I currently offer individual therapy, however I’m in the process of organising Psychotherapy groups (as of July 2019).
Group psychotherapy is effective for a range of issues (like depression and anxiety) and serves as a good adjunct to individual therapy. Groups are more cost-effective than individual therapy and they can be really helpful in working on difficulties in social interaction and avoidance. Groups are integral to treatments like Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
I have run groups before, or appeared for the ‘Psychology’ part of a group run by someone else (e.g. chronic pain), and they’re really enjoyable. I’m keen to run groups regularly.
Why are there so few therapy groups around? Psychologists prefer to do individual therapy, it can be hard to get enough people to form a group (ideally up to 10 participants), therapists need a larger room (typical room size is often too small to accomodate around 10 people), and groups require extra administrative time (organising a session, notes and payments for 10 people rather than 1).
Mental health plan referrals
Medicare Mental Health Plans provide rebates for up to 10 individual sessions, and up to 10 group sessions, per calendar year (1st of January to the 31st of December). So yes, you can get a Mental Health Plan for group therapy.
Group psychotherapy accounts for only 0.7% of Medicare Mental Health Plan claims. How do I know? Well it is possible to get the number of claims for each service from a Medicare data website. This figure has not changed over the last 5 years. This is really unfortunate because people there is basically a helpful service that is not being provided to the public.
Clients need a referral from a GP, Psychiatrist, or Paediatrician. It is the same process as when people get a referral for individual sessions. If you have a referral for individual sessions, you need another referral for group therapy. I cannot provide rebates for group therapy using individual therapy referrals.
Groups need to have between 6-10 people in order to claim the Medicare rebate (Medicare rule for group psychotherapy).
You don’t need a Mental Health Plan referral to attend a group, just pay the standard fee. (To be determined)
I am currently taking referrals to form a group. It is challenging to organise a group from scratch, so I am happy to add people to a waiting list. Just get in contact with me and I can let you know the current level of interest.
Location? The group will not run at the Gordon site since those rooms are too small to comfortably fit a group. Once a group forms I will confirm the location. It will be in the upper north shore area (Chatswood to Hornsby) most likely, depending on the makeup of the group and room availability.