Therapies & Approaches

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... »

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... »

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... »

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... »

What is MBCT? Definition and Background

You may have heard of the Eastern-influenced practice of mindfulness, with roots in Buddhist traditions extending back over 2500 years (Sipe & Eisendrath, 2012). You undoubtedly know about – and are probably at least somewhat familiar with – the (Western) psychotherapeutic approach of CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy, as proposed by Aaron Beck (2011). MBCT is an adaptation of MBSR (mindfu... »

Motivational Interviewing and Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18 percent of the U.S. population) (ADAA, 2014). The percentage is similar in Australia, with 14.4 percent of Australians being affected by an anxiety disorder in any 12 month period (Mindframe, 2012). Even though only one-third of those in both countries seek treatment for the ... »

The Efficacy of CBT Treatment for Depression

The plethora of studies evaluating the efficacy and effectiveness of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) over the last few decades has shown generally solid results for CBT as a treatment for depression (and many other disorders) with different groups, in different modes of delivery, and in manifold settings. There is no controversy on one fundamental finding: there is a vast amount of evidence show... »

Principles and Techniques of Motivational Interviewing

If you have even a small track record of helping people change, you are familiar with the dynamics regarding change: client presents with problem (often precipitated by a crisis), becomes aware of compelling reasons to adopt a healthier lifestyle or cease harmful behaviours, and then hems and haws, straddling the fence with incomprehensible ambivalence. Persuading the client with logic, browbea... »

Interpersonal Therapy: History and Theoretical Background

Interpersonal psychotherapy has been defined as a time-limited, dynamically-informed psychotherapy which aims to alleviate clients’ suffering while improving their interpersonal functioning. It is concerned with the interpersonal context: the relational factors that predispose, precipitate, and perpetuate the client’s distress. It is widely, but not exclusively, used to treat mood disorders. Rathe... »

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... »

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 limi... »

Motivational interviewing: Definitions, 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 valu... »

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