Psychological Issues

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    Anxiety is the most common emotional difficulty, but it’s also one of the most treatable. Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or impending disaster and reflects the thoughts and bodily reactions a person has when they are presented with an event or situation that they cannot manage or undertake with ease. When a person is experiencing anxiety their thoughts are actively assessing the situation, sometimes even automatically and outside of conscious attention, and developing predictions of how well they will cope based on past experiences. Although some anxiety is a normal response to a stressful situation, when the anxiety level is too high a person may not come up with an effective way of managing the stressful or threatening situation. They might "freeze", avoid the situation, or even fear they may do something that is out of character. Anxiety generally causes people to experience the following responses:

    • An intense physical response due to arousal of the nervous system leading to physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat.
    • A cognitive response which refers to thoughts about the situation and the person's ability to cope with it. For someone experiencing high anxiety this often means interpreting situations negatively and having unhelpful thoughts such as "This is really bad" or "I can't cope with this".
    • A behavioural response which may include avoidance or uncharacteristic behaviour including aggression, restlessness or irrational behaviour such as repeated checking.
    • An emotional response reflecting the high level of distress the person is experiencing

    Caregiver Stress

    Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain of caregiving. It can take many forms. For instance, you may feel:

    • Frustrated and angry taking care of someone with dementia who often wanders away or becomes easily upset
    • Guilty because you think that you should be able to provide better care, despite all the other things that you have to do
    • Lonely because all the time you spend caregiving has hurt your social life
    • Exhausted when you go to bed at night

    Although caregiving can be challenging, it is important to note that it can also have its rewards. It can give you a feeling of giving back to a loved one. It can also make you feel needed and can lead to a stronger relationship with the person receiving care. Caregiving may be putting too much stress on you if you have any of the following symptoms: Feeling overwhelmed, sleeping too much or too little, gaining or losing a lot of weight, feeling tired most of the time, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, becoming easily irritated or angered, feeling constantly worried, often feeling sad, frequent headaches, bodily pain, or other physical problems, and/or abuse of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs.


    Depression is a very real problem. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that, on any given day, 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and depression rates continue to increase. Most people feel miserable now and then, often when something upsetting or stressful is happening such as a relationship break-up, or losing a job. Feeling down in response to difficult situations is pretty normal, and usually the feelings fade over time and you get on with life. But when the feelings of unhappiness are intense and persistent - and they don’t go away even when things improve - this could be depression. The medical term for this is ‘major depressive disorder’.

    Acute and chronic pain, head injury, physical injury

    Chronic pain is defined as pain that has lasted for longer than three months and persists after the point when natural healing has taken place. Unlike acute pain (experienced in the immediate and short-term period after an injury, trauma, or surgery) chronic pain cannot be effectively dealt with by standard biomedical interventions alone. Chronic pain is a complex problem and focussing only on the physical aspects of pain without due consideration to psychological or social components, often overlooks key factors in a patient’s experience of ongoing pain. The biopsychosocial model adopts a more holistic approach to the problem of pain. Rather than focussing primarily on physical signs and symptoms, it takes into consideration physical, psychological and social components of the individual’s problems, acknowledging the multifactorial causes and effects of chronic pain. It is considered to be the model for best practice clinically and research has shown that treatments based on a biopsychosocial model are effective in managing chronic pain problems.

    Elderly Wellbeing

    • Caregiver Stress
    • Dementia adjustment/care
    • Late life emotional difficulties including anxiety and depression
    • Memory compensation strategies
    • Education regarding later life emotional and cognitive difficulties
    • Neuropsychological Assessment of Cognitive strengths and weaknesses

    Post-Traumatic Stress

    When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger. PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers. PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.


    A phobia is an irrational fear in which the sufferer has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place or thing. People with a phobia go to great lengths to avoid a perceived danger which is much greater in their minds than in real life. If confronted with the source of their phobia, the person will suffer enormous distress, which can interfere with their normal function; it can sometimes lead to total panic. For some people, even thinking about their phobia is immensely distressing

    Eating Disorders

    Eating disorders are illnesses that cause serious disturbances in a person’s everyday diet. It can manifest as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating. The condition may begin as just eating too little or too much but obsession with eating and food over takes over the life of a person leading to severe changes. In addition to abnormal eating patterns are distress and concern about body weight or shape. These disorders frequently coexist with other mental illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders.

    Addiction including problem gambling

    Addiction has long been understood to mean an uncontrollable habit of using alcohol or other drugs. Because of the physical effects of these substances on the body, and particularly the brain, people have often thought that “real” addictions only happen when people regularly use these substances in large amounts. More recently, we have come to realize that people can also develop addictions to behaviors, such as gambling, and even quite ordinary and necessary activities such as exercise and eating. What these activities have in common is that the person doing them finds them pleasurable in some way.

    Other Issues

    • Sleep disturbance
    • Anger
    • Grief and loss
    • Trauma debriefing
    • Chronic Illness
    • Problem behaviours and parenting difficulties
    • Developmental disorders including Autism
    • Sexual, emotional, psychological and physical abuse
    • Interpersonal and relationship problems
    • Self-esteem issues
    • Enhancement in Sports Performance
    • We also offer psychological evaluations and reporting, including personality assessment


    $180 inclusive of GST per one hour session (individual therapy- psychologist). You may be entitled to ACC funded treatment if you have experienced physical injury and/or sexual abuse - please contact us to enquire. Alternatively, if you have private medical insurance, you may be entitled to funded treatment- please check with your insurer.