Psychologist Brisbane & Online Therapy for Chronic and Longstanding Issues
Chronic and longstanding issues can present as follows:
- For example, in relationships, they might become involved with partners who are unable to commit or overly domineering.
- Alternatively, the patterns may emerge in the area of achievement – in a person who always pushes themselves to attain perfection at work and in their life outside work.
- Another typical pattern is that the person may have always felt socially isolated and different, had trouble forming friendships, or suffered chronic low self-esteem, feeling defective and inferior to others.
One effective counselling treatment psychologists use to address chronic issues is the evidence-based method of Schema Therapy.
Schemas are unhelpful beliefs and patterns of thinking, feeling and acting formed early in a person’s life and continue to the present day. The beliefs are so deeply held that they are regarded as ‘the way things are’. An example might be the ‘mistrust/abuse’ schema, where the person believes that ‘others will just let you down, you can’t trust anyone’. Another is the ‘unrelenting standards’ schema, believing that one must always strive to be their absolute best and achieve, or else they don’t feel good enough.
These become ways of seeing the world, oneself and other people, and then the person is driven to act in ways associated with the schema. The person who holds an unrelenting standards schema, for instance, may push themselves so hard at work and in other areas that they never have time to relax and have fun or procrastinate a lot to avoid all the tasks they feel overwhelmed by.
If your treating psychologist believes this approach will be useful for you, counselling will involve helping you understand the repeating patterns in your life and the origins of these, and then challenge them using discussion, ‘experiential’ techniques such as imagery and chair role-play, and behaviour change strategies, such as learning how to become more assertive, to set limits on work, or to change the way you approach relationships.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy, or EMDR Therapy, is used in counselling sessions for individuals who experienced severe trauma, enabling them to recover from the symptoms and emotional distress resulting from those traumatic life experiences.
EMDR has been proven through rigorous research to be one of the most effective counselling treatment models for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Trauma-Focused CBT and Exposure Therapy are also proven, effective therapeutic models. EMDR Therapy has been verified as an effective treatment for PTSD and meets the criteria for evidence-based practice in the UK by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2005) and in Australia by the Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health (2013).
EMDR therapy has been verified as an effective treatment for PTSD and meets the criteria for evidence-based practice in the UK by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2005) and in Australia by the Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health (2013).
EMDR therapy demonstrates that the mind can recover from psychological trauma much as the body heals from physical trauma. Following training on detailed EMDR protocols and procedures, a psychologist can help clients activate their natural healing processes, alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and allow them to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.
EMDR therapy looks at emotions, physical sensations, thoughts and beliefs altogether. Following a structured eight-phase protocol, desensitisation begins with the individual’s attention being directed to the chosen target memory, negative beliefs, and body sensations while following the therapist’s fingers moving from side to side. Following a set of eye movements, the therapist asks the client to report what they notice now; they are then asked to either focus on what had emerged, on a body sensation or their level of distress. When distress has reduced to 0 or 1 (on a scale of 10), a preferred positive belief statement is installed with more sets of eye movements until the positive statement is rated as highly believable. Any residual sensations are then desensitised with eye movements until there are no longer present.
During EMDR counselling sessions, the individual is encouraged to “let whatever happens to happen and just notice” so that freely-associated memories enter the mind. This allows processing to take place, allowing the memories to be consolidated and put into historical context. EMDR treatment encourages distancing effects that are considered effective processing of the memory; this means the memory is no longer as vivid and felt with such emotional and physical intensity.