Bringing Self-Awareness into Theory & Practice

Counselling

Counselling Services

Medicare and private health insurance rebates available.

We offer a wide range of psychology and counselling services

 

Anxiety

Most of us feel anxious from time to time depending on the situation. In fact some anxiety can help us perform at an optimal level. Although anxiety can be a normal response to a stressful situation anxiety disorders, however, are different. Anxiety can manifest through a wide range of thinking, feeling and bodily responses.

The symptoms of anxiety can often develop gradually over time. Given that we all experience some anxiety, it can be hard to know how much is too much. They can cause such distress that it interferes with our ability to lead a normal life. There are many types of anxiety, and there is a range of symptoms for each.

Symptoms vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder, but general symptoms include:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • An inability to be still and calm
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness

 

It is important to remember that you are not on your own if you are experiencing anxiety. There are different treatment strategies to treat anxiety depending on your particular situation.

Stress Management

Everyday we are exposed to a myriad number of events that have the potential of causing us stress. In a positive sense, stress can propel us into action and give us new perspectives around different issues and help us to maintain focus. In a negative sense stress is considered one of the major causes of health problems and, in extreme cases, death. In addition, not all of us will respond to the same stressful situation in the same way. What is important is identifying the different ways in which we interpret and react to events that leads us to feeling stressed.

Identifying the signs of stress can assist us in dealing with situations in a more satisfying and relaxed way. In general, stress will be experienced through feelings, thoughts, behaviour and physical symptoms, which may include:

  • increased heart rate
  • consistent insomnia
  • shallow breathing
  • flushed face
  • hands shaking
  • irritability
  • problems remembering things
  • stiff neck
  • extremely cold or warm hands
  • poor appetite
  • lack of concentration
  • inability to stop thinking about something
  • feelings of helplessness
  • frequent careless mistakes on the job
  • excess weight gain or loss
  • ANY thoughts of suicide

 

Managing your stress is about becoming aware of the particular stressors and your reactions and recognizing what can be changed. From there we introduce strategies that help build and maintain physical and emotional reserves to help reduce the intensity of stress reactions.

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Domestic Violence & Abuse

The impact of abuse and violence in families can never be overestimated. Results from the crime victimisation survey in 2011- 12 estimated that there were 6.4 million acts of physical or threatened assault affecting an estimated 1.1 million people. The economic cost to the community of violence against women alone is estimated to be $13.6 billion each year. These figures become even more staggering when you realise that these are reported cases and there are many more incidents of abuse and violence that go hidden from public.

Adequate responses to domestic violence require a systemic approach that addresses the complex array of dynamics and influences. The discussion around what causes violence and abuse in families and the best way to deal with the issue has been ongoing for decades. What we do know is that family violence counselling requires expertise gained from specialist training and experience. In many cases people are not aware that they are in an abusive relationship. One partner feels that no matter what they do nothing seems to resolve the conflict and things tend to escalate over time. Someone trained in the area of abuse and violence will be able to identify whether violence is the issue and take into account issues of power and control and the safety of family members.

If you would like more information on domestic violence and abuse click here or if you want to discuss your own situation please call our office.

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 Depression

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is much more than just a low mood. It is a serious condition that has an impact on both physical and mental health.

Some of the symptoms may include: 

  • Persistent anxious or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or the opposite, oversleeping.
  • Appetite loss and weight loss or overeating and weight gain.
  • Restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • Persistent physical characteristics that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, fatigue and chronic pain.

 

Every year, around 6% of all adult Australians are affected by a depressive illness. You can’t always identify the cause of depression or change difficult circumstances. The most important thing is to recognise the symptoms and seek help.

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Group Therapy

Group therapy involves a therapist working with a group of people who come together to explore and work on a specific issue or concern. Group therapy can be a supportive adjunct to individual therapy sessions and in some instances can be a more effective option for dealing with certain problems than individual sessions. People who have attended group sessions say the group provides the opportunity to feel the support of other people who are dealing with the same issue and who may understand their experiences.

Many groups are designed to target a specific problem, for example depression or anxiety whilst others can be more general, for example improving relationships. The power of the group process is evident after a short time when people start to feel free to express their feelings and concerns and gain the benefit of the experiences and wisdom of the group members. The optimal size of a group is from six to ten people. Psychologists lead group therapy sessions with specialised training in evidence-based approaches for managing specific problems.

Please note: that Medicare rebates for the group sessions may apply to some participants if they are eligible for the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

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Individual, Family & Relationship Counselling

Counselling is process that can assist people gain insight and skills to help them resolve issues that have been impacting on their lives. The types of issue that people come to counselling with vary from situation to situation. The process involves sitting down with a therapist and clarifying what the presenting issue is. Once the problem has been clarified, the therapist and client work on developing a plan of action that will assist the person in being able to resolve their issue. The types of issues dealt with in counselling are numerous and no one should consider that their issue is not important enough to bring to a therapist for consideration.

Depending on type of issue presented, the client could be an individual, a couple or a family.  For example a family may come to counselling in order to improve their communication or a couple may want assistance in dealing with conflict or an individual may want help in feeling more confident. The list of issues that may come to counselling is both long and varied. However, what is most important to remember is that counselling is not about giving advice. The aim of counselling is to assist the client to become aware of their own potential in developing the solution to their issue that is right for them. While some issues are common to many people, the solution needs to be right for the individual circumstance. While our therapists are professionally trained in the process of counselling they do not presume to know what is best for each individual. The skill of the therapist lies in their ability to support the individual, couple or family to developing the awareness, skills and abilities needed to negotiate their particular issue.

Our advice to people who are wondering whether they are suitable for counselling is to give us a call and we will discuss what your needs are and make a recommendation from there.

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Parenting

Being a parent is the most difficult and important responsibility, you have in life. Unfortunately, people have to learn to parent ‘on the job’, receiving little training, and are subjected to criticism for every mistake. Usually, we either try to do what our parents did, or the exact opposite. You are given no clear guidelines about the ‘right’ way to parent.

There are many challenges for parents, wanting to raise children to be happy, healthy, emotionally ‘well adjusted’, independent and safe. Additional pressures, including finances, work, social responsibilities, and family relationships, makes being a parent the most dynamic and difficult role. Today, being the ‘perfect parent’ is an elusive and unnecessary goal. Instead, learning about your relationship with your child can assist you to develop ‘good enough’ parenting skills, promoting happy and healthy children.

Parenting support for families with concerns, including:

  • Managing difficult behaviour
  • Parent-child attachments and relationships
  • Parent-teen conflict
  • Co-parenting (parenting plans)
  • Child protection and safety issues

Parenting skills training is worthwhile for every parent.

  

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Pregnancy Support Counselling
  • Threats to maternal or foetal health
  • Past obstetric trauma or loss
  • Current or unresolved conflict, trauma or loss
  • Social isolation and/or adversity
  • Past psychiatric or psychological difficulties
  • Experience of trauma during labour or delivery

For some women the pregnancy can provide some impetus for the resolution of psychological difficulties. This motivation supports therapeutic interventions and change and can prevent later pain conflict and heartache.

Please contact our office for more information.

 

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Self-Esteem & Personal Development

Healthy self-esteem contributes to our sense of wellbeing and a positive outlook on life’s events. Self-esteem relates to the beliefs we have about our own worth and abilities. In essence, to what degree do we accept ourselves for just being who we are rather than a notion of what we think others would find acceptable in us. Self-esteem is more to do with what we feel on the inside and less to do with what we achieve in the outside world. There are many people who, by anyone’s standards, are successful in the world. However, successes in terms of achievements do not guarantee a healthy self-esteem. People with a healthy self-esteem like themselves while those with low self-esteem tend to look to external factors in order to try and feel good about themselves.

The level of regard we hold for ourselves is the result of a multitude of influences. Our childhood experiences, feedback from significant people in our lives and other significant events, all play a part in the conclusions we eventually reach about ourselves. People with a low self-regard are at risk of engaging in strategies that may act to sabotage their efforts to achieve success rather than help them feel better about themselves.

Counselling can assist in identifying the patterns of behaviour that serve to sabotage our efforts at achieving what we want. Often what we think is helping us feel good about ourselves is actually making it harder to achieve what we need. Gaining awareness of the patterns that sabotage us is the first step in developing strategies to increase confidence and self worth. Positive self-regard and self-worth are essential keys to good mental health and emotional wellbeing.

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Substance Abuse – Addictions & Gambling

Many people consume alcohol or substances, and become engaged in activities at their leisure without any significant problems. However, for some people damaging physical or mental health difficulties occur when a habit becomes an addiction. People with an addiction no longer have control over what they are doing, taking or using.

Addictions include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, as well as behaviours we engage in, such as gambling. Initially, the substance or behaviour feels pleasurable. This is because the reward centre of our brain teaches us to do things that promote feeling ‘good’. Alcohol, drugs, and gambling stimulate this area, making us more likely to do it again in the future. However, continued use or action becomes compulsive interferes with day-to-day life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, and health.

  • Preoccupation with the substance or activity
  • Use/act to escape uncomfortable feelings
  • Intense cravings
  • Need to increase quality to achieve the same effect
  • Inability to stop
  • Withdrawal symptoms

It can be difficult to recognise when a habit has become a problem (addition). Many people think they can go ‘cold turkey’ and stop on their own, but this is a very difficult approach and often unsuccessful. There are different treatment strategies depending on your situation and the severity and type of your addiction.

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Trauma & PTSD

Traumatic events are often unexpected and this limits our ability to prepare for them. The events are often very different to previous experiences, and hard to make sense of. Traumatic experiences often threaten your life or safety, or the lives of the people around you. Events might include a natural disaster such as a bushfire, flood or earthquake, a serious accident, or a physical or sexual assault. However, any experience that contributes to you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic.

Initially, many people have strong emotional or physical reactions following a trauma experience. For most, these reactions subside over a few days or weeks. However, for others these symptoms may last longer and be more severe.

Following a traumatic event, some people may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic experience through intrusive thoughts, memories, flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoiding reminders of the event and numbness
  • Feeling jumpy and on edge

Recovering from a traumatic experience takes time, and people heal at different rates. Working through trauma involves understanding the impact of the event, recognising symptoms of PTSD, and developing coping strategies within a safe and supportive environment.

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Veteran Affairs

Many veterans are able to successfully adjust to the day-to-day routine of civilian life following military service. However, for some veterans the experiences during their military service has a lasting and profound effect on their lives. Adjusting to civilian life can be challenging due to the culture of strict conformity and high standards of behaviour, and traumatic service experiences.

Common mental health concerns among veterans include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Complicated grief
  • Alcohol and substance misuse or dependence

Misso Psychology is able to provide psychological services to veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). To access this service, you will require a DVA referral from you GP. For more information please contact the clinic or discuss with your GP.

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