Counselling

Revisiting Subpersonalities for Internal Conflict

Peter is 32, with a wife and three young children. Living in a medium-sized town in Western Australia, Peter has had jobs in the field of social work since gaining his social work degree in Perth. He has a sensitive personality and has always found some aspects of the work difficult to face emotionally, but in the last year or two, the reality of this work has just been too much for him. Peter rea... »

Mid-life “Crises”: How Should Therapists Think About Them?

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” the client confides. “I’m at the top of my game in my job, my marriage is going ok, and I am healthy. I have achieved a lot of my goals, but my life suddenly feels like it doesn’t fit me anymore.” The client continues, describing a wild desire to quit everything and leave town – or maybe take up drinking to excess as a nightly sport. You perceive anxiety, depre... »

Building Shame Resilience in Clients

Jungian analysts have called it the “swampland of the soul”. Other psychotherapy writers have observed how it originally served to keep us safe; the tendency to shame has been a universal one in which our desire to hide our flaws from others has saved us from being kicked out of the group (the society), which evolutionarily would have meant death (Sholl, 2013). So which is it? Is shame totally pat... »

Seven Secrets for a Healthy Microbiome

In the first article of this series we proposed the radical idea (to some) that a new paradigm for mental health helping is emerging: one in which we cannot ignore the burgeoning research showing that the gut affects our psychological health as much as psychological health influences our physical (gut) health. »

Counselling and the Gut Microbiome: An Overview

If you’ve been at the game of counselling for a while, you know the ropes – and the rules. The client comes and you listen to their presenting issues; often those are anxiety and/or depression or unbearable angst at some aspect of life. You work out if it is within your sphere of competence to work with the person, and outline a treatment plan – or at least a suggestion of a modality that would wo... »

Working with the Highly Sensitive Client

Your client fidgets as she tries to explain what’s bothering her, and why she has come to see you. “It’s not that I don’t like my job,” she says hesitantly. “Facilitating groups is fun, but I’m doing it so many days a week, I just feel overwhelmed!” And it’s not just her work. “In my relationship,” she continues, “I’m distressed, because during the upcoming holiday season, we are supposed to go to... »

Counselling Parents: The Early Stages

The counselling of parents, like most counselling and many other endeavours, is likely to be heavily influenced by what happens in the early stages. If parents come to you and feel welcomed, respected, and understood, they are more likely to open up with the vital information that will enable you to help their children change challenging or harmful behaviours. If in addition, you are able to conve... »

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 ... »

Social Media: Breeding Ground for Multiple Relationships

It starts out innocently. You email the client a scanned copy of an article relevant to something that came up in session. She emails you back to say thank you, and then asks a question related to her therapy, which you feel duty-bound to answer, so you do; before you know it, there is regular email exchange taking place. A few weeks later, she rings on your cell phone to clarify something you sai... »

Counselling and the Neurobiology of Personal Experience

The research in neuroscience is highly supportive of counselling’s emphasis on deep listening, empathic understanding, strength building, and wellness (Ivey, Ivey, Zalaquett, & Quirk, 2011). Counselling is shown to change the organisation of the brain: a learning process as the brain responds to stimuli and creates neural pathways to accommodate new information (Ivey, 2009). “Information” includes... »

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? »

What is Psychological First Aid?

Imagine for a moment that you are a survivor of a powerful cyclone. Let’s say that you and all your loved ones managed to get out safely, but you arrived at the community shelter with only a backpack each of essential medicines, basic documents (such as your birth certificate and passport), and a few precious photos. There was not time to grab more. After the winds receded and you were allowed to ... »

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and commitment therapy (usually pronounced as the word “act” rather than the initials “A-C-T”) is a form of clinical behavioural analysis developed in 1986 by psychologists Steven Hayes, Kelly Wilson, and Kirk Strosahl. Originally called comprehensive distancing, it gets its current name from one of its core messages: the injunction to accept what is out of one’s personal control and co... »

Communication and Counselling

Communication is one of the fundamental necessities of our relationships with other people, whether it is a stranger, work colleague, family member, child or life partner. While our interpersonal relationships can be rewarding, many of us find ourselves in situations of mis-communication and communication breakdown, often leading to interpersonal conflict. »

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