Depression is characterised by frequent low moods, sadness, low motivation, hopelessness and difficulty moving forward with life. An initial depressive episode can occur after a significant life event but can also appear to “come out of the blue”. Feeling down, low and sad after an important life event is normal, but depending on an individual’s level of support, coping mechanisms, and other factors, the initial sadness can become problematic over time when it significantly interferes with functioning. Psychological services can help with depression with interventions to increase activity levels, address unhelpful thinking styles, and create a sense of direction and purpose in life to help clients move forward.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. Although the anxiety response is a healthy and natural occurrence in humans, prolonged exposure to stress and limited coping mechanisms can lead to anxiety disorders. Generalised anxiety is characterised by persistent worrying which can be centred around a range of topics, as well as difficulty controlling the worry. This can result in strong physical symptoms, including a racing heartbeat, palpitations, sweating, dizziness, stomach pains etc., and can also lead to ruminating thoughts and an overactive mind. Whether the anxiety is generalised, social, or panic related, a major feature of anxiety disorders is avoidance. Psychological services can help address the symptoms of anxiety by providing education, tools to help manage symptoms, and evidence-based interventions to help address avoidance and overcome fears.
The emotion of anger is centred around injustice. Most individuals who experience on-going anger issues have experienced a period of injustice, or continued life frustrations, which have led to difficulty controlling and regulating anger and other emotions. Anger manager aims to assist clients by increasing emotional control, learning consequential thinking, and unravelling the thinking styles that are perpetuating difficult emotional control.
Grief and Loss
Grief is a normal and natural part of bring human that most of us will experience in our lifetimes. When an individual is in grief, they may experience similar symptoms to depression, including persistent low moods, sadness, difficulty initiating routines etc., but the grieving process is not considered a mental disorder. That being said, most of us have received limited education on how to recovery after a significant loss and can benefit from extra support. Psychology services can assist individuals with to recover from grief or loss.
People can experience many different forms of trauma that can lead to difficulties in functioning. This can be single incident trauma, such as a tragic event or accident, or more prolonged trauma which may include physical/emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. All types of trauma have the potential to significantly affect an individual’s capacity to function. Engaging with a psychologist for trauma related care can assist clients to have a better understanding of the natural of trauma, provide coping mechanisms to deal with symptoms, and assist in processing and moving forward with life.
It’s not always easy to express our needs and set strong, consistent boundaries in our social and intimate relationships. It can be even more difficult to apply consequences for crossing these boundaries. But we are generally doing ourselves a disservice by not being assertive. Assertiveness training aims to help clients identify their needs and apply methods to clearly communicate their boundaries in relationships. This can be used to address “people pleasing” behaviours, conflict avoidance, or just wanting to get further in life.
Life direction/confidence building
A common saying but one with much merit – “If you’re not moving towards a specific target you will end up somewhere you never planned”. Life direction and confidence building go hand in hand. Most individuals experience a feeling of confidence when they have a good conception of who they are, where they want to go in life, and the development of an actionable plan to get there. But this is easier said than done. Psychological services can employ values identification and exploration exercises, exploration of barriers to move forward, and practical planning/solution-focused interventions for this purpose.
Seeing a psychologist doesn’t always revolve around psychological distress. Even highly functional individuals can still experience significant barriers in their lives, including a lack of motivation and confidence, limited life direction, performance issues etc. Personal development aims to help clients clearly define their goals and work on methods for moving towards them. This is done by assessing and problem solving barriers, defining values and goals, and setting an achievable plan. An action plan for personal development aims to get clients living closer to their edge – not too far in the comfort zone and not too far away from support – this is the prefect level for growth that we can help facilitate.