Treatments & Therapies

The following shared information is not provided as advice or instruction.

Before commencing or changing your treatment plan or therapies,

always discuss with your Doctor and/or Psychiatrist first.

I have provided details of what the treatments/therapies claim to provide; these are not an indication of my experience, views or opinions.

Psychotropic Medication


Psychotropic Medication



Antidepressants can be grouped according to how they work. The different types are:

  • SSRIs: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant. They include:

Citalopram, Escitalopram, Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine, Paroxetine, Sertraline

SSRIs are one of the first choices when someone is first prescribed an antidepressant. This is because they are as effective as other types of antidepressant, but tend to have fewer side effects than some older types, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

How do SSRIs work?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter — one of the chemicals responsible for relaying signals between the cells in your brain. SSRIs block the uptake of serotonin back into the brain cells and so increase the amount of serotonin available in the brain for transmitting signals. This increase in serotonin is thought to improve the symptoms of depression.

  • SNRIs: serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors

The serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are a group of antidepressants, and include: Desvenlafaxine, Duloxetine, Venlafaxine

How do SNRIs work?

Serotonin and noradrenaline are neurotransmitters — chemicals that relay signals between the cells in your brain. SNRIs increase the amount of these two neurotransmitters in your brain, and this is how they are thought to improve the symptoms of depression.

  • TCAs: tricyclic antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) have been available for more than 50 years. Tricyclic antidepressants are at least as effective as newer antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), but they usually cause more side effects, such as constipation, dry mouth and dizziness. This means they are not usually the first choice for treating depression, but they can be useful if other antidepressants don’t work for you, or if you have found that a TCA worked well for you in the past.

Tricyclic antidepressants include: Amitriptyline, Clomipramine, Dothiepin, Doxepin, Imipramine, Nortriptyline, Trimipramine

How do TCAs work?

Serotonin and noradrenaline are neurotransmitters — chemicals that relay signals between the cells in your brain. TCAs increase the amount of these two neurotransmitters in your brain, and this is how they are thought to improve the symptoms of depression.

  • MAOIs: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are a group of antidepressants. They can be divided into two types:

Irreversible MAOIs: which include phenelzine and tranylcypromine

Reversible MAOI, (also called a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A [RIMA]): moclobemide. The information below does not apply to moclobemide

Irreversible MAOIs (phenelzine and tranylcypromine) are one of the oldest types of antidepressant. They are not commonly used now because they have potentially serious interactions with many other medicines and foods, and safer antidepressants are available. However, they may be useful for particular kinds of depression that aren’t helped by other treatments.

How do MAOIs work?

Adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters — chemicals that relay signals between the cells in your brain. MAOIs increase the amount of these neurotransmitters in your brain, and this is how they are thought to improve the symptoms of depression.

  • Other types of antidepressant

A number of antidepressants don’t fit into the other groupings (SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, MAOIs), based on the way they work. They are:

Agomelatine, a melatonergic antidepressant

Mianserin, a tetracyclic antidepressant

Mirtazapine, a tetracyclic analogue of mianserin, sometimes called a noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant (NASSA)

Moclobemide, a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A (RIMA)

Reboxetine, a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor

See the individual medicine pages for more information.


Mood Stabilisers

Most of the available treatments perform equally well in the elevated phase of bipolar disorder, and do so relatively quickly. Most available research data are for acute treatment of bipolar mania. This is despite the depressive phase being less amenable to treatment, more frequent and longer lasting. Bipolar depression causes more suffering and functional impairment and has a greater adverse impact on prognosis.

The selection of drugs is based on their efficacy against the phase, type and stage of bipolar disorder. Comorbidity (physical, psychiatric, substance abuse), tolerability and safety should also be considered.

In practice, effectiveness is limited by poor patient compliance. This is due primarily to tremor, metabolic disturbance, cognitive dysfunction, sedation and yearning for the perceived pleasure of euphoric mood.

How do mood stabilisers work?

There is no specific psychopharmacological mechanism, so how mood stabilisers work is unknown. The possible mechanisms of action of lithium are complex and include:

Altered cell membrane sodium transport

Inhibition of inositol monophosphatase

Reduced protein kinase C activity

Neurogenic/neurotrophic actions

Alterations in serotonin metabolism

Modulation of intracellular signal transduction.

  • Lithium

Despite being discovered 60 years ago, lithium remains the gold standard for mood stabilisation. Lithium has proven efficacy in the treatment of mania, being more effective against classical (euphoric) mania than mixed (dysphoric) variants. It is also moderately effective against the depressive phase. Placebo-controlled trials confirm lithium’s prophylactic effect against mania and depression.

Recent meta-analyses and longer-term follow-up studies continue to support the preventative efficacy and effectiveness of lithium monotherapy. Lithium also has a specific and strong anti-suicide effect.

  • Anticonvulsants

Only three anticonvulsants – valproate, lamotrigine and carbamazepine – have any demonstrated mood stabilising effect. The other anticonvulsants do not have the necessary evidence to support their use in treating bipolar disorder. In general, anticonvulsant dosage is determined by clinical effect and tolerability.

Sodium valproate

Valproate appears to be equivalent to lithium against the manic phase, but better against mixed mania. There is only limited evidence of efficacy in depression or maintenance prevention.


Lamotrigine lacks acute anti-manic efficacy but has modest antidepressant efficacy as monotherapy or in combination with other drugs. It has prophylactic efficacy against both manic and depressive relapse.

Although lamotrigine is not approved for bipolar disorder in Australia, internationally it is considered a first-line treatment for bipolar depression. Australian clinical practice guidelines support its use in acute bipolar depression and in maintenance prophylaxis.

Lamotrigine is generally well tolerated, with little to no sedation or weight gain.


There is reasonable evidence supporting an anti-manic effect of carbamazepine, but lithium, valproate or atypical antipsychotics are often preferred. This is because there are no placebo-controlled data supporting carbamazepine’s use in bipolar depression or in the maintenance phase. Furthermore, the adverse effect burden, drug interactions and enzyme induction complicate dosing. Carbamazepine tends to be used only when other treatments have failed.



There are two main types of antipsychotics:

  • Newer or atypical antipsychotics. These are sometimes called second-generation antipsychotics and include: amisulpride, aripiprazole, clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine,and risperidone.

  • Older typical well-established antipsychotics. These are sometimes called first-generation antipsychotics and include: chlorpromazine, flupentixol, haloperidol, levomepromazine, pericyazine, perphenazine, sulpiride and zuclopenthixol.

How do antipsychotics work?

Antipsychotics are thought to work by altering the effect of certain chemicals in the brain, called dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline and acetylcholine. These chemicals have the effect of changing your behaviour, mood and emotions. Dopamine is the main chemical that these medicines have an effect on.

By altering the effects of these chemicals in the brain they can suppress or prevent you from experiencing:

  • Hallucinations (such as hearing voices, seeing, smelling things, etc).

  • Delusions (having ideas not based on reality).

  • Thought disorder.

  • Extreme mood swings that are associated with bipolar disorder.

For more information: -

Psychotropic Drug Advisory Service (VIC)

Free Telephone drug information services

Base: Mental Health Research Institute

Mon to Fri: 9 am to 5 pm (excluding public holidays)

T: 03 9389 2920

F: 03 9387 5061



Herbal & Complementary Medicines in Psychiatry



This acetylated version of Carnitine is claimed to offer more mental rather than physical benefits because it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Its primary effect is on the production of acetylcholine which is one of the main neurotransmitters involved in memory, learning, computation, analysis, perception and many more cognitive processes. It has been used for a variety of mental disorders including Alzheimer's disease, age-related memory loss, late-life depression and thinking problems.

Research Study Findings

Bach Flower

There are 38 remedies in the Bach remedy system. All of them were discovered in the 1920s and 1930s by Dr Edward Bach, a well-known bacteriologist, physician and pathologist.

It is claimed ach remedy is associated with a basic human emotion. Mimulus, for example, is the remedy for when we are anxious or afraid about something specific. Taking the remedy helps us overcome our fear and face it with courage. Dr Bach designed his system to be simple. It may seem daunting at first, but anybody can learn how to use it.

Research Study Findings

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets its name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.

The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. ACT (which is pronounced as the word 'act', not as the initials) does this by:

  • teaching you psychological skills to deal with your painful thoughts and feelings effectively - in such a way that they have much less impact and influence over you (these are known as mindfulness skills).

  • helping you to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you - i.e your values - then use that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate you to change your life for the better.

The objective of ACT is not elimination of difficult feelings; rather, it is to be present with what life brings us and to "move toward valued behaviour". Acceptance and commitment therapy invites people to open up to unpleasant feelings, and learn not to overreact to them, and not avoiding situations where they are invoked. Its therapeutic effect is a positive spiral where feeling better leads to a better understanding of the truth.

While Western psychology has typically operated under the "healthy normality" assumption which states that by their nature, humans are psychologically healthy, ACT assumes, rather, that psychological processes of a normal human mind are often destructive.[20] The core conception of ACT is that psychological suffering is usually caused by experiential avoidance, cognitive entanglement, and resulting psychological rigidity that leads to a failure to take needed behavioural steps in accord with core values. As a simple way to summarize the model, ACT views the core of many problems to be due to the concepts represented in the acronym, FEAR:

  • Fusion with your thoughts

  • Evaluation of experience

  • Avoidance of your experience

  • Reason-giving for your behaviour

And the healthy alternative is to ACT:



An ancient Chinese practice, it is claimed acupuncture works to redirect your body’s flow of energy using carefully placed needles. For depression, pressure points in the hands and feet are targeted to increase the flow of “qi.”

Oriental Medicine does not recognize any mental disorder as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques.

This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs. According to Chinese medical theory, illness arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points located near or on the surface of the skin which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect.

Research Study Findings


So much of our daily lives and quality of life relies on the health of our mental faculties. And yet we are plagued at one end by mental fatigue, poor concentration and burn-out, and at the other with long-term degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It is claimed there are a number of essential oils that can benefit our cognitive abilities and help us to maintain healthy brains.

Research Study Findings 

Art Therapy


Art Therapy usually focuses on the art process rather than the final form. How you feel while making your art and what you learn about yourself is the most important thing.

Art therapy claims to help you cope with difficulties and stress, and speed up the recovery process.

A safe, supported environment is provided to help you:

  • give voice to experiences and feelings not easily expressed in words

  • relax and de-stress

  • develop self-awareness and self-esteem

  • work on social skills

  • manage behaviours and/or symptoms

  • solve problems by looking with a different perspective.

There are several different forms of art therapy available, depending on your needs.

Art therapy uses the creative process of making art as a safe way to represent your inner experiences, develop awareness and support personal change. Along with creating art, the art therapist may use relaxation and visualisation techniques and guided imagery, in the therapy session. This can help you cope with difficulties and stress, and speed up your recovery process. The art therapist offers a safe, supported holding space to allow a person to process difficult emotional issues.

All types of visual art forms may be used, such as painting, drawing and clay work.

Research Study Findings 

Behavioural Therapy


Behaviour Therapy is focused on helping an individual understand how changing their behaviour can lead to changes in how they are feeling. The goal of behaviour therapy is usually focused on increasing the person’s engagement in positive or socially reinforcing activities. Behaviour therapy is a structured approach that carefully measures what the person is doing and then seeks to increase chances for positive experience.

Research Study Findings 

Biofeedback Therapy

There are several different types of Biofeedback techniques, which measures brain wave activity or other physiological responses like skin temperature, muscle tension, or heart rate variability (HRV) while patients make a purposeful attempt to influence these variables.

It is claimed that biofeedback may be effective in reducing symptoms related to numerous mental health issues, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum stress, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and food cravings.

HRV is a measure of the time intervals between heartbeats. In HRV biofeedback, patients learn how to influence their HRV by using slow, deep breathing to shift to parasympathetic dominance — essentially, they learn how to “switch on” the relaxation response.

HRV biofeedback somehow ‘stimulates' the vagus nerve, which primarily sends signals from the body to the brain. The vagus nerve has connections to the prefrontal cortex, which influences behavioral control, and to the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain, which are related to emotional and reward processing.

Research Study Findings 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy


It is claimed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment approach for a range of mental and emotional health issues including anxiety and depression. CBT aims to help a person identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and to learn practical self-help strategies. These strategies are designed to bring about positive and immediate changes in the person’s quality of life. CBT can be beneficial for anyone who needs support to challenge unhelpful thoughts that are preventing them from reaching their goals or living the life they want to live. CBT aims to show people how their thinking affects their mood and to teach them to think in a less negative way about life and themselves. It is based on the understanding that thinking negatively is a habit that, like any other habit, can be broken.

Research Study Findings 

Client-Centred Therapy

Client-Centred Therapy, also known as Person Centred Therapy is humanistic in nature. It’s based on the premise that therapy clients – rather than the therapist – are the expert in their own lives and have the ability find their own solutions. Rather than focusing on diagnosing their clients and probing them with questions, the primary goal of a therapist is to help them learn to trust themselves in finding their own way in life. The therapist focuses on helping clients become more self-aware by acknowledging and experiencing emotions they’ve been avoiding or denying. This process is facilitated by providing a therapeutic environment that enables clients to discover the answers they’ve been seeking.

In client-centred therapy, the therapist believes that striking a balance between the real self (who a person is) and the ideal self (who a person wants to be) is the key to a person’s psychological wellbeing. When there’s a significant discrepancy between these two selves it causes problems for the person, such as unhappiness, dissatisfaction with life, and unhealthy behaviours.

Research Study Findings 

Adlerian Therapy

An Adlerian therapist assists individuals in comprehending the thoughts, drives, and emotions that influence their lifestyles. People in therapy are also encouraged to acquire a more positive and productive way of life by developing new insights, skills, and behaviours. These goals are achieved through the four stages of Adlerian therapy:

1. Engagement: A trusting therapeutic relationship is built between the therapist and the person in therapy and they agree to work together to effectively address the problem.

2. Assessment: The therapist invites the individual to speak about his or her personal history, family history, early recollections, beliefs, feelings, and motives. This helps to reveal the person's overall lifestyle pattern, including factors that might initially be thought of as insignificant or irrelevant by the person in therapy.

3. Insight: The person in therapy is helped to develop new ways of thinking about his or her situation.

4. Reorientation: The therapist encourages the individual to engage in satisfying and effective actions that reinforce this new insight, or which facilitate further insight.

Values Clarification and Adlerian Psychology

Individuals often enter therapy to gain better insight into their own behaviours and responses to circumstances that occur in their lives. Adlerian psychotherapy uses a process of Adlerian values clarification, through which a person in therapy is introduced to personal life organization, including birth order, social context, and other external dynamics, including parental influences. By understanding this organization, and how it has influenced self-worth, acceptance, and expectations, an individual can begin to accept the emotions they have relative to the events they experienced as a child. This process of perception allows the person in therapy to identify—maybe for the first time—their true inner value, independent of others. Adlerian values clarification allows one to look at prior beliefs in a new way that encourages positive change.

Values clarification is all about doing what matters, knowing what matters to you personally, and taking effective action guided by those values. Various exercises are employed to help identify chosen values that act like a compass from which to direct intentional and effective behaviour. People who are fused with their thoughts and tend to struggle with or avoid painful emotions often struggle with choosing purposeful and values-guided action. Through mindful liberation from such struggles, they find acting congruently with their values natural and fulfilling.

Research Study Findings 


Borage is well known for its soothing qualities and has been used to treat nervous conditions. It is claimed its natural sedative effects have been used for lifting the spirits and softening the nervous edge some people experience. Borage works well to ease the depression and mood swings often associated with menopause and menstrual cycles as well.

Research Study Findings

California Poppy

It is claimed California Poppy is an excellent herb for the nervous system and can be thought of as a gentle balancer to the emotions and a calming remedy for times of stress. Cognitive enhancing properties of California Poppy may be useful in the treatment of behavioural disorders such as ADD, ADHD in children and young adults. It has also been used to improve intellectual capacity, memory and concentration in the elderly.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, California poppy cools heat in the mind by reducing excess sadhaka pitta, and so makes an excellent remedy for irritability, low self-esteem, depression, headaches, insomnia, being overly critical, over-achieving and analytical, and for OCD.

Research Study Findings


As a herbal remedy, chamomile tea has been used for centuries to calm nerves.

A study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, reports that “chamomile extract therapy was found to be efficacious for mild-moderate GAD.”

Patients with mild-moderate GAD were included in the study and received either chamomile or placebo. Those that received the chamomile treatment were found to have a significant change in the severity of their GAD.

Research Study Findings

EMPowerplus (EMP+)

It is claimed the creators of EMPowerplus Advanced™ discovered that the cause of many mood disorders is usually related to nutrient deficiencies or an inability to extract vital nutrients from food. By adding EMPowerplus Advanced™, the body is typically able to establish the right levels of vitamins and minerals required for proper brain function.

Most medications attempt to address the symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiencies and not the core issue of imbalance. Rather than covering up the symptoms with medication, EMPowerplus Advanced™ aims to address the core concerns and eliminate deficiencies that cause many symptoms related to mood disorders.

Research Study Findings


It is claimed folic acid is one of the B vitamins which are well known to be crucial to emotional and mental well-being. Because B vitamins can’t be stored in our bodies, you need a diet that supplies sufficient amounts. Unfortunately, even then, B vitamins are destroyed by commonly consumed substances, such as alcohol, refined sugars and nicotine. Therefore, it’s not surprising that B-vitamin deficiencies are so widespread.

Folate deficiencies are especially frequent in patients who don’t respond to conventional antidepressants. Some studies also indicate that folic acid may be a very helpful add-on to other prescription antidepressants.

Research Study Findings

Ginkgo Biloba

It is claimed Ginkgo Biloba increases vascular dilation and improves health of blood vessels, as such it supports brain activity, development, detoxifying mechanisms and immune function. Many of ginkgo’s most prominent benefits are tied to brain function like focus and memory as well as mental performance. In fact, according to a report in the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, ginkgo biloba is “currently the most investigated and adopted herbal remedy for cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

Research Study Findings


Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, and it’s been used in Asia and North American for centuries. Native Americans used the root as a stimulant and headache remedy, as well as a treatment for infertility, fever and indigestion.

It is claimed Ginseng is used to improve thinking, concentration, memory and physical endurance. It’s also used to help with depression, anxiety and as a chronic fatigue natural cure. It’s known to boost the immune system, fight infections and help men with erectile dysfunction.

Research Study Findings

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

It is claimed Gotu Kola consumption increases cognitive abilities. The main explanation for this is the positive impact gotu kola extract can have on the circulatory system, thereby oxygenating more of the brain and allowing cognition to improve. The antioxidant effects of gotu kola are also somewhat responsible, as they can stimulate neural pathways by eliminating plaque and free radicals in the brain. This has also made it a popular supplement for aging populations, as there is some evidence to suggest that it can slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Although the exact chemical pathways are still being studied, there is significant evidence that gotu kola can have a positive effect on anxiety issues for a broad range of patients. Research has revealed that it decreased the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks and episodes in a group of subjects who all suffered from some form of GAD (general anxiety disorder).

Research Study Findings


It is claimed Hops can be used for anxiety, inability to sleep (insomnia) and other sleep disorders, restlessness, tension, excitability, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nervousness, and irritability.  Hops have sedative effects on the body’s nervous system and it is believed to work because it modulates the GABA receptors in the brain.

Research Study Findings

Cognitive Therapy


Cognitive Therapy is based on the theory that much of how we feel is determined by what we think. Disorders, such as depression, are believed to be the result of faulty thoughts and beliefs. By correcting these inaccurate beliefs, the person’s perception of events and emotional state improve.

Research on depression has shown that people with depression often have inaccurate beliefs about themselves, their situation and the world.

Research Study Findings

Collaborative Therapy

Collaborate therapy is based on a reciprocal and equal approach and was developed by Harlene Anderson and Tom Anderson. By creating a client-consultant relationship in which both parties use experience and knowledge to identify and examine challenges and conditions, collaborative therapy encourages the development of free thinking to attain progress. This form of therapy remains constant whether being used by individuals, groups, families, or corporations.

Collaborative therapy focuses on ideas that form knowledge as coming from the social realm, and that knowledge itself is the exponent of many beliefs. Ultimately, knowledge is the by-product of social discourse and communication. Action is a result of this communication and the action taken is based on the knowledge derived from all parties. When implementing collaborative therapy in an organizational arena, the goal is to marry the organizations in such a way as to uncover a solution to the presenting barriers.

Postmodernism and Open Discourse of Collaborative Therapy

The postmodern view of collaborative therapy varies greatly from the idea that a consultant is the sole authority of said organizational social culture. This technique is accomplished by engaging all parties in an organizational conversation, a linguistic dialogue of sorts. Inquiries are encouraged and exploration by both parties is a natural element of this form of therapy. By opening the lines of communication, each party can contribute ideas and perspectives that will further the discussions and result in more cohesive solutions. The client and the consultant, along with the other members, all join together as partners in voicing, suggesting, inquiring, and developing the narratives.

This open discourse conflicts with the post-modernism ideal of thinking and knowledge being concrete and singular. Rather, collaborative therapy adheres to the core belief that knowledge is separate from the knower and that there is not one precise voice or solution. This therapy challenges the foundation of political and social ideology and strives to bring people and strategies together to achieve innovate and beneficial change.

Research Study Findings 

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation is a prescriptive medical device that delivers a mild form of electrical stimulation to the brain for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is supported by more than 40 years of research demonstrating its effectiveness in several mechanistic studies and greater than 100 clinical studies. Adverse effects are rare (<1%), mild, and self-limiting, consisting mainly of skin irritation under the electrodes and headaches. Often used as a stand-alone therapy, because results are usually seen from the first treatment, cranial electrotherapy stimulation may also be used as an adjunctive therapy.

Research Study Findings

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan to help better treat borderline personality disorder. Since its development, it has also been used for the treatment of other kinds of mental health disorders.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) treatment is a cognitive-behavioural approach that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family and friend relationships. DBT theory suggests that some people’s arousal levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels.

Research Study Findings

Dialogical Exposure Therapy

This integrative therapy embeds established CBT techniques (such as psychoeducation and in-vivo exposure), and a trauma-focused, yet Gestalt based exposure method (chair work) in a dialogical framework. This approach addresses the disruption of self-processes and interpersonal relationships caused by the traumatic experience. It might be argued that including the term “exposure” implies a theoretical background of classical conditioning. This is not the case. We consider the term “dialogical

exposure” to highlight a key concept of the therapy: The patient not only remembers the traumatic experience but enters into a dialogue with aspects of it while being supported within the therapeutic relationship.

Research Study Findings

ECT - Electroconvulsive Therapy


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a useful treatment if you have severe depression, and sometimes it is lifesaving. Many people have a negative impression of ECT from media portrayals based on the way it was used several decades ago, but ECT is now a recommended option for people with very severe depression who are at risk of dying from suicide or through not eating or drinking. It is given in hospitals only.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a procedure, done under general anaesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses.

On waking, the person will have no memory of what followed administration of the anaesthetic. Treatment is typically repeated a number of times and while most people show some improvement after 3 to 4 sessions, occasionally some may need 12 to 15. Treatments are usually given 2 to 3 times a week.

ECT often works when other treatments are unsuccessful and when the full course of treatment is completed, but as with all therapies, it may not work for everyone. ECT has been used for over half a century in many different countries, and its effectiveness is well documented. Approximately eight out of 10 people who undergo ECT will experience dramatic improvement.

Research Study Findings


It is claimed Hydergine fights some of the most dramatic causes of neural aging – excess MAO (monoamine oxidase) levels. High MAO concentrations have been linked to aging decline by their tendency to reduce availability of catecholamines. These hormones, like epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and adrenaline, are vital to the harmonious operation of the central nervous system, in areas ranging from stress reactions to healthy mood.

Research Study Findings


Inositol is found in high concentrations in the brain where it facilitates communication between the billions of brain cells. All major neurotransmitters — dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA — rely on inositol to relay messages.

Neurotransmitters play a major role in most aspects of your life — mood, productivity, ability to handle stress, ability to learn and remember, sleep, cravings, addictions, and more. Because inositol is a part of so many brain chemical systems, it is claimed it can help a wide array of mental health conditions. See the complete research article at the following link.

Research Study Findings



Kava, a plant (and mild intoxicant) that grows in some Pacific nations, is supposedly useful in treating anxiety.

It is claimed it can bring about feeling of relaxation, and sometimes even euphoria, as it causes the body's dopamine levels to rise. There is also some clinical evidence that it helps with stress, insomnia, and depression and is generally considered safe in when consumed occasionally.

However, it's potential to interact with other drugs is high. It can be addictive, and can't be combined with alcohol, dopamine, haloperidol, acetaminophen, and benzodiazepines. It can cause excessive drowsiness when used alongside SSRIs, and it can injure the liver in healthy people.

Research Study Findings


It is claimed that by blocking proteins called NMDA receptors, Ketamine prompts the brain to increase the production of synaptic signalling proteins in the prefrontal cortex - a region thought to regulate complex cognitive, emotional, and behavioural functioning. In doing this, it appears to be not only promoting the growth of new synapses, which leads to greater connectivity in the brain, but it’s also switching certain connections on and off, and for whatever reason, this has a rapid anti-depressive effect.

Research Study Findings


It is claimed early research, L-arginine increased cognitive function in elderly people with cerebrovascular disease (problems with blood vessels in the brain). It is also claimed that the gaseous neurotransmitter nitric oxide (NO) may regulate certain behaviours characterized by autism-like symptoms. Inhibition of NO leads to hyper-aggression and excessive mounting which may represent inappropriate social interactions along with ritualistic and persistent behaviours observed in autistic-like symptoms. NO inhibition also decreases social investigation towards a social cue of a novel mouse which may reflect deficits in social communication and L-arginine is used to lessen the severity of these deficits.

Research Study Findings 

Lemon Balm

Use of Melissa officinalis, or lemon balm, dates back to the Middle Ages; it is claimed it provides stress and anxiety relief. This herb is part of the mint family and some small scientific studies have shown consumption of it can produce slight feelings of calmness for several hours. Positive effects are only felt when consuming a lot of this herb (1600mg has been linked to six hours of calmness), but luckily, no scientific studies have shown adverse effects of lemon balm even in high doses.

Research Study Findings


It is claimed Glutamine supplements benefits for the brain include an easing of symptoms of depression, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, and the aftereffects of trauma. Glutamine serves an essential function in stabilizing mood and supporting the human brain to weather life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Naturally occurring Glutamine production begins in the cells of the muscles. From there, the circulatory system takes the Glutamine to various parts of the body and brain that need it.

A systematic review published in 2002 in the "Medical Journal of Australia" states that only an uncontrolled experiment has been performed to verify the benefits of glutamine supplements on depression. The experiment referred to is a study published in the July-August 1976 issue of the Belgian medical journal, "Acta Psychiatrica Belgica." This study showed that l-glutamine supplementation showed antidepressant properties on adult study participants suffering from depression.

Research Study Findings.


It is claimed L-Lysine, is an essential amino acid that has been suggested to possess nootropic properties related to reducing anxiety, boosting attention and improving mental clarity. Limited studies have shown it to enhance information processing, concentration capacity, long term and short term memory, executive function and reasoning.

Research Study Findings

Lotus oil

It is claimed eating lotus has positive effects on the stability of mental health as well as in our mood. One of the essential vitamins that lotus contain is Vitamin B. Vitamin B has pyridoxine that works for the brain’s neural receptors. This pyridoxine is responsible for the wellness of our mental state thus positively increasing our mood and eliminating chances of depression and anxiety. If you are always stressed at work and you are constantly having migraines and experiencing mood swings, anxiety, irritability or even depression, eating lotus is an effective remedy.

Research Study Findings


It is claimed L-Phenylalanine is especially effective for treating brain disorders because it is able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a protective barrier formed by the red blood cells and the glia of the brain that protects the brain from any toxins, bacteria, and viruses, etc., that are circulating through the bloodstream. Only chemicals that are able to cross this barrier can directly affect brain function.

The body needs phenylalanine to make epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters that basically control the way you perceive and interact with your environment. Phenylalanine supplementation may help you feel happier, less hungry and more alert; it has also to treat chronic pain and improve memory and concentration.

There are three different kinds of phenylalanine: L-phenylalanine, D-phenylalanine, and DL-phenylalanine. Each type of phenylalanine is used to treat different symptoms. D-phenylalanine is more effective for controlling pain, while L-phenylalanine is more effective for regulating mood, appetite, and mental alertness; DL-phenylalanine affects both pain sensitivity and mental state.

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It is claimed the amino acid supplement L-tyrosine, can help improve mood, sleep and alertness, according to some research. Tyrosine has been called the ‘anti-depressant amino acid’ because of its ability to boost our mood. It is used to make adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine – chemicals called neurotransmitters, which all affect our mind.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Tyrosine is a building block for the body’s two main stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are also neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are vital chemicals that affect mood and help nerve cells communicate with each other. A neurotransmitter imbalance can cause a range of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.

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It is claimed that Magnesium is an old home remedy for all that ails you, including "anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness, talkativeness, and sulkiness." In 1968, Wacker and Parisi reported that magnesium deficiency could cause depression, behavioral disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, psychosis, and irritability - all reversible with magnesium repletion.

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Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is an approach to therapeutic treatment based on the premise that our emotions are a key to our identity and a guide for individual choice and decision making. This type of therapy assumes that when we lack awareness of our emotions or avoid unpleasant emotions, we are unable to use the important information provided by these emotions.

Therapists help learn how to gain a greater awareness of emotions, become better at using information provided by adaptive emotions, and cope with and decrease any negative effects of maladaptive emotions. By emphasizing access to previously inhibited adaptive feelings and meanings, the therapist and client can use the adaptive information associated with these emotions to modify maladaptive meanings associated with fear, avoidance, and shame.

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Existential Therapy

Is a style of therapy that places emphasis on the human condition as a whole. Existential psychotherapy uses a positive approach that applauds human capacities and aspirations while simultaneously acknowledging human limitations.

Existential psychotherapy is based upon the fundamental belief that each individual experiences intrapsychic conflict due to his or her interaction with certain conditions inherent in human existence called givens. The theories recognize at least four primary existential givens:

•Freedom and associated responsibility




A confrontation with any of the aforementioned conditions, or givens, fills an individual with a type of dread commonly referred to as existential anxiety. This anxiety is thought to reduce a person’s physical, psychological, social, and spiritual awareness, which may lead to significant long-term consequences.

Therapists who practice existential psychotherapy do not focus on an individual’s past, rather they work with the client to discover and explore the choices that lie before him or her. Through retrospection, the person in therapy and therapist work to understand the implications of past choices and the beliefs that led those to take place, only as a means to shift to the goal of creating a keener insight into oneself. The emphasis is not to dwell on the past, but to use the past as a tool to promote freedom and newfound assertiveness. By coming to the realization that they are not unique nor are they destined for a specific purpose, the person in therapy is allowed to release the obligatory chains that encumbered him or her from existing in fullness from moment to moment. When that happens, he or she is truly free.

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Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprogramming (EMDR)


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy.  Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.  Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions.

EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment.  Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session.  After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision.  As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.  For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.”  Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.  The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them.  Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.

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Family Systems Therapy

Draws on systems thinking in its view of the family as an emotional unit. When systems thinking—which evaluates the parts of a system in relation to the whole—is applied to families, it suggests behaviour is both often informed by and inseparable from the functioning of one’s family of origin. Families experiencing conflict within the unit and seeking professional assistance to address it may find family systems therapy a helpful approach.

Many forms of family therapy are based on family systems theory. Family systems approaches generally fall under the categories of structural, strategic, or intergenerational:

Structural family therapy, designed by Salvador Minuchin, looks at family relationships, behaviours, and patterns as they are exhibited within the therapy session in order to evaluate the structure of the family. Employing activities such as role play in session, therapists also examine subsystems within the family structure, such as parental or sibling subsystems.

Strategic family therapy, developed by Jay Haley, Milton Erickson, and Cloe Madanes, among others, examines family processes and functions, such as communication or problem-solving patterns, by evaluating family behaviour outside the therapy session. Therapeutic techniques may include reframing or redefining a problem scenario or using paradoxical interventions (for example, suggesting the family take action seemingly in opposition to their therapeutic goals) in order to create the desired change. Strategic family therapists believe change can occur rapidly, without intensive analysis of the source of the problem.

Intergenerational family therapy acknowledges generational influences on family and individual behaviour. Identifying multigenerational behavioural patterns, such as management of anxiety, can help people see how their current problems may be rooted in previous generations. Murray Bowen designed this approach to family therapy, using it in treatment for individuals and couples as well as families. Bowen employed techniques such as normalizing a family’s challenges by discussing similar scenarios in other families, describing the reactions of individual family members instead of acting them out, and encouraging family members to respond with “I” statements rather than accusatory statements.

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Feminist Therapy

Developed in response to the many challenges women have faced throughout history. The understanding that women may experience mental health issues as a result of psychological oppression is a core concept of feminist therapy.

In therapy, women and other groups that have been marginalized might address the limitations experienced due to the socio-political status often imposed upon them and, with the help of a mental health professional, explore solutions to treat mental health needs and work toward social change.

Feminist therapy attempts to make the marginalized viewpoint central, and modern-day feminist therapy and theory often addresses the concerns of people of colour; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-variant individuals; people with special needs; immigrants; refugees; and more. Those who have experienced oppression may be able to find a treatment that can inspire social transformation in addition to addressing mental health concerns.

Many women have experienced systematic oppression and discrimination for centuries. With this discrimination often comes numerous gender-specific obstacles and stressors, such as victimization and violence, unrealistic depiction in the media, limited economic resources or opportunities, and work inequities. Other disenfranchised groups, including people of colour and the LGBT community, often experience similar challenges.

Feminist therapists typically operate from the assumption that women and other oppressed groups are at risk for mental health issues due to the psychological distress caused by these obstacles. Therapy focuses on supporting those in treatment as they work to overcome limitations and restrictions. Gender roles, socialization, identity development, and self-concept are all explored during therapy in order to promote empowerment.

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Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist–client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation. It is a way of treating people who feel ill at ease and is based on the idea that it is best to experience what we feel "here and now" and not keep thinking about the past or worry about the future.

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It is claimed Melatonin is used to reduce circadian sleep disorders [cyclical melatonin deficiency],

dealing with the side effects of treatment for schizophrenia, particularly tardive dyskinesia and weight gain, seasonal affective disorder and major depression.

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N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

NAC cysteine is a used by the body to make the antioxidant free radical scavenger glutathione. There’s a growing understanding that mental health problems (including major depression, bipolar syndrome, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia Alzheimer’s disease and OCD) involves damage and shrinkage to specific areas of the brain and inflammation and oxidative or free radical stress believed to be key causes of this damage. It is claimed supplementing NAC cysteine is a very effective way to protect the brain from oxidative/free radical damage and neuro-inflammation.

The anti-oxidant effects of NAC cysteine may also help protect and restore damage to dopamine pathways in the brain induced by recreational drug use; furthermore supplementing cysteine increases the liver’s ability to detoxify drugs from the body.

This simple molecule has been studied and shown to be better than a placebo for the treatment of bipolar depression, schizophrenia, autism, compulsive hair-pulling (“trichotillomania”) and obsessive compulsive disorder.

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Natural Progesterone

Did you know that progesterone is found in brain cells at levels twenty times higher than in the blood serum? Progesterone is a key component of the myelin sheath, the protective layer that insulates each nerve fibre. During the past few years, its role in the healing process of brain injuries has heightened medicine’s view of progesterone as an integral part of recovery.

It is claimed to have an impact on mood as can be seen in the effect of the hormone’s precipitous drop after birth in postpartum depression. Research has shown that progesterone activates GABA receptors in the brain resulting in a calming effect.

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One of the lesser known benefits of adding nutmeg in any variety to your diet are the various components of its essential oil, called myristicin and macelignan. It is claimed these compounds have been proven to reduce the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function that commonly afflicts people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown myristicin and macelignan slow those effects, and keep your brain functioning at a normal, healthy level.

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Omega-3 Oils

It is claimed Omega-3 deficiencies in adults have been linked to various mental and emotional disorders. In fact, “some doctors even think the epidemic amounts of mental illness in modern societies can be traced back to the omega imbalance in the food supply,” according to Eat and Heal, by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing.

Low levels of DHA have been linked to memory loss, depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, autism and general learning difficulties or bad moods. “If you don't feed brain cell membranes enough of the right type of fat, the messages can be short-circuited and garbled. That may mean a disturbance in mood, concentration, memory, attention, and behaviour,” writes Miracle Cures author Jean Carper. Depression in particular has been frequently linked to low levels of DHA, since omega-3 fatty acids help regulate mood by increasing levels of serotonin, the hormone that relieves depression.

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Omega-6 Oils

Omega 6 in the form of linoleic acid (LA) plays a critical role in the production of hormone like messengers. It is claimed these PGE1 messengers from LA trigger immune responses, reduce fluid accumulation, and impact depression, multiple sclerosis, PMS mood swings, schizophrenia, ADHD and other brain disorders.

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Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy helps individuals access and understand their feelings, gain a sense of meaning in life, and reach self-actualization.

Humanistic therapy adopts a holistic approach to human existence and pays special attention to such phenomena as creativity, free will, and human potential. It encourages self-exploration and viewing oneself as a "whole person."

In humanistic therapy, there are two widely practiced techniques: Gestalt Therapy (which focuses on thoughts and feelings here and now, instead of root causes) and Client-Centred Therapy (which provides a supportive environment in which clients can re-establish their true identity).

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Hypnosis -- or hypnotherapy -- uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance. The person's attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. In this naturally occurring state, a person may focus his or her attention -- with the help of a trained therapist -- on specific thoughts or tasks.

Hypnosis is usually considered an aid to psychotherapy (counseling or therapy), because the hypnotic state allows people to explore painful thoughts, feelings, and memories they might have hidden from their conscious minds. In addition, hypnosis enables people to perceive some things differently, such as blocking an awareness of pain.

Hypnosis can be used in two ways, as suggestion therapy or for patient analysis.

  • Suggestion therapy: The hypnotic state makes the person better able to respond to suggestions. Therefore, hypnotherapy can help some people change certain behaviors, such as stopping smoking or nail biting. It can also help people change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in treating pain.

  • Analysis: This approach uses the relaxed state to explore a possible psychological root cause of a disorder or symptom, such as a traumatic past event that a person has hidden in his or her unconscious memory. Once the trauma is revealed, it can be addressed in psychotherapy.

.NB. If you have experienced psychosis, discuss with your Psychiatrist before commencing hypnotherapy, as it initiates an altered state of mind which can trigger/exacerbate psychosis.

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Integrated Neurocognitive Therapy (INT)

Integrated Neurocognitive Therapy (INT) for schizophrenia patients consists of five subprograms, each with incremental steps. INT starts with addressing the neurocognitive domain, 2nd subprogram to enhance social cognition. 3rd subprogram focuses on interpersonal and social context using verbal communication tools, thereby bridging the gap between cognitive and social functioning. In the 4th subprogram social competence is targeted with exercises to improve social skills and the 5th subprogram to increase patients’ mastery in coping with interpersonal and social problems for more independent living.

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Integrative Psychotherapy

Integrative psychotherapy is the integration of elements from different schools of psychotherapy in the treatment of a client. Integrative psychotherapy may also refer to the psychotherapeutic process of integrating the personality: uniting the "affective, cognitive, behavioural, and physiological systems within a person".

The advantage of a common factors approach is the emphasis on therapeutic actions that have been demonstrated to be effective. The disadvantage is that common factors may overlook specific techniques that have been developed within particular theories.

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Intentional Peer Support

Intentional Peer Support is a way of thinking about and inviting transformative relationships. Practitioners learn to use relationships to see things from new angles, develop greater awareness of personal and relational patterns, and support and challenge each other in trying new things.

IPS doesn’t start with the assumption of a problem. With IPS, each of us pays attention to how we have learned to make sense of our experiences, then uses the relationship to create new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing. It promotes a trauma-informed way of relating. Instead of asking “What’s wrong?” we learn to ask “What happened?”

IPS examines our lives in the context of mutually accountable relationships and communities — looking beyond the mere notion of individual responsibility for change and encourages us to increasingly live and move towards what we want instead of focusing on what we need to stop or avoid doing.

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Passion Flower

It is claimed there are many passion flower benefits, such as helping reduce and possibly eliminate insomnia, anxiety, inflammation from skin irritations and burns, menopause, ADHD and even more serious conditions such as seizures, high blood pressure and asthma just to name a few.

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Rhodiola rosea, also referred to as roseroot, has been used in traditional folk medicine to promote work endurance, increase longevity and promote resistance to several health conditions including fatigue, altitude sickness and depression. It is claimed that roseroot could enhance mood by stimulating the receptors of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain that are involved with mood regulation. Other research also suggests the herb affects beta-endorphin levels in the body.

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S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe)

Several possible mechanisms proposed to explain the effect of SAMe on mental health. First, it is claimed SAMe is a required cofactor in the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters, signalling chemicals produced by the brain. These include norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. An increased supply of SAMe may increase the production of neurotransmitters thought to be deficient in patients with mood disorders. Secondly, SAMe is thought to have a possible role in methylating the components of the cell membrane, called phospholipids, which may alter membrane fluidity and thereby affect cell-to-cell signaling, including in the brain. Finally, SAMe is capable of methylating DNA, affecting the expression of genes involved in mood regulation.

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It is claimed that even small amounts of sage, whether smelled or consumed, can increase recall abilities and memory retention in subjects. The brain activity also demonstrates increased concentration and focus on a chosen topic, which means that for young people in school or for those in challenging, intellectually demanding careers, adding a bit of sage to your diet may be a subtle, but effective brain booster.

The benefits of sage extracts on mood and cognitive performance appeared to be linked to cholinesterase-inhibiting properties of S. officinalis.

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It is claimed there are links between both low and high selenium status and adverse health effects in humans, including on mood and depression. Most selenium and mental health data is associated with pregnancy, aging and/or thyroid gland function.

A study has found that selenium levels that are both too high in the body, and worse, too low, can place young people at greater risk of depression and that young adults with the lowest selenium concentrations reported the most depressive symptoms. Findings that higher selenium concentrations above a certain level were associated with poorer mood means that recommendations to increase selenium intake should be made with caution.

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St John’s Wort


Commonly found as a tea or in pill supplement form, St. John's wort is claimed and has been proven in some clinical trials to help with some types of depression because it can raise serotonin levels. However, it's potentially very dangerous, too.

St. John's wort interacts with many prescription medications, and should never be taken without your doctor's consent if you're being prescribed anything. Particularly, if combined with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine, and other antidepressants, St. John's wort can trigger psychotic events, autonomic dysfunction (sweating, increased blood pressure), and motor effects, because your body struggles with such an increased level of serotonin.

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Sympathyl is a herbal preparation that exerts sedative and alleviant action. The combination of Hawthorn, California Poppy herb and Magnesium Oxide is claimed to eliminate anxiety, increased hyper irritability, lower CNS (central nervous system), cardiovascular system excitability and also normalise sleep. It is claimed both Hawthorn and California Poppy are reported to have anxiolytic properties and Magnesium deficiency is thought to cause psychological disturbances.

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Age-associated hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis hypofunction, or partial androgen deficiency of the aging male, is claimed to be responsible for various age-associated conditions such as reduced muscle and bone mass, mobility limitations, frailty, obesity, sleep apnoea, cognitive impairment, sexual dysfunction, and depression.

A testosterone-related structural brain phenotype predicts aggressive behaviour from childhood to adulthood. Testosterone targets the neural circuits regulating affect and impulse regulation how androgen-dependent organizational effects may regulate a very specific, aggression-related structural brain phenotype from childhood to young adulthood.

It is claimed persons with Borderline Personality Disorder interpersonal dysfunctions may be related to alterations in endocrine systems, specifically due to Testosterone levels.

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Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) or simply social rhythm therapy is a type of behavioural therapy used to treat the disruption in circadian rhythms that is related to bipolar disorder. IPSRT provides a biopsychosocial model for bipolar disorder and recognizes that the illness cannot be fully treated with medication alone, although it is biologically based. It claims that stressful events, disruptions in circadian rhythms and personal relationships, and conflicts arising out of difficulty in social adjustment often lead to relapses.

The idea was developed by Ellen Frank, PhD who found that solving interpersonal problems and maintaining regular daily rhythms in activities such as sleeping, waking, eating, and exercise can increase quality of life, reduce symptoms, and help prevent relapse. In most cases, the patients continue to receive medications.

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Interpersonal Therapy


Interpersonal therapy focuses on social roles and relationships. The patient works with a therapist to evaluate specific problem areas in the patient’s life, such as conflicts with family or friends or significant life changes. While past experiences help inform the process, interpersonal therapy focuses on improving relationships in the present.

Interpersonal therapy is typically short-term (lasting two to four months or until symptoms subside), though it can continue up to two to three years depending on the patient’s needs. Interpersonal therapy focuses on four basic problem areas:

•Role disputes

•Role transitions

•Unresolved grief

•Interpersonal deficits

The goals of interpersonal therapy include identifying problems, expressing emotions in healthy ways and learning skills to improve current relationships.

Interpersonal therapy is unique in that it focuses on one or two specific problem areas and is designed to bring about a rapid reduction in symptoms. Other benefits include:

•Improved relationships

•Skills for coping in healthier ways

•Enhanced problem-solving and communication skills

•Ability to process grief or loss in a safe environment

•Reduction of self-destructive or hostile behaviours

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Laughter Therapy

In modern society, fierce competition and socioeconomic interaction stress the quality of life, causing a negative influence on a person's mental health. Laughter is a positive sensation, and seems to be a useful and healthy way to overcome stress. Laughter therapy is a kind of cognitive-behavioural therapies that could make physical, psychological, and social relationships healthy, ultimately improving the quality of life. Laughter therapy, as a non-pharmacological, alternative treatment, has a positive effect on the mental health and the immune system.

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Light Therapy

Not just for Seasonal Affective Disorder.  A recent head-to-head study of light vs. fluoxetine/Prozac (or the combination) showed light therapy to be better than a pill for Major Depression.

That’s a big leap. The details of the study are interesting. But the bottom line is that for someone who is prepared to try a light box instead of a pill, there’s a very good chance it will work well for depression!

If you’re not familiar with light therapy for seasonal depression, more information follows below. Basically one sits in front of a box the size of a small suitcase (smaller ones available; more on that below too) which emits a lot of light, for about 30 minutes to start, and as little as 15 minutes or less later to stay well through the winter.

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Mindfulness is a mental and physical technique you can use to focus your awareness on the present moment. Being in the moment helps you acknowledge, accept and cope with painful or intrusive thoughts, feelings and sensations.

Mindfulness practice is simple, powerful, takes just a few minutes and can be done almost anywhere, so it can be a great addition to your everyday mental health self-care.

Mindfulness has been around for 2,500 years and has been part of psychological therapies since the 1970s.

It is claimed Mindfulness can help reduce stress, boost creativity, improve attention, working-memory and concentration and strengthen relationships. Mindfulness can help manage depression, anxiety, chronic pain, suicidal ideation, addiction recovery and relapse prevention and eating disorders.

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Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET)

Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is a treatment for trauma-spectrum disorders in survivors of multiple and complex trauma. It is thought to contextualize the particular associative elements of the fear network, the sensory, affective and cognitive memories of trauma to understand and process the memory of a traumatic event in the course of the particular life of a client. Therefore, in NET, the patient, with the assistance of the therapist, constructs a chronological narrative of his life story with a focus on the traumatic experiences. Fragmented reports of the traumatic experiences will be transformed into a coherent narrative.

For traumatic stress experiences the therapist asks in detail for emotions, cognitions, sensory information, physiological responses and probes for respective observations. The patient is encouraged to relive these emotions while narrating without losing their connection to the “here and now”: using permanent reminders that the feelings and physiological responses result from memories.

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Valerian Root

Valerian has a very long history of use; it has been taken to treat insomnia, nerve conditions like anxiety and restlessness dating back to the second century.

It is claimed experts recommend valerian root as an alternative treatment for anxiety because of its ability to increase the brain’s GABA levels. There is some scientific evidence supporting its use for anxiety and OCD.

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The power of vervain to ease the feelings associated with anxiety and stress is well-acknowledged, however little research findings were found. It is claimed drinking a cup of vervain tea has a soothing effect on the central nervous system that in turn triggers a sensation of calmness and relaxation. Thus, this herb has been widely used to aid people suffering from depression and stress. Vervain is also claimed to be effective in easing post-traumatic stress as well as insomnia.

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Submit New Treatment & Therapy Information and Links Suggestions

Negative Air Ionisation Therapy

Well-conducted studies have looked at the effects of air ionisation on winter depression. Studies have compared a high-density air ioniser with a low-density ioniser. People sat in a room at home with the ioniser for 30 minutes every morning over a 2-3-week period. People with winter depression who used the high-density ioniser showed much more improvement than those who used the low-density ioniser. No studies have been carried out on air ionisation as a treatment for other types of depression.

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Open Dialogue Therapy

Open Dialogue was developed in Western Lapland in the 1980s. It involves a consistent family/social network approach to care, in which the primary treatment is carried out through meetings involving the patient together with his or her family members and extended social network.

Open Dialogue emerged out of a decade long, organic process, while clinicians (including Jaakko Seikkula and Markku Sutela) searched for the best treatment for acute mental illness and, in particular, psychosis.

The New York City model integrates peer workers, which has inspired the development of ‘Peer-supported Open Dialogue’ (POD).

The development of Open Dialogue is linked to evidence of its superiority to normal treatment of acute psychosis. After 5 years (1992–1997) of Open Dialogue treatment in Lapland, 81 % of participants had no remaining psychotic symptoms and 81% had returned to full employment. Only 35 % had used antipsychotic drugs (Seikkula et al., 2006).

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Positive Psychology


Positive Psychology is largely focused on the study of positive emotions and "signature strengths".

Positive psychology involves the scientific investigation of factors and processes that facilitate a worthwhile life - one that is pleasurable, engaging and purposeful. It originated in its contemporary form in the late 1990s when Martin Seligman, in his role as the President of the American Psychological Association, promoted the importance of including a strengths-based approach to psychology.

Positive psychology is an umbrella term which incorporates a number of themes focused on subjective experiences, mental health and flourishing, flow (being immersed in life's activities) and positive virtues and strengths. Instead of asking "what is wrong?", positive psychology asks "what is right?" Hence, the focus is on identifying and mobilising assets to:

  • Help mitigate dysfunctional emotions, cognitions and behaviours

  • Equip individuals with the skills and confidence to address life's challenges

  • Foster and maintain an optimal state of wellbeing whereby an ideal ratio of positive and negative states and experiences is present most of the time.

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Primal Therapy


Primal therapy is a trauma-based psychotherapy created by Arthur Janov, who argues that neurosis is caused by the repressed pain of childhood trauma. Janov argues that repressed pain can be sequentially brought to conscious awareness and resolved through re-experiencing specific incidents and fully expressing the resulting pain during therapy. In therapy, the patient recalls and re-enacts a particularly disturbing past experience usually occurring early in life and expresses normally repressed anger or frustration especially through spontaneous and unrestrained screams, hysteria, or violence. Primal therapy was developed as a means of eliciting the repressed pain; the term Pain is capitalized in discussions of primal therapy when referring to any repressed emotional distress and its purported long-lasting psychological effects. Janov criticizes the talking therapies as they deal primarily with the cerebral cortex and higher-reasoning areas and do not access the source of Pain within the more basic parts of the central nervous system.

Primal therapy is used to re-experience childhood pain—i.e., felt rather than conceptual memories—in an attempt to resolve the pain through complete processing and integration, becoming real. An intended objective of the therapy is to lessen or eliminate the hold early trauma exerts on adult behaviour.

Primal therapy became very influential during a brief period in the early 1970s, after the publication of Janov's first book, The Primal Scream. It inspired hundreds of spin-off clinics worldwide and served as an inspiration for many popular cultural icons. Singer-songwriter John Lennon, actor James Earl Jones, and pianist Roger Williams were prominent advocates of primal therapy. Primal therapy has since declined in popularity, partly because Janov has not demonstrated in research the outcomes necessary to convince research-oriented psychotherapists of its effectiveness. Janov and others continue to advocate and practice the therapy or various developments of it.

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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 a client’s self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behaviour. In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach enables the client to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships and manifest themselves in the need and desire to abuse substances.

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering. Its hallmarks are self-reflection and self-examination, and the use of the relationship between therapist and patient as a window into problematic relationship patterns in the patient’s life. Its goal is not only to alleviate the most obvious symptoms but to help people lead healthier lives.

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Reality Therapy

Reality therapy focuses on the current issues affecting a person seeking treatment rather than the issues that person has experienced in the past, and it encourages that person, through therapy, to change any behaviour that may prevent him or her from finding a solution to those issues. This type of therapy encourages problem solving, and it is based on the idea that people experience mental distress when their basic psychological needs have not been met. These needs are:

Power: A sense of winning, achieving, or a sense of self-worth.

Love and Belonging: To a family, to a community, or to other loved ones.

Freedom: To be independent, maintain your own personal space, autonomy.

Fun: To achieve satisfaction, enjoyment and a sense of pleasure.

Survival: Basic needs of shelter, survival, food, sexual fulfilment.

The fact that everyone is at all times striving to meet these basic needs is at the heart of reality therapy. When a person feels bad, reality therapists hold, it is because one of the five needs have not been fulfilled. People participating in reality therapy might learn ways to be more aware of any negative thoughts and actions that may prevent them from meeting their needs, as according to the tenets of reality therapy, changing one's actions may have a positive effect on the way that individual feels and on his or her ability to attain desires. These changes ideally take place through the use of Glasser's choice theory, which uses questions such as "What are you doing/What can you do to achieve your goals?"

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Reflexology is based on the concept that every part of the body is connected by energy pathways which end in reflex areas on the feet, the hands and the head. Reflexology is the practice of working over these reflexes in a precise and systematic way. By applying controlled pressure, the body is encouraged to achieve its own natural state of wholeness and good health.

It is claimed Reflexology improves mood and energy flow, which can both help the ups and downs of disorders like Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar and Schizophrenia.

Research Study Findings.

Schema Therapy


Schema therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to help patients with chronic anxiety and depression. It is claimed it helps you find ways to express yourself in healthy ways so you can lead a full and productive life.

A schema refers to our emotional state that defines:

•how we see ourselves and our relationships with others

•how we interpret memories, emotions, thoughts and beliefs in everyday situations

•how we cope, respond and make decisions about everyday situations.

Your schema is developed when young and we continue this behaviour into adulthood. This can lead us to act out in a way that hurts ourselves or others.

A schema therapy program works with you through group and/or individual sessions to help you change the way you react in a more positive way to situations in everyday life.

As part of a schema therapy program, therapists work with you to:

  • explore how you came to develop your schema and the role this plays in your anxiety or depression

  • understand how mindfulness can help you cope better and improve your health and wellbeing

  • understand how your mental and emotional state is affected by your physical response to things and how this contributes to either stress or a sense of wellbeing

  • learn and apply different ways of behaving to help you recover from anxiety or depression.

  • help you learn why you behave the way you do in certain situations, and teaches you how to actively change the way you think and feel.

  • create more healthy behaviours, attitudes and beliefs which can lessen anxiety and depression.

Research Study Findings

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is also called Solution-Focused Therapy, Solution-Building Practice therapy. As the name suggests, SFBT is future-focused, goal-directed, and focuses on solutions, rather than on the problems that brought clients to seek therapy. It is a form of specialized conversations where the conversation is directed toward developing and achieving the client’s vision of solutions.

The questions asked by therapists are usually focused on the present or on the future. This reflects the basic belief that problems are best solved by focusing on what is already working, and how a client would like their life to be, rather than focusing on the past and the origin of problems.

Research Study Findings  

Tai Chi and Qigong

Tai Chi and Qigong are traditional Chinese exercises that are widely practiced for their health benefits and as martial arts. Evidence suggests that these practices may be effective at treating a range of physical health conditions, and at improving health-related quality of life. There is growing interest in the use of Tai Chi and Qigong to treat mental disorders, because they are noninvasive, exercise-based therapies, and because patients with mental disorders frequently use complementary and alternative medicine. Evidence is promising that these treatments may be effective in reducing depressive symptoms, stress, anxiety, and mood disturbances.

Research Study Findings

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a form of neurostimulation that uses constant, low current delivered to the brain area of interest via electrodes on the scalp. It was originally developed to help patients with brain injuries or psychiatric conditions like major depressive disorder. It is claimed tDCS has some potential for treating depression and cognitive functioning with schizophrenia.

Research Study Findings

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) or Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is typically used when other depression treatments haven't been effective.

TMS involves the application of a rapidly time variable magnetic field, administered via a coil placed over the scalp, to stimulate brain activity. A high voltage current in the coil generates a focused magnetic field which passes into the brain and induces an electrical field. This induces depolarisation of superficial cortical neurones. Repeated high frequency stimulation increases brain activity, and low frequency stimulation decreases it. TMS can be applied either directly to non-convulsively modulate brain activity or to induce a focused seizure (magnetic seizure therapy).

The sensation of the magnetic field may cause a ‘ping’ on the skin of your scalp, similar to the sensation of a rubber band being flicked against your wrist.

Each rTMS treatment session should take about 20 minutes of actual stimulation five days per week, with a fortnightly review.

Research Study Findings



It is claimed Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system. Yoga's positive benefits on mental health have made it an important practice tool of psychotherapy. Yoga’s emphasis on breathing is beneficial to those with anxiety problems, who develop improper breathing habits that intensify symptoms.

Research Study Findings


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