All clients with a Medicare Mental Health Care Plan are entitled to have up to 10 group sessions per calendar year. Initially you get 6 sessions under your Medicare Mental Health Care Plan and after review by the GP you can get a further 4 sessions. This applies to all Mental Health Care Plans. This surprises a lot of people as they think they are only entitled to individual sessions with the psychologist. This is not correct. The reality is you are entitled to up to 10 individual sessions and 10 group sessions per year. Therefore, most people are probably under utilising the psychology services they are entitled to each calendar year.
With this in mind Parkside Medical is presently offering Mastering Stress each Wednesday from 5.30 to 6.30pm. The groups are small (under 10 participants) and is very suitable for clients suffering from depressive and anxiety symptoms. If your K10 score (see self-assessment) is more than 25/50 then this group could be very suitable for you. You will learn new skills to better cope and manage the stress in your life. All sessions are bulk billed as part of the Mental Health Care Plan and are run by one of our psychologists. You can start any Wednesday but you must confirm the day that you are attending with at least 24 hours notice.
The goals of Mastering Stress are to teach the specific foundations skills to improve mood and cope more effectively. The general outline of Mastering Stress is as follows:
Week One: Understanding the relationship between thoughts, feelings and actions by learning to monitor your mood and break out of anxiety and depressive cycles.
Week Two: Setting goals to increase the sense of pleasure and achievement in a person's life.
Week Three: Increasing physical activity levels.
Week Four: Learning to change self-talk by disputing and challenging negative self-talk.
Week Five: Learning calming and relaxation strategies to improve mood during the day and to improve sleep. The focus will be on learning Mind Body Breathing.
Week Six: Exploring perfectionism and how to tolerate not being perfect. What are a person's core beliefs and learning to challenge them.
Week Seven: Stop procrastinating and avoiding. Learning to overcome these destructive patterns by confronting and doing what you fear.
Week Eight: Learning to defuse the particularly destructive emotions of anger and guilt.
Week Nine: Clarifying responsibilities and and perceptions of control.
Week Ten: Using the power of visualisation to "mentally" practice your skills and to reinforce what you have learnt.
This outline is a guide only and the specific skills taught depend on the participants present and their specific needs and requirements in relation to their difficulties. Because it is a small group, participants will have the opportunity to learn from each other and discuss what is working for them or not. Ideally, participants will also be able to practice and consolidate what they are learning from their individual sessions with the psychologist.