What is Psychology?
A lot of people don’t understand what the difference is between psychology and psychiatry? This is probably the first question that most psychologists will be asked by their clients and people at parties.
Psychologists study human behaviour in their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees before undertaking supervised experience and gaining registration. They do not have a medical degree; however, many have postgraduate qualifications to specialise in various aspects of psychology, including mental illness. Psychologists assist people with everyday problems such as stress and relationship difficulties, and some specialise in treating people with a mental illness. They help people to develop the skills needed to function better and to prevent ongoing problems.Psychologists cannot prescribe medication. Their treatments are based on changing behaviour and emotional responses without medication. There is a considerable amount of evidence showing psychological treatments are effective.
Psychiatrists have a medical degree, which involves six years of studying general medicine, followed by further study to specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and emotional problems. Psychiatrists treat the effects of emotional disturbances on the body and the effects of physical conditions on the mind. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication. Some combine medication with other forms of therapy.
(Source: Australian Psychological Society)
There are a number of different therapeutic frameworks that psychologists will operate from when treating clients.
Some common ones include:
* Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
* Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
* Psychodynamic Therapy
Most psychologists will use an eclectic approach when dealing with individual clients. One form of therapy may be more useful for one presenting problem, while another type of therapy may be more useful for others. Sometimes a client may present with a preference for a certain type of therapy, which the psychologist should respect.
There are a number of benefits to seeing a psychologist. Not only will they help you to address you mental health problems, they can also help you improve other areas of your mental functioning. For example:
* Improve productivity at work
* Improve communication in relationships
* Establish short and long term life goals
* Health and Fitness
* Provide you with a structured way of thinking about problems
Most people report benefits after 6-10 sessions of seeing a psychologist. Therapy doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. Some people like to think of it as being more like a check up that a complete re-engineering of your life.
An exciting new area of psychology is positive psychology. Partly based on the research of Dr Martin Seligman, positive psychology is slowly gaining traction, regarding its effectiveness in combating mental health problems. In 2011, The ABC commissioned a program called – Making Australia Happy, which helped to explain the science behind positive psychology.
In 2013, they created a second series of the show – called
Making Couples Happy http://www.facebook.com/HappinessCentral
The really important thing that these shows are doing is educating Australian’s about mental health and challenging old stereotypes.
Within the field of psychology there are significant policy changes that are occurring to make sessions more affordable for Australians. In 2006, the Australian government announced that Medicare rebates are available for psychological treatments. This saw a massive increase in the uptake of psychological counselling sessions around Australia. Recently the Australian government has heavily investing into other mental health programs such as the Headspace Program for young people.
Mark is an approved Brisbane Mind provider. Brisbane Mind is an Australian Government Department of Health Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program, and i managed by the Brisbane North Brisbane Medicare Local
For more information on these programs, you are encouraged to talk with you GP or consult the web-sites.
Psychology and the Law
What we are also seeing is that psychology and the law are increasingly collaborating and sharing clients. For example, a lot of people going through the family law or criminal law system are suffering from mental health issues that need to be resolved. Courts are increasingly needing psychological court reports from psychologists and counsellors regarding family and criminal law matters.
Mediation is another area that psychologists are working within. Specifically divorce mediation. When couples divorce or break up they need to agree on children/ emotional issues. oftentimes psychologists, with mediation training are being used to resolve these disputes.
Psychologists are also working in workplace injury & compensation cases as well. For example, when someone physically injurers themselves, there is often a psychological injury that stops them from returning to work. Oftentimes the psychological injury can be far greater than the physical injury. This is especially the case in workplace bullying cases.
In conclusion, psychology has changed a lot in the past 50 years and will continue to change over the next 50 years.