The COVID pandemic has seen wait times to see psychologists greatly increase across the country. This can be very frustrating and problematic for people looking to get help. In order to address this problem, we have developed a programme (STEP) to help you access tools and support sooner.
What is the STEP Programme?
The STEP Programme is a series of weekly group sessions that offer you access to information and strategies straightaway, before you see your psychologist. It is designed to help you be better equipped to get the most from therapy once you start.
Research on these types of programmes has shown that they help prepare people for the time they will spend with a psychologist. This may mean that you will get a greater benefit from therapy, or that you may need to see your psychologist for less time overall or less frequently.
How often are groups held?
Can I choose which ones I attend?
The groups are run on a weekly basis and are currently run online. Each week they cover key topics that have been found to be important to most people who are thinking of seeing a psychologist. They are stand-alone topics, which makes it easy to choose when to attend, and you can attend as many or as few sessions as you like. Each week the programme rotates through a range of core topics over an eight-to-ten-week schedule, so if you miss one you can always catch up the next time around. You can also continue to attend after you start with your psychologist if you like, the choice is yours.
Who will benefit from the sessions?
The programme has been designed to cover a broad topics that will appeal to most people. For example, some topics, such as dealing with unhelpful thinking, are relevant to almost everyone we see. Others, such as procrastination, may be a bit more specific. You can pick any number of sessions to attend and attend the same session more than once if you like.
What is covered in the programme?
Each week the programme covers a different topic, such as anxiety, sleep, stress, mindfulness, or dealing with unhelpful thinking. In the session you will gain important information to help you understand the area better and develop practical skills from an evidence-based approach. The sessions are based on approaches that were developed through sound academic research and have been shown to work through rigorous research evaluation. No nonsense, just sound, practical help you can use right now.
How much does it cost?
Each group costs $55 and is usually eligible for a Medicare rebate of approximately $30. You can obtain a rebate for up to ten group sessions a year, so you can attend the whole programme if you like. You just need to ask your GP to provide a referral for a group programme under Medicare.