What is psychological therapy?
Psychology is the science of the human psyche – or mind. A complex interplay of factors including cognition (how we think), emotion (how we feel) and behaviour (the way we act, often as a result of how we think and feel), a person’s psychological health determines how well they function and perform in life areas from work to relationships. As a practical therapeutic discipline, psychotherapy — also known as psychological therapy and talk therapy — can help to overcome barriers to success in life, work and relationships, equip you with healthier methods of coping with life stressors, help you to better regulate and manage your emotions and support you to realise greater personal peace of mind and mental and emotional wellbeing.
How can talk therapy help?
Whether a client presents with symptoms such as lethargy and low mood, struggles to cope with stress or wishes for greater success in a certain life area, a psychologist combines their knowledge of the human condition with appropriate evidence-based therapeutic paradigms and techniques to achieve maximum benefit. Psychologists also work with children, adolescents and adults experiencing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and addiction and may work with a GP or psychiatrist to integrate therapy with medication. They may also assess and support children and adolescents with learning and behavioural difficulties.
Do I need a mental health condition or problem to see a psychologist?
No. Much of the work psychologists do involves identifying everyday road blocks to optimal wellbeing, such as recurring emotional reactions, unhelpful beliefs and thought patterns (such as ‘I must do everything perfectly in order to feel good). Often these factors underlie presenting problems such as excess stress and burnout, overeating, fatigue and apathy, and anxiety and depression. Unlike psychiatrists, who are medical doctors trained to manage complex mental health conditions such as bipolar and major depression using medication and counselling, psychologists focus on supporting you to make changes to your thoughts and behaviour that enable better functioning and life satisfaction.
What qualifications does a psychologist need?
I have completed a Cert 3 in Business Admin, Diploma of Liberal Arts, Bachelor of Psychological Studies, Bachelor of Psychological Studies (Honours) and Master of Educational Psychology.
Can a psychologist read my mind?
No. But they may draw certain conclusions about your thought patterns and emotional reactions from your behaviour and your reported difficulties.
How can I get the most from consulting a psychologist?
While it can feel challenging to be completely honest and emotionally vulnerable – especially in the early stages of the therapeutic relationship – being as open as you’re able to tolerate will help you to get the most from the work. In addition, build a good relationship with your psychologist and try to persevere in the partnership, even if at times you feel frustrated or angry. In fact, evidence attests to the role of the therapeutic relationship in effective therapy – regardless of therapeutic paradigm and specific therapeutic techniques. This is because many issues that may hold you back in life, including frustration with others, are likely to arise in the therapeutic hour as old patterns and vulnerabilities based in your past are triggered. Therapy is a prime opportunity to work through and resolve the emotional hurdles that hamper your peace of mind, life satisfaction and wellbeing.