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Thoughts = Feelings by Imogen Furner - Psychologist

Posted on 17 July, 2018 at 5:15

Thoughts = Feelings. I love the simplicity in this equation. I am no mathematician so the simpler the better! What we think about WILL equal how we feel. Not just POSSIBLY, but DEFINITELY. If we have unhelpful thoughts than we have uncomfortable feelings (sad, angry, anxious etc). If we have helpful thoughts than we have comfortable feelings (joy, satisfaction, pleasure etc).

The more we think the more intense we feel too. Also very simple! The longer we dwell on unhelpful thoughts the more intense our uncomfortable emotions will become. Thoughts are the fuel and emotions are the fire. The more fuel we add to a fire the more intense it becomes.

So with all this simplicity it must be simple right? Well in a way yes, and in a way no! We cannot control what thoughts POP into our head but we can learn what to do with them when they do show up. Instead of entertaining the thoughts, trying to change or get rid of them we can learn to accept their presence and just watch them come and go without grabbing hold of them or trying to change them in anyway. We can also encourage ourselves to become more grateful on a day to day basis. An attitude of gratitude will go a long way in boosting those helpful emotions and creating a mindset that handles the inevitable challenges we all face in life.

Click for more information about Imogen

Or email her at [email protected]

What to expect when you see a Psychologist.

Posted on 17 September, 2017 at 21:55

Most people report feeling a little anxious and not feeling sure of what to expect the first time they visit a psychologist.  This is normal for most people.  So what can you expect on your first visit? 

1.  Most psychologists work in an office with some kind of reception area.  Sometimes the reception will be manned and other times it won't be.  Some psychologists work from home offices.  Whichever you visit, most psychologists will ask you to fill in a form on your first visit.  This form will ask for your personal details like name, address, phone number etc.  It may ask for details of your Medicare number and/or Private Health Insurance details.  Some will ask questions about why you are attending your appointment, others might ask you to fill in some questionnaires to identify any symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress or other things.  Most will generally include an explanation of Confidentiality, fees and cancellation policies.  It's important to read these carefully so that you don't incur unnecessary cancellation fees.

2.  Once you have filled in your forms, the psychologist is likely to come out to greet you personally.  Most will greet you warmly and engage in a little chit chat to help you feel at ease and perhaps shake your hand.  They will then invite you into their consulting room.

3.  In the counselling room the psychologist might spend a few minutes introducing themselves and making sure you understand confidentiality and they might give you a brief summary of how they like to work.

4.  Once they feel sure that you are comfortable and understand the process they might begin by asking you to describe the problem that has brought you in to see them today.  The more information you can give them the better they will be able to begin to "formulate" your issues.  This means they will be thinking about what has happened recently as well as in the past to bring you to this present moment in time.

5.  Many psychologists like to take a personal history on your first visit.  This helps them to understand you and the influences you have experienced on you through your life.  This helps them see the world through your eyes and will provide valuable information to help them begin to create a plan for helping you.

6.  Towards the end of the first consulation the Psychologist will likely summarise what you have told them and then they may spend a few minutes explaining to you what they are initially thinking might be a helpful way to assist you with your problem.  They may also provide you with some reading or simple exercises or techniques to practise that they think will help, like journalling or breathing techniques.

7. Most psycologists will then suggest a follow-up appointment so they can begin the therapeutic process with you.  This is likely to be an evidenced based approach that is appropriate for your particular issue.  For example, Cognitive Behavioural therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Therapy or one of the many others that are available.

At the end of this consultation your should feel comfortable with your therapist, understood and hopeful that they can help you.  If not, then maybe give them a couple more opportunities to connect with you and establish good rapport.  If you still don't feel comfortable after 3 or 4 consultations then feel free to discuss this with them, or go back to your GP and ask for a referral to someone else.  The success of therapy relies heavily on how well you and your therapist connect or establish rapport so don't struggle on if you don't feel they 'get' you.

How to Choose a Mental Health Therapist

Posted on 7 May, 2016 at 0:00


At some time in our lives, each of us may feel overwhelmed and may need help dealing with our problems. According to the Mental Health Council of Australia, almost half the population experience a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime. They may need help dealing with feelings and problems that seem beyond their control — problems with a marriage or relationship, a family situation or dealing with losing a job, the death of a loved one, depression, stress, burnout or trauma. Those losses and stresses of daily living can at times be significantly debilitating. Sometimes we need outside help from a trained, licensed professional in order to work through these problems. Through therapy, psychologists and mental health accredited social workers help millions of Australians of all ages live healthier, more productive lives.

Consider therapy if...

  • You feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness, and your problems do not seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends. 
  • You are finding it difficult to carry out everyday activities: for example, you are unable to concentrate on assignments at work, and your job performance is suffering as a result. 
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge. 
  • Your actions are harmful to yourself or to others: for instance, you are drinking too much alcohol, abusing drugs or becoming overly argumentative and aggressive. 


What is a Mental Health Therapist?

Mental Health Therapists fall into a few different categories:

1. Clinical Psychologists

Clinical psychologists have skills in the following areas:

Psychological assessment and diagnosis

Clinical psychologists have training in the assessment and diagnosis of major mental illnesses and psychological problems.Through their training, clinical therapists are qualified to provide expert opinion in clinical and compensation areas.


Clinical psychologists are trained in the delivery of a range of techniques and therapies with demonstrated effectiveness in treating mental health disorders. They hold particular skills for applying psychological theory and scientific research to solve complex clinical psychology problems requiring individually tailored interventions.

Research, teaching and evaluation

Research, teaching and evaluation are all integral to the role of clinical psychologists. Research is often conducted on prevention, diagnosis, assessment and treatment. Clinical psychologists are involved in the design and implementation of treatment strategies in various settings (such as primary care, psychiatric and rehabilitation) and in the subsequent evaluation of treatment outcomes.

Clinical Psychologists are endorsed by the Australian Health Regulation Authority and can provide rebate-able services for Medicare, DVA,Workcover organisations, private health funds and insurance companies.

2. Psychologists

Psychologists who specialize in psychotherapy and other forms of psychological treatment are highly trained professionals with expertise in the areas of human behaviour, mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment, and behaviour change. Psychologists work with individuals, couples and families to change their feelings and attitudes and help them develop healthier, more effective patterns of behaviour.

Psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people change their thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Psychologists can be registered providers with Medicare Australia, DVA, private health funds and insurance companies.

3. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers are registered providers with Medicare Australia. They have been assessed on behalf of the Commonwealth Government by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as having specialist mental health expertise.

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers help individuals to resolve their presenting psychological problems, the associated social and other environmental problems, and improve their quality of life. This may involve family as well as individual counselling, and group therapy. Social workers recognise the broader implications of an individual having a mental illness and the impact on friends, family, work and education.

4. Counsellors and Hypnotherapists

Counsellors and Hypnotherapists can be trained in many different ways.  These professions are not regulated which means there can be great variability in the type and amount of training that these professionals receive.  

There are a number of professional organisations they can be members of that will guarantee to the consumer a minimum level of training and competency.  It is a good idea to ask what professional affilitations the professional has and then check with that organisation to make an informed decision about whether you think these will meet your needs.  

Counsellors and hypnotherapists are not eligible for rebates from services such as Medicare, private health funds, insurance companies, etc.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychologists and Accredited Mental Health Social Workers use psychotherapy to treat people presenting with life challenges. Psychologists and Accredited Mental Health Social Workers can also be called psychotherapists.

Psychotherapy is a collaborative effort between an individual or couple and a psychotherapist. It provides a supportive environment to talk openly and confidentially about concerns and feelings. Therapists consider maintaining your confidentiality extremely important and will answer your questions regarding those rare circumstances when confidential information must be shared.

How do I find the right therapist for me?

To find a therapist, ask your GP or another health professional. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Use Australian Psychology Society's Find a Therapist service or the Australian Association of Social Workers Find a Social Worker service.

What to consider when making the choice.

Mental Health Therapists and clients work together. The right match is important. Once the therapist’s credentials and competence are established, the most important factor is your level of personal comfort with that therapist. A good rapport with your therapist is critical. Choose one with whom you feel comfortable and at ease.

Questions to ask

  • Are you a register psychologist / accredited mental health social worker? 
  • How many years have you been practicing? 
  • I have been feeling (anxious, tense, depressed, etc.) and I'm having problems (with my job, my marriage, eating, sleeping, etc.). What experience do you have helping people with these types of problems? 
  • What are your areas of expertise — for example, working with children and families? 
  • What kinds of treatments do you use, and have they been proven effective for dealing with my kind of problem or issue? 
  • What are your fees? 
  •  Are you a registered provider for Medicare Australia? Can I use private health funding? Do I need a referral?


Will seeing a mental health therapist help me?

According to a research summary from the Stanford University School of Medicine, some forms of psychotherapy can effectively decrease patients' depression, anxiety and related symptoms such as pain, fatigue and nausea. Research increasingly supports the idea that emotional and physical health are closely linked and that seeing a mental health therapist can improve a person's overall health.

There is convincing evidence that most people who have at least several sessions with a mental health therapist are far better off than individuals with emotional difficulties who are untreated. One major study demonstrated that 50 percent of patients noticeably improved after eight sessions, while 75 percent of individuals in therapy improved by the end of six months.

How will I know if therapy is working?

As you begin therapy, you should establish clear goals with your therapist. You might be trying to overcome feelings of hopelessness associated with depression or control a fear that is disrupting your daily life. Remember, certain goals require more time to reach than others. You and your therapist should decide at what point you may expect to begin to see progress.

It is a good sign if you begin to feel a sense of relief, and a sense of hope. People often feel a wide variety of emotions during therapy. Some qualms about therapy that people may have result from their having difficulty discussing painful and troubling experiences. When you begin to feel relief or hope, it can be a positive sign indicating that you are starting to explore your thoughts and behaviour.

Examples of the types of problems that bring people to seek help from mental health therapists are provided below:

A man in his late 20s has just been put on probation at work because of inappropriate behaviour towards his staff and other employees. He has been drinking heavily and is getting into more arguments with his wife.

Once the contributing factors that may have led to the man's increase in stress have been examined, the therapist and the man will design a treatment that addresses the identified problems and issues. The therapist will help the client evaluate how he coped with, and what he learned from, any earlier experiences he had with a similar problem that might be useful for dealing with the current situation.

Functioning as a trained, experienced and impartial third party, the therapist will help this client take advantage of available resources (his own as well as other resources) to deal with the problem. The therapist also will assist this client with developing new skills and problem-solving strategies for confronting the problem he faces.

Crying spells, insomnia, lack of appetite and feelings of hopelessness are some of the symptoms a woman in her early 40s is experiencing. She has stopped going to her weekly social activities and has a hard time getting up to go to work. She feels like she lives in a black cloud and can't see an end to the way she feels.

The symptoms of depression are extremely difficult to deal with, and the causes may not be immediately apparent. Significant life changes — such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or a child's leaving home for college — may contribute to depression. Therapists have a proven track record in helping people deal with and overcome depressive disorders.

A therapist will approach the problems this woman presents by addressing why she is reacting the way she is reacting now. Does she have a history or pattern of such feelings, and, if so, under what circumstances? What was helpful to her before when she dealt with similar feelings, and what is she doing now to cope with her feelings?

The therapist will work to help the client see a more positive future and reduce the negative thinking that tends to accompany depression. The therapist also will assist the client in problem-solving around any major life changes that have occurred. And the therapist may help facilitate the process of grieving if her depression resulted from a loss.

Medical problems may contribute to the symptoms the woman is experiencing. In such cases, medical and psychological interventions are called for to help individuals overcome their depression.

William and Jeanette have been married for 17 years, they have 3 children and have been under a lot of financial stress recently. They are both working long hours trying to get ahead. They have begun arguing frequently and have begun to talk about separating.

The stressors in daily lives frequently lead to problems in relationships when we don’t know how to constructively manage conflict, maintain intimacy and connection and continue to create a shared narrative together. The therapist first does a thorough assessment on William and Jane’s relationship and on them individually before collaboratively preparing and sharing a treatment plan and treatment goals with William and Jane.

Together, the therapist, William and Jane agree on relationship goals and how to achieve them. The therapist acts as a coach/teacher to assist William and Jane to engage in functional conversations around their areas of difference, to develop good relationship habits such as building their friendship through having fun together, increasing their intimacy and developing rituals of connection. All of these things help William and Jane to feel more like a team than opponents and helps them develop a range of skills to continue to improve their relationship.

Scott, a teenager, has just moved across town with his family and has been forced to transfer to a new high school. Once an excellent student, he is now skipping classes and getting very poor grades. He has had trouble making friends at this new school.

For most teenagers, "fitting in" is a critical part of adolescence. Scott is attempting to make a major life transition under difficult circumstances. He has been separated from the network of friends which made up his social structure and allowed him to feel "part of the group."

Young people often respond to troubling circumstances with marked changes in behaviour. Thus, an excellent student's starting to get poor grades, a social youngster's becoming a loner or a leader in school affairs losing interest in those activities would not be unusual.

A therapist, knowing that adolescents tend to "test" first and trust second, will likely initially spend time focusing on developing a relationship with Scott. Next, the therapist will work with Scott to find better ways to help him adjust to his new environment.

Trained mental health therapists help ordinary people , just like you and me, to get through the challenges in life in a happy, healthy way.

Inside the Art and Science of Love Couples Workshop

Posted on 7 April, 2016 at 20:05

Your workshop actually begins a week or two before the weekend when we call each of you to get to know you and your goals a bit better. This helps us to ensure that your weekend is as successful and personalised as possible.
During the weekend you will be introduced to the 40+ years of incredible research conducted by Dr John Gottman on what makes relationships last and what makes them fail. From these research findings you will be introduced to a range of activities and exercises for you and your partner to try out in relative privacy while our Certified Gottman Therapists make themselves available to give you a hand to ensure you and your partner can successfully complete the exercises. Couples’ privacy is always respected and no personal information is discussed in front of the group.

Over the two days we will specifically assist you to work on improving your friendship, intimacy and connection; your ability to effectively manage conflict; and your sense of togetherness in a shared meaning system. All of these things are based on scientific evidence that demonstrates how these things lead to very happy, satisfying and fulfilling long term relationships

What you will learn


This two-day workshop will give you new insights and research-based relationship skills that can dramatically improve the intimacy and friendship in your relationship and help you resolve conflict in a healthy, productive way. At the workshop, couples will learn how to:

  • Foster respect, affection, and closeness
  • Build and share a deeper connection with each other’s inner world
  • Keep conflict discussions calm
  • Break through and resolve conflict gridlock
  • Strengthen and maintain the gains in your relationship

What previous couples have said

  • We are much closer than we were 2 days ago
  • It feels so good to finally have a road map to work out conflict
  • We are leaving feeling much more connected and engaged
  • Gave us some great skills we know we can put into practice
  • We successfully communicated some difficult things to each other and amazingly felt closer and happier as a result

Who Should Attend

  • All couples in a committed relationship
  • All couples with a desire to strengthen their relationship and make it great
  • All couples with distressed relationships who are looking for a road map for repair

For more information about dates, venues and prices head to our Couples Workshop website


Women's Health and Wellbeing Expo - 14 and 15 May, 2016

Posted on

Gather your girlfriends for a weekend of inspiration, information and fun at the 2016 Women’s Health and Wellbeing Expo, on May 14-15 at the Robina Community Centre. With an emphasis on recognising and celebrating women’s lifestyles in all of their vibrancy and diversity, the Expo has something to offer everyone. The Expo will showcase a vast array of information, presentations and interactive demonstrations all under the one roof, including medical and health specialists, cooking demonstrations, beauty and skincare, fashion, business coaching, financial health and tips on active ageing.

Some of our team from Burleigh Heads Psychology Clinic will be on hand to answer any of your questions about our services.  Come by our stall and pick up brochures and information about our Couples Workshops, Therapists and Authentic Self Workshops.  We would love to see you.