Psychological therapy

Psychological therapy should be selected based on the woman’s preferences, the suitability of a particular therapy to the individual woman, the severity of her disorder and the availability of a suitably trained professional.  Health professionals providing psychological therapies should be registered and have accredited training in the relevant therapy.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behaviour therapy uses individual or group interventions to teach alternative ways of thinking and acting.  The goal is to identify and reduce depressive and/or anxious thoughts and feelings and give participants more control over their lives.  Skills developed and/or reinforced in most CBT interventions include self-monitoring and evaluation, social engagement, developing a balanced work-life activity schedule, physical activity, physical and mental relaxation, constructive thinking, self-reinforcement, assertive communication, and negotiation and problem solving.  In clinical practice, CBT is often offered on an individual basis and tailored to the needs of that individual in terms of gender, age and culture.

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)

Interpersonal psychotherapy is based on the assumption that depression, regardless of symptoms, severity, vulnerability or personality, occurs in an interpersonal context and within the framework of one of four problem areas: grief, interpersonal role disputes, role transitions or interpersonal deficits.  The premise of IPT is that addressing these problems can lessen symptoms.

Psychodynamic therapy

Psychodynamic therapy, also known as insight-oriented therapy, focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person’s present behaviour.  The goals of psychodynamic therapy are an individual’s self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behaviour.

Government funding to receive psychological treatment can be accessed through initiatives including Access to Allied Health Care (ATAPS), Better Access initiative (Medicare items), Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care, the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program and Non-Directive Pregnancy (Perinatal) Support Counselling (Medicare items).