Dr Dawn Proctor conducts a thorough assessment and then works collaboratively with clients to select the most suitable model of therapy.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) explores the link between thoughts, feelings and behaviours, examining how these contribute to psychological distress. CBT is the most widely researched model of treatment for anxiety and depression. Individuals typically like its structured, goal oriented, hands-on and pragmatic approach. Sessions begin with setting a clear and collaborative agenda, ending with the setting of homework tasks to be completed between appointments. Treatment aims to increase self-awareness, develop more balanced thinking and engagement in adaptive behaviours that move the person closer to their goals. The number of appointments is highly dependent on the clinical issue but might involve 12 – 14 one hour sessions. Homework or ‘home tasks’ help to generalise the skills learnt and might involve thought monitoring or small behavioural challenges aimed at addressing unhelpful patterns of thinking.
Schema Therapy was developed by Jeffrey Young when he recognised that some clients who completed a course of CBT lapsed back into the same unhelpful cycle at a later date. Schemas are developed through life experiences and act like a ‘lens’ shaping the way we view the world. Maladaptive schemas or “lifetraps” develop when one or more core needs are unmet during childhood. The early maladaptive schemas lead to unhelpful themes or patterns of relating to others. This can lead to challenges in relationships with partners, friends and work colleagues. Maladaptive schemas fight for survival, continually gathering evidence that supports their existence and rejecting evidence that challenges them. Therapists help to build awareness of schema patterns and support healthy patterns of responding. Schema therapy is an integrative approach which combines aspects of CBT (see above) with experiential techniques. Sessions seek to elicit and shift schemas, encouraging more adaptive ways of relating to the self and others. Contrary to expectations, this therapy can be useful in both short or long term work, depending on the presenting issue and the way it is integrated with other modalities or techniques. Schema Therapy is applicable for a wide range of presenting problems, particularly where a repeating pattern has been identified in the way the person relates to others. The number of sessions is dependent on the nature of the presenting issue and can vary greatly but is likely to involve 18+ sessions.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence based treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder recommended by the World Health Organisation and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). The memory for traumatic events can be stored differently in the brain, due to the high level of emotions linked to the event. This can result in trauma memories becoming ‘stuck’, in the sense that reminders keep re-activating the central nervous system. The techniques used in this model of treatment have been shown to be important in unlocking the trauma memory, enabling it to be stored differently and assimilated into existing neural networks. This process provides effective clinical relief from persistent symptoms associated with trauma.
Metacognitive Therapy (MCT)
Metacognitive therapy (MCT) is effective in tackling patterns of overthinking, analysing and worry. It is a brief model of therapy and draws from CBT in many of the techniques used. However, rather than focusing on the content of thoughts the therapist targets ‘metacognitions’. Metacognitions or metacognitive beliefs are ‘beliefs about thinking’ and make up the blueprint of how we relate to our own thoughts. These beliefs lead us to respond to our thoughts in unhelpful ways and to engage in maladaptive coping behaviours. For example, in Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) a person might hold the positive belief about thinking – “worrying about the exam will help me do well” and yet also hold a negative belief about thinking – “my worries will never stop, I am losing my mind”. Whilst CBT would target the individual worries – e.g. what if I fail my test?; MCT targets the positive and negative metabeliefs driving and maintaining the worry. If you have noticed that rumination (going over past events) and worry (thinking about future events) are contributing towards your difficulties then you might find this model of therapy helpful. MCT is proving to be a fast and effective form of therapy for a whole range of presenting issues:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on increasing psychological flexibility, or the ability to enter the present moment more fully. Values based assessments help to identify what provides fulfilment and satisfaction for the person. Experiential techniques encourage acceptance, mindfulness and defusion in relation to unhelpful thoughts and feelings that get in the way of the person acting in line with the individual’s values.
Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP)
Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) integrates mindfulness meditation practices with cognitive behavioural relapse prevention strategies. MBRP helps to develop increased self-awareness regarding problematic substance use. The approach helps individuals to apply effective skills that reduce stress, manage urges and cravings, cultivate compassion and acceptance, whilst promoting important lifestyle changes. This can be a very useful model for those that have recently completed a detox or rehabilitation program and are looking for evidence based psychological support in the community.
Dr Dawn Proctor has worked as a supervisor of postgraduate Psychology students at Brisbane Universities for over 10 years.
She strives for excellence in the supervision and training of future practitioners.
Dawn is a Psychology Board of Australia (AHPRA) Approved Supervisor for the following training pathways:
- 4+2 Internship Principal / Secondary supervisor
- 5+1 Internship Principal / Secondary supervisor
- Work in Addition to Higher Degree
- Registrar Program (Clinical Psychology) Principal / Secondary supervisor
Dawn is a supportive and professional supervisor. She is passionate about working collaboratively with supervisees to reach their full potential. Dawn is open and transparent with feedback, providing this in a gentle and non-threatening way and empowering her supervisees to learn, question and grow. Supervision is also available via Skype for those living outside of Brisbane and where appropriate approval is received by the Psychology Board of Australia.
When designing bespoke solutions to support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace what better than speaking to somebody with both clinical and organisational psychology expertise?
Dr Dawn Proctor is passionate about tailoring a product and delivery strategy that is right for your organisation, whether the goal is increased awareness or development of the workforce.
+ Professional consultation covering a wide range of solutions for the business
+ Executive coaching
+ Individual assessment
+ Wellness checks
+ Organisational Development Services