Mental Health Issues

Prevalence, Incidence, and Risk Factors for ASD and PTSD

In a previous article, we explored the definition of trauma, and reviewed the DSM-V diagnostic criteria for two trauma-related mental health disorders: acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The answer to how many people in a given population have AST or PTSD is not straightforward, as it should be considered in the context of how many potentially traumatic events (P... »

Trauma, ASD and PTSD

What is “trauma”? The word seems to be used inconsistently in the mental health field, sometimes referring to an adverse event and sometimes describing the psychological injury sustained from experiencing such an event. “Trauma” comes from the Greek word for “wound, hurt, or defeat”; before 1700 it was used to mean a physical injury, the sense in which many medical practitioners today use the word... »

Self-help Strategies for OCD and OCPD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) are said to affect two to three percent of the population for OCD (that is: more than 500,000 Australians) and one percent for OCPD, although three to ten percent of the psychiatric population is said to have it (Long, 2011). Many cases probably go untreated. As a therapist, what can you give to obsessive clie... »

The Phenomenon of Dissociation

Have you ever seen a movie in which the main character wakes up in a strange hotel room, dressed weirdly, with no idea how she got there, and no relationship to the name she gave hotel staff upon check-in? Such drama is the stuff of Hollywood depictions of dissociative disorders. Dissociative identity disorder (DID), known as multiple personality disorder (MPD) until renamed in the DSM-IV (America... »

Postnatal Depression: Onset, Prevalence and Consequences

There were 22 filicide cases recorded in Australia between July 2008 and June 2010, or 11 per year on average. Seven involved the death of a child less than one year of age (Chan & Payne, 2013). Postnatal depression, or PND, figures largely in these sad statistics; it has been estimated that at least one in five mothers of full-term infants suffers from it (Priest et al, 2005, in Statewide Obstetr... »

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 ... »

Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention Tips

Because most people who die by suicide give warning signals of their intentions, the best way to help prevent suicide is to learn how to recognise – and then respond to – those signs. It may be helpful to think of a continuum, at one end of which is a healthy desire to live life to the fullest, and at the other end of which is a completed suicide. Somewhere on that continuum – possibly in the half... »

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... »

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... »

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... »

Suicide: Supporting People with Special Needs in Grieving

How can you best offer support to someone who is bereaved by suicide? What attitudes, translated into caring actions, can best facilitate the bereaved person’s coping in the immediate and short term, and their healing in the longer term? In a previous article we provided you with a guide to clarify what you can do to help the suicide-bereaved. In this article we explore special issues and unique g... »

What is Motivational Interviewing?

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... »

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in Practice

There are four primary modes of treatment, or elements, in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: (1) Therapist consultation groups; (2) Individual therapy; (3) Telephone contact/crisis coaching and; (4) Group skills training (Mind, 2013). Not all DBT programs carry all four modes of treatment. When they do, the various modes can be described as follows. Therapist consultation groups: An essential aspe... »

Working with Clients with Intellectual Disability

Are you as a mental health professional aware of the needs of clients with intellectual disabilities? Do you know what generally constitutes “impairment”, “disability”, or “activity limitation”? Would you be aware of special considerations or needs that such a client might have in a counselling context? »

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