Below are some of the common problems that can be treated by a clinical psychologist:
A panic attack usually occurs when you experience intense fear or discomfort which can intensify within minutes. You may experience a range of unpleasant physical symptoms, including breathing problems, a pounding or racing heart, stomach discomfort, tingling or numb hands, sweating, weakness or dizziness, chest pain, and feeling either hot or cold. These sensations can lead to feeling a loss of control.
Panic attacks may be triggered in response to a fear about a situation, or a place. At times, however, panic attacks may appear for no apparent reason. If you experience panic attacks, you may become persistently concerned about having further panic attacks.
Anxiety disorders are often stress induced and can be persistent. Anxiety may also result from excessive worry about everyday things, whether large or small. Worrying about unnecessary things may trigger irrational fears, which can become overwhelming. If you experience anxiety, it is common to try to avoid some situations, which you think are challenging, in the hope that you will not experience further anxiety. This may get out of hand as you find yourself withdrawing more from an increasing range of situations.
Feeling anxious can also lead to problems with going to sleep or staying asleep, particularly if your mind is racing and you are unable to calm yourself.
Anxiety can also lead to physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and digestive problems, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Social anxiety may cause you to worry for days or weeks before a particular event or situation and may result in you avoiding that situation entirely. When experiencing social anxiety it may seem like all eyes are on you, which may lead to blushing, trembling, nausea, sweating, or difficulty talking. Pushing yourself to go through a worrying situation can result in feeling uncomfortable and may cause you to dwell on that situation for a long time afterwards. These symptoms can be very disruptive. Indeed, they can make it hard to meet new people, maintain relationships, and advance at school or work.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Having flashbacks, reliving a disturbing or traumatic event from the past, such as a violent encounter or serious accident may indicate that you have PTSD. Other symptoms include poor sleep, social withdrawal and bad dreams. If you have PTSD, you will experience hyper-arousal when exposed to situations which trigger the negative symptoms. Avoidance of these triggers is a common feature of PTSD. Avoidance may be helpful in the short-term, but it can also become a pervasive behaviour that can be detrimental to your relationships with others.
Obsessive -compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a combination of obsessive thoughts that are accompanied by compulsive behaviours, whether it is psychological, e.g. repeating the same statement over and over again in your mind, or physical, e.g. hand-washing, straightening items and re-checking locked doors. Obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour often become “rituals”, which can have a negative impact on your life. These behaviours come at the cost of enjoying your life. They make it difficult to be spontaneous and quickly become very tiring.
Persistent self-doubt and second-guessing are common with some forms of anxiety. In some cases, the doubt may revolve around a question that is central to your identity, or ability to perform certain tasks or relationships with others. Self-doubt can hold you back from reaching your goals in life.
All relationships such as personal, business and casual need good communication in order to function well. Good communication is necessary to understand each other, to make sense of what is going on, and to know what is expected. Poor communication often leads to confusion, misunderstanding and becoming angry or isolated. To improve this very important skill, people need to look at two complementary aspects: the sending of information and receiving the information.
Everybody occasionally feels down for a day or two, but Depression is a complex condition with severe symptoms. Symptoms of depression can include profound sadness, lethargy, feelings of worthlessness, being irritable, losing interest in social activities, and having ongoing headaches. These symptoms are often overwhelming. To complicate matters further, some depressed individuals incorrectly blame themselves for the way they are feeling. Clients who are depressed can become very isolated and feel hopeless about their future.
Loss and Grief
Losing someone you love or care deeply about is very painful. The emotional suffering associated with loss and grief can be overwhelming. The greater the loss you experience, the more intense the grief that you may feel. Not everyone has the same symptoms associated with loss and grief. You may have a range of painful emotions and feel like your pain and sadness will never stop. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality, coping style, culture, life experiences, beliefs and the nature of the loss. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
There are healthy ways to cope with the emotional pain that help you move on.
Romantic relationships can involve fun and excitement, making plans for the future together, sharing goals, supporting each other and having a close and fulfilling life. Over time, however, relationships can change and each person in the relationship can develop different views. There can be miscommunication or even a lack of communication between the individuals in the relationship. You may find that you and your partner have less time for each other, or less motivation to keep investing in the relationship. These types of issues can develop into unmet needs, ongoing frustrations, criticisms, raised voices, a sense of isolation and a lack of feeling loved. Depending on the expectations and wishes of both partners it may be possible to attempt reconciliation, but on other occasions, separation counselling with an experienced psychologist may be required for each individual to move forward in the best possible way.
Pain is a signal that your body has been harmed. Pain can affect a range of your day-to-day activities, including relationships, work, socialising, sleep and mobility. You may even experience adverse effects from having to take strong pain medication. Having significant pain can make it difficult for you to make long-term plans for the future. You may feel isolated because others do not understand what it’s like to have ongoing pain, day after day.
The psychological effects of ongoing pain are numerous. You may experience feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, neglect, helplessness, anger, abandonment and depression.
Psychological intervention may improve your coping skills, problem solving and levels of optimism.
According to the Australian Psychological Society, workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed toward a single employee, or group of employees, that creates a risk to health and safety. Workplace bullying can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, decreased self-confidence, panic attacks, fatigue, eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal ideation.
Safe Work Australia states that psychological injury or mental injury includes a range of cognitive, emotional and behavioural symptoms that interfere with a worker’s life and can significantly affect how they feel, think, behave and interact with others.
A good night’s sleep will help you to keep energised, relaxed, focus better, improve your concentration and memory. When you do not get enough sleep: you may lack enthusiasm, feel tired, experience a lack of concentration, become clumsy, have poor memory and attention, become irritable, and it can even lead to increased hunger.
A range of psychological reasons can contribute to having a poor night’s sleep, including overthinking, dealing with a hectic life, and worrying. These factors can all have a negative impact on your stress hormones, further contributing to having a bad night’s sleep.