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.

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). »

Treating Anxiety with CBT: The Evidence

Generally considered a short-term therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) often consists of about 8 to 12 sessions in which client and therapist work collaboratively to identify problem thoughts and behaviours (click here to learn more about CBT’s principles and practices). CBT is considered the gold standard in the psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety disorders and several meta-analyses (i.e., studies reviewing the results of multiple studies) have been published in recent years regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of CBT for anxiety (Stewart & Chambless, 2009; Hoffman & Smits, 2008; Norton & Price, 2007). »

What is CBT? Principles and Practices

If you are a mental health helper of almost any stripe: social worker, counsellor, psychologist, psychotherapist, or even psychiatrist, it would be surprising for you not to have heard of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), such is its fame in the mental health professions. We can broadly define it as a combination of cognitive and behavioural therapeutic approaches used to help clients modify limiting, maladaptive thoughts and behaviours, ones that are often inconsistent with consensual reality (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979). The basic premise of CBT is that emotions are difficult to change directly, so CBT targets emotions by changing the thoughts and behaviours that are contributing to the distressing emotions. »

Motivational interviewing: The definitions, the spirit, and what it is not

The initial description of motivational interviewing (MI), provided by William Miller in 1983, has evolved through both clinical experience and empirical research into the evidence-based practice it is known as today. Differing from more “coercive” methods for motivating change, motivational interviewing does not impose change, but supports it in a way which is congruent with the person’s own values. The most current definition (among a set which has shown continuous evolution) is that MI is: “... a collaborative, person-centred form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change” (motivationalinterview.org, n.d.) »

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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...

Caring for others: Ethical considerations

In two previous articles we discussed the process of providing emotional and psychological (or social) support to others – including the reasons why we help; the traps we can fall into as we attempt to help others; and the typical needs and motivatio...

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...