Frequently Asked Questions

At Relational Minds we will build a relationship with you and help you with your journey towards recovery from any mental health difficulties that us affecting your family. We will begin by working together to understand the issues, build your understanding of why these are happening, and develop therapeutic strategies that promote emotional growth as well as repair your family’s relationships.

Appointment types can include:

  • Engagement
  • Assessment
  • Formulation
  • Diagnoses
  • Safety Planning
  • Goals and Recommendations
In the Discovery Phase we do a mental health assessment and together with you co-create a ‘Formulation’ which is an understanding of why your young person has presented in this way at this time. We will address possible diagnoses, set goals for treatment and together find ways to intervene as early as possible.

Parent:

  • Building Relationships
  • Foundations for Attachment

Child:

  • Emotional Expression and Literacy

The Understanding Phase is the next step where we use the Foundation for Attachment program to work through the challenges of parenting your child, learning skills to parent in a more therapeutic way and learn to look after yourself.

  • Family (Diyadic) Sessions
  • Applying skills
  • Monitoring
  • Mentoring
The Connection Phase is where you implement the different ways you will communicate with your child and as a family. Your clinician can help you monitor your progress along the way.  We will also help you to build connections and a support network with other parents who are experiencing similar challenges.
  • Summarise Learnings
  • Look forward with hope
  • Prevent Relapse
  • Close Episode
The Empower Phase is where we put all of your learnings together and look towards the future continuing to implement your skills. We will consider possible setbacks or pitfalls and how to avoid them.


Appointments are usually 30 or 50 minutes in duration and can be offered face to face or via Telehealth (phone or via Zoom).

Your clinician will begin by getting to know your young person and your family. 

The assessment process will generally be about 3 or 4 appointments:

  1. First appointment to gather details of your difficulties and try to work out if there are patterns that may fit diagnostic criteria. We will also begin to understand the story of how your young person has got to this point to understand the factors that have contributed to their problems.
  2. Your clinician will develop a hypothesis or an initial understanding of your child’s issues. They will assess and confirm their hypotheses by sending you some Questionnaires or Tools to get a clearer picture of the severity of the problems.
  3. The second appointment delves deeper into the developmental history of your child and your family. This helps you and us to deeply understand the factors that have led to this current presentation. Sometimes this takes a second appointment to complete.
  4. The last of the assessment appointments is our opportunity to meet your child and get their perspective (if we haven’t done so already in the first two sessions). Here we also clarify the treatment goals, as well as the steps forward.  

Throughout your assessment your clinician may seek guidance from our whole team to help them understand your story.  This may include input from a Psychiatrist. If the psychiatrist deems that a medication change or initiation may help your child’s symptoms they will become involved earlier rather than later with the support of your clinician.

After your assessment our main therapy offering is our Parent Support Program. 

A Psychiatry appointment may also be booked at this time to discuss medication treatment options or other matters.  Your clinician will have made sure that all information the Psychiatrist requires has been sought so your appointment becomes one about treatment options.

Other treatment recommendations will also be actioned eg. individual therapy for the child, further assessments (eg. ASD, Psychological Assessments or OT) and referrals made to other services if required.

The Parent Support Program aims to:

  • Help you understand why your child’s difficulties are occurring.
  • Work on strategies to help you support your child.
  • Work on strategies to help you look after yourself.
  • Help you monitor the efficacy of the treatments and interventions in place for your child.
  • Support you if you require advocacy with other agencies eg. School, NDIS etc.

The program is delivered over approximately 6 sessions with your clinician.

Our goal is to be your co-parent as you become our co-therapist.

It may seem odd that your GP has referred you to Relational Minds because there is a psychiatrist in the clinic but your appointments are with mental health clinicians. Our process may seem a lot different. Our belief is that the family and carers are the most crucial part of treating young people with mental illness. Medications can have a role but our experience has taught us that in many cases young people describe their medications not working. This is because medications only go so far to create a chemical environment that can foster growth but the relationships around the young person will either help or hinder their development. This is why this part of the treatment is the most important to start with. Our philosophy is that medication treatment may not be the first option. 

So how does the Psychiatrist get involved?

  • Our Psychiatrist aim to be supportive of our team as quickly as possible. We do not book advance appointments with the Psychiatrist. All Psychiatry appointments are set up after Clinician appointments as needed.  This allows us to respond as quickly as possible when you need it.
  • The psychiatrist is able to support you because of the clinician helping to gather information and monitoring treatment with you.  Without this we would close our books for Psychiatry. 
  • At your assessment, if you and your clinician feel that Psychiatry involvement will beneficial, this will happen. Your clinician will discuss this with the Psychiatrist and an appointment will be arranged ASAP.
  • Throughout your engagement you and your clinician will work together to identify the efficacy of your treatments including whether you think the medication plan is helping. If changes need to be considered the clinician will alert the psychiatrist.
  • To facilitate quicker appointments your psychiatry contact will likely occur over Telehealth (phone or video). Face to face appointments are possible but can be a long wait for appointments to be free. 

We are a private clinic which means that we do not receive funding from government or other funding sources. Our prices are set to be able to provide a quality service whilst keeping it as affordable as possible. If you cannot afford the fees, please discuss this with your clinician so we can discuss your options to be able to get the care you need.

Medicare, NDIS,  or other sources (eg. TAC) may be able to cover some if not all of your costs. We may have to increase our costs from time to time also.

Fees will depend on the clinician you see (Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Family Clinician, Therapist, Allied Health), the session type and the length of your appointment. Only OT, Psychology, Mental Health Social Worker and Psychiatrist appointments have Medicare rebates. NDIS may cover other services.

Payment is required on the day of appointment. Note that fees may change at short notice.

Download current fee schedule

If another funding body (eg. NDIS, VOCAT, TAC, Legacy) is paying for your appointments, your receipts will be available in your patient portal to support you claiming reimbursement from the third party. NDIS Invoices need to be paid on the day and you will receive the invoice to send to your Plan Manager. For more fee details or to discuss fees please email in**@re*************.au.

Once we send you access to the patient portal on Halaxy, which is a secure platform. You will be asked to provide financial payment information, whereby if your appointment is via Telehealth, payment will be deducted from the information you provide on the consent form.

Please note our 72 hour cancellation policy.

Also, please note that future appointments cannot be confirmed if accounts are outstanding, if payment details are not up to date or decline on the day of consult, the appointment cannot proceed.

GP referrals are only required if your appointment with your clinician allows you to claim from Medicare. These are generally appointments with a psychiatrist, psychologist or an accredited mental health social worker or occupational therapist. If your appointment doesn’t attract a Medicare rebate you can proceed without a GP referral.

A GP referral for a psychiatrist usually lasts 12 months before you need another, we will let you know when this is due. If your referral to the psychiatrist comes from a specialist like a paediatrician, it only lasts 3 months.

A mental health care plan will allow you access for 10 sessions per calendar year to see a Psychologist or an accredited clinician for focused psychological therapy. Due to COVID these have been extended to 20 sessions per calendar year. More information can be found from the Health Services Website.

Before your first appointment our administration team will have made email contact with you to send you information regarding our service and also a consent form that will authorise us to contact other service providers who may have provided care to you. If you do not consent to us contacting certain or all service providers please let us know. Part of the consent process is to obtain an agreed financial agreement to allow Relational Minds to obtain payment for our services. Please ensure you read the consent and financial agreement form in detail before providing your consent. If you have other concerns regarding your privacy please refer to privacy policy on our website.

You will also receive instructions to activate your access to the patient portal on our medical record system named Clinic to Cloud. This portal is an important place for you to be able to upload any documents that you may wish for us to have, and also a place for you to obtain receipts after payment of your consultation. Please be aware that our team I will endeavour to read all documents prior to your appointment but we are unlikely to have the time to be able to read long and detailed documents. We ask for your patience if we need to refer to those documents during your first consultation.

Your first one or two visits will usually be aimed at understanding the nature of the problems that your young person and your family are facing. Our goal is to develop something called a formulation, which is an attempt to answer the question: Why has your young person presented in the way that they have at this time? 

This will involve collection of information that will help us assess:

  • whether your young person’s problems fit certain diagnostic criteria
  • understand the precipitating factors that have led you to seek help at this time
  • understand the background history that might shed light on how your young person’s illness has developed, and
  • information that will help us develop strategies to increase any protective factors that you and your young person are using to cope, and
  • reduce any factors that are maintaining the problems that you are facing.

To develop an accurate formulation, we may need to obtain historical information regarding parental history (this may include information regarding the parental childhood history).

Of most importance in your first sessions with your clinician is to establish specific goals for your treatment at Relational Minds. All care that you will receive from any mental health service will be episodic in nature, in that, your engagement will occur over a specified period of time. In the time that we have together, we generally aim to improve your understanding of your young persons situation, develop some possible solutions to help then cope, and in general improve the family’s capacity to promote the emotional development of their young person.

Appointments at Relational Minds can vary. Most appointments are 50 minutes in duration. Your clinician may book in brief appointments from time to time that last 20 minutes.

Psychiatry appointments are either 50 minutes or 20 minutes. We also offer a 10 minute phone appt for a brief review of medication.

Everything you say in your appointments is confidential. This means if one of your family members has an individual appointment with us, they are entitled to privacy in that appointment. We always endeavour to help families communicate with each other, however this comes in time and we cannot damage trust and privacy to push for outcomes sooner. At Relational Minds, all team members are bound to Confidentiality and Privacy Laws. Your files are electronically stored in a secure clinical records system. We do not keep any paper files.

There are some occasions where we need to break confidentiality. If we believe, from information provided to us, that someone is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or other people, or if child abuse/neglect is disclosed we will legally need to report this to the appropriate authorities, your G.P. and the Next of Kin. We also have legal obligation to provide information to the courts should we be subpoenaed. 

We correspond with your G.P. who made the referral at various points throughout your journey with us, however we only provide an overview of the treatment plan and progress. With your consent, we may speak with another specialist or heath provider, a school or another family member.

All clinicians are trained and experienced in the work that they do at Relational Minds. Our team come from various backgrounds, all coming together with the common goal of supporting families to heal children’s emotional hurts. Your clinician may be a psychologist, a social worker, an occupational therapist, a mental health nurse, a doctor or other allied health professional.

At Relational Minds our foundation training is in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. Our team, including our administration staff are trained to take the attitude of Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. We firmly believe that if all carers in a child’s life employ this approach, we can promote emotional growth.

Our industry and Medicare funding has focused a lot on psychologists providing mental health care. We are fortunate that we have many talented psychologists who can help us in our cities. When it comes to family care, this can often not be the area of expertise for a psychologist. Social workers and other allied health are very often more trained in family work. Furthermore, children who have mental health difficulties can find it very difficult to speak to a psychologist. Non-verbal therapy approaches through art or play are often the better therapy options for some young people. We find that our young people are more able to talk to their Art therapist than the psychologist. Keep in mind that art and play therapists as psychotherapists who are also able to provide talking therapy and can also have training in focused psychological therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Reminders for any upcoming appointments are automatically sent via email and SMS, well in advance, for your upcoming appointments. If you believe you have an appointment, and do not receive a reminder, it is important you ring the clinic to check what has occurred. 

We will need 72 BUSINESS hours’ notice to cancel appointments. This ensures there is enough time to fill the appointment with another family that might need it. Please be mindful that late cancellations made less than 72 hours in advance or non-attendance of an appointment may incur the full appointment fee (unless your appointment was offered with less than 72 hours notice). Medicare will not pay a rebate for a missed appointment fee unfortunately.

NDIS funded appointments will be charged according to this policy also.

If you are unexpectedly sick and cannot attend your appointment, please email us on the day and we can offer your appointment as a Telehealth (if it was face to face) as an alternative.

Relational Minds is a private clinic and we work via appointments only. We highly recommend you familiarise yourself with your local mental health crisis services. If you need immediate assistance, please call 000. Some common crisis contact numbers are:

  • Orygen Youth Health (free)  1800 800 320
  • Youth Beyond Blue (free 24hr advice line) 1300 224 636 (local call)
  • Suicide call back service   1300 659 467 – local call (free 24 hr online support)
  • Suicide line 1300 651 251 (local call: free 24 hr advice line)
  • Victorian Nurse on Call (free 24 hr advice line) 1300 606 024 (local call)
  • Emergency Service 000 (free 24 hr advice line)

We will always do our best to respond to you when you contact us, but we may not be able to respond quickly enough or in a manner that you require if you are in crisis.  When contacting us emailing your clinician or the clinic (Mi*****@re*************.au or Su*****@re*************.au) is most efficient as our phones can be too busy.  We will endeavour to return your call if you leave a message. Our appointments can book out early so we encourage you to plan with your clinicians a target number of sessions to achieve your goals and book them in advance.

Our admin team will invite you to set up your login to your Patient Portal where you can upload reports from other specialists that you feel would be important.

We will also clarify diagnoses and symptoms by use of specific questionnaires. These will all be assigned to you via the patient portal. You will also have access to receipts and invoices for your appointment through your portal.

Information about your Halaxy Patient Portal can be found here:

https://support.halaxy.com/hc/en-au/articles/1500000076901-Halaxy-for-Patients

Your initial setup includes a few essential steps:

  1. Signing your treatment agreement and consent form. We cannot confirm an initial appointment until this consent form is completed.
  2. Filling in an initial Social History to help make your assessment process be more efficient.

Documents you upload are your property and you decide who gets to see your documents. You will need to share the document with your practitioners specifically.

To write a note for your clinician and upload documents:

  1. Login to your Halaxy Portal
  2. Click ‘See all notes’ in your My Health Notes section.
  3. Click ‘New Health Note’ write a note to your clinician or practitioner.
  4. Click “add File’ if you have a file to share. Click Upload a File. You can change the name your file. Choose ‘General/Administrative’. Click ‘Save’.
  5. On the top right hand button, click the down arrow and choose ‘Share’.
  6. Share the file with your clinician. Click ‘Share’ again and choose another practitioner if you wish, example, your Psychiatrist.
Who better to describe DDP than the DDP team themselves from the DDP website. “Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy has been developed by Dan Hughes over the past twenty years. It is based on a theoretical understanding of attachment and intersubjective relationships; and the impact of developmental trauma. The therapy is provided within a model of Dyadic Developmental Practice. This provides network, school and parenting support. It is important that children and families are supported within this practice framework for the therapy to be successful. Therapeutic sessions build upon and complement a DDP parenting approach.” Learn more
We are hiring! Please see our Careers page for currently open positions.