Counselling Theory & Practice

Challenges of Families with a Parent Working Away from Home Base

For modern Australian families there is another dimension of challenge that sits just outside the framework of what used to be considered “normal”. Much has been said about the mining boom and the advantages that it has brought to this country’s economy in what are generally troubled economic times globally. Similarly, few Australians would argue about the necessity for Defence Force personnel to ... »

Family Issues When There is Disability, Illness, or Serious Injury

Have you ever experienced anyone in your family becoming seriously ill or disabled? Chances are that it was a difficult time for you. When a family member is stricken with a physical injury, illness or disability, the ramifications of that change go far beyond the physical, often causing deep-level re-alignment of membership roles, responsibilities, and expectations as the family deals with the pr... »

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... »

Challenges of Families Who Experience Domestic Violence

There is no way around it; all four functions of a family are put at risk in the sad situation of family violence, and to a large degree the risk factors are interrelated. Focusing first on Function One, family formation and membership, we can comprehend how the pervasiveness of family violence in Australia (which is a microcosm of the global picture) hugely distorts the capacity of the family to ... »

Challenges of Blended and Step “Remarried” Families

The “blending” of a re-marriage means that the old norms, rules, and ways of gaining acceptance are now null and void. Blended and step family members generally do not realise this at the outset, wanting to re-create the biological family of origin (the children’s desire), or the first marriage (the spouses’ unconscious wish). They cannot. In remarriages, there are at least three types of “emotion... »

Challenges of Single-parent Families Due to Death or Separation

In this article we will explore challenges faced by single-parent families due to death or separation. But before we dive into this subject, we encourage you to explore a little background information that will set the tone for the series. First, we recommend you read the article Trends and Statistics of the Contemporary Family to understand some of the emergent trends and statistical truths about... »

Six Principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Six basic principles form the foundation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. They work in conjunction with one another toward the main goals of effectively handling painful thoughts and experiences and creating a rich, vital life. The principles are: »

Transpersonal therapy: What is it?

Most Western models of health deal extensively with physical, social/emotional, and mental levels of health. When they talk about maximising a person’s potential, it is normally within a context such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1962), which – in stating that the highest level of the nested hierarchy is “self-actualisation” – takes one to the threshold of the transpersonal, but not into it. Tra... »

Mindfulness Skills and Techniques

In a previous article we explored how mindfulness interventions have been shown to be beneficial for a wide range of psychological and physical conditions such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, personality disorders, and addictions. It would be hard not to want the many benefits of mindfulness practice – yet while the concept is simple; the practice is not always easy. »

Sand Tray Therapy for Clients with Intellectual Disabilities

In the first half of the last century, British paediatrician and child psychiatrist Margaret Lowenfeld utilised sand and water in combination with small toys to help children express “the inexpressible” after reading H.G. Wells’ observation that his two sons would work out family problems playing on the floor with miniature figures (Zhou, 2009). »

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? »

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 problems”, “educating them and inspiring them to make their lives work,” or possibly “providing support and a safe container while they explore new [pre... »

Fundamentals of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT, was developed in 1993 by U.S. psychologist Marsha Linehan for use specifically with clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), who cope with distressing emotions and situations by using self-destructive behaviours such as suicide and self-harm, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Linehan’s assessment of the therapies available to BPD cli... »

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), also known as Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT), was developed chiefly by Dr Susan Johnson, who perceived the need for a better way of doing couples therapy than what was available in the mid-1980s as she was finishing her doctoral work. The importance of supporting distressed couples cannot be underscored enough. Johnson noted that recent surveys in Nor... »

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