Therapy - Frequently Asked Questions
What is your theoretical approach or model of therapy?
We have been doing therapy for a very long time and have learned many different approaches. We draw from these approaches to address the specific needs of the particular individual, couple or family with whom we are working. All of these are strengths-based in the sense that we do not conceptualize “pathology” within a person but rather see individuals as doing the best they can within the circumstances in which they find themselves.
When we teach and supervise other therapists, we incorporate aspects of the Milan Systemic approach, Structural Family Therapy, Strategic Family Therapy, Imago Therapy, Gottman’s couple approach and family mediation. We draw from these approaches in our own work but also have an interest in and been influenced by the Solution Focused Approach, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Schema Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt Therapy and research into attachment and neuroscience. And we are always learning more!
We specialize in a form of trauma processing called Radical Exposure Tapping (RET). It is a form of exposure therapy that can be used to quickly and effectively resolve memories of disturbing events that fuel PTSD, anxiety, fears, emotional reactivity and patterns of escalating conflict.
For what sorts of issues does someone seek therapy?
People seek therapy when they:
Would like to overcome negative feelings such as depression, anxiety, panic, stress or prolonged grief and loneliness.
Would like to reflect on their part in their current or past relationship difficulties and learn ways of developing happier, healthier relationships.
Are seeking to feel better about themselves, increase their self-esteem and increase their ability to experience intimacy and trust.
Have intrusive memories about disturbing or traumatic events and they are seeking to leave the associated bad feelings behind them and move on in life.
Reach a time in life, perhaps a “midlife crisis”, and they want to re-evaluate the purpose and meaning of their life in order to make choices for the future.
For what sorts of issues do couples seek therapy?
Couples seek therapy to improve the relationship when one or both partners are worried about issues such as:
The frequency or intensity of arguments;
Feelings of disconnection or lack of intimacy;
Dissatisfaction in their sexual relationship;
Unresolved conflict about children, money, in-laws, affairs or work.
How helpful is therapy in resolving couple problems?
If couples seek therapy early in a relationship, when they first experience problems, therapy can help them learn skills to communicate effectively, resolve conflict and provide emotional support to each other. The longer the relationship difficulties have continued, the harder it is to change entrenched patterns and both partners must be committed to change for couple therapy to be successful.
The most effective way to create change in a relationship is for both partners to attend therapy as a couple. However if one partner is not willing to attend therapy, there is still much that can be gained by the more motivated partner attending therapy to examine his or her own needs, expectations and behaviour. A change in one partner can effect a change in the relationship. Sometimes both partners only agree to attend counselling when one partner is making plans to end the relationship. If that partner has clearly made a decision to leave, couple counselling may help both partners in emotionally and practically sorting through the issues involved in separation.
For what sorts of issues do families seek therapy?
Families seek therapy when:
Someone in the family is worried about intensity or frequency of arguments between family members.
One family member has a health or mental health problem and other family members want to know how to support or respond.
A child seems anxious, stressed or depressed or has behaviour that is difficult for the parents to manage.
Parents are unsure or in conflict about how to deal with a child’s problems.
How long does therapy take?
It depends on the nature of the problem and your goals. We work in the shortest time frame possible and the average number of sessions is about 10. If your goal for therapy is to address a specific problem or situation, we may need only a few sessions. When situations are more complex, or when an individual is seeking deeper changes in personality, then more sessions are needed to create permanent change.
Can I claim a rebate?
Laurie MacKinnon and Kerrie James are both Accredited Mental Health Social Workers registered with Medicare. You can claim a portion of the fee as the Medicare allied health rebate if you are referred by a psychiatrist or if your GP prescribes therapy and makes a referral as part of a mental health case management plan. There is no private insurance rebate.
What are the limits on confidentiality?
Information is held in strict confidence except if:
You give us written consent to communicate with your doctor or other professionals. To provide you with a receipt for Medicare, we are required to write to your referring doctor.
We are concerned about the safety of you or a family member. We are required by law to report when a child is at risk and we have a duty of care to all family members.
You are attending couple or family sessions and we see one or more family members for an individual session. In these instances we discuss with family members what information will be shared with other family members.
E-mail is not a confidential form of communication. For this reason, please use e-mail only for arranging or confirming appointments. With your permission we will send you confirmation of your appointments by email or SMS.
Do you do therapy with children on their own?
No, when we work with children it is with their parents present.
Do you write reports for court?
No, we do not work with family court matters nor do we write reports for court purposes. If you need help with a matter involving the family court, it is best to seek a professional who specializes in this work.
Where are your therapy rooms?
We are located on the lower North shore of Sydney. On street parking is easy.
Express busses run from the CBD and it is a 9 minute walk from the bus stop.
Most of the people we work with live on the North shore. However, if you need to travel a long distrance, we will do our best to arrange a series of sessions over consecutive days.
What is Radical Exposure Tapping?
RET is a form of exposure therapy that can be used to quickly and effectively resolve memories of disturbing events that fuel PTSD, anxiety, fears, emotional reactivity and patterns of escalating conflict. RET draws from the methodology of a well researched form of therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and combines it with the tapping sequence of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to produce an intervention that is more flexible than EMDR, provides greater theoretical and methodological rigor than using the EFT technique alone and can be effective in a single session.
Laurie MacKinnon developed RET by taking elements of EMDR, EFT and imagery rescripting, and combining them in a unique way. She analysed and improved her effectiveness with this new method by video recording and then reviewing dozens of RET therapy sessions. She also focussed on developing methods for teaching RET effectively to other therapists, delineating specific skills and developing protocols for therapists to use as guidelines for effective intervention.