Mental Health Issues

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? »

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... »

Treatment Options for the Depressed Elderly

Because depression in older adults is so widely unrecognised, it can be difficult to comprehend just how forcefully conditions such as deteriorating health, a sense of isolation and hopelessness, and the challenge of adjusting to new life circumstances can create a “perfect storm” pushing an already-depressed person over the edge to suicide. When depression is not treated in elderly white men (in ... »

What Causes Depression in the Elderly?

As people age, they experience many changes to their physical health, lifestyles, and circumstances which affect their ability to function. Most of the changes have been identified as risk factors that make an older adult more vulnerable to depression. We can group the changes into three chief categories: changes in physical health or functioning, changes in mental health, and changes in circumsta... »

Depression in Older Adults: What Does It Look Like?

There are 31 million Americans 65 years or older, and five million of them (just over 16 percent) have depression (Boswell & Stoudemire, 1996). In Australia, one million people currently suffer from depression, and 14 percent will have it at some point in their lives (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008). There is some debate as to whether the prevalence of depression increases or decreases with... »

Addiction: The Biggest Killer

Question: What is the biggest killer of Australians today? If you are somewhat clued up about health matters, you may very well say, “Oh, definitely heart disease.” Or you may argue that that unenviable honour goes to cancer. Indeed, here are some statistics which would seem to validate your claim.But wait just a minute. Situations, especially in the field of health, are not always as simple a... »

Case Study: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Marian, a psychologist who specialised in anxiety disorders, closed the file and put it into the filing cabinet with a smile on her face. This time she had the satisfaction of filing it into the “Work Completed” files, for she had just today celebrated the final session with a very long-term client: Darcy Dawson. They’d come through a lot together, Darcy and Marian, during the twelve years of Darc... »

Treating Substance Addiction

Treating any type of substance abuse and substance addiction is challenging because they both have so many dimensions and they both disrupt so many aspects of the individual's life. Effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the condition and its consequences. Ultimately, treatments aspire to help the individual stop using substances... »

OCD: A Half-century of Evolving Treatments

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is said to affect 2% to 3% of the Australian population (that is: more than 500,000 Australians). OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder and is characterised by: Intrusive thoughts that engender uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry (that is: obsessions); Repetitive behaviours which the OCD individual undertakes in order to reduce the worry (compulsions) or... »

Treating NPD in the Therapy Room

Benjamin (1996) asserted that therapy interventions for narcissism could be evaluated in terms of five categories of correct response: whether or not the intervention enhanced collaboration, facilitated learning about patterns, blocked maladaptive patterns, strengthened the will to give up maladaptive patterns, or facilitated new learning. In this article, we take each in turn. »

Aetiology of Borderline Personality Disorder

The causes of Borderline Personality Disorder are complex and remain uncertain. No current model has been able to integrate all of the available evidence. However, the following have been named as contributing factors to the cause of borderline personality disorder. These include: Genetics; Neurophysiological and neurobiological dysfunctions of emotional regulation and stress; Psychosocial histori... »

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