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Clinical Approaches

The Bodhi Tree Psychology combines Psychology and Counselling to provide a holistic approach to therapy that integrates evidence-based theories, methods and approaches that are aligned with the humanistic ethos. 

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Person-centered Therapy (PC)

Person-centered therapy, also known as client-centered therapy is a humanistic approach to psychotherapy developed by the American psychologist Carl Rogers in the mid-20th century. This therapeutic approach is based on the belief that individuals have the inherent capacity for self-growth, self-awareness, and personal development, and it places great importance on creating a therapeutic relationship characterized by empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence (genuineness). Key principles and techniques of person-centered therapy include: Unconditional Positive Regard: Therapists practicing person-centered therapy offer their clients unconditional positive regard, which means they accept and respect their clients without judgment, no matter what the clients say or do. This unconditional acceptance creates a safe and non-threatening environment in which clients can explore their thoughts and feelings. Empathy: Empathy is a core element of person-centered therapy. Therapists strive to deeply understand and empathize with the client's perspective. By conveying empathy, therapists help clients feel understood and valued, which can promote self-exploration and insight. Congruence (Genuineness): Therapists are encouraged to be authentic and genuine in their interactions with clients. They are expected to be transparent and sincere in their responses, which can foster trust and openness in the therapeutic relationship. Active Listening: Therapists use active listening skills to fully understand and reflect back the client's thoughts and feelings. This reflection helps clients gain clarity and insight into their experiences. Non-Directive Approach: Unlike some other therapy approaches that are more directive in nature, person-centered therapy is non-directive. Therapists do not give advice or solutions but instead help clients explore their own thoughts, feelings, and solutions. This encourages clients to take an active role in their own self-discovery and problem-solving. Client-Centeredness: The client is considered the expert on their own life, and the therapist's role is to facilitate the client's self-exploration and self-understanding. Clients are encouraged to set their own goals for therapy. Holistic View: Person-centered therapy takes a holistic approach, considering the whole person rather than focusing solely on symptoms or problems. It recognizes that an individual's emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects are interconnected. Change Through Self-Actualization: The primary goal of person-centered therapy is to facilitate self-actualization, which is the process of becoming the best version of oneself. This self-actualization occurs as clients gain insight into their own experiences, feelings, and values. Person-centered therapy is used to address a wide range of psychological issues, including anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and personal growth. It has also been adapted for use in various settings, including individual therapy, couples counseling, family therapy, and group therapy. Overall, person-centered therapy places a strong emphasis on the therapeutic relationship as a vehicle for healing and personal growth, and it has been influential in the field of psychotherapy for its humanistic and client-centered approach.

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Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals identify, understand, and regulate their emotions in order to improve their mental well-being and enhance their interpersonal relationships. It was developed by Dr. Leslie Greenberg and Dr. Robert Elliott in the 1980s and is based on the idea that emotions play a central role in human experience and that understanding and processing emotions can lead to personal growth and healing. Here are some key principles and techniques associated with Emotion-Focused Therapy: Emotion Awareness: EFT emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of one's emotions. Clients are encouraged to pay attention to their emotional experiences and to identify and label their feelings. Emotion Regulation: EFT helps individuals develop strategies for managing and regulating their emotions in a healthy way. This may involve learning to tolerate distressing emotions and finding constructive ways to express and process them. Emotion Exploration: Clients are guided to explore the underlying causes and meanings of their emotions. They may delve into past experiences and relationships to better understand why they feel the way they do. Validation: Therapists using EFT provide validation and empathy to clients, acknowledging the legitimacy of their emotions and helping them feel understood and accepted. Expression of Emotions: EFT encourages clients to express their emotions in the therapeutic setting, whether through talking, writing, or other creative means. The process of expressing emotions can be cathartic and healing. Transformation of Emotions: EFT aims to help clients transform and adapt their emotional experiences. This can involve changing unhealthy emotional patterns or finding new ways to respond to difficult situations. Two-Phase Model: EFT often follows a two-phase model. In the first phase, clients explore and process their emotions, and in the second phase, they work on problem-solving and making changes in their lives based on their emotional insights. Experiential Techniques: EFT uses various experiential techniques to facilitate emotional processing, including role-play, imagery, and empty-chair exercises. These techniques help clients engage with their emotions on a deeper level. EFT has been used to treat a wide range of emotional and psychological issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship problems. It is considered a humanistic and client-centered therapy, as it places a strong emphasis on the client's subjective experience and personal growth.

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Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a modern form of psychotherapy that falls under the umbrella of cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT). Developed in the late 20th century by Steven C. Hayes, Kelly Wilson, and Kirk Strosahl, ACT is designed to help individuals improve their psychological flexibility and well-being. It is rooted in the philosophy that suffering and distress are part of the human experience, and the goal is not to eliminate these experiences but to develop a healthier relationship with them. Key principles and techniques of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) include: Psychological Flexibility: This is the core concept of ACT. It involves the ability to be open, adaptive, and effective in the presence of difficult or unwanted thoughts, feelings, and sensations. ACT helps individuals develop the capacity to be more flexible in their responses to life's challenges. Six Core Processes: ACT identifies six core processes that contribute to psychological flexibility: Cognitive Defusion: This involves learning to observe thoughts as they are, rather than being controlled or defined by them. It helps individuals distance themselves from unhelpful thoughts. Acceptance: ACT encourages individuals to accept their inner experiences, even if they are uncomfortable or distressing, rather than trying to suppress or avoid them. Present Moment Awareness (Mindfulness): Mindfulness techniques are used to help individuals stay focused on the present moment rather than getting caught up in worries about the past or future. Self-as-Context: This involves developing an understanding that one's true self is not defined by thoughts or emotions but is a continuous and observing entity. Values Clarification: ACT helps individuals identify their core values and use them as a guide for setting meaningful goals and making choices aligned with those values. Committed Action: This process involves taking purposeful and values-based action to make meaningful changes in one's life. Defusion Techniques: ACT uses a variety of creative techniques to help individuals "defuse" from their thoughts. This might involve wordplay, metaphors, or visualization exercises to reduce the impact of negative thought patterns. Mindfulness Practices: Mindfulness exercises are a central component of ACT. These practices help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without judgment and enable them to stay present in the moment. Values-Based Living: ACT encourages individuals to identify their core values, which serve as a compass for their actions and decisions. Living in alignment with one's values is seen as a path to greater psychological well-being. Experiential Exercises: ACT often includes experiential exercises and metaphors that help individuals understand and apply the principles of the therapy in practical ways. ACT is used to treat a wide range of psychological issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, addiction, chronic pain, and stress-related problems. It has also been applied in various settings, including individual therapy, group therapy, and even in organizational contexts to improve workplace well-being. One of the key strengths of ACT is its flexibility and adaptability, making it a valuable tool for therapists and individuals seeking to enhance their emotional well-being and lead more fulfilling lives by accepting their experiences and making values-based choices.

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Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a specialized form of psychotherapy that integrates traditional talk therapy with the body's sensory and motor experiences. Developed by Pat Ogden in the late 1980s, this approach is primarily used to treat individuals who have experienced trauma, although it can also be beneficial for various other psychological issues. The key principles and techniques of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy include: Body Awareness: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy places a strong emphasis on developing awareness of bodily sensations, movements, and postures. Clients learn to pay attention to the physical sensations associated with emotions and thoughts. Somatic Processing: The therapist and client work together to explore and process physical sensations and movements that may be related to trauma or emotional issues. This involves tracking and exploring sensations, emotions, and memories as they manifest in the body. Mind-Body Connection: The therapy acknowledges the intricate relationship between the mind and body. Clients learn how emotional and psychological experiences are reflected in physical sensations and behaviors. Trauma-Informed Approach: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is especially suited for addressing trauma, including complex trauma. It helps individuals process trauma in a way that is respectful of their physical and emotional boundaries. Safety and Regulation: Before delving into deep emotional work, the therapist helps the client establish a sense of safety and emotional regulation. Techniques for self-soothing and grounding are often taught. Movement and Posture Exploration: Clients may engage in movement and posture exercises to explore how their physical body responds to different emotional states. This can provide insight into patterns of coping and reacting. Resourcing: Clients are encouraged to identify internal and external resources that can help them cope with distress. These resources might include positive memories, strengths, or supportive relationships. Integration: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy aims to integrate fragmented aspects of the self that may have become disconnected due to trauma. By processing emotions and sensations at a bodily level, individuals can achieve a more coherent sense of self. Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices are often integrated into Sensorimotor Psychotherapy to help clients stay present in the moment and observe their bodily experiences without judgment. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is often used with individuals who have experienced developmental trauma, attachment issues, or PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). It is considered an experiential therapy, meaning that it emphasizes the client's direct experience over simply talking about issues. While it is rooted in the principles of somatic psychology, it can be integrated into various therapeutic modalities, including individual, group, and family therapy. This approach is highly individualized, with therapists tailoring their techniques to the unique needs and experiences of each client. It has gained recognition and popularity in the field of trauma therapy and is used by mental health professionals seeking to address the mind-body connection in the treatment of psychological and emotional difficulties.

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Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

(MBCT)

MBCT, or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, is a therapeutic approach that combines elements of cognitive therapy with mindfulness practices. It was developed in the early 2000s as a way to help prevent relapse in individuals who had recovered from depression, particularly those with a history of recurrent depression. The primary aim of MBCT is to teach individuals how to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the present moment, without judgment. This increased mindfulness helps individuals recognize the early signs of relapse into depression and develop healthier ways of responding to them. Key components and principles of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) include: Mindfulness Practices: MBCT incorporates various mindfulness meditation practices, such as mindfulness of the breath, body scan, and loving-kindness meditation. These practices help individuals develop greater awareness and acceptance of their thoughts and emotions. Cognitive Therapy: MBCT also incorporates elements of cognitive therapy, which focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and beliefs. In MBCT, individuals learn to recognize automatic thought patterns associated with depression and develop more balanced and realistic ways of thinking. Relapse Prevention: The primary goal of MBCT is to prevent relapse in individuals with recurrent depression. Participants are taught to recognize early signs of depressive relapse, such as rumination or negative self-talk, and to respond to these signs with mindfulness and cognitive techniques. Non-Judgmental Awareness: MBCT encourages individuals to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment. This non-judgmental awareness allows individuals to disengage from unhelpful patterns of thinking and emotional reactivity. Integration of Mindfulness into Daily Life: MBCT emphasizes the integration of mindfulness into everyday activities. Participants are encouraged to practice mindfulness in their daily lives, not just during formal meditation sessions. Group Format: MBCT is often delivered in a group format, typically over an eight-week period. Group discussions and shared experiences are an integral part of the program. Home Practice: Participants are encouraged to engage in daily mindfulness practices at home between group sessions to reinforce their mindfulness skills. MBCT has been found to be effective in reducing the risk of relapse in individuals with recurrent depression, and it has also been adapted for use in the treatment of other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder. Additionally, many people without a history of clinical depression find value in MBCT as a way to reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, and enhance their overall quality of life. It's important to note that MBCT is typically delivered by trained therapists or instructors, and it requires regular practice to experience its benefits fully. It is not a replacement for medical or psychiatric treatment when needed but can be a valuable complement to such treatments.

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Internal Family Systems (IFS)

IFS stands for Internal Family Systems, which is a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz in the 1980s. IFS is a model of therapy that views the mind as composed of multiple subpersonalities, or "parts," each with its own unique feelings, thoughts, and motivations. The goal of IFS therapy is to help individuals understand and heal these inner parts to achieve greater self-awareness and harmony. Key concepts and principles of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy include: Multiplicity of Mind: IFS posits that individuals have multiple parts within themselves, each representing different aspects of their personality. These parts can be protective, wounded, or carry various emotions. Self: In IFS, the "Self" represents the core, unifying, and healthy aspect of an individual. It is considered the essence of the person and possesses qualities such as wisdom, compassion, and calmness. The therapist helps the client connect with and strengthen their Self. Protectors: Protectors are parts of the internal system that have developed strategies to protect the person from pain or vulnerability. These may include the "inner critic," which can be harsh and self-judging, or other parts that use various defenses to shield the person from emotional distress. Exiles: Exiles are the wounded or vulnerable parts of the person that hold painful memories or emotions, often from past traumatic experiences. These parts are typically hidden or suppressed by the protectors. Healing and Integration: The central goal of IFS therapy is to facilitate healing and integration among these various parts. This involves helping the person access and communicate with their inner parts, fostering self-compassion, and allowing exiled parts to heal. Self-Leadership: IFS teaches individuals to let their Self take the lead in managing their internal system. When the Self is in charge, it can guide the healing process and mediate conflicts among different parts. Detaching from Parts: IFS therapists help individuals detach from their parts in a way that allows them to observe and interact with these parts from a more centered and compassionate perspective. Externalization: A key technique in IFS therapy is to have clients externalize their parts by giving them names, characteristics, and even having them "speak" directly to the therapist. This externalization helps clients gain distance from their parts and see them as separate from their core identity. IFS therapy is used to treat a wide range of psychological issues, including trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. It is often considered an experiential therapy, as clients engage in a process of self-discovery and exploration during sessions. This approach is typically delivered in individual therapy but can also be adapted for use in couples therapy and group therapy. IFS has gained popularity and recognition in the field of psychotherapy for its innovative and compassionate approach to understanding and healing the internal dynamics of the mind. Regenerate

Melissa Moss

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Mel is a Registered Psychologist, Holistic Counsellor and a Certified Clinical Trauma Practitioner in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. She has extensive experience working in both the private and organisational sectors across Australia and the UK. Mel uses compassionate inquiry whilst integrating a variety of evidenced-based and trauma-informed humanistic, somatic and mindfulness approaches. This approach works to inspire self-awareness, develop self-acceptance, encourage deep healing and sustain Wellness.

Mel began training in 2007 in Australia, continued training in the UK and became a member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and after 8 years returned home to Australia to finalise training as a Psychologist. She has worked in organisations and in her own private practice in both Australia and the UK since 2014, and now resides here in Melbourne working again in her own Private Practice in Albert Park at Victorian Avenue Wellbeing, working holistically with a range of presentations (see below) and at NEST Family Health Clinic in Elsternwick, working as a Psychologist with perinatal- and post natal presentations, along with depression, anxiety, grief and bereavment, and post-trauma injuries such as PTSD. ​​

Qualifications: 

  • BSc (Hons) Psych-Bachelor of Science (Hons) Psychology (+ 2 year psychology internship)/ 6 years (UK & AUS)

  • CCTP-II-Clinical Trauma Practitioner in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy / 2 years (AUS)

  • Dip SocSci- Diploma in Social science (counselling major) / 3 years (AUS)

  • Dip Couns-Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (+ 1 year placement) / 3 years (UK)

Registrations and Memberships:

 

  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA): PSY0002301291

  • Psychology Board of Australia

  • Member of The Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (AAPi) 

Mel uses a creative approach that works towards healing suffering by acknowledging and engaging the whole self. At the foundation of this approach is a strong dedication to providing a secure therapeutic relationship.

 

Research has shown that the therapeutic relationship, beyond any other method or approach used, is the most significant factor contributing to therapeutic efficacy. The therapeutic relationship Mel offers provides a secure base from which clients feel safe to explore their deepest suffering, without the fear of judgement or any type of threat, including the client’s self-judgements.

Mel then Integrates a variety of methods that she has completed extensive training in and blends these intuitively to suit the client's particular needs at any given time, rather than following a preconceived structure that can often direct clients and leave them feeling neglected. Therefore this approach, ensures the focus is on creating and sustaining a depth of attunement that clients state is deeply comforting, insightful and quite profound. 

When tuning in to the client’s needs, Mel focuses on how the client’s sense of worth, identity and overall wellbeing has/is being affected by their past and present experiences. This means acknowledging everything in their internal and external environment, from their mind, body and spirit, to the world in which they live.

 

Mel is trained to see the function underneath what might appear to some as ‘dysfunction’ and works with clients to reduce their suffering by being present with their pain.

This process inspires self-awareness, develops self-acceptance, and inevitably encourages and sustains deep internal healing. The client can then live a life that is aligned to their needs and values, and is able to channel their energy to get those needs met, and live a life of value and purpose. 

If this approach resonates with you, then please feel free to call to find out more, or book in for a free 15 min consultation. 

Elsternwick Psychology, Vic 3185

A place for contemplation, healing and growth...

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