What is psychology and counselling?

Psychology is the study of human behaviour. Psychologists are trained in the different theoretical approaches to behaviour and apply this knowledge to assist clients with a large range of issues – from parenting issues and life transitions to depression and anxiety to the more complex mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. There are many forms of therapy, such as cognitive therapy which focuses on our present thoughts and how these help or interfere with our ability to cope with certain situations, and narrative therapy which centres on the client’s past experiences, essentially searching through their history for a better understanding of how and why current issues are affecting their life. Psychologists may also teach relaxation skills, or strategies for getting a good night sleep. Psychologists may concentrate on one approach, or more commonly, utilise the techniques and strategies of many different approaches in order to better shape the therapy for the individual client.

Psychologists may also use a range of psychological assessments or tests to determine a diagnosis and to inform their choice of best treatment option to use.

Counselling involves the therapist examining the way the client is thinking, behaving or relating in their environment and working with the client to develop a way that will work better for them.

Counselling is not ‘giving advice’ and involves much more than listening. It is an interactive process where the therapist enables the client’s self awareness to grow, challenges non-useful patterns of behaviour and helps to develop strategies that might be more effective for the client.  It requires commitment from the client to actively be involved on the process of making changes, learning acceptance or developing any number of skills to help them to cope with the current problem or situation.

There are times in most people lives where a situation or specific problem can seem impossible to resolve and it can have many negative impacts on our personal life, our relationships and/or our work life. This can and does happen to people from all walks of life – professionals, sportspeople, famous and not so famous, the young and old, men and women.  A Counsellor or Psychologist is trained to support clients and, if required, assist them to make positive changes towards a more satisfying way of life.

As the benefits of therapy are being better understood people are becoming more inclined to invest in their mental and psychological wellbeing.

The stigma that once surrounded counselling has been rapidly fading due to the growing awareness of how counselling can help in so many situations and through educating people to know that counselling can be useful for everyday people. People are now recognizing the many benefits of psychological treatment and counselling and that it is ok to ask for help - no matter your age, sex or personal situation. It is for people just like you and me.