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Ability Therapy Specialists ~ Armidale New England NSW Australia

Independent Consulting with Individuals, Couples, Families, Children ~ NDIS Registered Provider of Behaviour Support, Counselling Therapies with Creative Arts, Rehabilitation, Employment, Paediatric Early Childhood Intervention

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Relationships

Finding Your Path in Life

One of the amazing parts of counselling psychotherapy is when a person is seeking where they belong. We feel lost, afraid, alone, stressed out, and even desperate. But only one sleep can change all that. We honestly never know what is around the corner. Life is actually a massive adventure, and we have no idea where we might end up.

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For some of us, not knowing is stressful. Do you think the bee knows exactly where her next bunch of flowers might be found? Surely I can imagine, a bee flying around not sure where the flowers might be growing and blooming. Even whatever sensors they have probably leave them with not knowing, maybe a sense of intuitive instinct. Why should human beings be all that different?

When I was a young man, several really close friendships fell apart leaving me pretty much all alone in the world for the first time in my life. The crisis lasted for a few years because there was no clue inside me of how to cope. Towards the end of this searching someone flatly told me to “go see Redge Craig.” He was a senior counsellor in our region of Canada.

After sitting down with Redge, and sharing the ending of those friendships that still made me feel lower than low, he leaned forward and said something that I cannot easily forget. He said, “How deeply you really cared for each of your friends, and that love you have for them is just as strong now, inside of you.” For some reason, his saying this was like light bulbs going off inside my body. For the first time, it dawned on me that instead of feeling defeated by loss, I could actually feel good about my capacity to care for others. This was a huge turn around that led me toward a new path in life.

Counselling can be like this for many people. It never ceases to mystify me how people come to therapy on the cusp of healing, change, and new pathwork.

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Mental Health 101

So many people talk about “mental health” nowadays… but the simple truth is that dealing with the illness side of mental health can be extremely challenging.

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Therapists and clinicians, doctors and nurses, psychologists and counsellors, also deal with mental health and illness in their personal lives. I remember as a young Counsellor in training one of the first times a senior Minister visited my practice. It surprised me to realise how everyone carries challenges, sometimes hidden, other times not as well concealed.

Ministers, priests, doctors, psychologists, disability support workers, managers, and all sorts of helpers over the years have sat down with me. They have shared stories of deeply personal battles through depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, relationship break ups, workplace stress, and conflicts that deeply impacted their lives.

Interesting enough, the vast majority of helpers we’ve seen over the years have carried what I have come to recognise as a deep seated fatigue, something kin to existential depression, often appearing like a pragmatic and even realistic loss of hope and wonder in the mystery of life. This strikes me as quite powerful, and endemic to our era that is so focused on logic, critical theory, analysis, and science. While focusing on evidence and measuring everything in life, even our emotions, we have lost a sense of childlike innocence in just exploring, and staying curious about life.

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Within the journey of psychotherapy and counselling, helpers are seriously among the hardest people to help. We helpers throw up every self-defence mechanism known to humanity. Being well trained in communication, we can spin circles around any sentence and interpret about a dozen different meanings in half a minute flat. As the words cascade from a helper’s lips, they are often immediately internally sabotaging their heart and body by avoiding, superimposing, dissociating, and confusing meanings.

Yet working with helpers has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. For over two decades my focus was training therapists, and mentoring counsellors. The most valuable lessons included the fact that we are all so very human.

We cannot go it alone. In fact, everyone needs someone else to help them sort the harder parts of life. And as older and wider as you get, this fact never changes.

Psychometric and Educational Assessments

ATS offers a range of psychometric and educational assessments upon request. This post is dated and will not be revised in future. To see a more up to date list visit the page on this topic found via a link on the site menu.

The following tests and assessments we may be able to provide. This list may change without notice, and may depend on third party availability of testing materials. This being said, please contact us to discuss your needs. If an assessment tool is not listed here, send us a note via the Contact page to inquire whether we can provide the test you are seeking.

  1. Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System Edition 3 (ABAS 3). The Adaptive Behavior Assessment System Third Edition (ABAS-3) is used to assist assessment, diagnosis, intervention planning, and progress monitoring with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Developmental Delays, Learning Disabilities, Neuropsychological Disorders, and Sensory or Physical Impairments.
  2. Brief Infant Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment Screening for Issues (BITSEA), 12 to 36 months.
  3. Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS).
  4. Independent Living Scales (ILS).
  5. School Functional Assessment.
  6. Vineland 3 – Adaptive Behaviour Scales. To assist toward diagnosis of Intellectual Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities.
  7. Adolescent and Adult Sensory Profile.
  8. Quality of Life Inventory (QLI).
  9. Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ).
  10. Behavioural Assessment of Dysexecutive Syndrome (Adults).
  11. Brief Cognitive States Exam.

Australian Counselling and Psychotherapy

People from around the world ask me whether there is a distinct form of Australian counselling and psychotherapy. My response is immediately, yes!

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Over the past three decades my work has brought me to many conferences. Over time presenting and doing keynotes has given me a unique perspective. Teaching counselling training at universities, and maintaining interest in the field long after leaving full time academic work, has given me many strengths in understanding Australian approaches to psychotherapy and counselling.

For one, Australian Aboriginal culture is unique around the world. Nothing exists like Aboriginal ways arising from the Dreamtime, deeply connected with Country as Sacred Place, and the many quite profound ways this translates into familial values, community identity, and as time goes on influences within mainstream Australian culture that are often overlooked by people who grow up in this country.

Secondly, Australia is completely unique in its very landmass, and how this holds a great deal of influence, meaning, and inspiration for Australian music, art, science, and culture. Australians have an existential basis in this place we call home, our country, our land and sea. Australians unconsciously and often in full awareness gravitate and hover around the Centre, the desert as heartland, the place of unconscious, that tends to dominate our consciousness. This forms a rich compost layer within the Australian psyche. A hinterland for dreams, vision, and mysticism. A source of enormous power in creativity and problem solving.

Thirdly, Australian counselling and psychotherapy has its own unique professional traditions within the fields of education, public health, and ironically as an offspring of the psychology professional body’s decision to become highly exclusive and begin shutting down their grandfather clause during the late 1990s. Besides, the profession of counselling in Australia grew very quickly to be extremely diverse due in large part to a great deal of healthy competition between factions. This resulted in hundreds of smaller professional and specialist bodies being formed – something that is still sorting itself out as the next couple of generations of therapists cope with the confusion and mess handed down to them by their senior founders.

Finally, Australian counselling and psychotherapy are often places of advanced innovative research and advancements in our understanding of qualitative issues. We can think of a dozen studies that match this criteria, across the areas of child sexual abuse, abuse recovery, trauma and healing, Aboriginal cultural methods in therapy, sexuality and identity, sexual health counselling, ageing and community practice, couple and relationship issues, depression and anxiety, just to name a few. Perhaps in contrast, as a professional body psychology tends toward advancements in quantitative research outcomes.

Unlike psychology perhaps worldwide, counselling in Australia is unique because as a profession counsellors and psychotherapists are not as interested in “rats and stats” as the focus is on human relationships, understanding the dynamics of healing and change outcomes, and actual practice based outcomes that advance our knowledge of evidenced based therapeutic strategies.

These are just a few of the ways that Australian counselling and psychotherapy are unique around the world. There is much to be thankful for in Australia. And most Australians are not aware of the incredible resources we have in our communities and across our nation in the form of counsellors, whose work is often hidden and unassuming, but whose efforts form part of the social fabric of our community.

GLBTI2S Couple and Marriage Counselling – Video

On the cusp of Australia’s revealing the results of our postal vote on same sex civil marriage, show host Dr Joseph Randolph Bowers discusses the dynamic of professional supportive counselling and psychotherapy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Two Spirit couples, marriages, and families. His message is profound and provocative. Intentional relationships and families are places to grow mature loving human beings. At the same time, he concludes that minority couples face many of the same dynamics and issues that straight couples and marriages deal with.

Ask A Therapist Episode 6 Couple Counselling vs Mediation? What is Available for Couples?

Episode 6 What is Available for Couples? looks at the enrichment-to-counselling-to-psychotherapy-to-mediation-to-litigation spectrum in couple relationship services. With five areas on the spectrum Dr Bowers offers couples a realistic view on how to seek help depending on their needs at the moment.

Ask A Therapist Episode 3 Workplace Stress – Help Please?

Episode 3 Workplace Stress looks at the natural ways we can work with our mind for a change, to de-stress, and find a new perspective.

Essentials of Behaviour Support – From NDIS Provider Ability Therapy Specialists in Armidale New England NSW

Behaviour Support begins with your goals, strengths, and skills.

Goals come from two places.

  1. The first is personal feelings. This is how you feel about your life and what you want to do.
  2. The second is social feelings. This is how others feel about your life and what others want for you and with you. Others are your family, friends, carers, staff, and community.

The balance of your feelings and other people’s feelings make for a stronger behaviour support plan.

After all what is a behaviour support plan?

Any good plan is made by you, your behaviour support specialist, and other people.

A good plan is to help you to feel safe and able to live your goals, strengths, and skills.

Strengths come from two places.

  1. The first is your feelings on your own strengths. What do you like best? What do you like least? What do you like to do most? What do you not want to do? What things do you really dislike?
  2. The second is other people’s experience of your strengths. What do they see about your likes, dislikes, and capacity to do different things?

The balance of your feelings and other people’s feelings on your strengths provides a good beginning to a strong behaviour support plan.

A good behaviour support plan is to help you practice your strengths.

Practicing strengths is best done with the help of friends, family, staff, carers, and community.

Skills come from two places.

  1. The first is your feelings on what you can do best, and what you can do least of all. All the things in between are also important. You may feel OK about house keeping skills. But you might feel yuk about eating ice cream in winter. Well, maybe not…! LOL
  2. The second is other people’s feelings on what you do best and least, and everything in between.

A good behaviour support plan will build on your skills.

Building skills means you can feel good about what you do good and not so good.

We are all learning and growing.

 

To finish Things Up

So we got goals, strengths, and skills.

Three things make a map or plan of how you are going. The behaviour part is social and relationships. How you can go, and how others can help you go.

Your plan can help to celebrate your goals, strengths, and skills.

Your plan can help to build up new strengths in things you would like to learn and do in future.

By making a plan your family, friends, staff, carers, and community members can better support you too.

Other people can use the plan to understand your goals, strengths, and skills.

This is how we make a good behaviour support plan.

 

Contact

Call Ability Therapy Specialists on 046 886 3740. Or email by going to the Contact Page. There is a form at bottom. Fill this in and say hello!

Sorry we cannot put the email on this page – there is too much junk mail that comes from putting the email here. But the form is good.

We do want to get your email. And we are excited to hear from you. Have a great day!

 

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Patterns and Perfection

Nature patterns and builds in dys-function to offset atrophy and create opportunity for variation in a species. Imperfections are part of the pattern of perfection even in the most elegant and perfect of systems where observation needs greater detail and precision to pick up the imperfect variation.

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