Many clients achieve effective results for a specific focussed issue within a time frame of 10 sessions or less.

Multiple or long standing problems (complex PTSD, severe trauma or developmental trauma) can take longer to heal.

Many clients with long term mental health issues fund their therapy with a combination of Medicare and Private Health Extras cover. Another option is to do blocks of sessions and return each year for a pulse of treatment. You can stop therapy at any stage.

The length of your therapy depends on many factors including:

  • The severity and complexity of your problems
  • How quickly you respond to treatment
  • How much work you are willing to do in between sessions. Research shows that, irrespective of treatment method, practicing skills and homework activities enhances treatment effects
  • Your awareness and ability to reflect on what is happening for you (mindfulness)
  • Whether we can capitalise on any previous treatment or personal development work.

You may already have many skills and insights into what is holding you back from flourishing.

Typically, psychologists offer sessions of 50 minutes duration.

My standard session is 75 minutes for several key reasons:

  • It allows enough time to review your progress and any challenges that have arisen since the previous session, and still have plenty of time to do substantial work.
  • For people who have fortnightly appointments, it allows sufficient time to work.
  • Traditionally the recommended time frame for EMDR sessions is 90 mins because it allows sufficient time for adequate processing of trauma targets.
  • 75 mins matches the human “ultradian” biological rhythms of 75-90 mins for a complete cycle (e.g. sleep cycles). This means we can do the work justice, rather than skimming the surface or compromising on your review of progress plus allowing for planning on how you can continue the work in between sessions.

My standard appointments are 75 minutes in length. Please be aware of this when you are comparing my fees with those of other practitioners as they probably have sessions of 50-60 minutes only.   For 2023/24, The Australian Psychological Society’s recommended fee for 45-60 minutes is $300.

Unfortunately, the Health Minister has not granted a maximum of 20 possible sessions that were available during the pandemic years 2020-2022.  Currently, only a maximum of 10 sessions per calendar year can be rebated, if you have a valid Mental Health Plan (Referral) issued by your GP.  Medicare increased the rebate of Better Access to Mental Health sessions in July 2023.


Consultation fees 2024 Full fee with Medicare Full fee with Private Health Cover
My fee (75 minutes) $310 $300
Medicare rebate $136.35 Private health cover varies $30-Full fee
Gap (Your actual out of pocket costs) $173.65 Variable depending on your health fund for Extras cover (psychology)

Therapy for couples (on going couples therapy or occasional sessions where a partner attends) is not covered by Medicare. A standard 75min session for couples is $360.  Unfortunately I no longer see clients with third party payments e.g. TAC,  Workcover, NDIS, DVA etc.

For individual and couple sessions, extra time is charged at $60 for every block of 5-15 mins.

The consultation fee is due on the date of service. For non-attendance and cancellations with less than 48 hours notice, the full fee will be charged.  Medicare does not rebate non-attended or late cancelled sessions.  A late cancellation impacts 3 people: (1) the client who potentially loses therapy momentum and delays therapeutic progress; (2) another client possibly on a waiting list, who could have benefited from that session time; (3) a psychologist who spent time preparing for the session.

Many clients with long term mental health issues fund their therapy with a combination of Medicare and Private Health Extras cover. Another option is to do blocks of sessions and return each year for a pulse of treatment. You can stop or pause therapy at any stage, assuming you are stable enough to do so.  If we are not a good fit as client-therapist, you are free to change to another psychologist at any stage.   If I feel that I am not a good fit for you as a therapist (e.g. do not have the experience or skill set necessary, or good interpersonal fit), I will also make a recommendation for another therapist for you.

Before or after you have your GP referral, you are welcome to have a free 10 minute phone conversation with me. During this call, you have an opportunity to ask me questions and consider whether we could be a good fit in working together.

Please note that I cannot advise, assess, diagnose or treat you during this 10 minute call. After this initial free phone call, there is no obligation to continue to see me. Even after a few therapy sessions, you are always free to pause or stop treatment.

If you have severe symptoms and suspect you have a mental illness, or you are experiencing distress, please see your GP. I recommend that you have a double appointment (20-30 mins) so you and your GP have sufficient time to discuss your symptoms and problems, and whether you qualify for Medicare coverage under the Better Access to Mental Health Plan.

Your GP will make the initial assessment and diagnosis, and suggest a general treatment plan (e.g. CBT for OCD, or EMDR for PTSD). He/she will also register you to claim rebates from Medicare and write a referral for you to see a psychologist (e.g. me).

Due to budget cuts, the maximum is for 10 sessions per calendar year. The rebate for Medicare for Clinical psychology treatment for 50 minutes or longer (Item 80010) is $124.50.


Option 1: If you wish to claim a Medicare rebate, yes you need a referral from your GP or a psychiatrist. They need to register you for rebates within the Medicare system.

Option 2: If you don’t wish to claim from Medicare, and you are going to claim rebates from your Private Health Insurance Extras cover, please check with your insurer. Policies differ. Some insurers do not need a GP referral. Some insurers will only cover you for psychology after you use up all your Medicare cover (10 sessions per year).

Option 3: If you don’t wish to claim any rebate, you don’t need a referral to work with me.

Dr Philomena Tan is both a Clinical Psychologist and a Counselling Psychologist, able to offer you the benefit of training and expertise in both clinical and counselling psychology.