Counselling Theory & Practice

Mid-life “Crises”: How Should Therapists Think About Them?

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” the client confides. “I’m at the top of my game in my job, my marriage is going ok, and I am healthy. I have achieved a lot of my goals, but my life suddenly feels like it doesn’t fit me anymore.” The client continues, describing a wild desire to quit everything and leave town – or maybe take up drinking to excess as a nightly sport. You perceive anxiety, depre... »

Building Shame Resilience in Clients

Jungian analysts have called it the “swampland of the soul”. Other psychotherapy writers have observed how it originally served to keep us safe; the tendency to shame has been a universal one in which our desire to hide our flaws from others has saved us from being kicked out of the group (the society), which evolutionarily would have meant death (Sholl, 2013). So which is it? Is shame totally pat... »

Seven Secrets for a Healthy Microbiome

In the first article of this series we proposed the radical idea (to some) that a new paradigm for mental health helping is emerging: one in which we cannot ignore the burgeoning research showing that the gut affects our psychological health as much as psychological health influences our physical (gut) health. »

Counselling and the Gut Microbiome: An Overview

If you’ve been at the game of counselling for a while, you know the ropes – and the rules. The client comes and you listen to their presenting issues; often those are anxiety and/or depression or unbearable angst at some aspect of life. You work out if it is within your sphere of competence to work with the person, and outline a treatment plan – or at least a suggestion of a modality that would wo... »

Working with the Highly Sensitive Client

Your client fidgets as she tries to explain what’s bothering her, and why she has come to see you. “It’s not that I don’t like my job,” she says hesitantly. “Facilitating groups is fun, but I’m doing it so many days a week, I just feel overwhelmed!” And it’s not just her work. “In my relationship,” she continues, “I’m distressed, because during the upcoming holiday season, we are supposed to go to... »

Counselling Parents: The Early Stages

The counselling of parents, like most counselling and many other endeavours, is likely to be heavily influenced by what happens in the early stages. If parents come to you and feel welcomed, respected, and understood, they are more likely to open up with the vital information that will enable you to help their children change challenging or harmful behaviours. If in addition, you are able to conve... »

Positive Psychology: The Underpinning Notions

Positive psychology, which has recently enjoyed a burgeoning base of research support, is “the scientific study of optimal functioning, performance, and wellbeing” (Langley & Francis, 2016). It asks not what is broken and needing to be fixed, but what is working, what is good in people and life. It wants to know what the positive experiences, characteristics, and practices are that enable indi... »

Narrative Therapy: Key Concepts

Narrative therapy, emerging since the 1980s, has been defined as “a postmodern-feminist-constructivist approach that entails the co-construction of real, imagined, or possible stories of the past, present, or future” (Mascher, 2002, p. 58). The shift from problematic stories to more adaptive ones leads to greater empowerment and enables clients to more successfully manage their lives (Seligman, 20... »

Strategies for Helping Families to Enhance Resilience

If you are supporting a family in transition, you may perceive huge differences between them and the characteristics (named in our previous article) as belonging to resilient families. If so, you may be wondering: “So how do I help move my struggling family down the continuum towards greater functionality?” In this article we address three principal areas of focus, which reinforce one another: Sup... »

The Making of a Flourishing Family

Have you ever wondered what makes some families capable of moving through very tough times without cracking under the strain? Are they just lucky somehow, or are they doing some things to get through in a happier, healthier way than typical families? What do you make of the family members’ responses to adversity in the following example? »

Mindfulness Meditation vs Stress

Although only recently embraced by Western psychology, mindfulness practices and techniques have been part of many Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Tai Chi, Hinduism, and most martial arts, for thousands of years. The various definitions of it revolve around bringing non-judgmental consciousness to the present experience, so it can be considered the art of conscious living. Mindfuln... »

Exercise: A Moving Part of Wellness

As with questions of diet, exercise is perhaps uppermost in the minds of those looking to enhance their wellness. The quest for fitness, however – as with diet – is so pervasive in developed cultures that some controversies are inevitable. As with our previous article on diet, we believe the best approach is for you to offer your client basic guidelines to help them (re-)shape their fitness regime... »

Helping Clients Develop Healthier Dietary Habits

Nutrition author Adel Davis used to claim, “You are what you eat” (Davis, 1970). Beyond diet, we “are” to some extent also how we exercise, how we sleep, and how we interact with our environment. That is because these are all variables which ultimately determine the condition of our physical self, which greatly impacts our capacity to express ourselves on other levels of being. In this article we ... »

Schema Therapy: Origin, Definition and Characteristics

Have you been working as a therapist in shorter-term therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)? In Australia, the clients of psychologists, for example, have been able to access Medicare rebates for their therapy for a limited number of sessions. Their practitioners, in return, are strongly encouraged – if not mandated – to work in well-researched, “gold standard” therapies such as CBT... »

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