Psychology Treatment Areas

 
 
 
 
Stress Curve Graph — Psychologist in Lambton, NSW
 
 
 

Stress

 
Stress is “any emotional experience accompanied by biochemical, physiological and behavioural changes” (Baum, 1990).
 
In the short term, stress allows you to remain alert, focused and responsive to challenging situations. When working on a deadline, stress is a friend.
 
However, long-term chronic stress is psychologically and physically damaging and debilitating. It is something you don’t have to live with.
 
Psychological counselling helps you deal with this sometimes disabling condition.
 
Common signals of stress may include:
 
Physical ailments – sleep issues, headaches, racing heart and rapid breathing.
Emotional conditions – mood swings, feeling depressed, anxious in situations, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and trouble with making decisions.
 
 
 
 
 
 

How is Stress Treated?

 
The first step is to discuss how the stress is impacting your life. We then must establish what you want to achieve from counselling. Then, we develop a plan to achieve our treatment goals.
 
This plan generally includes:
  1. Learning to restructure negative or irrational thoughts
  2. Learning the skills to manage stress in the future by, for example, increasing your emotional resilience to pressure.
  3. Gaining insight into broader personality or social situations that contribute to stress.
  4. Hypnosis to address self-esteem or sleep issues.
  5. Career re-structuring when work pressure is a source of stress in your life.
 
 
 
 

Anxiety

 
Anxiety isn’t something you have to live with, yet it affects 14% of Australians every year. It’s the most common mental health condition. So, you are not alone in your struggle.
 
With support, it’s possible to gain control of this often disabling condition which impacts your home and work life.
 
A major difference between anxiety and stress is the duration of symptoms. Stress is typically a reaction to the short-term. This develops into anxiety and/or depression without support.
 
Psychological counselling helps you deal with this sometimes disabling condition.
 
Common signs of anxiety may include:
 
Physical - feeling tired but not able to enjoy restful sleep, a dry mouth and avoiding social situations.
Emotional – feeling fearful for no obvious reason, difficulty concentrating, intrusive negative thoughts, memory problems and loss of self-esteem.
 
 
 
Anxiety — Psychologist in Lambton, NSW
 
 
 
 
 
 

How is Anxiety Treated?

 
Treatment begins with learning skills to manage the symptoms. We work on the sleep issues or panic attacks with specified exercises.
 
Sometimes, self-hypnosis and pacing of activities helps.
 
Drug treatment is sometimes necessary, but the more anxiety-management skills you learn, the faster your return to optimal health.
 
There are many forms of this disorder and these types may overlap. As an example, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder (affects about 2% of the population), Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may exist at the same time.
 
For more information on anxiety visit the website of ThisWayUp Clinic at St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst (www.thiswayup.org.au/). Helen Mason is an accredited co-provider to this on-line program.
 
 
 
 
Depression — Psychologist in Lambton, NSW
 
 
 

Depression

 
Depression affects 1.5 million adults every year. It is characterised by a loss of interest in activities you previously found enjoyable.
 
Depressed moods are common reactions to negative life events. With serious depression, this becomes more than just being sad. Thankfully, it is treatable.
 
The earlier you seek support, the better your chances are of preventing a disabling condition.
 
Common signals of depression may include:
 
Physical - withdrawing from friends and family, difficulty making decisions, disrupted sleep, feeling fatigued, tired with a marked weight gain or loss.
Emotional – feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt, losing interest in things you previously enjoyed, feeling overwhelmed, feeling helpless and alone. When not addressed these feelings may escalate into feeling hopeless with suicidal ideation.
 
 
 
 
 
 

How is Depression Treated?

 
We need to discuss how depression impacts your life. Then we talk about your treatment goals.
 
Your individual treatment plan will include empathic counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). The cognitive aspect addresses the negative thinking of depression while behavioural therapy helps change actions that reinforce the thinking. It’s helpful with self-criticism.
 
Once learnt, CBT skills help you avoid the internalising of stressful situations. They also help you prevent relapsing into depressed moods.
 
How Psychotherapy Helps People Recover from Depression, APA
(http://www.apapracticecentral.org/outreach/depression.pdf)

Understanding and managing depression, APS online tip sheet
(http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/depression/)
 
 
 
 

Grief & Loss

 
Grief is a natural response to loss. Adjusting to loss and coping with grief can affect you emotionally, mentally and/or physically.
 
Grief requires you come to terms with the fact that something major has changed in your life. There’s nothing you can do to return it to the way it once was.
 
Grieving is often triggered by life events, such as death of a family member or friend, a disability from an accident, or the passing of a pet. It also occurs after a community disaster, such as a serious flood or fire.
 
The intensity and duration of the grieving process is individual. This loss affects people in different ways.
 
Common signals of grief may include:
 
Physical – social withdrawal, for example, avoiding people or places that remind you of the loss, crying, feeling tired but not sleeping properly, changes to appetite, and feeling restless or ‘edgy’.
Emotional – shock and disbelief, relief, sadness, anger, guilt and/or remorse.
Cognitive – vivid dreams or nightmares, feeling confused and/or having difficulty concentrating, and being preoccupied with the loss.
 
 
 
Holding Hands — Psychologist in Lambton, NSW
 
 
 
 
 
 

How is Grief Treated?

 
Most people can benefit from psychological counselling during the grieving process. It helps them to process the loss and gradually resume normal activities.
 
With counselling, it’s possible to experience the joys of life again.
 
Psychological strategies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can assist in targeting unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. This enables the grieving person to remain respectful to those they have lost while focusing on the positive aspects of their own life.
 
Along with psychological skills counselling, family group therapy may assist in enhancing communication between family members during this difficult time. This can be especially delicate when grieving is being experienced in the vicinity of children.
 
 
 
 
Happy Couple — Psychologist in Lambton, NSW
 
 
 
Relationship Counselling
 
Relationships are dynamic. They go through stages, all with some sort of difficulty at one time or another.
 
Whether it be with your partner, children or a friend, it’s normal to disagree at times. Still, constant conflict or continually avoiding disagreement is not normal.
 
In some relationships, we experience more conflict and distress than needed. This results in poor psychological and physical health. It can lead to a sense of being ‘out of love.’
 
Relationship counselling helps you re-connect or achieve amicable separation. You can retain some element of the friendship with which your relationship began. This helps with blended families or separated couples, especially when co-parenting is difficult to achieve.
 
With objective and supportive relationship counselling, you learn new ways to communicate. We also teach how to resolve unspoken resentments or frustrations, which enables you to move toward a harmonious future.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Common signals of a relationship in trouble may include:
 
1. Criticism – is very damaging to your relationship. Complain, but don’t criticise. No one likes to be personally attacked, especially by the person who knows us better than anyone.
2. Contempt – contempt has been shown to be one of the most dangerous feelings in a relationship. This can be one sign to get help fast.
3. Flooding of negative feelings & attributions about one’s partner. When neutral or ambiguous signals are interpreted as negative, couples in stable relationships will hear this same thing as neutral or positive. So, take a step back, be more objective, and encourage each other to give the benefit of the doubt.
4. Failure of repair attempts. All couples argue and stable couples know how to make up, or “repair,” when things go wrong. This is such an important skill in relationships. Make sure you both can reconcile when things get rocky and you will be on the right track.
 
Friendlier ties to good health: On links between social relationships and physical health, APA
(http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct04/goodhealth.html)

Understanding and Managing Relationship Problems: APS online tip sheet
(http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/relationship/)

Nine Psychological Tasks for a Good Marriage: APA
(http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/marriage.aspx)
 
 
 
 
Anger Management
 
Anger is a normal emotional response when we feel unjustly treated. However, it becomes a conditioned, destructive response at times.
 
When we act passive-aggressively toward another, we give the silent treatment. This is not healthy anger management, as it is destructive to us and others.
 
Anger that explodes into verbal or physical violence is just as destructive. Learning to control and channel anger into respectful, assertive communication is the goal of Anger Management Treatment.
 
 
 
Anger Management — Psychologist in Lambton, NSW
 
 
 
 
 
 

Healthy Anger Management

 
Generally, this takes 6 -10 sessions and would involve Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which addresses the irrational and distorted thinking that often underlies uncontrolled emotional outbursts.
 
Passive-aggression may be silent expression of frustration and/or anger, but it is just as destructive to relationships and reputation as explosive physical or verbal outbursts.
 
The cognitive goal of CBT is to understand what is angering you and to what extent your past experience may be triggering your current frustration and/or resentment. The cognitive goal is to help you make rational sense of your current situation.
 
The behavioural goal is to increase your frustration tolerance and to learn psychological strategies. It’s useful for current situations and for those that may arise in the future.
 
With CBT, you learn how to regulate your angry responses and manage feelings of frustration while still processing what is going on and staying in control.
 
 
 
 
Work Issue Counselling — Psychologist in Lambton, NSW
 
 
 
Work Issue Counselling
 
Helen Mason Psychologist & Counselling Services is committed to addressing barriers in the workplace. In so doing, attention is paid to the needs of the workplace for productive workers, while not compromising the ethical standards of The Australian Psychological Society.
 
Having spent 10 years in EAP (Employee Assistance Program) working with clients from diverse industries such as, NSW Police, Rail Corp and mining companies such as Centennial Coal, Helen has extensive experience working with all manner of workplace issues.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Over the years, the matters dealt with have included:
 
 
 
Helen Mason Psychologist Logo | Newcastle NSW
 
 
 
 
Death on site and the consequent grief and loss counselling of co-workers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helen Mason Psychologist Logo | Newcastle NSW
 
 
 
 
Support following serious workplace injury with counselling during recovery to worker and co-workers throughout the injured worker’s graduated return to work.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helen Mason Psychologist Logo | Newcastle NSW
 
 
 
 
Redundancies with follow-on ‘career redirection’ strategies for effected workers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helen Mason Psychologist Logo | Newcastle NSW
 
 
 
 
Counselling to workers following poor performance reviews with, for example, consequent low productivity and absenteeism.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helen Mason Psychologist Logo | Newcastle NSW
 
 
 
 
Counselling to workers on personal or family matters impacting on their workplace productivity and satisfaction.
 
 
 
 

Return to Work Support

 
Helen has experience in RTW Counselling, Case Management, Vocational Assessments and Job Capacity Assessments.
 

WorkCover/SIRA

 
Helen is accredited by WorkCover and respects the WorkCover mantra of achieving ‘a durable and satisfying return to work’ for worker and workplace alike. Whether the injury be physical or psychological, early intervention and return to work benefits all parties. This is best achieved by:
 
 
 
Helen Mason Psychologist Logo | Newcastle NSW
 
 
 
 
identifying functional, social and emotional barriers
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helen Mason Psychologist Logo | Newcastle NSW
 
 
 
 
identifying the RTW goals of the injured worker and equipping them with the necessary skills for managing their injury, adapting and adjusting to altered work capacities and for addressing any changes in their family role consequent to changes in those capacities.