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Patient Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Psychiatry and Psychology
Do I need a referral to see a psychiatrist?

Yes, you require a referral from your GP, Obstetrician or another specialist to see our psychiatrist. Please check our appointment process.

Does the referral need to be addressed to your clinic/psychiatrist?

Referrals can be made to one of our psychiatrists, can be open to 'any psychiatrist' or can be for another named psychiatrist if you already have one.  Referrers, please see here for further information.

What if I require urgent care?

Dolphin Tribe does not provide crisis or emergency services. For urgent care, the following services can help:

  • Lifeline - 13 11 14

  • Mental Health Line - 1800 011 511

  • Kids Help Line - 1800 55 1800

  • Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467


In an emergency, or if you are/someone else is at serious risk of harm to themselves or others, please:

  • Call the police on 000.

  • Go to a hospital emergency department, where there will be an out-of-hours mental health team or psychiatrist contactable.

Your referring practitioner may note your need for semi-urgent care on your referral. However, we have a fixed number of available appointments and cannot often accommodate requests for urgent appointments. 

See our Psychiatry Referrals page for more information.

Do psychiatrists provide psychotherapy (talk-therapy)? I thought they only prescribed medication. 

A psychiatrist is trained in both general medical, psychiatric and psychological treatments which allows them to prescribe medication as well to provide therapy. While there are psychiatrists that do not provide psychotherapy, our Psychiatrist Dr Makielan does provide Psychotherapy for all age groups.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors with specialist training in psychiatry. The treatments provided by a psychiatrist can include medication and general medical care, including checking your physical health and the effects of medication, psychological treatments and brain stimulation therapies. Psychiatrists can also order a full range of medical laboratory tests which help provide a comprehensive view of patient's physical and mental state.


Psychologists have a Bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience– the study of the human mind and behaviour. They can provide psychological treatments, but cannot prescribe medications. Generally, you need a referral from your GP or a medical specialist to see a psychiatrist, but not for a psychologist. Some psychologists may also hold a Masters or Doctorate level qualification in psychology. If they have a Doctorate (PhD), a psychologist can call themselves ‘Dr’, but they are not medical doctors.

You can read more about the difference between Psychologist and Psychiatrist in this page.



Informed Consent


Do I have a say in my assessment and treatment?

Your doctor will discuss your assessment and treatment options and give you an opportunity to ask questions. You will be asked to consent to before undergoing any treatment. You will also be asked if other relevant people (such as school teachers or counsellors) can be contacted.



How long are the appointments?


Generally, for psychiatrists, initial assessment appointments are 45-50 minutes. Subsequent appointments vary depending on the nature of the problem and ongoing treatment but are either 30 minutes or 45 minutes.

For Psychologists, all therapy appointments are generally 50 minutes. Psychological assessment appointments are longer and vary depending on the assessment.


Will I get a reminder for the appointment?


Yes, our booking system will send an email with relevant information around five days prior to the appointment and an SMS reminder three days prior. However, we cannot guarantee the successful delivery of reminders – it is the patient's or parents' responsibility to remember their appointment time.


Can I speak to the psychiatrist/psychologist on the phone?


Our practitioners are usually busy in the clinic with their patients, so it is unlikely they will be able to speak with you on the phone. If you have any specific questions regarding your treatment, please book an appointment.

Requests outside of appointments

Can I get a letter, document or Medical certificate?

If you need proof of your appointment or any forms filled out, please discuss this with us during your consultation and we can complete them during the consultation. 

Can my school or psychologist contact you for information?

Requests for information need to be done via email or fax with written consent from patients and/or parents attached. We will only share the clinical letters or reports completed during your consultations.


Payment and Medicare Rebates


What is our Payment Policy?

Payment is required in full on the day of consultation by cash, Eftpos or credit card. If eligible, you can submit the receipt to Medicare for a rebate or we can lodge the claim online with Medicare on your behalf. Medicare will deposit directly into your nominated bank account within 24 - 48 hours.

Payments via credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, American Express) will attract a surcharge of 0.5% - 1.5% (depending on card type), whereas payments with EFTPOS cards will not incur any charges.

What is the Medicare rebate for psychiatrist appointments?

For psychiatrist appointments, you will get back around $246 for an initial consultation and $173 for subsequent standard consultations.


However, Medicare also has a concept of Safety Net, which provides higher rebate once your out-of-pocket expenses (‘gap fee’) have reached a certain threshold. Once reached, Medicare will refund almost 90% of your out-of-pocket fees. This means most costs will be rebated after approximately 10-12 sessions for psychiatry appointments.


For individuals and families registered for Safety Net, the threshold is $2414.00 (for 2023). For concession card holders – Pensioner Concession Card, Health Care Card or a Commonwealth Seniors Card, and people who receive Family Tax Benefit (Part A) – the threshold is $770.30.

What is the Medicare rebate for psychologist appointments?

If you have a mental health care plan from your GP, or referral from a psychiatrist or referred to by an eligible specialist, Medicare will rebate up to 10 sessions in a calendar year. You will get around $93 in rebate.

Why do you not bulk-bill? Why do you have a 'gap fee'?

The reality is that Medicare rebates do not cover the full cost of providing you with safe and effective mental health treatment. The fees charged by our practice have to cover all of our operating costs, including staff, rent, medical equipment, electricity, computers and insurance.

Practice Policies​

What are your Practice Policies?​

Please see here for our practice policies.

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