COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
CBT is a well established, evidence based type of psychotherapy that allows client’s to become aware of the link between their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and able to identify those that are maladaptive and causing their psychological difficulties such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, anger issues, substance abuse, eating disorders and many more.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is useful for people suffering from mental health conditions by helping them to change their unhelpful thinking habits, feelings and behaviours by using different techniques such as reality testing and cognitive restructuring as well as practical self-help strategies, which are designed to bring about positive and immediate changes in the person’s quality of life.
In 1998 Martin Seligman suggested that psychology turn toward understanding and building human strengths to complement the traditional emphasis on healing damage. Psychology had neglected the positive side of life, having spent much of the last half century primarily concerned with psychopathology. As a result, psychologists and psychiatrists can now measure with considerable precision, and effectively treat, a number of major mental illnesses. However, this progress came at a cost. Relieving life’s miseries made building the states that make life worth living less of a priority (Seligman, 2002).
One of the principle aims of Positive Psychology has been to correct this imbalance by propelling the field into supplementing its hard-won knowledge about suffering and mental illness with a great deal more knowledge about positive emotion. Positive psychology represents a commitment to the sources of psychological wellness, such as positive emotions, positive experiences, positive environments, and human strengths and virtues (Lyubomirsky, 2007).
The major aims of Positive Psychology are:
- Rise to life’s challenges
- Make the most of setbacks and adversity
- Engage and relate to other people
- Find fulfilment in creativity and productivity
- Look beyond oneself and help others to find lasting meaning, satisfaction, and wisdom
(Keyes & Haidt, 2004).
Mindfulness therapy has emerged as an extremely effective, evidence-based tool for enhancing psychological health and wellbeing. It has been clinically proven to successfully treat a wide range of clinical conditions including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, substance abuse and Borderline Personality Disorder. Mindfulness can effectively reduce stress, increase self-awareness, improve emotional intelligence and help one to become better equipped to handle painful thoughts and feelings.
Only recently embraced by Western psychology, mindfulness is an ancient practice found in Eastern philosophies including Buddhism, Taoism and Yoga. It involves consciously bringing awareness into one’s here-and-now experience with openness, interest and receptiveness. Mindfulness urges one to wake up and connect with themselves whilst appreciating the fullness of each moment of their life. Kabat-Zinn calls it, “The art of conscious living.” It is a remarkable way of enhancing one’s psychological and emotional resilience and increasing their life satisfaction.
SOLUTION-FOCUSED BRIEF THERAPY (SFBT)
SFBT is a brief type of therapy that focuses on solutions rather than on problems. In some other styles of therapy (even more so in psychology’s history), many professionals spent a lot of time thinking, talking and analysing a client’s problems, thus clients continued to dwell on their problems and hence continued suffering. With Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, the idea is that rather then spending so much time, energy and resources on talking about problems, therapy is instead directed to thinking about what might help clients to get to solutions that will bring realistic and reasonable relief as quickly as possible.
Recognising that all clients no matter how chronically unwell have periods of time when their difficulties do not occur and are less intense and studying these times, you can uncover the many positive things they do that they are not fully aware of. By bringing these small successes into their awareness and repeating the successful things they do when the problem is less severe, people improve their lives and become more confident and empowered within. This helps them to develop a sense of hope about themselves and their lives. With hope comes the interest in creating a better life for themselves and those around them. Because these solutions have already been used by the client and are thus already within them, repeating these successful behaviours is easier than learning a whole new set of solutions that may have worked for someone else, hence the label ‘brief’ therapy.
REALITY THERAPY (RT)
Reality Therapy or RT is an approach to psychotherapy and counselling that focuses on realism, responsibility, and right-and-wrong, rather than on mental illnesses and their symptoms. RT explains that client’s are suffering from a socially universal human condition and not from a mental illness and that it is the unsuccessful attainment of basic needs that causes their behaviour to move away from the considered ‘norm.’ Fulfilling of essential needs in their current life is of primary importance, thus their past is not of concern in therapy. RT also separates the client from their behaviour and explains that when a client is experiencing distress it is due to a social issue and that they are out of sync with their psychological needs, not ‘ill.’
Reality Therapy therefore looks at helping the client to problem solve in the here-and-now and to take responsibility for their actions, empowering them to feel that they are able to take positive control and choose to create a better future for themselves. Clients are to explore their goals and to voice what it is that they really want to see happen in their lives. These goals are then paired up with the necessary behaviours they will need to engage in in order to fulfil the goals they have set themselves.
INTER-PERSONAL THERAPY (IPT)
Inter-Personal Therapy or IPT is a time-limited, interpersonally focused, psychodynamically informed psychotherapy that has the goals of symptom relief and improving interpersonal functioning. IPT is concerned with the ‘interpersonal context’—the relational factors that predispose, precipitate and perpetuate the client’s distress. Within IPT interpersonal relationships are the focus of therapeutic attention as the means to bring about change, with the aim of helping client’s to improve their interpersonal relationships or change their expectations about them. In addition, the treatment also aims to assist patients to improve their social support network so that they can better manage their current interpersonal distress (Stuart & Robertson, 2003).
Client-Centred Therapy (or Person-Centred Therapy) is a non-directive form of talk therapy and is one of the most widely used approaches in psychotherapy today. The developer of the therapy Carl Rogers believed that people have an ‘actualising tendency’ – a desire to fulfil their potential and become the best version of themselves possible. He used the term ‘client’ both to place emphasis on the person seeking assistance, controlling their destiny and overcoming their difficulties as well highlight the fact that self-direction is of primary importance in client-centred therapy.
Within client-centred therapy is the belief that the therapeutic relationship is a vital part and can lead to insights and lasting changes in a client. Being a non-directive style of therapy, the therapist should not direct the client, should not pass judgments on the client’s feelings and should not offer suggestions or solutions. Instead, the client should be the one in control. Mental health professionals who practice this approach aim to create a therapeutic environment that is comfortable, non-judgmental and empathetic showing unconditional positive regard for their client so that they may learn this skill for themselves to benefit their lives and relationship with both self and others.
MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING (MI)
Motivational Interviewing or MI is a directive, client-centred therapy style that aims to help patients explore and resolve their ambivalence about behaviour change. It combines elements of style (warmth and empathy) with technique (e.g. focused reflective listening and the development of discrepancy). A core principal of the technique is that the client’s motivation to change is enhanced if there is a gentle process of negotiation in which the client, not the therapist, articulates the benefits and costs involved. A strong principle of this approach is that conflict is unhelpful and that a collaborative relationship between therapist and client, in which they address the problem together, is essential (Treasure, 2004). The research backs MI as an effective treatment for substance abuse disorders.
Family therapy is used to address specific issues that are impacting negatively on the psychological health of the family unit. These could be caused by a number of things but are usually major life changes/transitions or mental health conditions. Family therapy can be used as a complementary approach especially when working with a young person suffering from a mental health condition for which family dynamics usually come into play. In addition, providing psychoeducation regarding the young person’s difficulties can really help to bring some understanding and appropriate responses into the home environment to help support the young person.
Family therapy helps in identifying the key dynamics within the family that are causing difficulties and problematic behaviours amongst family members and then helps the family to become aware of these. It then assists them to improve their communication, problem-solving and coping skills and bring a sense of connectedness and positive feeling into the family unit.
PLAY AND EXPRESSIVE THERAPIES FOR CHILDREN
Play therapy is generally used with children aged 3 to 11 and provides a way for them to comfortably express their experiences and feelings through a very natural and self-guided way that enables a self-healing process to occur. Children are known to communicate through play and thus it is an important tool for them to get to know and accept both themselves and others.
There are a number of different techniques that can be used with children to deal with mental health conditions and other psychological and general behavioural issues or diagnosed behavioural conditions such as ADD & ADHD. These tend to be used to help children to develop emotional regulation, resilience, confidence, relaxation and relationship skills. Children and even teenagers tend to prefer expressive styles of therapy over talk therapies, especially those that include elements of play and creativity such as puppet role playing, play with figurines, arts/crafts, writing and drawing. Read more about Children Psychology here. Our Psychologist Dr Glenda has a special interest in the area of Children Psychology.
Please phone us on (07) 5458 4800 to discuss the current fee schedule.
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Psychology Clinic Location