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.

Caring for others: Avoiding common traps

In the first article in this series we highlighted needs and motivations behind providing emotional and psychological support to others, touching on the “shadow” side of helping: trying to meet personal needs through the helping relationship. Both professional and non-professional helpers can unwittingly do this, even when they are meticulous, highly ethical helpers, so it is crucial to gain an understanding of how this happens. The principal concepts we will be working with in this article are narcissism, transference and countertransference, enmeshment, rescuing, co-dependency, and burnout. »

Caring for others: Why do we do it?

When a friend is going through a hard time, we often think about how we can lend a hand and provide emotional support. But are we always aware of the reasons why we want to help? Is it because we feel obliged? Or perhaps because we just want to help – to be there for someone who has been around for us when we needed? We’d like to say, “It doesn’t matter what unresolved issues are hiding in your mind. As long as you mean well, you’ll be a smash hit!” We’d like to say that, but unfortunately it isn’t always true. “Where you’re coming from” makes all the difference in where you get to when lending emotional and psychological support to someone. This isn’t merely a theory. It is a universal observation about human behaviour. As human beings, we all have needs, and how we come into relations... »

Social Anxiety Disorder: The Core Patterns and Symptoms

Said to be the most common of the anxiety disorders, impacting people from all walks of life, SAD is estimated to affect tens of millions of people worldwide. Of course, nearly everyone experiences occasional anxiety in certain social settings or at some social events. Were we never to own moments of awkwardness, embarrassment, or a sense of being inhibited in public, we might have a disorder of a different type! The question for diagnosing SAD is: how extreme must the fear and stress in social situations be and how severely do such situations need to impact on a person’s life before the person is considered to suffer from SAD? »

Counselling and the Brain: Five Major Processes

The research in neuroscience is highly supportive of counselling’s emphasis on deep listening, empathic understanding, strength building, and wellness (Ivey, Ivey, Zalaquett, & Quirk, 2011). Counselling is shown to change the organisation of the brain: a learning process as the brain responds to stimuli and creates neural pathways to accommodate new information (Ivey, 2009). “Information” includes experiences, actions, thoughts, and cues: both those emanating from within ourselves and those from others and most especially including those stimuli arising within the therapeutic relationship. As John Ratey (2008, in Sullivan, 2012) said, “Experiences, thoughts, actions and emotions actually change the structure of our brains” (emphasis added). »

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A Case Using Brief Psychodynamic Therapy

Wendy is a 54 year old woman who has two adult children and has been married for twenty-nine years. Her husband, Steve, has recently and unexpectedly informed her that he no longer loves her and that he wants a divorce. Wendy was shocked to hear this...

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...

Hard-wired to connect: Mirror neurons and empathy

Many people have suspected for a long time that we human beings are designed to be able to experience things happening for another person: in good times or in bad. So we see a stranger clumsily bump their head on a low-hanging branch at the park, and...

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...