Psychology is now a diverse scientific discipline comprising several major branches of research experimental, biological, cognitive, lifespan developmental, personality, social as well as several subareas of research and applied psychology clinical, industrial/organizational, school and educational, human factors, health and cross-cultural. Research in psychology involves observation, experimentation, testing, and analysis to explore the biological, cognitive, emotional, personal, and social. The practice of psychology involves the use of psychological knowledge for any of several purposes: to understand and treat mental, emotional, physical, and social dysfunction; to understand and enhance behavior in various settings of human activity
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment approach for a range of mental and emotional health issues, including anxiety and depression. CBT aims to help you identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and to learn practical self-help strategies which are designed to bring about immediate positive changes in your quality of life. CBT can be helpful for those who need support to challenge unhelpful thoughts that are preventing them from reaching their goals or living the life they want to live, and aims to show how thinking affects their mood. It is based on the understanding that thinking negatively is a habit that can be broken.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy is a form of behavioural therapy that combines mindfulness skills with the practice of self-acceptance. It is a type of therapy that aims to help patients accept what is out of their control, and commit instead to actions that enrichen their lives (Harris, 2013). In addition, it focuses on the person’s ability to change their behaviour depending on how useful this behaviour will be to the patient’s life in the long term. The six core processes of ACT include:
- Cognitive diffusion
- Being Present
- Self as context
- Committed to action
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy that is designed to assist with changing negative and unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. It helps an individual to learn to manage emotions by allowing them to recognize, experience and accept them. DBT is useful in helping people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, depression and substance misuse. DBT involves two sets of acceptance-orientated skills – mindfulness and distress tolerance, and two sets of change-orientated skills – emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.
Westmead Feelings Program
The Westmead Feelings Program (WFP) is an evidence-based clinical intervention designed specifically to teach social and emotional skills to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It aims to enhance the emotional awareness of children with ASD by building on their knowledge of their own and others’ emotions, developing their skills in perspective-taking and empathy, and enhancing their capacity to regulate their own emotions, in particular, managing negative or unpleasant emotions. WFP is tailored to the unique thinking and learning style of individuals with ASD.
Zones of Regulation
The Zones of Regulation is a program developed toward helping students (as young as four years old) gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Students explore calming techniques, cognitive strategies, and sensory supports so they will have a toolbox of methods to use to move between zones. The lessons set out to teach students these skills: how to read others’ facial expressions and recognize a broader range of emotions, perspective about how others see and react to their behavior, insight into events that trigger their less regulated states, and when and how to use tools and problem-solving skills. This program can be beneficial for students diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, ODD, conduct disorder, selective mutism and anxiety disorders.
- Childhood Disorder Counselling
Childhood disorders, also known as learning disorders or developmental disorders, are often diagnosed when a child is of school-age and typically consists of learning disorders, autism spectrum disorders, language disorders, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Due to the range of abilities and disorders, our psychologists can help a family create a treatment plan that will aim to reduce behaviours that can inhibit learning and functioning in different environments, as well as improve social and communication outcomes.
- Mood Disorder Counselling
Mood disorders are characterized by a serious change in mood that can interfere with day-to-day activities. There are three major states of mood disorders which include; depressive, manic, and bipolar.
Some examples of mood disorders include:
Major depressive disorder – this is prolonged and persistent periods of excessive sadness
Bipolar disorder – this is a form of depression that consists of alternating times of depression and mania
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder – a disorder that induces severe persistent irritability in children that often leads to frequent temper outbursts which are not consistent with the child’s developmental age.
- Anxiety Disorder Counselling
An anxiety disorder is a constant and overwhelming sense of unease that interferes with everyday life. Symptoms can include irrational and excessive fear and worry. Anxiety counselling will help identify the difference between normal stress levels and a serious anxiety condition. Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental disorder in Australia, with one in four people likely to experience one of the above conditions at some point in their lives. Anxiety counselling can help with recovery and prevent anxiety from returning.
Other Anxiety Disorders:
- Generalised Anxiety — worrying almost every day, this stress can also have taxing physical symptoms, affecting concentration and sleeping habits.
- Obsessive Compulsive Anxiety — characterised by ongoing, intrusive thoughts and fears (obsessions) that result in compulsions that – in the short term only – help reduce distress
- Post-Traumatic Stress — bursts of panic or distress brought on in the aftermath of a traumatic event
- Panic Disorder — chronic but less severe
- Cyclothymic Anxiety — repeated, ongoing panic attacks
- Social Anxiety – sometimes referred to as social phobia, it is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings. The individual may experience irrational fears but feel powerless to overcome them.
Substance Misuse Counselling
Substance misuse refers to the misuse of substances (e.g. drugs) to reduce physical or emotional pain or to avoid personal problems. This may be effective in the short-term, however, in the long-term can be detrimental to a person’s health. Substance misuse can lead to addiction which means more of it will be consumed to experience the same effects, and may also lead to cravings. Without using the substance, a person can experience symptoms of withdrawal. Even after detox, when your body is no longer hooked, you’re still at high risk for relapse. These things can create a strong ongoing urge to use again. Counseling helps an individual to escape cravings and learn to manage what life throws at you without drugs or alcohol.
Psychological and social factors that can trigger relapse:
- Stress, especially sudden life stresses
- Cues in the environment, like visiting a neighborhood
- Social networks, like spending time with friends who continue to use these things can create a strong ongoing urge to use again
Trauma Counselling Most of us will be exposed to distressing or difficult events in our lifetime. However, in some cases, these traumatizing experiences can have a lasting effect on our mental wellbeing and daily life. When we are unable to process these events, mental illness such as PTSD, depression and anxiety may emerge. Symptoms of trauma may include; feelings of anxiety and distress, difficulty sleeping, consistent sadness and feeling down, flashbacks of distressing memories and an inability to enjoy activities that were once loved. By using evidence-based therapeutic techniques, our psychologists can teach you how to decrease the use of avoidance strategies, reduce stress and anxiety related to the trauma, minimize negative feelings and overall improve your day-to-day life.
For more information about psychology – visit: psychologyboard.gov.au