Therapies and Services

The UQ Psychology Clinic can assist with a range of psychological issues in children, adolescents, adults, older adults, couples, and families. Some examples of such issues might include: anxiety, depression, behavioural problems, sleep issues, chronic pain, grief and loss, caregiving issues, relationship difficulties, significant life transitions, managing health-related behaviours, stress, developing positive wellbeing behaviours, and so on.

We also provide assessment services for cognitive problems that require either a cognitive assessment or a neuropsychological assessment, and can offer follow up cognitive rehabilitation services. Please contact our Clinic if you would like to discuss whether the issue you are experiencing is something that our psychologists can assist with.

Therapies provided at the Clinic cater for individuals, couples, and families. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach based on the idea 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 unhelpful, which only helps to maintain an unhelpful belief system, leading to distress and increased difficulty coping. The focus of CBT is therefore to modify or change patterns of thinking that are causing or contributing to problems in peoples’ lives. CBT has been found to be useful in a range for a range of issues including depression, anxiety, sleep issues, and stress.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

The goal of ACT is to help individuals create a rich and meaningful life, while learning to accept the pain that inevitably goes along with living. 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 through 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 a willingness to experience the present moment as it is and to act in accordance with one’s own values and beliefs. Acceptance and commitment therapy has been used to treat a variety of problems including chronic pain, anxiety, and stress.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is based on Eastern meditation 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 realisation that negative thoughts and emotions are not constant and will eventually pass. This realisation 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, as well as 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, and binge eating.

At UQ Psychology Clinic we regularly run brief Mindfulness Training Groups. Please contact the Clinic for more details.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT was developed to help prevent the relapse of major depressive episodes. The therapy uses mindful meditation techniques that 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 on 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)

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 considers four areas that may be causing social problems and contributing to clinical issues. The first is grief over the death of a significant other. The second is role dispute, or struggles 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 identify problematic relationships in the client's life and then addressing the relationships and social encounters that are contributing to the client's clinical problems. IPT 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 accuracy 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.

Positive Parenting Program (Triple P)

Triple P is a multilevel parenting and family support system for children and adolescence that aims to prevent childhood behavioural and emotional problems by targeting parenting behaviours. 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 (or children'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 parent's 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). Please contact Triple P International if you are interested in the group-based programs, or the Clinic if you are interested in individual sessions.

Couples Therapy

Couples relationship education is aimed at currently satisfied and functioning partners who wish to further strengthen their relationship and prevent problems in the future. Alternatively, couples therapy is aimed at partners who are currently dissatisfied with their relationship and wish to resolve the difficulties they are experiencing.

The Clinic offers the Couple Commitment and Relationship Enhancement (Couple CARE) program, which is an evidence-based approach to enhancing relationship quality. Couple CARE is an Australian program developed by psychologists at the University of Queensland and Griffith University.

There are a number of evidence-based approaches to couples therapy, with the following being offered at the Clinic:

  • Integrative-Behavioural Couples Therapy: assists couples in understanding the recurrent and unhelpful interaction patterns that may be occurring in their relationship, as well as understanding each partner’s individual vulnerabilities and responses to relationship events. Therapy focuses on the development of relationship skills and expectations, with the aim of enhancing couple satisfaction and improving dysfunctional relationship behaviours.
  • Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT): focuses on identifying and modifying dysfunctional interaction styles and negative emotional responses as a means of improving relationship satisfaction. Therapy allows couples to better understand their own, as well as their partner’s, emotional needs, and how these needs can be fulfilled within positive interactions. Therapy attempts to interrupt the cycle of negative emotions and interactions to create more positive ways of relating between partners.

Services not offered by the UQ Psychology Clinic

It is important to note that we do not provide services for the following issues (and you should therefore see your local doctor or other suitable health professional for more appropriate referral options to avoid unnecessary delays in obtaining appropriate assistance for your needs):

  • Walk-in, crisis, or emergency services
  • Medico/legal, worker’s compensation, family court, or other legal matters
  • Criminal-related behaviours or concerns
  • High risk of suicidality or self-harm
  • High risk of violence to self or others
  • Current psychotic behaviours
  • Students undertaking psychology studies at UQ