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Counselling Under Medicare Allied Health System

Image Types of Counselling

Receiving counselling under Medicare Allied Health System can have negative consequences for clients.

Before anyone can receive counselling from a Psychologist under this system they have to be referred by a GP and the person has to be diagnosed with a "Mental Illness". Once someone has been diagnosed as mentally ill, this is kept on their medical record until they die, even if the emotional problem, diagnosed as a "Mental Illness" was just a brief event.

Possible Impact of Discrimination

Frequently people with a Mental Illness are stigmatised and experience discrimination. This discrimination could impact on their ability to get work, and any potential Work Cover claims could be blamed on their "mental illness". Insurance claims could be compromised, or their ability to get insurance in the first place could be denied or be more expensive.

It is my experience that people seek counselling for personal, interpersonal or social reasons. If a person does have a mental illness, that illness is usually managed by their Psychiatrist. I do not believe that a person needs to be diagnosed with anything to receive and benefit from counselling. A diagnosis does not help in any way with their counselling issues.

What The Research Says About Change

Research says that the factors accounting for the change in counselling are: Client Factors 40%, Relationship Factors 30% (between the counsellor and client), Hope & Expectancy 15%, Model & Technique used 15%. Diagnosis does not contribute to a successful outcome in counselling.

Cost Difference Receiving Counselling

It may or may not be less expensive to see a Psychologist rather than a Professional Counsellor under this system (unless the Psychologist is bulk billing. 

A client still has to pay the difference between the Medicare rebate and the Psychologist fee), but there could be a high price to pay in the future if this diagnosis were to be used against them.

In a Courier Mail newspaper, the article said that "Mental Illness remains a taboo subject for many people, although it touches the lives of most Australians."

"There is still an evident reluctance in the community to trust individuals with a mental illness in decision-making roles or in roles where reliability is paramount." 



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