WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY ?
Psychology is the scientific study of how people think, feel and behave. Psychology investigates a diverse range of phenomena including development, personality, learning and memory, perception and sensation, thinking and language, and mental illness, just to name a few.
WHAT DO PSYCHOLOGISTS DO ?
Psychologists have a specialised understanding of human behaviour and how the mind works. They are trained in evidence based approaches and interventions which are designed to help people overcome life adjustment difficulties, mental health problems and enhance overall wellbeing. Psychologists may use a variety of techniques including clinical interviewing, questionnaires and various other measurement tools in order to accurately assess the nature of the difficulties a person presents with and to determine the most appropriate treatment approach.
Treatment offered by psychologists may vary depending on their specialised training but often will involve psychotherapy, otherwise termed as counselling or talking therapy. The counselling process can increase self understanding and assist people in exploring and overcoming barriers preventing them from achieving their goals. People can expect to learn new ways of coping, develop insight into their past and present difficulties, improve relationships and learn to better manage the symptoms of physical or mental health conditions.
A person does not need to suffer from a mental illness to see a psychologist. Many people see psychologists to help them improve their work performance or to overcome a temporary stressor in their lives or to help them increase life satisfaction.
Psychologists are not able to prescribe medication, however for some people a treatment regime of counselling and medication can be beneficial.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGISTS AND PSYCHIATRISTS ?
Psychiatrists complete a medical degree and then specialise in mental health. They are able to prescribe medication and typically focus on the biochemical side of mental health. Although some psychiatrists do also offer psychotherapy.
In order to achieve the qualifications as a Psychologists, a masters degree is required specialising in a specific area of psychology. Areas of specialisation include clinical, health, educational and developmental, organisational, forensic, counselling.
TYPES OF COUNSELLING APPROACHES?
Each of the therapeutic approaches listed below have been extensively investigated with evidence supporting their effectiveness for the treatment of a wide variety of emotional, psychological and psychiatric conditions.
CBT focuses on identifying unhelpful cognitions (thoughts), feelings and behaviours and aims to help people develop healthier ways of coping and adaptive life skills and habits. CBT is typically a shorter term approach which is structured and goal oriented. All elements which contribute to a person’s presenting difficulties are examined and addressed including thoughts, feelings, behaviour and environmental factors. Clients can expect to develop a collaborative partnership with their therapists where they are actively involved in the planning of their own treatment.
ACT is a mindfulness-based behavioural therapy. One of the core principles of ACT is to accept what is outside of your control and commit to action which helps create a rich and meaningful life. ACT aims to assist people take action in their lives according to what is most important and meaningful to them. Clients can expect to learn psychological skills, including mindfulness skills, which assist in the management of painful thoughts and emotions.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy is a time limited approach which focuses on the influence of interpersonal factors on feelings of distress. Relationships are the focus of treatment with the aim of bringing about change by improving relationships and social supports. Clients can expect to develop communication skills, improve their ability to identify and understand their emotions, and improve their ability to adjust to life transitions.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the unconscious, unresolved conflicts and unconscious emotions. Psychodynamic therapy aims to reveal and explore early childhood experiences and past relationships and how these influence a person’s current behaviour. Clients can expect an exploration of their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and past experiences to gain insight into their current difficulties and the reoccurring patterns which have developed over time. Through the exploration of reoccurring patterns, defence mechanisms are identified and examined for their function or dysfunction to assist people in developing and strengthening healthy ways of coping.