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Evidence based therapy techniques

We use evidenced-based therapy techniques in our individual, family-based and group therapy sessions, including: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness and Reading Intervention.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

We use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to treat emotional, behavioural, and social concerns. CBT helps people to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and to learn healthier skills and behaviours. CBT has a range of therapies suitable for specific concerns; this means that we can individualise our CBT treatment to suit particular people and to treat specific issues.

We use CBT because it has been extensively and rigorously investigated in clinical trials and has been proven to be effective in treating a wide range of psychological concerns. Our clients like CBT because it is individualised, structured and goal-oriented, involves active-participation, focuses on overcoming immediate issues and provides long-term, practical skills and strategies for future problems.

We use a range of cognitive behaviour therapy techniques, depending on your individual child’s needs, including:

  • Exposure

    Sometimes children fear things that are external (eg. situations, activities, insects, animals, etc.) and sometimes they fear things that are internal (eg. thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc.). In exposure therapy we encourage children to confront the things that they fear in a controlled and safe manner. The aim of exposure therapy is to reduce children’s fearful reactions to the things that they are afraid of.

  • Thought-challenging

    Our thoughts impact how we feel. We teach children how to identify, understand and challenge their thoughts. We help them to change their unhelpful thoughts into more realistic or helpful thoughts. When children think realistically and have balanced thoughts about the world, they feel better.

  • Behavioural intervention

    We teach you skills that enable you to recognise your children’s behaviours and understand the reasons for their behaviours. We provide your children with skills to behave more appropriately and provide you with strategies to meet your children’s underlying needs in alternative ways.

  • Emotional regulation

    We help children to better understand their emotions, how to express their emotions, how to regulate their emotions, how to understand other people’s emotions and how to respond to other people’s emotions.

  • Problem solving

    We teach your child skills to identify problems, develop solutions for problems and make decisions when problems arise so that they are able to independently and effectively handle future challenging situations.

  • Parenting skills training

    We provide you with skills to establish family rules and to develop a system that reinforces desirable behaviours and has consequences for undesirable behaviours. We also help you to improve your family’s communication skills and to know when to ignore or attend to your children’s behaviours.

Social skills training

We identify your children’s social skills’ strengths and deficits. We use strategies to teach your children appropriate social skills, such as: modelling, role-play, observation and direct instruction. We help your family to transfer these social skills to the home environment and to the school environment. The aim of our treatment is to reduce your children’s social skills deficits so that they have more positive social interactions with their peers and with adults.

Depending on a child’s age, ability level and language skills, we often suggest that children with social skills deficits take part in our social skills group programs so that they can learn and use their social skills in controlled group situations with peers.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

We use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to treat a range of emotional concerns. ACT has been evaluated in a number of clinical trials and has demonstrated strong research support that it is effective in treating a number of psychological concerns. ACT has foundations in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and incorporates aspects of Mindfulness. ACT is unique in that it focuses on developing psychological flexibility, which is the ability to fully connect with the present moment and to change or continue behaviours when the behaviours meet our values. There are six major processes in ACT, including:

  • cognitive defusion (separating thoughts, feelings and memories from ourselves),
  • expansion/acceptance (sitting with our thoughts and feelings and noticing how they feel as we experience them and as they pass),
  • connecting with the present moment (being open, interested and aware of what is currently happening to engage in what we are doing),
  • accessing a trandescendent sense of self (understanding that our thoughts, feelings, memories and body are constantly changing and therefore aren’t inherently who we are),
  • understanding your values (to obtain meaning, motivation, purpose and direction), and
  • making committed action (taking effective action that is guided by values).

Our clients like ACT because it is individualised, involves active-participation, provides specific, concrete strategies to tolerate thoughts and feelings and provides skills and strategies to cope with long-term and/or future problems.

Mindfulness

Buddhists developed the concept of mindfulness about 2,600 years ago. Mindfulness has evolved to become a mainstream psychology practice today. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, experiences and environment without judging them. The major principles of mindfulness are to be: aware, accepting and in the present. At our practice we use mindfulness in combination with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and/or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy when we believe that it will suit particular young people.

Current research has identified the following benefits of mindfulness:

  • Improves overall wellbeing
  • Improves emotional understanding and regulation
  • Promotes compassion and empathy
  • Reduces the tendency to experience sadness, depression, stress, anxiety and anger
  • Increases the tendency to experience happiness, contentment, interest, enthusiasm and alertness
  • Increases ability to focus attention
  • Improves working memory

Reading intervention

Children with a specific reading disorder, otherwise known as dyslexia, find it difficult to put sounds to letters, which makes it next to impossible for them to recognise words or spell. Because children with dyslexia find reading difficult, they often struggle at school and are unable to demonstrate their true potential.

We recommend that children with dyslexia undertake an evidence-based reading intervention program (such as Fast ForWord or Multilit) that increases children’s:

  • Sound awareness (phonemic),
  • Sounding out words (decoding),
  • Sentence structure (syntax),
  • Spelling,
  • Vocabulary,
  • Grammar,
  • Reading fluency, and
  • Reading comprehension.

Children with dyslexia often have high levels of anxiety in relation to learning, which may lead to avoidance in the classroom and homework settings. At HMHK we offer individual therapy to assist children with dyslexia in managing their anxiety, re-engaging in learning and therefore produce better outcomes in the program.

At HMHK we help children with dyslexia in learning how to overcome their reading disorder through the use of assisted technology.

Finally, during the school holidays we operate Dyslexia Days for primary school and secondary school students with dyslexia to help them to connect with other young people with dyslexia.