It would be great to cruise through life without a worry, having only positive and happy experiences, being healthy and with enough money to buy whatever we want. As we know, life is not like that for most of us, and at many stages, we are faced with challenges, sorrows and situations where we feel anxious, afraid and unsure of what to do next. While none of us can escape whatever life throws at us, we do have control over how we react, and how we process these experiences to allow us to continue living in a positive and meaningful way.
When we are unable to exert that control or process those experiences, it can have a major impact on our lives, leaving us emotionally devastated and unable to pick up the threads of living normally. This puts at risk our relationships with friends and family, can impact on our ability to earn a living and causes great pressure and stress. Consulting a psychologist will give us access to professional help to guide us through these times.
Rigorous Study and Training Required
Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour, which is how we behave, think and feel. To practise as a psychologist in Australia requires several years of university study and training in courses accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and the Psychology Board of Australia. Only graduates of these courses are eligible to register to practise in Australia. Anyone contemplating visiting a psychologist can be confident of the quality of the treatment they will receive because of these strict requirements.
It is not the role of a psychologist to give advice or to solve a patient’s problems for them. Rather it is to listen to their story, challenge beliefs that could be impacting on their wellbeing, identify recurring behaviour patterns that are causing them to repeat negative experiences and give them tools and techniques to change their behaviour. Psychologists have a range of scientifically proven testing mechanisms they can use to undertake patient assessment where necessary, and they use both long- and short-term therapies as appropriate.
Develop Coping Skills and Gain Clarity of Thought
As well as treating people with mental health issues, psychologists help well people to develop better coping mechanisms so they are able to deal with stressful or disturbing situations. Sometimes people find themselves in situations where they are so overwhelmed, they are unable to think and act clearly. Psychologists help them work through issues so they can gain some clarity of thought and gain some coping strategies.
In the past, people who admitted to consulting a psychologist were looked upon with differing degrees of understanding and sometimes straight out hostility. However, with education, those attitudes have changed and the role of counselling in maintaining a sense of wholeness and wellbeing is now well supported.