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How do you all afford psychology/psychiatry sessions?

Community Member
I know there are 10 sessions covered under Medicare where you only pay a smaller fee but every time I have been the 10 sessions run out so fast. I am unemployed, even recently working casual I wasn't earning much. How do some of you people afford to go weekly/fortnightly. When I was working full time I was going every week/fortnight and spent over $3,000 in a year on seeing my psychologist. It's just too damn expensive, how can sessions cost $200 approx per 50 mins, what justifies such a high fee?
I don't get it.
87 Replies 87

Community Member
I want to know too... so will follow this thread!  🙂

Community Member

Also how does the 10 sessions  work... my Dr mentioned it...?? 

Thanks in advance, 



My dr does a BOMH form for me. I do a K10 test and maybe it depends on answers/high risk I'm not sure. I haven't had any problems getting 6 sessions free with my physcologist (whom I see weekly or f/n) been seeing her for two years. 

Hello Everyone

Free or very low cost counselling is available from several organisations.

For people up to age 25:
Kids Helpline, both phone and face to face.
ReachOut.com helps young people to navigate the mental health system.
http://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/ Access to online programs and trusted information on depression, stress or anxiety from Australia’s leading mental health organisations.
www.youthbeyondblue.com is the BB website for young people.

For older people, try:
Lifeline. phone and face to face counselling.
The Salvation Army offers counselling to all ages.
Anglicare offers counselling to all ages.
Relationships Australia offer counselling but I am unsure if they take young people.
The Black Dog Institute has a huge amount of information and I think has online programs.
Mind Matters Click on the tab on the home page.
Beyond Blue helpline 24/7

Additionally there may be groups in your local area that offer low cost or no cost counselling. I would expect your GP to have details of any such organisations.

Some psychologists will bulk bill so you do not need a MHP, just a referral. You will need to ask individual practitioners unless, again, your GP know of these rare birds.

I hope that helps


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Great post mister m!

 I feel your frustration. I had to sell my home initially when things got real bad with my BPD, and move back home. In my acute stages I was needing to see a psych 3x a week at $180 session, for about 6 months. Ive been paying about 200 a week since 2008,  having seen countless therapists, to just to stay alive. It's not working, I feel so ripped off, and what's more,  have completely lost drive to continue working with nothing to show for my efforts, and still feeling fragmented. 

There needs to be more accountability in this industry. I'd even go so far as to say a national enquiry into the level of professional negligence. If you have a complex personality disorder you fall through the crack and just suffer needlessly.





Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

I agree, great post. Been wondering that as well.

Splitbean, I agree to the degree that I've been seeing a psychologist for maybe 4-5yrs (maybe even longer)  and with different issues that pop up - I just don't seem to be getting better/improving and if anything, after further life events and the progression of time - I'm feeling worse.

Community Member
I'm not so sure how it works really in Australia. Been here for only four years. I used free counselling sessions for students at Uni. Back then, I thought I was fine, just another normal ups and downs for Uni students. I surveyed the price for private counselling services. Yes, they were very pricey. However, I know in a neighbouring country... those who works as a public servant can have access to free physchiatric sessions and original meds. Yes, free of charge. I hope the same applies in Australia soon?

Community Member

Hi there

I have ​just had a mental health care plan completed by my GP which entitles me to 10 Medicare claimable sessions.

With the psychologist I have selected I believe I get back around 85% of her fee through Medicare. So I'll be paying about $30 per session.

I think it's important to select the right psychologist and to try to avoid wasting time with professionals you just don't 'connect' with. Or perhaps their approach doesn't suit.

For me, my GP knows what I'm like and recommended an older female psychologist with experience with professional women and an ability to relate.

My first consult was really like a 'job interview' to determine if the therapeutic relationship would be beneficial and worth pursuing.

As we only have ten sessions under Medicare. With not working and spending a lot of money seeking specialists and tests for my sick child, I really hope it's enough.

​I am hoping to work through my problems and devise some coping strategies so that I can manage these feelings and move forward, as well as making some decisions in a rationale and clear thought out way.

If the sessions aren't enough I will then look to using my health fund rebate, which isn't much but at least it's Something.

Those who have used psychology services long term, may I ask the reasons for this? Does it help? Sorry if I sound niave. I really don't know what to expect.

Can't put a price on health!





Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

I was lucky.

The Psychiatrist I was seeing for just over 25 years always bulk billed me. I asked why once and she said "If I charged you, you would never come" How right she was, who can really afford hundreds of dollars like that?

Sadly she retired in 2012. I was finally convinced by my GP to see a Psycologist late last year, even with the Mental Health Plan it cost me just over a $100 per visit. I gave it away after 3 visits, I couldn't see the point and having a mortgage all to myself such visits couldn't be justified.