registrations, they all work within our model and provide counselling for $60-$90 per individual session, or $70-$100 per couples/family session.




I'M NOT AN AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN, CAN I SEE A COUNSELLOR?


Yes. We welcome international students, people with temporary visas, and any other people without Australian citizenship. We do not receive any government funding, so your details are not recorded on any government databases.




IS SEEING A COUNSELLOR MORE AFFORDABLE THAN A PSYCHOLOGIST?


It depends. If you see a GP and are given a Mental Health Care Plan, you are eligible for 10 Medicare-rebated sessions with a psychologist or clinical psychologist per year. However, you still have to pay a gap fee, which can sometimes be a significant amount more than the rebate fee. The current fee recommendation by the Australian Psychological Society is $260 per hour. If you want to see a psychologist for more than 10 sessions, you then have to pay the full fee yourself. Example: Psychology fee: $260 Medicare rebate: $87.45 First 10 sessions you pay: $172.55 Some psychologists do bulk bill, which means you won't pay anything out of pocket, but this is rare. You will still have to pay out of pocket if you wish to see a psychologist for more than 10 sessions.