Counselling Theory & Practice

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... »

Lifestyle, Neurotransmitters and the Brain

Dr Matthew Bambling (2014) approaches the question of why (how?) nutrition might affect our brains by noting that nutrients serve numerous functions, such as energy metabolism, maintenance of healthy mood, protection and growth of neural structures, and the up- or down-regulation of genes involved in healthy brain metabolism. Most importantly, however, nutrients are involved with neurotransmitters... »

CBT Interventions for Trauma

If you were to have a traumatised client, which type of therapy would you choose to treat them? On what would you base your decision? While the therapy-types on offer to treat PTSD abound, three different types of psychotherapeutic approaches come up again and again in the literature as workable and appropriate for trauma. These are: cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement de-sensitisati... »

MBCT: A Look at the Mechanisms of Action

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a psychological therapy designed to help prevent the relapse of depression, especially for those individuals who have Major Depressive Disorder (the principal type of depressive disorder defined by the DSM-5). MBCT employs traditional CBT methods and adds in mindfulness and mindfulness meditation strategies. In this article, we explore the mechanisms b... »

Loss and the Chronic or Terminally Ill

Australians, like Americans and their other Western counterparts, are living longer but suffering more chronic diseases. While the Australian boy born today can expect to live to 79.9 years and the Australian girl to 84 (the American statistic is similar), the odds are that they will be plagued by chronic illness, which will eventually kill them. Eighty percent of deaths in the United States now o... »

Counselling the Terminally Ill: Anxiety and Spirituality

For all the prevalence of chronic illness-becoming-terminal, clinicians note that few resources are available which address grief and loss in a chronic illness context. Moreover, numerous studies have shown that counsellors are uncomfortable dealing with grief- and loss-related concerns, particularly loss related to death. This article entertains the question of what philosophical or spiritual pre... »

Trauma: The Therapeutic Window

If you had to endure a traumatic event – say, dangerous flooding, an out-of-control bushfire, or being caught up in terrorism – would you want to talk about your experiences later? Would you believe that it would help you to heal from them if you did? Early models for treating trauma asked clients to do this, insisting that the cure was in the retelling. Just around the millennium, however, resear... »

The Neurobiology of Trauma

In recently published articles we defined and looked at the aetiology of trauma and discussed the prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for ASD and PTSD. In this article we shift our focus to the neurobiological side of things i.e. what happens to the brain during the course of trauma. »

E-therapy: A Look at the Benefits

Most of us would not have pursued a career in mental health helping (broadly including here counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, social work, and psychiatry) if we were not aware of and keen to extend to those in need the many benefits that the face-to-face therapeutic encounter brings. Accustomed to this format, we can easily dismiss online technologies as a viable way of delivering profession... »

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