FAQ

To answer this question with an even better question: why suffer needlessly? If you find yourself suffering for an ongoing period of time, if you held back from your true potential (by debilitating symptoms or self-ignorance), if you have been shocked by recent events that overwhelm you or you are being plagued by strong feelings, confused and negative thinking then seeing a Psychologist can be very effective and can really help you overcome such obstacles and move on in life. If you are suffering from a physical illness, especially one that mainstream medicine can’t treat, of if you are struggling with relationship issues, problems with confidence, stress and ‘nerves’ or being ‘down in the dumps’ then applied psychological counseling has been found to be very effective and this is verified by mainstream scientific findings. This is why psychologists are becoming increasingly available: because what we do works. Performance enhancement and lifestyle coaching is also helpful for people who want to get the most out of their life and potential. If required Ben also offers deeper, alternative and esoteric approaches that many other psychologists tend to shy away from due to his own interests and experience.
You don’t need any referral to see a psychologist, but in Australia in order to receive a Medicare Rebate for up to 10-sessions per year, then a Mental Health Care Plan must first be provided by your GP if you have a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, substance mis-use, and adjustment problems to lifestyle events and trauma. In some cases people may be uncomfortable with such a process but it needs to be looked upon as a process to assist you to achieve subsidized sessions – any Lord you pay enough taxes so you deserve something in return! Please see your GP to get a Care Plan if you require a Medicare Rebate as otherwise total cost of sessions can be a little prohibitive if funds are tight. Of course if you are comfortably wealthy then this does not matter. To rationalize costs of investing in yourself: total cost of therapy over 10 sessions which might take place of a 6-month period (a very thorough stint) is under $1900 (and much less if you receive medicare or health fund rebates). When you think about it, is your life, happiness and wellness worth it? Strange that you might pay more for drinks over the course of a year, an annual holiday or a big screen TV.
Sessions are charged at $189 per hour. Less rebates the gap is about $100.

Ben does offer a lower concessional rate at $139 for those struggling financially (this makes the gap only about $50 per session).

Current recommended rates are over $212 per hour but some practitioners find this exorbitant and reduce their fees so that their clients are more able to access help. Of course it can be expensive to train and to run a clinic with staff and rates etc., so these hidden costs make up the bulk of the fee. The sessions with a good psychologist are well worth it! Therapy can be life transforming and can even save your life and make you far more functional and happy. Current Word Health Organisation findings indicate the greatest health cost on the economy is due to untreated mental health problems – for example, Post-traumatic stress disorder can render one unable to go to work. Sick days alone total hundreds of millions of dollars for the economy. The public system is under-funded, often impersonal and medication favoured, with long waiting lists and many trainee staff who are stressed and exhausted themselves – so the private clinic sector is heavily leaned upon by hospitals and the like. Most experienced professionals who achieve the best outcomes end up running their own private clinics so that they can do what works and with quality service provision (where they are often obstructed to do so in the public system with much time wasted in meetings and bureaucratic paperwork). Aesthetic and environmental aspects are important as well as respectful engagement with helping staff. It is a priority for me at my clinic that clients are treated with utmost respect in a safe and comfortable environment.

When you think about it: what is your life, your self awareness, your ability to perform and your happiness worth? Most people would spend more on coffee or parking their car annually than they would do a course of therapy which can also time limited – it doesn’t have to drag on forever. Many people benefit from 4 to 6 sessions whilst some prefer to delve deeper and consolidate gains over time; the choice is yours.

Group sessions cost between $40 and $50 per session and rebates are around $25 each time.

The first session is all about the meet and greet, allowing the client to feel comfortable, for Ben to get to know you and to conduct an assessment about what is going on. Many people remark that they had never felt so understood before and the process is quite reassuring due to its thoroughness. An in-depth assessment in the course of a conversation is essential to understanding and properly alleviating the situation at hand. It’s all about the client feeling comfortable in order to do what they need to do. A plan may be drawn up around certain methods and strategies.

Subsequent sessions progress according to what is needed as we go along as well as the initial plan. Various methods are utilized based on what will work with the client’s presentation, background and personality style. For example, narrative therapy is about ‘re-authoring’ the version of life events to produce a more optimal and life enhancing perspective on life. Similarly cognitive distortions (of belief system and thought patterns) can be exposed and disputed to free up a person’s sense of self, other and life in general. Potentially hypnosis and mindfulness exercises (metaphysics of consciousness and presence) can be utilized as well. Essentially, the problem situation or condition is studied and analysed and when this occurs adequately solutions tend to emerge that can then be methodically applied. The process of therapy itself is quite organic and can even be somewhat mystical and beyond the client and the therapist’s intentions. Engaging in this flow is a healing experience. I’ve had many clients who first presented with terrible suffering and symptoms, who after a bout of therapeutic sessions have said to me ‘I don’t need to come any more, I’m feeling fine; in fact I can’t really remember what was wrong in the beginning’! This outcome shows a reverse engineering of the problem condition and is quite miraculous if you simply engage with the process and allow it to occur.

This is essentially based on what condition you are presenting with, how severe your situation is, how resistant you are to change, and how dedicated and open you are. Typically most people require approximately 4 to 6 sessions or up to 10 session. Around 10% of people will present more for what I call a ‘debrief session’. This is where they just need to talk to someone who listens, or even have an enlightened conversation, but they have inner resources which are accessed more easily and they are ‘good to go’. Another 20% of people will prefer long-term therapy over months or even periodically over the course of years because they find the support so beneficial and worth-while. Also people will often go through stages of personal growth and encounter various challenges along the way, so having access to ongoing therapy once you’ve engaged initially is a great help.
Be open, and engage as much as you are able and talk about whatever you think may be relevant or important to you. Ask any questions that you have because it is your session and all about you. Take your time, go at your own pace, give any feedback you have to the therapist and accept that trust is earned over time – so you may find yourself opening up more over time once you have gained more trust and this is completely understandable. It’s like a focused friendship, but uni-laterally focused on the client without distraction or the need to self-censor because it is all confidential. There also boundaries where you don’t have to worry about the therapist – and this is liberating and a great relief on its own.
Yes – everything you say is confidential. I do not tell anyone what is said in sessions unless the client asks me to. By law and also morally we are also required to report any ongoing child abuse to authorities and to protect the client if they express any need to suicide or to harm others, but this can usually be done in partnership and in the appropriate way – for example, helping the client to access further help and support or to liaise with his or her doctor. Any court can subpoena medical records if a presiding Judge orders it. Because of this, written records are a need-to-know basis. I never record what a client says – but only my own general observations and interventions as per legal and professional requirements. It is of course very rare for a subpoena to occur and must be done so by a court. This has only happened to me working with a client twice. Records may also be requested by the client him or herself for their own reporting needs (e.g. if they are requesting compensation from a third-party) – and this is totally fine as your records are your records and by law any health practitioner is legally required to give a copy of records upon request by any patient.
Yes. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor with specialist training in treating mental health conditions with medication and hospital in-patient treatment, typically for more severe conditions. A Psychologist takes a different training scheme altogether where a Bachelor of Science or Arts majoring in Psychology from the very beginning is studied with relevant post graduate qualifications and internships as required. There are various specialties in psychology, including clinical, counseling, forensic, educational, developmental, community, sports, industrial/ organizational and experimental research. All of these professionals are psychologists but with slightly different interests and approaches. To practice in a health setting with clients the main professional criterion is that the psychologist is registered with the relevant state body (in the case of Australia this is AHPRA which regulates all health practitioners including doctors and physiotherapists). There are non-registered practitioners as well who may call them selves counselors or psychotherapists and these providers can still be very good at what they do but haven’t necessarily endured the same levels of training and professional development.
Only a medical doctor can prescribe medication. I can give lifestyle suggestions and refer you to others who can prescribe medication but I myself do not.
My training took 8-years with an additional 3-years internship. This is because I studied multiple degrees including science, bio-sciences, psychology, philosophy, counseling and hypnotherapy.
48-hours notice is required or a cancellation fee is charged. This is because our clinic costs are ongoing even if a patient does not show up (e.g. staff wages and overheads) and it takes sufficient notice to organize another replacement booking, so the only way to make the business viable and sustainable and to abide by APS guidelines is to enact a cancellation policy. Of course all consideration is given to special circumstances, but otherwise last minute cancellations enact a fee, which is typically half the cost of a regular session.
Yes – online Skype sessions are provided (as well as other audio-visual or telephone platforms). There is a booking service on this website if you would like an on-line session. Click here to find out more.
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