Psychology Services

Psychology Services offered by Westbourne Park Psychology:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life. The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word ‘act’, not as the initials) does this by:

a) teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively – in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).

b) helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you – i.e., your values – then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

With at treatment program by a psychologist you have a very high chance of recovery from anxiety and panic attacks.

  • One in ten people in their lifetime suffer from at least one panic attack.
  • You may have very strong will power but have fallen into anxiety traps; discover how your best attempts are working against you.
  • The treatment of choice is a treatment program delivered by a psychologist.
  • Outcome research shows that the success rate of treatment for high anxiety is 80 – 90%.
  • Recovery can be complete.

All of our psychologists have the highest level of training in treating anxiety and panic attacks.

Child Psychologist

Our child psychologists at Westbourne Park Psychology are Hilary Stein and Tina Charles. Tina Charles offers some after-hours appointments, if you would like to work around school times.

A child psychologist treats emotional problems such as anxiety, sleep disturbance and a wide range of clinical disorders. Our child psychologists work with parents to solve behaviour and mental health problems in children and young people. Cognitive Behaviour Play Therapy is offered to younger children.

The parent is usually asked to speak with the psychologist before she sees the child, and parents are, especially with young children, involved in the treatment program. For young children, the parenting component is very important to therapy outcomes.

Childhood Trauma

Child abuse or childhood trauma can cause problems with adjustment at every life stage. We aim to help individuals, families, and communities that have been impacted by trauma, adversity, and loss to re-establish a sense of safety and predictability in the world.

Anyone who has experienced trauma through life situations that breach personal boundaries and have led to feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror could be said to have suffered incidents of child abuse.

It is our belief that incidents of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse can have effects long into adulthood. Some of these are difficult to change. We are also optimistic that, given good insight, support, and professional treatment, damage can be mitigated, symptoms can be improved, and healthy relationships can be formed and maintained.

Couples Counselling/Relationship Counselling

Margaret Mitchell helps couples to:

  • better understand problem areas in their relationship
  • examine patterns of communication
  • learn better approaches to expressing concerns
  • resolve conflict constructively
  • practise new skills.

Depression

Evidence has consistently shown that depression can be alleviated by psychological treatment. You and your psychologist can work together to:

  • lift your depressed mood and so that you can get more enjoyment out of life
  • increase your level of activity
  • teach you to recognise, accept and change your situation
  • gain control over reward in your own life by learning to set and achieve your goals
  • teach you to to identify negative thoughts and change to a more positive thinking style
  • develop coping skills
  • help you to have better relationships with the people in your life
  • experience feelings and create a more joyful life, even if life is not perfect.

Educational Assessment

We offer several different types of educational assessment, as follows:

  • Learning Difficulties Assessment: provides an accurate and objective assessment of your child’s intelligence and the level of his or her achievement in literacy and numeracy at school; includes a report which identifies how well the child is progressing and any diagnoses that apply, and makes recommendations for your child’s teacher about how your child can learn best in the school environment
  • Giftedness Assessment: gifted and talented children may not be thriving at school, or quite simply may not be offered the challenges that they need to progress to their full potential; this assessment will provide information about your child’s intelligence levels and includes a report outlining the measures that could be taken to extend your child’s ability within their school
  • Early Entry Assessment: early entry assessments involve testing of intelligence, in the same way as the gifted and talented assessment; this report will make recommendations about the suitability of the child to be granted early entry to school

Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. This means that the goals of therapy are to desensitise or remove intrusive emotions, to resolve memories of traumatic events, and that eye movement is one distinctive part of the treatment protocol. Research has shown EMDR to be effective as treatment for the symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD).

In EMDR the person is asked to focus on trauma-related imagery, negative thoughts, emotions, and body sensations while simultaneously moving their eyes back and forth following the movement of the therapist’s fingers across their field of vision for 20–30 seconds or more. This process may be repeated many times. Over time, EMDR has increasingly included more treatment components that are comparable with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) interventions including Cognitive Interweaving (analogous to Cognitive Therapy), Imaginal Templating (rehearsal of mastery or coping responses to anticipated stressors), and standard in vivo exposure.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness involves paying attention to each event experienced in the present moment within our body and mind, with a non-judgmental, non-reactive and accepting attitude. In learning to be mindful, we can begin to counter many of our everyday sufferings such as stress, anxiety and depression because we are learning to experience events in a more impersonal and detached way. Our psychologist integrate the mindfulness approach with tried and true conventional approaches. Margaret Mitchell, one of our Clinical Psychologists, has a special interest in mindfulness.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Although the term ‘OCD’ has entered into common usage, people often use it incorrectly to refer to ‘liking things a certain way’ or having a special interest in something. The reality is that true OCD is much more serious than these common understandings, and can can be an incredibly stressful, disruptive and distressing condition to live with. Our Clinical Psychologist Margaret Mitchell is available to help OCD sufferers.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The National Health and Medical Research Council treatment guidelines state that the recommended first line treatment for PTSD is trauma-focused therapy. Clinical research shows a high level of effectiveness in the reduction of anxiety following this treatment. Whilst debriefing (onsite counselling provided very soon after an incident) may not be beneficial, best practice guidelines state that early support and effective treatment in a secure situation is recommended. We provide trauma counselling according to best practice guidelines. Our psychologists have slightly different approaches to the treatment of trauma: