Information For Patients

A Brief Guide to Psychological Medicine

In this modern era we find ourselves thrown about by our genes, by our relationships, by tragedy, loss, and trauma, by bad luck and by the failings of others and sometimes even ourselves, by so many circumstances beyond our control.

It it is hardly surprising that our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our imagination, our ability to be creative and thoughtful, are stretched and pulled beyond our limits, and give rise to mental health issues.

Psychological Medicine is the branch of Medicine that draws upon modern medical science and therapies to offer help with such circumstances.

Our Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists work like any other Health Professional. We meet over several appointments to clarify what is troubling the patient, and identify the kinds of treatment that might be helpful, get treatment appointments in place and provide ongoing monitoring of response to treatment.

For the first appointment please feel free to prepare and bring a note or a list of issues you believe need to be covered in the first meeting. We may not be able to cover all issues on your list at the first consultation, but we will make an effort to do so in subsequent meetings. Feel free to bring a spouse, a family member, or a friend to your first consultations if you believe a ‘round table discussion’ is appropriate. Think about child care arrangements, as there is no waiting room supervision.

Please bring all the medicines you are actually taking at present to your appointment, so they can be carefully documented at the time of the consultation. Your doctor might have these medicines listed on your referral letter or Mental Health Care Plan, however we will still need to know what medicines you are actually taking.

It can take several appointments to establish a working understanding of your situation and to explore treatment options. Following the initial assessment consultations treatment will commence  The length of the involvement varies upon individual circumstances.

A comprehensive summary letter is prepared and sent to your referring doctor following the initial assessment consultations. Please let us know if you do not wish such a letter to be sent to your doctor.


A reminder that you require a written referral from your General Practitioner (GP), or your referring Specialist. This is required by Medicare so you can obtain the Medicare rebate for your payment.

For referrals to our Psychologists and Psychotherapists, a Mental Health Care Plan is required from your General Practitioner. Our Practice Manager can give you further details.

Please note that it is your responsibility to clarify the duration of your doctor’s referral to us with your referring doctor. You will need to note when your referral will need to be renewed, and to make a record of this for future reference. You will need to arrange a renewal of your referral prior to the conclusion of that period of time, otherwise Medicare will not provide you a rebate for your fees for an appointment after a referral time has lapsed.

A reminder that, for Medicare purposes, the maximum duration that a referral from a Specialist lasts is 3 months. A General Practitioner can always provide an ‘indefinite referral’ that never needs renewal.

When Hospital is needed

Some patients and families find admission to hospital is helpful for assessment and  treatment.

The Melbourne Clinic, The Albert Road Clinic and Beleura Private Hospital offer an opportunity to expand ‘the team effort’ to include Mental Health Nursing Staff, Psychotherapists and Psychologists, and the support of other patients in the comprehensive Mental Health Program.

Private Health insurance, Workcover or TAC is recommended