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Therapeutic Approaches

What can therapy with Patricia offer you?

Therapy with Patricia is tailored to meet your own individual needs, goals, and values.

Specifically, therapy aims to assist you in understanding;

What is occurring to you at this point in your life,

Why this may be occurring to you, and

What you can do to manage this current life stressor and associated feelings and emotions.

What to expect?

The initial session with Patricia is aimed at developing an understanding of the issues facing the client, current and past stressors. Then an individualised treatment plan is created to target a client’s specific needs, based upon these discussions. The first session may be 1 to 1.5 hours in duration. Subsequent individual sessions run for approximately 55 minutes to an hour. The number of sessions is dependent on the range and number of issues to be addressed by the client.


Various therapeutic approaches are used to assist you with some of these aforementioned queries, including:


Psycho-education commonly refers to the education offered to people with a mental health condition. It is an important component of any psychotherapy program and refers to the education about a certain situation or condition that causes psychological stress. Psycho-education is often the first step of an overall treatment plan, and specifically involves the provision of information about biological, cognitive and emotional aspects of psychological issues.  Psycho-education aims to assist individuals by increasing their understanding and awareness of the processes underlying many psychological conditions, and helping individuals make informed choices about change and therapy.


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy:

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) assists individuals to change unhelpful or unhealthy habits of thinking, feeling and behaving. CBT involves the use of practical self-help strategies, which are designed to affect positive and immediate changes in the person’s quality of life. Common components of CBT include:

  • Activity scheduling

  • Relaxation training (progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, imagery)

  • Identifying underlying negative core beliefs that lead to unhelpful thinking patterns

  • Identifying unhelpful automatic thinking patterns

  • Challenging faulty core beliefs and thoughts, and ultimately replacing them with a more helpful interpretation

  • Identifying and challenging unhelpful behavioural patterns (behavior modification)

  • Improving positive and helpful lifestyle behaviours

  • Exposure techniques (in treatment of anxiety disorders and phobias)

  • Assertiveness training



Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Importantly, mindfulness involves acceptance; that is, the capacity to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgement, and letting go of the belief, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.


When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than reliving the past or predicting the future. Mindful Meditation can thus assist you to develop skills to be more focused and clear in your thinking.  Mindfulness can also assist us in developing non-judgemental, open and accepting attitudes to help us cope with adversities and connect to life more fully.

Schema Therapy:

Schema Therapy is a therapeutic approach utilised for creating change in aspects of one’s personality, and is especially effective in individuals with chronic emotional and relationship problems. It is especially helpful for individuals who have recurring episodes of mental health conditions, however they have not been able to identify the underlying sources of such relapses.

Schema Therapy is an integrative approach drawing on, cognitive therapy, behaviourism, attachment theory, emotion-focused, relationship-based, among other therapeutic approaches.

While standard cognitive behaviour therapy is very effective in reducing acute symptoms, Schema Therapy is effective in reducing chronic symptoms and promoting relapse prevention. Schema therapy does this by: (a) Identifying and resolving self-defeating life patterns and deeply rooted emotional themes, (b) Building resiliency and productive responses to life challenges, and (c) Identifying and further developing the strong parts of your personality.

Central to Schema Therapy is the concept of a schema, which is a stable, enduring negative pattern of behaving in this world, that develops during childhood or adolescence, and is reinforced through thoughts, core beliefs, actions and relationships throughout an individual’s life.

Negative schemas develop when core childhood needs are not met. When parents generally meet most of the child’s core emotional needs in appropriate amounts, the child develops into a Healthy Adult.

Children’s basic needs include:

  • A sense of safety and being securely attached to others

  • A sense of self-identity and autonomy

  • The freedom to express how you feel and ask for what you need from others

  • The ability to play and be spontaneous

  • Safe, age-appropriate limits and boundaries


When a schema is triggered by events, your thoughts and feelings are said to be dominated by these schemas. It is at these moments that you tend to experience extreme negative emotions and have dysfunctional thoughts. In order to cope with the pain when your schemas are triggered, you may develop certain unhelpful coping styles including:

  • Surrender: giving in to your schemas and acting/feeling as if they are true,

  • Avoidance: finding ways to escape or block out your schemas, and/or

  • Overcompensation: trying to deny the schema by doing the opposite of what your schemas make you feel.


When triggered, you may have a strong emotional reaction or mood shifts, and you then enter a coping state called a mode. There are four categories of schema modes:

  • Innate Child Modes (vulnerability, anger, undisciplined/impulsive, contented),

  • Maladaptive Coping Modes (detachment, compliance, overcompensating),

  • Maladaptive Critic Modes (punitive, demanding, critical, guilt-inducing), and

  • Healthy Adult Mode.


The goal of schema therapy is not to eliminate schemas. Rather, the goal is to help you get your core needs met in an adaptive manner, by enhancing the Healthy Adult coping mode, so your schemas are triggered less frequently and less intensely and you can recover more quickly.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) core tenet is to 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 does this by:

  • 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).

  • 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.


Interpersonal Therapy:

The causes of depression, or our vulnerabilities to developing depression, can often be traced to aspects of social functioning (work, relationships, social roles) and personality. Therefore, the underlying assumption with interpersonal therapy is that depression and interpersonal problems are interrelated.


The goal of interpersonal therapy is to help a person understand how these factors are operating in their current life situation to lead them to become depressed and put them at risk for future depression.


Therapy occurs in three main phases: 

  • An evaluation of the client’s history 

  • An exploration of the client’s interpersonal problem areas and the development of a treatment contract

  • Recognition and consolidation by the client of what has been learnt and developing ways of identifying and countering depressive symptoms in the future.


Relaxation Strategies:

Relaxation techniques are a great way to help with stress management. Relaxation isn't just about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body. Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress and with stress related to various health problems, such as cancer and pain.


Includes diaphragmatic breathing, visual imagery, positive visualisation, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindful breathing, sensory awareness, and mindful body awareness.


Positive Psychology:

Positive Psychology is a new area of psychology that focuses on the conditions that contribute to flourishing or optimal functioning.


"Positive Psychology is founded on the belief that people want more than an end to suffering. People want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. We have the opportunity to create a science and a profession that not only heals psychological damage but also builds strengths to enable people to achieve the best things in life." Professor Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology.


Positive Psychology researchers have identified many everyday activities that improve wellbeing. These include; keeping a gratitude diary, performing small acts of kindness, learning to savor enjoyable moments and varying pleasant experiences to avoid routine.


Skills Training (includes):

  • Problem-solving skills and training

  • Anger management

  • Social skills training

  • Communication training

  • Stress management

  • Parent management training

  • Assertiveness training

  • Conflict Resolution


Motivational Interviewing:

Motivational interviewing is a directive, client-centred counselling style for eliciting behaviour change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with nondirective counselling, it is more focused and goal-directed. The examination and resolution of ambivalence is its central purpose, and the counsellor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal.


The spirit of motivational interviewing can be characterized in a few key points.

  1. Motivation to change is elicited from the client, and not imposed from without. 

  2. It is the client's task, not the counsellor's, to articulate and resolve his or her ambivalence.  

  3. Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence.

  4. The counselling style is generally a quiet and eliciting one.

  5. The counsellor is directive in helping the client to examine and resolve ambivalence.

  6. Readiness to change is not a client trait, but a fluctuating product of interpersonal interaction.

  7. The therapeutic relationship is more like a partnership or companionship than expert/recipient roles.

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