THERAPY!!! – The Stigma and How to Source Supports

Hi there,

My name is Matt. I have been working within the mental health industry for some time now. Along this journey I have been heavily researching ways Character Care can support people. It is a tricky world out there financially to receive supports, in all forms of health, but most certainly for mental health in Brisbane. I am here to say, there are supports available. What I have found is, most people do not know where to get supports and also the finances to fund such supports. This blog is aimed to provide you with information on how you can afford mental health supports, but firstly, I would like to discuss what therapy is…

Psychotherapy, counselling, psychology, etc. are all means of having conversations to develop ways for people to be empowered in life when issues arise. Issues people bring to therapy come in a wide range of forms: illness, disorders, relationships, self-confidence, sadness, stress, and the list goes on. What is important, no matter the issue, is talking about it. There is stigma surrounding this notion. However, I encourage you to allow yourself to seek support. We are HUMAN, meaning, we require human interactions, connections and support. Therapy in our modern world brings certain ideals and expectations, yet consider our ancestors and how “therapy” looked to them. Speaking with an elder, priest, chief, shaman, psychic etc, you were seeking counsel with an issue in your world and they would offer the space, time, understanding, and a listening ear for you. Today, therapy in a capitalistic world means you have to pay for it and it is now a profession (and rightly so). So why is there this hesitation to seek counsel in a therapist? There are many answers and thoughts to this question. Some stories I have heard before: “I don’t want to be judged/analysed.” “If I see a therapist I must be crazy.” “It is too expensive.” “They won’t understand.” “I don’t want to talk about my past.” “I don’t want my work knowing I have mental health issues.” All very understandable responses to the notion of going to therapy.

At Character Care, we are different. Firstly, you walk in to our hub and wonder if you are at the right location as it does not look like a clinic, rather, a warm, colourful space, with a refreshment on arrival, some games in the waiting room, and a smiling therapist. Secondly, is our approach to therapy. We do not believe in the “one size fits all” approach. We believe every person’s experience of their own world is unique to you. We invite you to share your story while we listen and collaborate with you a way to develop a preferred future and a new empowering story. No judgement or analysis.  We try understand your world view, but no one will ever walk the same path of the journey as you, we just want to join you. We only invite the past if you wish to discuss it. We are also an external confidential body, meaning, your employer or others would not be informed of you seeking our services. Finally, it can be inexpensive with the right ways of finding financial support…

There are numerous ways you can seek financial support to make therapy more affordable. After gathering information from the industry, here is what Character Care has discovered about financial support for therapy in Brisbane.

Medicare: medicare allows you to gain rebates for psychology consultations through a Mental Health Care Plan, which requires your General Practitioner to send a referral to your preferred psychologist. You would first need to meet with your GP who would suggest if a Mental Health Care Plan is suitable for you. An allowance of sessions is provided (6-10 sessions within a year) and you would receive a rebate of $85 per session with a Psychologist, and you would need to cover any gap fees, shrinking the cost of therapy. Counselling does not come under Medicare, yet all Character Care psychologists are registered with Medicare. You may not wish to have a Mental Health Care Plan (ask your GP the pros and cons), but no worries, there are other options…

Private Health Cover: Most (not all) private health covers have psychology in their extras cover. You would need to check with your provider to understand if your plan includes psychology. A rebate and limit of funding per year would be allocated to you and you would need to pay any gap fees with your therapist, shrinking the cost of therapy. Recently, counselling has been recognized by some providers for sessions: BUPA, Medibank, Police Health Fund, and Doctor’s Health Fund. Again, you would need to check your coverage with these providers and we are an external Brisbane Mental Health provider, so your employer would not know you have sought mental health support (which sometimes people are weary of for seeking support). Character Care’s therapists have provider numbers and are illegible under these private health covers.

Employee Assistance Programs: Some businesses have what is known as EAPs. You would speak with your HR person and they can seek a support for you through EAP. In most cases (not all) you would be eligible to receive therapy under these agreements with your employer and the EAP service. Generally, your therapy could be free (not always) to you for a certain amount of sessions. EAPs hold confidentiality contracts with your employer so you will not be disadvantaged for seeking support, depending on the agreement made by your employer. Both psychology and counselling in Brisbane, could be available to you and in general, you could potentially take family members with you to therapy if you felt necessary (again, would need to check with your program). Another way to shrink the cost of therapy.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): In Brisbane, the NDIS rolls out in July 2018, while other regions in Queensland have begun their roll out. If you or family member are eligible for the NDIS, you could potentially receive counselling and psychology funding support. Character Care is a registered provider for the NDIS Brisbane under these supports. You would need to negotiate with your NDIS planner to have therapy in your plan.

Full Fee for Service and other options: If these options are not available to you, perhaps full fee for service might be your final option. Character Care’s counselling and psychology rates are reasonably priced in the market and we stand by our quality of service. For the price of a fancy dinner for two, you could receive supports to help with your current issues to benefit your mental health and well-being. If you require a quote or more information, please give us a call and we could help you find the right service and financial options for you to seek support and preferred futures. If we cannot accommodate your needs, we will certainly help within our resources to ensure you receive the right supports for counselling or psychology in Brisbane.


Matthew Bates M.A.C.A

Lead Counsellor and Practice Manager

Character Care

Psychology and Counselling, Moorooka