Assessment, Therapy and Counselling Approaches

My approach is based on reliable and valid qualitative and quantitative research evidence. I use standardised assessment tools where appropriate to identify symptoms/characteristics and measure therapeutic changes.

I have a Humanistic counselling style, which views people holistically and emphasises creativity, self-development and human potential.

I recognise that people and their environments are diverse and  complex so I am flexible and collaborative in my approach and tailor a range of therapies to individual needs and goals. I will not try to fit you and your situation into one narrow psychological model. 

I see therapeutic alliance, empathy, warmth, acceptance and encouragement as central to effective outcomes as research has repeatedly shown that these are more important than the therapy approach used.

I have extensive training and clinical experience in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which is a practical, flexible and continuously evolving approach and considered to be a very effective approach for many psychological problems and disorders. I have taught Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to Master of Psychology students and I have assisted in the design and implementation of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)  group programs for people with anxiety disorders, mood disorders and eating disorders.

I also have a strong background using Schema Therapy (ST)Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), (which all developed from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), and also have training in Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), and Self Psychology (a modern relational psychoanalysis).

I practice Positive Psychology, which means that optimal functioning, psychological well-being and a fulfilling life, as well as psychological problems, are addressed  (positive psychology should not be confused with simplistic “positive thinking”).

I value the insight of Depth & Archetypal Psychology traditions, which focus on the inner life and recognise that suffering can bring unconscious material into consciousness and lead to significant growth and self development when individuals participate creatively with it.

“…it is mainly through the wounds in human life that the Gods* enter (rather than through pronouncedly sacred or mystical events), because pathology is the most palpable manner of bearing witness to the powers beyond ego control and the insufficiency of the ego perspective.”

James Hillman, Archetypal Psychology, 2015, Spring Publications Inc., p. 562, Kindle Edition.

(“The Gods” = unconscious material)

What I Provide:

  • A safe, confidential, non-judgemental and supportive environment for all;
  • An opportunity to express, reflect on and process your thoughts, emotions and experiences;
  • Information to help you understand and make sense of your experiences;
  • A collaborative approach to empower you to make your own choices and decisions based on your preferences and interests (self-determination);
  • Practical coping and management strategies to help you decrease suffering and improve your quality of life;
  • Techniques to promote effective, long-term functional improvement in patterns of thinking, emotion and behaviour;
  • Techniques to enhance self compassion, healthy self esteem and self development;
  • Trauma informed therapy;
  • Referral and liaison with other health providers if required (e.g., general practitioner, psychiatrist. dietitian etc…).

I Don’t Offer or Provide:

  • Quick, simplistic, magical fixes or “cookbook” therapy;
  • Therapy/counselling for individuals who are forced or coerced to attend but do not want to participate or are not capable of participating in therapy/counselling (referred by concerned partners/parents/relatives/friends/carers);
  • Relationship therapy for the purpose of separation/divorce or court reports/legal proceedings, or when there is domestic violence (including child abuse/neglect); 
  • Therapy/counselling to assist with legal proceedings or for the purpose of obtaining court reports (I do not provide court reports, or liaise with legal practitioners);
  • Therapy that focuses on weight loss, restrictive dieting and reinforcing harmful diet culture, body shaming, weight stigma/prejudice and thin privilege;
  • Therapy to individuals who refuse psychiatric/medical intervention, review or management when I assess that this is necessary;
  • Crisis management of individuals with social/welfare problems (eg, homelessness, financial problems) or acute mental illness (eg, psychosis, mania), suicidal or serious self-harming behaviour (I do work with clients with suicidal ideation but no intent or plan and superficial self-harming behaviour, which are common symptoms of depression and trauma). I refer current clients for crisis management if the need arises and offer further therapy when they are stable and capable of participating.

For Psychological Therapy and Counselling contact Lesley Russell on 0412 638 749, email, or complete my enquiry form.

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