Broadly speaking, GPs provide initial assessment, medical treatment, psychological or ‘talking’ therapies, and/or referral to mental health specialists. Psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists specialise in talking therapies, while psychiatrists specialise in medical treatment and talking therapies.
You don’t need a referral from a GP or psychiatrist to see a psychologist, however, you’ll need a Mental Health Treatment Plan from a GP to claim rebates through Medicare or to utilise the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program.
You don’t need a referral from a GP to see an occupational therapist in mental health, however a Mental Health Treatment Plan from a GP is needed to claim rebates from Medicare or to utilise the ATAPS program.
A counsellor can talk through different problems you may be experiencing and look for possible solutions. However, it is important to note that not all counsellors have specific training in treating mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
You'll need a referral from a GP to see a psychiatrist and to claim rebates through Medicare.
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