Psychological Interventions

Choosing to Work with
a Psychologist

The world has become a tricky place to navigate, so it is no wonder that psychological therapy has become a necessary tool in the lives of many. Whether you are recovering from trauma, dealing with conflict, experiencing a crisis, or just overwhelmed and burnt out, seeking professional support can be a positive step towards a grounded approach to what life throws at you.

Psychological interventions include counselling, therapy, behavioral interventions, family therapy, couples therapy, group therapy, and several other approaches such as EMDR or other exposure therapies. These approaches provide you with skills and insights to help you resolve a wide range of concerns, better manage symptoms on your own, or improve performance. In other circumstances, psychological interventions provide a safe and structured way to successful work through and resolve very difficult emotions or experiences, as is the case with exposure therapies for trauma.

Our team at Grey Matter utilize a variety of different approaches depending on the training and background of the clinician, and the presenting problem. No one treatment is effective for every concern or diagnosis, and our administrative team can help you determine which clinician on our team has the skills and training to best support you. After your no cost meet and greet with the clinician, the clinician will work with you to tailor a treatment plan suited to your unique needs.

Approaches to Treatment

The Grey Matter team are trained in a wide range of intervention approaches. Some of the more common approaches employed by our team include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT teaches you to identify, question, and change your attitude and thought patterns directed towards certain emotional and behavioural responses.

It works by monitoring and recording thoughts that arise during challenging situations, and then addressing those responses from a place of objectivity.   This can be an especially useful method for managing depression and anxiety, reducing emotional problems by identifying distortions in thought patterns.

This is a structured, time limited (6-20 session), problem-focused and  goal-oriented strategy based on a proactive therapeutic relationship between psychologist and client.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an empirically based psychological intervention style that uses a combination of acceptance, mindfulness, commitment, and behavioural change strategies that work together to enhance psychological flexibility.  Psychological flexibility can be defined as a connection with the present moment, approaching it as a fully conscious human being that is empowered to change behaviour in order to align with chosen values. 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EDMR therapy is a highly effective well researched psychotherapy method proven to have success in helping people to overcome trauma or other challenging life circumstances including, but not limited to, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.  

Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts, and they are in place for good reason.  When the distress from a traumatic moment ceases to dissipate however, the residual emotions can be debilitating with overwhelm, making it hard to move forward.  EDMR helps the brain to process these memories and trigger natural healing to occur, revisiting the experience but with out the fight, flight, or freeze response attached to it. 

Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)

SFT is a short-term goal-focused evidence-based therapeutic approach that helps you to construct solutions to problems and move out of cyclical thought patterns.  It is a positive future-oriented vehicle for building and driving positive change that is hope-friendly.  

SFT practitioners begin this strategy with clients by outlining in detail how your life will be different when a problem is removed or improved.  From here, the practitioner can work with you to reveal a practical approach to making this solution a reality given your own experiences and behavioural repertoire. 

Narrative Therapy

Narrative Therapy puts emphasis on helping people embrace being the expert on their own lives. There is an emphasis on the stories people develop and carry with them throughout their life. These stories influence how people see themselves and the world. Narrative therapists work to help clients put together their narrative in a way that allows clients to find their voice and explore events in their lives and the meanings they’ve built around those experiences. The client and therapist look at the story to identify the dominant stories and deconstruct problematic stories.

Inference Based Therapy or Approach (IBT or IBA)

The inference based approach is a form of cognitive therapy for obsessive compulsive disorders. This approach identifies OCD as a disorder of self-doubt, where individuals with OCD confuse possibilities with reality, and then act as if the possibilities are true. The approach aims to identify self-doubts, and reorient the client toward trusting their senses and relating to reality in a non-effortful way as well as tolerate discomfort rather than engaging with compulsive behaviors.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

ERP is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy for obsessive compulsive disorders. The approach encourages clients to face situations which trigger obsessive thoughts and allow the obsessive thoughts to occur without neutralizing or fixing the obsessive thoughts with compulsions. The goal of this approach is habituation – the person with OCD learns that nothing bad will happen when they stop performing compulsive rituals and the resolution of obsessive thinking.

Intervention Offerings

Types of interventions we offer include but are not limited to the following:

Behavioural Therapy

Behavioural therapy is a term that describes a broad range of techniques used to change behaviours. The goal is to reinforce desirable behaviours and eliminate unwanted ones. Behavioural therapy is rooted in the principles of behaviourism, a school of thought focused on the idea that we learn from our environment. Unlike types of therapy rooted in insight, behavioral therapy is action-based. Because of this, behavioural therapy tends to be highly focused. The behaviour itself is the problem, and the goal is to teach people new behaviors to minimize or eliminate the issue.

Behavioural therapies can be used to treat a wide range of issues including substance use disorders, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), eating disorders, weight management issues, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).

Parent and Caregiver Coaching

Parent coaching helps parents clarify how they want their relationships with their children to be and offers tools to create a deeper and more fulfilling connection and better support children. One or more parents or primary caregivers meet with a professional to foster goal achievement related to parenting or managing a child’s disorder or other problem. It is beneficial to caregivers who need assistance to increase family functioning.

Parent coaching is useful for any caregiver who needs support navigating their child’s specialized mental health and developmental needs. During sessions, the professional provides psychoeducation about the child’s needs and/or diagnosis, offers strategies and support, and fosters communication and coping skills. It is a streamlined process to focus on one or more specific goals. It is generally strengths-based and focused on parental/caregiver education and empowerment. 

Psychological Therapy for Adults

Psychological therapy for adults occurs in a safe and confidential relationship between a qualified psychologist and a client to promote mental health and well-being, enhance self-understanding, treat diagnosed mental health disorders, and resolve any identified concerns. Clients are active participants throughout the therapy process.

Psychological therapy is an effective way for people who are having problems that they can’t control or don’t know how to deal with better manage those concerns. The psychologist asks probing questions to get a deep understanding of what is going on and then helps the client explore ways to change thinking and attitudes about an issue and teach skills to help correct the concerns on your own.

Therapy can help alleviate emotional pain and suffering. It can teach new skills to help you deal more successfully with the problem at hand. Therapy could draw on a wide range of approaches depending on the presenting concern, the training and approach of the psychologist, and the therapeutic goals.

Psychological Therapy for Children & Teens

Therapy for children and teens focuses on treating children and adolescents with one or more mental illnesses as well as providing support to children and youth who are navigating dysfunctional or stressful environments, school difficulties, or a range of other issues outside of mental illness. The aim is to help children and young people better understand and interpret the issues they are experiencing in a way they can process. Some of the most common issues child psychologists treat include experiencing divorce, grief of a loved one or pet, witnessing or experiencing traumatic events, mental health conditions and psychological disorders, bullying, sexual, emotional and/or physical abuse, relocation issues, low self-esteem, school performance issues, and family substance use issues.

Therapy sessions can focus on a range of issues and use a wide range of techniques. Sessions could focus on working towards an optimistic future, developing positive coping methods, as well as boosting self-esteem, self-confidence and other positive states in children or youth, in addition to the treatment of presenting problems. Child and youth therapy can often include working with parents, guardians or other family members or supports in the young person’s life to help that young person function better and improve their quality of life.

Couples Counselling

Perfection is an unhealthy expectation in a relationship. However, a relationship should be healthy and include communication, respect, safety, compromise, and intimacy. Couples counselling is a type of therapy that aims to guide the couple to improvements in their relationship. It provides a safe environment for the couple to identify problems in their relationship and work together to change things. 

Couples often wait until the problems in the relationship are serious, leaving partners reluctant to believe that therapy will work. It is also not uncommon for couples to arrive assuming the therapist will “fix” their partner. Through the therapy process, the couple will learn to create and maintain a healthy relationship together. With the help of the therapist, the couple will study their relationship to discover the stressors in the relationship, the nature of conflicts, behavioural and communication patterns, strengths and weaknesses, stories they tell about themselves and the relationship, and qualities that might be missing in the relationship. 

Common issues that benefit from couples counselling include communication issues, premarital counselling, sexual issues, infidelity and unfaithfulness, assistance in managing other relationships, blended families, non-traditional or open relationships, ending a relationship, or trust issues.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a type of group therapy. “Family” is defined as a group of people who care about each other and call themselves a family. This could include parents and children, partners, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, or caregivers. The goal in family therapy is to help everyone in the family understand and support each other. This type of therapy can help when families are feeling overwhelmed, sad and angry; when they’re unsure how to move forward; or when they feel that they are repeating the same harmful behaviours over and over. If a family is dealing with changes associated with illness, mental health and substance use problems, unemployment, moving, aging, divorce, trauma, and death and grieving, family therapy can be helpful.

Family therapy ultimately helps family members understand each other and work through difficult feelings in a safe space. This type of therapy focuses on improving the interactions and communication between family members. It is usually used when the family is contributing to a person’s difficulties or when one person’s problems are impacting other family members. When each person feels supported and works within their strengths, positive changes in relationships and in people’s lives will hopefully result.

EMDR

EMDR is a psychotherapy that helps people heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. It is a protocol driven procedure that EMDR therapists are trained in extensively prior to administering. While it is a very different form of treatment compared to talk therapy, there has been so much research on EMDR that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense. EMDR is an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements are used during one part of the session. Specific memories are targeted and the client is asked to hold different aspects of the event or thought in mind as they complete eye movements. As this happens, biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep are stimulated which aids in processing the memory and disturbing feelings.

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that relies on a neutral third party (the mediator) to help individuals or groups work out a solution they can both agree on. Mediators are knowledgeable and unbiased process managers that use techniques to assist with effective communication and efficient negotiation. 

Parenting Coordination

Parenting coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process. Parents meet with a parenting coordinator for help with following court orders, separation agreements, or other directives or agreements that are about parenting. The parenting coordinator helps parents resolve day-to-day conflicts about their parenting arrangements and/or orders. Parenting coordinators help parents speak with each other to try and agree on parenting issues. If agreements can’t be made, the parenting coordinator can make the decision based on information. It is a similar process to mediation or arbitration.