Depression and Anxiety Counselling in Australia

Depression and Anxiety Counselling in Australia

We may all feel sad or nervous at some point in our lives. These negative emotions could occur due to several reasons, including family issues, moving on from an ex, financial stress, or work and academic pressure.  

It is normal to have these feelings (eg anger, fear, worry, happiness) every day. However, for some people, emotions like worry and fear may last longer than a day or, in some cases – even a few months or years. 

The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing published 2023 statistics, which showed that 21.5% of Australians had a 12-month disorder (ie an issue lasting for 12 months).   

Among them, 17.2% of people have anxiety, which is the most common psychological issue faced by many.   

Fortunately, anxiety counselling in Australia can help you control and manage your emotions during stress.   

In this article, we also explore depression and the impact it can have on the person suffering and their loved ones. 

If you have depression, you may have feelings of sadness, despair, loneliness, and a lack of interest in life.   

Depression can negatively affect your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Do note that mental health conditions can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender, or background.  

At Talk Your Heart Out (TYHO), our counsellors in Australia offer depression counselling to help you overcome several challenges you may face.   

Both anxiety and depression can be addressed effectively with the right support and therapeutic plan.   

Below, we share the symptoms, causes, and types of depression and anxiety. Further, we also provide information to improve your therapy experience with us!   

Symptoms

In this section, we share some of the most common signs of anxiety and depression. 

‘Common signs’ usually mean all the indicators that are easily detectable. For example, people with anxiety may have symptoms such as sweating and fear of threat. 

These are some of the signs that people think of reporting or that are usually identified by professionals. 

However, if you have anxiety, you may also have ‘less common’ signs such as muscle pain or gastrointestinal issues. We may not always associate chronic pain with psychological conditions; hence, they are less common. 

Depending on your particular issues and needs, your Therapist in Australia may create a personalised therapeutic plan. 

The plan may include only one approach or multiple therapeutic tools. Your Therapist is the right person to decide which treatment and style works best for your problem. 

Symptoms of Depression

At TYHO, we provide online depression counselling in Australia to help you manage and overcome all types of depression. 

Our Australian psychotherapists may use approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you regain happiness and joy in your life. 

Below are some key symptoms of depression: 

Symptoms of Anxiety

Online anxiety counselling in Australia can help you overcome harmful thoughts and feelings.  

Your experience with anxiety may be unique and differ vastly from what others feel. 

Hence, seeking online therapy could be significant if you notice these or other troubling patterns. 

Your Therapist can help you identify and manage symptoms that are unique to you with a personalised therapeutic plan. 

Below are some of the most common signs of anxiety:

Causes

Causes of Depression

Researchers indicate that the cause of depression is not entirely understood and that it is often multifaceted. 

This means that depression can be caused by a mix of several factors, such as physical, genetic, and emotional. 

Below are some of the common causes of depression: 

  • Brain structure: Evidence suggests that those suffering from depression may have physical differences in their brain structures. For example, the hippocampus is smaller in some people who are depressed. Research shows that the hippocampus was 9% to 13% smaller in depressed women compared with the general population who weren’t depressed. 
  • Chemical imbalances: Neurotransmitters (ie the brain’s own chemical messengers) play a key role in our understanding of depression. Current research indicates that drastic changes in the way these chemicals function and interact with brain circuits (ie responsible for mood regulation) may cause depression. 
  • Hormonal fluctuations: Depression may be triggered or aggravated by changes in hormonal balances in the body. These can occur due to several causes, including but not limited to postpartum periods, thyroid disorders, or menopause. You can learn more about the types of depression in the next section!
  • Genetic links: Depression is more prevalent among people with a family history of the disorder. Hence, genetics and family history can cause depression. In fact, studies show that twins are even more likely to have or develop depression if one twin has the same condition. 

Causes of Anxiety

Anxiety is a condition that has existed for decades. Previously, we had anxiety due to physical threats (eg hunting, war etc).

However, these days, personal and social stressors may cause anxiety. This could include any distressing event, such as pressure at work or difficulty maintaining a relationship. 

Everyone may experience anxiety in different ways. Some people may mainly feel irritable, whereas others may feel more fear than anger. 

Some of the most common causes of anxiety are given below:

  • Life circumstances: Stressful events, such as going through a difficult separation, being with a narcissistic partner, or facing traumatic experiences, can cause anxiety.
  • Health conditions: Certain medical issues, including cardiac issues or hormonal imbalances, may cause anxiety symptoms.
  • Genetic predisposition: A family history of anxiety might increase your susceptibility to it.
  • Neurological differences: Differences in the brain’s emotional processing centres can lead to anxiety.
  • Consumption habits: Excessive intake of stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, or particular substances might induce anxiety.

Note that just because a person has excess caffeine does not mean that they will develop anxiety. That is to say that, similar to all psychological disorders, several factors can cause anxiety. 

Types

Types of Depression

Below are some of the common types of depression. 

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Individuals with MDD often experience a persistent sense of sadness and a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed. Common signs include drastic shifts in appetite and weight, sleep disturbances (ie sleeping too late or finding it hard to wake up), and exhaustion. 
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD): Previously known as dysthymia, PDD is characterised by a chronic state of depression that interferes with daily functioning. PDD often makes it hard to carry out simple tasks such as cooking or cleaning. Individuals might experience low mood, feelings of inadequacy, and difficulties with concentration and decision-making. 
  • Bipolar Disorder: People who have bipolar disorder typically experience intense mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. In the depressive phase, one might feel overwhelming sadness, tiredness, and a loss of interest in activities. The manic phase can cause feelings of extreme elation or irritability, rapid thinking, and impulsive behaviour. 
  • Postpartum Depression (PPD): PPD can occur in the first year following childbirth. The condition profoundly affects the mother’s ability to care for herself and the baby. Symptoms often include constant feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and disrupted sleep patterns. 
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): PMDD is an acute form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), characterised by severe emotional changes, intense cravings, and depressive symptoms such as deep sadness and guilt. People often have PMDD in the weeks right before or during their menstruation cycle.

Types of Anxiety

Below are some of the common types of anxiety.

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Individuals with GAD may find themselves persistently worried about various aspects of daily life, including health, money, family, or work. This anxiety can last for months and may make simple tasks overwhelming. 
  • Panic Disorder: Those suffering from panic disorder experience abrupt and severe panic attacks, which are moments of intense fear that increase rapidly. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Moreover, during a manic episode, one may also feel a constant threat, even in safe environments. 
  • Specific Phobias: A specific phobia is an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of a particular object or situation, often out of proportion to the actual danger. For example, someone might develop an intense fear of illness or a deep fear of water after a negative incident. Even the thought of their fear could cause intense psychological and emotional distress.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: This type of anxiety involves an uncontrollable fear of social situations due to the worry of being judged or embarrassed. This goes beyond common shyness, as it can prevent people from participating in social interactions.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is characterised by unwanted, recurrent thoughts (obsessions) and behaviours (compulsions) that the individual feels compelled to perform. This might involve elaborate rituals or routines that take up significant time and interfere with daily activities.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A person can develop PTSD after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms could include persistent and disturbing thoughts and feelings related to the trauma. These might manifest as flashbacks, severe anxiety, or nightmares.

Management

Managing Depression and Anxiety

During depression counselling in Australia, you will work with your counsellor to identify and manage your problems. 

You can choose to address broader issues, such as financial stress or sex-related problems, or focus on issues specific to your depression or anxiety. 

Your Australian counsellor may use several scientific approaches to help you. Some of the common methods used to manage depression and anxiety include: 

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Narrative therapy
  • Schema therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Art therapy

Using one or more of the above approaches, your Therapist can help you in:

  • Regulating and managing your emotions
  • Improving your thought processes
  • Boosting self-esteem and overall life satisfaction
  • Developing and maintaining social connections (eg romantic relationships, friendships, familial bonds)
  • Gaining a deeper personal awareness and self compassion

In certain cases, your counsellor may use only one type of therapy. For example, DBT was first developed specifically to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). 

Hence, if you are seeking help for BPD, your psychologist in Australia may use DBT during depression counselling. 

Throughout the therapeutic process, you will focus on various aspects of your life, including emotional regulation, anger management, sleep patterns, appetite, communication skills, and coping techniques. 

Similarly, for anxiety counselling in Australia, TYHO Therapists might use ACT techniques to: 

  • Promote non-judgmental acceptance of thoughts and feelings
  • Encourage clients to view their thoughts as mere words, not absolute realities

Take, for example, someone with social anxiety struggling to form new friendships due to a belief in their inherent inability to connect meaningfully with others. This belief may lead to loneliness despite efforts to form connections. 

In such instances, Therapists might utilise ACT tools like cognitive diffusion to help clients tackle the inherent negative beliefs about their self-worth and capabilities.

Anxiety & Depression Counselling in Australia: What to Expect

Below is a guide to what you can expect during anxiety counselling and depression counselling in Australia.  

  • Introductory sessions: Your initial meeting will involve an in-depth evaluation of your mental health (ie how you think and respond to situations). Your Therapist will discuss your symptoms, family history, medical history, and daily habits to fully understand your situation and needs.
  • Customised therapeutic plan: Based on the initial evaluation and the personal details you provide, your Therapist will create a tailored treatment strategy. This plan will include the details of the specific methods and objectives for your therapy. Your Therapist will also regularly share their clinical impressions in your plan. 
  • Learning skills: Throughout therapy in Australia, you’ll learn new skills to overcome anxiety. These might include techniques to change negative thinking or methods to improve physical relaxation (eg mindfulness exercises or meditation). The goal is to make you self-reliant and capable of managing your stress even after therapy ends. 
  • Ongoing assessments: Your Therapist will regularly monitor your progress and modify the therapeutic plan accordingly. This continual reassessment ensures that your therapy is always aligned with your current needs and circumstances. This is especially important as your needs and goals may change as you continue to receive therapy. 
  • Therapy exercises: Based on your problems, you may receive assignments to work on between sessions. These tasks, allotted by your Therapist, might involve practising new techniques, documenting particular experiences or thoughts, or gradually confronting your anxiety (eg making new friends or attending a concert). 

Try to attend therapy as regularly as you can. 

Your progress automatically depends on how frequently you attend sessions, how actively you participate during and after therapy, and your therapeutic alliance (ie the relationship you share with your Therapist). 

We are here to help you! Reach out for support today. 

 

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