Justine McAllister BBus/BPsych (Hons), MSc Occup Psych.


What is the Medicare Better Access Scheme?

Justine McAllister is a registered generalist psychologist who is a provider with Medicare Australia to deliver treatment for mental health issues. To access the  Medicare Better Access Scheme, you are required to see your doctor, psychiatrist, or paediatrician to gain a  Mental Health Care Plan.  If you hold a Centrelink Health Care Card or are applying for a low income Health Care Card or are experiencing financial hardship, please talk to your doctor to gain a Connect to Wellbeing referral so that you do not have to pay any out of pocket expenses.   Please note that if you need to see a psychologist urgently, talk to your doctor as soon as possible as there is provision for individuals to see a psychologist without paying any out of pocket expenses under the Connect to Wellbeing scheme.

Can I go directly to a psychologist to receive treatment?

Yes, you can self-refer to Justine McAllister Psychologist for treatment and pay the consultation fee after each session. However, if you wish to take advantage of Medicare’s Better Access Scheme and receive a rebate for each session, you will first need to see your doctor.  If your doctor considers that you are suitable for a Mental Health Care Plan, this will be developed with you so that you can be referred to see a psychologist who has a Medicare Provider Number. Psychiatrists and paediatricians can also prepare a Mental Health Care Plan.

How can a psychologist help me if I have a mental health problem?

Psychologists receive training in evidence based strategies to assist people who are experiencing mental health issues. The training aims to assist individuals to gain strategies to manage challenging life experiences while reducing the associated symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.

Can I go to any psychologist or counsellor?

Not all counsellors are registered psychologists. If you wish to use the Medicare Better Access rebate scheme for treatment, then you can only see a counsellor/psychologist with a Medicare Provider Number.

How many sessions do people tend to see a psychologist for?

The number of sessions varies from individual to individual as everyone has a different life experience. Consequently, the range of issues that bring people to therapy are also vastly different. Some issues are ongoing and may require long term support to deal with setbacks and relapses. Other issues are due to a minor change in circumstances, and may only require a couple of sessions. What is important to note that if worries or issues are addressed sooner rather than later, then often treatment outcomes are more favourable for the individual.

What should I expect from my first session?

At the first session, you will be asked to complete some important paperwork. The paperwork will include completing a form to gain your basic personal information, a consent form including confidentiality requirements and your treatment goals. The discussion will also include any fees that you may be required to pay.  Relevant background information will also be taken and may include information about your family, relationships, employment history and past counselling sessions.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychologists are mental health professionals who use evidence based “talking therapies” to assist individuals to cope with the symptoms associated with anxiety, depression and stress.  To gain registration as a psychologist, Justine McAllister completed a four year undergraduate degree in pyschology followed by at least two years of supervised practice.  Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed a medical degree and then specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication.

What is the difference between a counsellor and a psychologist?

Psychologists are regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (APHRA) and hence, the term “psychologist” is protected term. The term “counsellor” is not a protected term, and therefore anyone can refer to themselves as a counsellor as there is no minimum standard for this service. Although there is no minimum standard for counsellors, there are many counsellors that have undertaken relevant training that may range from a Certificate III to a Masters Degree.

How does confidentiality work with a psychologist?

All information that you discuss during your consultation with a psychologist is confidential except for certain circumstances. These circumstances will be discussed with you at your first appointment prior to you discussing your issues with the psychologist.