Psychiatrists and psychologists are mental health professionals who specialise in treating mental illness and difficulties with emotions, behaviour or lifestyle.
What is a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are experts in mental health. They specialise in diagnosing and treating people with mental illnesses.
Psychiatrists use a range of treatments, including:
- Psychotherapy (also called psychological treatment or talking therapy, which involves discussing mental or emotional issues)
- Practical advice about your lifestyle or behaviour
How much does a psychiatrist cost?
If you see a psychiatrist in a public health service, the visit will usually be free. If you see a psychiatrist in their private practice or at a private clinic, a fee will be charged. In Australia, some of the fee amount can be claimed back from Medicare, or from your private health insurance fund if you have one.
Find a psychiatrist
A GP is a good place to start in trying to find a psychiatrist in your area.
You can also use the Find a Psychiatrist service, which is a directory of details for psychiatrists in private practice across Australia.
What is a psychologist?
Psychologists study the way people feel, think, act and interact. Through a range of strategies and therapies they aim to reduce distress and to enhance and promote emotional wellbeing.
Psychologists can assist people who are having difficulty controlling their emotions, thinking and behaviour, including those experiencing:
- Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
- Serious and enduring mental illness
- Addictive behaviours
- Childhood behaviour disorders
How much does a psychologist cost?
If you see a psychologist in a public health service, the visit will usually be free. The fees psychologists charge in private practice vary. Medicare rebates are available for a range of specified psychological services for people with certain conditions.
To be eligible to receive psychological services under Medicare, you must be referred by a GP or in some instances by a psychiatrist or a paediatrician. Private health insurers may also rebate part of the cost of psychological consultations.
Find a psychologist
Your GP is a good place to start in trying to find a psychologist.
You can also use the Find a Psychologist service, which is an online, telephone and email referral service to help you find a suitable psychologist in your area.
Links & documents
A national directory of health services and practitioners, including GPs, pharmacists and hospitals.