UQ Psychology Clinic - Types of Therapy Offered

Login to the School of Psychology

Types of Therapy Offered at the UQ Psychology Clinic

At The UQ Psychology Clinic treatment is provided for a range of psychological problems. The therapy offered is evidence based meaning the techniques used have been widely research and found to be the best practice in psychological intervention, these include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a psychotherapy approach based on the concept that the way we think effects the way we feel and subsequently the way we behave in certain situations. People can interpret the same life event very differently, leading to many and varied emotional and behavioural consequences. Some of these consequences can be helpful and some not so helpful in our day to day lives. CBT is about learning specific strategies to think more realistically about life and to modify behaviours to achieve more positive outcomes. It works on the principle that negative, unhelpful beliefs need to be identified and then tested to determine whether they are accurate, realistic, and helpful. In most cases, the thoughts are actually irrational. These help to maintain an unhelpful belief system, leading to distress and increased difficulty coping in situations. The focus of CBT is to modify or change patterns of thinking that are causing or contributing to problems in peoples’ lives. Cognitive behaviour therapy can be used to treat anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain and insomnia.

CBT can be offered to individuals and in a group format.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

The goal of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is to help individuals create a rich and meaningful life, while learning to accept the pain that inevitably goes along with it. ACT views psychological suffering as being caused by experiential avoidance, an unwillingness to experience any negative thoughts or emotions by taking action to avoid or eliminate these experiences. In ACT, there is no attempt to try to reduce, change, avoid or control these negative thoughts or emotions, instead the individual learns to reduce the impact and influence of these experiences though a variety of therapeutic interventions. These interventions focus on developing acceptance of unwanted negative experiences and commitment and action towards living a valued life. In place of avoidance ACT teaches psychological flexibility, which includes willingness to experience the present moment as it is and act in accordance with one’s own values and beliefs. Acceptance and commitment therapy has been used to treat a variety of problems including, psychotic symptoms, chronic pain, anxiety, and stress.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is based on Eastern mediation practices and involves an individual directing their attention to an experience occurring in the present moment. The attention is nonjudgmental meaning that any thoughts, sensations, or emotions that are experienced in that moment are observed but not evaluated as good or bad.

Mindfulness uses meditation techniques to help individuals focus their attention on the present. An important consequence of this technique is the realization that negative thoughts and emotions are not constant and will eventually pass. This realization can help people deal with their negative thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness is a core exercise used in mindfulness based stress reduction and cognitive behaviour therapy and is also used in dialectical behaviour therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. It can be used in the treatment of a variety of problems including depression, stress-related disorders, generalised anxiety disorders, panic disorders, binge eating, and borderline personality disorder.

At UQ Psychology Clinic we regularly run brief Mindfulness Training Groups.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy was developed to help prevent the relapse of major depressive episodes. The therapy utilises mindful meditation techniques which involve an individual directing their attention to an experience occurring in the present moment. The attention is nonjudgmental meaning that any thoughts, sensations, or emotions that are experienced in that moment are observed but not evaluated as good or bad. The emphasis of the program is about being aware of negative thoughts and emotions and developing an understanding that they are transient mental states that will pass. This enables individuals to be better equipped to deal with their negative thoughts and emotions. A growing evidence base has supported the use of MBCT for reducing the relapse of major depression episodes.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a brief psychodynamic therapy that focuses on the connection between the development of clinical problems and current interpersonal problems (with friends, partners, or relatives). IPT conceptualises four areas that may be causing social problems and contributing to clinical issues. The first is grief over the death of a significant other. This is followed by role dispute, or struggle with a significant other. The third issue is role transition which includes life changes such as a geographic move, the start or end of a relationship or career, and the onset of physical illness. In the absence of any significant life events, the final area is interpersonal deficits such as social isolation. IPT treatment involves the client and therapist working together to ID problematic relationships in the clients’ life and then addressing the relationships and social encounters that are contributing to the clients’ clinical problems. Interpersonal therapy has been used to treat a number of different clinical problems including depression, substance abuse and eating disorders.

Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy was developed to treat patients suffering from persistent chronic problems. It is based on the idea that negative or traumatic experiences (often occurring in childhood) create schemas, which are beliefs and values that impact on the way we think, feel, act and relate to other people throughout our lives. In adulthood schemas are triggered by life events that the person perceives as being similar to their earlier traumatic experiences. These events often illicit strong negative emotions, thoughts, and maladaptive coping behaviours that interfere significantly with the person’s daily living. Schema therapy involves the therapist helping the client to identify their schemas and deal with their traumatic experiences. Cognitive techniques are used to challenge the schemas and disprove the validity of them while behavioural techniques involve the patient working to replace maladaptive coping behaviours with adaptive ones. The ultimate goal of schema therapy is to help the client eliminate negative schemas to improve client outcomes and coping styles and develop more positive personal and professional relationships.

Triple P- Positive Parenting Program (Triple P)

The Triple P-Positive Parenting Program is a multilevel parenting and family support system for children and adolescence which aims to prevent childhood behavioural and emotional problems by targeting parents’ behaviour. More specifically the program focuses on increasing the skills and knowledge of parents as well as enhancing their self-sufficiency and resourcefulness in dealing with their child’s behaviour. The program also promotes positive interactions between parents and children and ensures that parents provide a safe, engaging, and loving environment for their children. Triple P offers parents five different levels of interventions of increasing strength and specificity, which allows the intervention to be tailored to the parents’ individual needs. These interventions include brief parenting seminars for parents of children with mild behaviour problems, intensive group sessions for moderate behaviour difficulties, and individual sessions for more severe behaviour problems or for families where parenting difficulties are complicated by other sources of family stress (e.g. marital conflict, parental depression or high levels of stress).

Couple therapy

Integrative-behavioural couple therapy emphasizes both helping couples understand the sources of recurrent unhelpful interaction patterns, and develop key relationship skills to enhance their relationship. The therapy involves individuals learning new behaviours and expectations of their partner, which facilities more adaptive and less dysfunctional behaviour in the relationship. Therapy also helps partners understand the sources of individual vulnerabilities that lead to unhelpful responses to relationship events.

Emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT) focuses on changing partner’s dysfunctional interaction styles and emotional responses so that stronger and more positive relationships can be established. The therapy assumes that couple problems are caused by negative emotions which lead to destructive interaction styles. EFT treatment involves an assessment of the couple’s current level of functioning and an attempt to interrupt the cycle of negative interactions, creating more positive interactional styles that meet each partner’s emotional needs, and consolidating the changes the partners have made. These steps enable partners to better recognise their own emotional needs and to modify the way they interact with each other.