Welcome to the AIPC Online Article Library. The library includes over 200 articles focusing on counselling, life coping skills and mental health. We invite you to explore our range of articles by clicking the category links above, or using the drop-down menu on your right. To learn more about AIPC, visit www.aipc.edu.au.

Sand Tray Therapy for the Intellectually Disabled

In the first half of the last century, British paediatrician and child psychiatrist Margaret Lowenfeld utilised sand and water in combination with small toys to help children express “the inexpressible” after reading H.G. Wells’ observation that his two sons would work out family problems playing on the floor with miniature figures (Zhou, 2009). Lowenfeld added miniatures to the shelves of her therapy rooms, and the first child who came to use them took the figurines over to the sandbox, playing with them there. Thus, it was a child who “invented” what Lowenfeld came to call “The World Technique” (Zhou, 2009). In the 1950s, Jungian analyst Dora Kalff (Zhou, 2009) extended the use of the sand tray to adults, realising that the technique allowed not only the expression of fears and anger in ... »

Working with the Intellectually Disabled

Are you as a mental health professional aware of the needs of disabled clients? Do you know what generally constitutes “impairment”, “disability”, or “activity limitation”? Would you be aware of special considerations or needs that such a client might have in a counselling context? There is wide agreement that it is difficult for people with disabilities to get any counselling at all, let alone that which meets their particular needs (WWILD, 2012; Raffensperger, 2010; Haj, 1991). In the past, there has been a general assumption that at least those whose disability was intellectual would not be able to engage in counselling; they were said to lack the cognitive ability and insight to be able to participate meaningfully in the counselling process. Moreover, counsellors have often expressed d... »

Fostering Resilience: In-session boosters to help clients bounce back

Suppose someone asks you, a mental health practitioner, “What is the most important thing you do as a counsellor (psychotherapist/psychologist/social worker) for your clients?” Your response might go along the lines of “helping them sort out their problems”, “educating them and inspiring them to make their lives work,” or possibly “providing support and a safe container while they explore new [presumably more effective] ways of being”. Whatever your particular way of framing the answer, the chances are that you have identified a role of supporting and helping build your clients’ resilience, even if you never call it that when you are with them. Indeed, fostering resilience – the great art of helping others to bounce back – is the foundation of what we do as mental health professionals. But... »

Fundamentals of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT, was developed in 1993 by U.S. psychologist Marsha Linehan for use specifically with clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), who cope with distressing emotions and situations by using self-destructive behaviours such as suicide and self-harm, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Linehan’s assessment of the therapies available to BPD clients at the time was that traditional treatments were “woefully inadequate” (1993, p 3). »

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Case Study: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Marian, a psychologist who specialised in anxiety disorders, closed the file and put it into the filing cabinet with a smile on her face. This time she had the satisfaction of filing it into the “Work Completed” files, for she had just today celebrat...

The Opening Micro-skills

“First impressions stick.” “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” If there is any truth in these two popular notions, then anyone working with a helpee (e.g. a therapy client, a friend, a family member, etc.) within the context o...

Challenges of Single-parent Families Due to Death or Separation

This is article is part of a special series focusing on common challenges faced by Australian families. Other articles in this series include: Challenges of Blended and step “remarried” families Challenges of Same-Sex Couple Families Challenges of Fa...

Fostering Resilience: In-session boosters to help clients bounce back

Suppose someone asks you, a mental health practitioner, “What is the most important thing you do as a counsellor (psychotherapist/psychologist/social worker) for your clients?” Your response might go along the lines of “helping them sort out their pr...