We specialise in providing evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and Schema Focused Therapy. All of these approaches are used around the world to treat a wide range of problems, both common and not so common. Importantly, clinical trials have been conducted that have shown them to be effective. (Typically in these trials the treatment’s effectiveness is compared against the results of having no treatment or against other treatments, such as medication).
All these therapies focus on teaching people the skills to help them find solutions to their problems. They are practical, short term, and recognise that people benefit from help that focus on their current problems.
The focus on the present, rather than on childhood experiences, is a common feature of modern psychological therapies. Modern therapies do not involve lying on a couch, dream analysis or other “weird” things. Of course it can be useful to look at how and when unhelpful patterns developed, and sometimes this type of understanding is important, but our focus is much more on what you want your life to be about now, and what is preventing you from achieving that.
Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
CBT is the most widely used therapy around the world today, and ACT is a newer version of CBT. Both are very practical approaches that focuses on changing unhelpful patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
CBT and ACT are focused on helping people to:
- Recognise the role that thinking and emotions play in helping or hindering them
- Think and act more flexibly
- Identify alternative thinking that is more realistic, helpful and positive
- Distance themselves from the unhelpful or painful thoughts and emotions
- Learn skills to improve coping, e.g., relaxation, assertive communication, problem-solving, goal-setting skills
- Take action towards living a valued and meaningful life
The Beyondblue website gives further information on these treatments.
Schema Focused Therapy
Schema Focused Therapy was developed from Cognitive Therapy. It is aimed at longer term problems and those that CBT was not so effective at treating. Schema are sub-conscious unhelpful patterns of behaviour that were formed early in life and impact on how a person relates to others and themselves. It involves:
- Identifying schema and how they impact on a person’s life
- Identifying self-defeating patterns
- Developing an understanding of key triggers
- Building helpful ways of coping with schema and developing new, more effective coping strategies
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
EMDR is an evidence-based therapy developed to help people recover from disturbing life experiences and trauma. EMDR helps the person heal from psychological trauma in much the same as the body recovers from physical trauma. Research has shown that EMDR produces neurological changes in the brain that result in a rapid reduction of trauma symptoms. It can be used in the treatment of recent and historical traumatic events, anxiety and phobias, panic attacks, addictions and nightmares.
Choice of Therapeutic Approach
The choice between the approaches we offer depends on the nature of the problem and your own preference for one approach over another. For example, in the case of depression all these approaches could be used. However, if the problems are related to relationship issues and you wish to work on them directly, then CBT or ACT may be preferable. On the other hand, if the problems are much broader then Schema Focused Therapy may be more suitable.
Length of Therapy
CBT and ACT are short-term therapies. This means that therapy most often takes between six and eighteen sessions. Schema Focused Therapy is longer term and may last between six months and several years. However, sometimes even the shorter term therapies can take longer. We recommend setting a small number of realistic goals at the beginning, then working on them for roughly six sessions. After these sessions we can then review both what has and has not been achieved together. The decision about whether to continue is made at this point, and you may decide to add further sessions if necessary. Of course, you can also terminate therapy at any point.