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The word psychology comes from two Greek words, psyche, meaning “breath”, “soul”, and logia, meaning “study of”.  In its truest meaning psychology is “the study of the soul” and in true practice, psychology is a process which connects us with our inner wisdom.

What do psychologists do?

The services offered by psychologists may vary depending on their area of specialisation. Aligned Psychology practitioners predominantly provide counselling and psychotherapy, otherwise termed talking therapy. As a part of these services, the therapist may utilise a variety of techniques including clinical interviewing and the use of questionnaires and tests for the purpose of assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning. They may also utilise interventions from any number of evidence based models (see below for further information) to address a person’s presenting concerns. Psychologists do not prescribe medication, a consultation with a general practitioner or a psychiatrist is required for this.

What is the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists?

Psychologist are required to complete a minimum of a masters degree specialising in a specific area of psychology. Areas of specialisation include clinical, health, educational and developmental, organisational, forensic, and counselling.  Psychologists tend to focus on behaviour patterns, thought processes, and social factors that influence a person’s mental health.

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 and can offer a variety of therapeutic treatments.

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What is counselling and psychotherapy?

Counselling and psychotherapy are very similar processes however they differ in a few specific ways. Counselling is generally a shorter term process where the focus tends to be on a current issue, whereas psychotherapy tends to be longer term where the root of the presenting issues are examined, where patterns of behaviour, thoughts and beliefs, and the impact of historical events and relationship dynamics are explored. In summary, psychotherapy encompasses the mental, emotional, behavioural, relational, existential and spiritual health of a human being.

What type of therapeutic approach do you use?

Aligned Psychology Services psychologists and psychotherapists have been trained in a diverse range of therapy models to ensure they can meet the individual needs of each client. Most often our therapists will use an integrative approach borrowing from any one of the below models:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

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.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

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 (IPT)

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 psychotherapy

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.

Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)

Internal family systems (IFS) is an integrative approach that views the mind as being made up of sub-personalities (parts) each with their own specific role, perspectives and qualities. By developing an understanding of how each part works as part of the whole system and how they interact with the outside world, designed to assist clients to increase their understanding of their inner conflicts, their protective mechanisms, particular behavioural tendencies, and increase their awareness of the difference between their parts and their true self.

Various models of psychology place primary emphasis on the mind, where thought patterns and belief structures are a central focus. While the examination of our cognitions has importance, it is through the body (inclusive of the whole body, including the brain) that we can connect, come to know our true nature and access the wisdom that exists within. For this reason our psychologists and psychotherapists bring a practical approach to the day to day lifestyle choices and behaviours that can support the body’s wellbeing and the mind, treating the person as a whole.

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