Why a Christian psychologist?
Mel has advertised herself as a Christian psychologist because people often prefer to receive counselling from someone who shares their beliefs. (See Christianity page for statements of Christian belief)
This is understandable, since therapy deals with issues about life direction and a person's view of themselves. A Christian's perspective on these things is often vastly different from the perspective of those who do not have these beliefs.
While some people may want to see a psychologist who shares their beliefs, therapy can be just as effectve for people who have a different viewpoint. This is because, regardless of being a Christian or not, all people have basic human needs and problems which therapy can address.
Mel is equally enthusiastic to work with both Christians and those who are not Christians. She is respectful of the beliefs of all people.
Who should go to therapy?
Anyone who would like help in dealing with problematic life issues from a psychological point-of-view. Issues like anger, grief, loneliness, relationship struggles, depression cannot be fully managed simply by reading a self-help book or hoping that time will heal. Therapy can help those who would like strategies and insight to deal with such problems from a professionally trained psychologist.
Mel specialises in working with adults in individual therapy.
How does therapy help?
There are many ways in which therapy can help a person to deal with life struggles. For example, some people may find it helpful to look back on their childhoods to understand their present relationship struggles, some people may benefit from learning anger management strategies, some people just need to chat with someone who can help them to see things from a different perspective. Whatever the life issue, there is always a therapeutic approach that can help.
Mel spends the initial sessions with clients to work out the best approach in order to achieve your goals. While Mel is trained in CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy), family systems therapy and other types of therapies, Mel's preferred approach is psychodynamic psychotherapy. This type of therapy is a deeper and more long-term approach to treating problems. It involves examining childhood experiences, especially family patterns, and using this insight to understand current psychological well-being. It also involves observing the way people relate during therapy and how this reflects and also influences their actions in every day life.
From a Christian viewpoint, therapy can also help by bringing to light what is inside ourselves - our thoughts, feelings, motivations - of which we are often not aware. By recognising what is inside and presenting this to God, we open ourselves to taking on God's view of ourselves and life (as taught to us through the scriptures). By God's power, therapy allows this transforming experience to happen at a deep and emotional level.
What issues can I bring to therapy?
All life issues regarding a person's mental well-being can be dealt with during therapy. As a counselling psychologist, Mel is best trained to help those with relationship problems and milder forms of mental illness. People with problems such as psychosis and schizophrenia may need to see a specialist in these areas. In the initial assessment phase, Mel will recommend the best course of treatment for your specific problem.
Examples of issues that therapy can deal with:
- Depression and anxiety, including panic attacks
- Addictions, such as gambling and alcohol addiction
- Anger management issues
- Phobias, such as agoraphobia
- Relationship and social problems
- Life direction
- Low self-esteem
- Many other problems
Mel's perspective on people and life.
Beliefs about who we are and what life is about affect all the decisions we make, whether we realise it or not. In therapy, a psychologist's own worldview will affect the way they guide and communicate with a person.
As a Christian psychologist, Mel comes from the perspective that all people are precious and created in the image of God. However, we are all fundamentally sinful and flawed creatures. Our self-esteem rests in the fact that though we are flawed, God loves us and sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins. As we become less self-reliant and more reliant on God's power and his wisdom, we are brought to greater wholeness.
For Christians, God uses our struggles in life to grow us and change us. Mel encourages clients to see that their problems are God's means by which he points us to our own weaknesses and to his sufficiency.