Individual therapy for adults
Seeing a psychologist can seem like a big step and rather daunting. You can be confident that our psychologists will take the time to get to know you and understand your needs rather than using a one size fits all approach. You can trust that we are all highly trained and experienced in tailoring individualised therapy strategies that are both effective and practical.
We specialise in a whole person approach, connecting brain, mind and body We offer appointments on week days and after hours. We are conveniently located near public transport.
Our psychologists are experienced in helping you with:
Anxiety can be felt in many ways and sometimes it is difficult to identify. Anxiety is a natural human emotion and a common response to a sense of threat or danger in our lives, however it can also cause distress if ongoing or intense.
The first signs of anxiety may be a vague sense of unease, restlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, or you may notice changes in your breathing or heart rate. There are many other emotional and physical signs of anxiety that may be specific to you. For some people, increased worry about health, physical symptoms, social interactions, relationships or work, are indicators of anxiety. Whatever it is that is causing you distress, at Head to Toe we want to help you feel better, so you can live well.
A panic attack is a rapid increase in fear that lasts about 10 minutes. It usually involves intense physical symptoms and frightening thoughts. Although it is common to feel as though your body is out of control, panic attacks are actually the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response being activated.
This response usually happens in situations where we are in immediate danger and the body’s system is preparing to escape or defend itself. Sometimes our ‘fight or flight’ alarm is activated when we do not want or need it to be. This faulty alarm system can be an indicator of Panic Disorder.
Symptoms of a panic attack:
– a sense of impending doom or danger
– fear of loss of control, dying or ‘going crazy’
– shortness of breath, or tightness in the throat or chest
– a rapid or pounding heart
– trembling or shaking
– chills or hot flashes
– nausea or needing the toilet urgently
– a feeling that your surroundings are unreal, or you are detached from them.
If you are experiencing panic attacks, our psychologists can help you return calm to your alarm system.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
The experience of ‘obsessing’ over something is very common. We all have thoughts that are hard to let go of, and that seem to keep returning to our mind even when they are unhelpful. For some individuals this experience of obsessing occurs in a manner that is very distressing and difficult to stop.
Obsessions in the context of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) are repeated unwanted thoughts or ideas that compel us to change our behaviour to try to reduce the anxiety caused by these thoughts. Obsessive thoughts are often about harm or danger, cleanliness or contamination, order or symmetry, perfectionism, or can be of a moral nature. Compulsions are the behaviours that we may ‘use’ to try to reduce or neutralise the fear related to obsessions. It can be very upsetting not to ‘do’ something about the distressing thoughts, even if a person knows their action is unrelated to the thought. Our psychologists are trained in identifying OCD symptoms and developing management plans to improve this condition.
Everyone experiences ups and downs in mood, this is normal, however a prolonged period of sadness, emptiness, lack of motivation or low energy could signal a more significant difficulty with your mood.
If you have noticed these issues or if you have been struggling with self-worth, finding enjoyment or meaning in life, we want to help. Contact us at Head to Toe to start moving forward in your life.
Difficulties with sleep are very common and can be acutely disruptive to our everyday functioning. Anxiety, depression and other mental health difficulties can interfere with our sleep-wake cycle and contribute to ongoing disruption of sleep and energy.
Whether it takes a long time to get to sleep, you wake multiple times in the night, have nightmares, restlessness, or wake up feeling unrefreshed after being in bed for 12 hours, all these sleep issues can be improved with assistance from a psychologist. Sometimes there are biological or medical components to sleep difficulties and our psychologists will work with your GP or specialist to find a solution.
Stress is one of the most common reasons people seek the help of a psychologist. Our lives can be stressful, whether that is juggling work and parenting, caring for members of our family, financial struggles, health worries, employment issues, family conflict, or our own internal response to changes in our environment.
Sometimes it is difficult to put your finger on what exactly it is about your current situation that is stressful, and you need someone to help you with this. Reach out so that we can help you understand and manage your stress better.
Relationships are fundamental for healthy living but can also cause us emotional and physical stress. Interpersonal difficulties with family, friends or at work can be hard to manage and contribute to mental and physical ill health.
At Head to Toe, we can help you find a way through these social challenges. We understand that having healthy relationships and being supported socially is an important part of feeling well. Contact us to start improving your situation.
Grief and Loss
The pain of grief or loss can feel overwhelming. Grief can occur after death, divorce, illness, trauma, relocation, and other significant changes or losses in life. It can affect your physical and mental health.
Grieving is an individual process; it does not follow a set course and there is no ‘right’ way to grieve. Grief can resemble depression, can be very intense and leave people feeling lonely, angry, numb, anxious, guilty, shocked or ‘lost’. Sometimes talking with family and friends is not enough, and the support and guidance of a psychologist can provide some relief. Our psychologists at Head to Toe want to help where we can. Get in touch and ask us about how we can support you.
Persistent headaches and migraines have many different contributory factors, including stress. Although not an uncommon symptom, headaches can be accompanied by other physical symptoms and can have a significant effect on our emotional wellbeing.
Persistent headaches can interfere with socialising and work, and we may develop unhelpful ways of managing headaches that can exacerbate the problem. After excluding a medical cause for this stressful condition, it can be helpful to seek support from one of our psychologists who will use a whole-person mind and body integrated approach to managing physical symptoms.
Gut Symptoms such as IBS
Chronic gut symptoms, or issues with your gastrointestinal system, can be related to physiological and emotional stress. Sometimes an ‘upset’ central nervous system can be playing a role in gut symptoms.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a ‘functional gut disorder’ where stress has played a role in either, or both, the development and maintenance of symptoms. Psychologists who are trained in supporting people with IBS have an excellent understanding of how the gut-brain connection works. The role of a psychologist in supporting people with IBS is to manage their condition and reduce how stress exacerbates their symptoms.
At Head to Toe we can help you improve your gut health. We have psychologists who are experienced with functional gut disorders and associated difficulties including gastroparesis and bladder and bowel anxieties.
Chronic tiredness, or at extreme Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a complex condition in which the level of fatigue cannot be explained by an underlying physical or medical cause.
The fatigue worsens with mental or physical exertion and energy is not restored by rest. Fatigue can be accompanied by other physical or mental symptoms such as changes in sleep, appetite, and pain. Low energy significantly effects an individual’s ability to function like they were prior to developing this difficulty. It can be frustrating and demoralising for individuals and their families, and have flow on effects for school, work, relationships and quality of life.
At Head to Toe, we can help you understand your symptoms and help you develop a plan to manage fatigue.
Pain that persists for 3-6 months, or beyond the normal healing time for an injury or illness, is considered chronic. The pain may be caused by inflammatory processes that activate and sensitise nerves.
Psychological support for chronic pain is important, not because ‘it is all in your head’ but because our brains are part of our nervous system and pain signals. Our brains and bodies cannot be separated and learning different thinking and doing responses to pain can assist in altering our pain levels. Treating other emotional concerns, such as anxiety and mood changes, that can arise due to chronic pain may also assist in coping with this complex condition.
At Head to Toe, we can help you understand your pain and assist you in developing a plan to manage your pain alongside other health professionals involved in your care.
Physical wellness is an important aspect of life. Any change in physical health can have a major impact on our emotional state. Chronic health conditions can be very stressful and difficult to manage.
Physical ill health can seriously impact a person’s quality of life. Adjusting to a chronic health condition that has ongoing consequences for the way we live can be hard mentally. The emotional stress may contribute to an exacerbation of related symptoms or interference with health management. People who have been diagnosed with chronic health conditions may find it useful to seek support from a psychologist to learn to manage emotional stressors, or triggers of symptom ‘flares’ where relevant. Some people may find that anxiety about their current health issues creates a lot of stress that could also be addressed by consulting one of our psychologists at Head to Toe Clinical Psychology.
Functional neurological disorder
Functional neurological disorder is a complex condition in which neurological symptoms are caused by a problem with the functioning of the nervous system.
FND symptoms include changes in movement, gait, sensory perception, cognition, limb weakness, seizures, tremors and dizziness. These symptoms are frequently associated with musculoskeletal pain, headache, fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, anxiety and sleep difficulties (among others). Symptoms are caused by problems with the sending and receiving of messages to and from the brain by the body. They can be very distressing.
Current research has demonstrated physiological mechanisms within the central nervous system (CNS) which may produce functional neurological symptoms. Psychosocial factors can contribute to these changes. This does not mean that symptoms are caused by psychological distress, however patients with such symptoms do often experience high levels of emotional distress and co-morbid mental health problems.
At Head to Toe we are experts in the psychological management of FND. We can help you understand the cause of your symptoms and the contributing physical and emotional factors. We can assist you in developing strategies to manage your symptoms and reduce the negative effect they have on your life.
Find out more about FND at www.neurosymptoms.org.
Functional voice disorder
Changes to the quality or ease of using our voices can be related to physiological stress and changes or adaptation after illness. Colds, coughs and sore throats can have an impact on how we use our voice and occasionally this can lead to a persistent difficulty with voice.
Head to Toe Psychologists work with an ENT surgeon and speech pathologist at Voice Connection, a voice clinic that incorporates psychological understanding and strategies to address voice disorders. At Head to Toe, psychologists are able to assist you by developing your understanding of how complex, functional voice difficulties are influenced by how we think about and respond to voice changes. Get in touch with us to find out more.
Read more about our work with the Voice Connection at voiceconnection.com.au.
Family focused therapy for adolescents
Working with adolescents is a specialised area of psychology. It is important to have a psychologist who has experience with teenagers, and knowledge of the typical challenges of this stage of life.
For parents of adolescents, we are acutely aware of the need to feel that your child has a safe space and the necessary support of a confident clinician. We prioritise family-focused therapy in most cases, as there is an excellent evidence base for parents’ involvement in psychological care.
Here are some of the issues our psychologists can help you with:
Young people often experience anxiety. Your child or adolescent may talk about feeling worried or fearful in new situations, or they may be reluctant to participate in activities or socialise in a way that they have previously.
Sometimes physical symptoms and lack of sleep can indicate an increase in anxiety. Many young people report nausea, abdominal pain, persistent headaches, feeling restless or irritable when anxious.
Although anxiety in new and unfamiliar situations is normal, it can also cause distress and interfere with everyday life if it becomes ongoing or intense.
Whether it is your child who seems to be struggling with anxiety, or if you’re a young person reading this, at Head to Toe our psychologists want to help you feel better.
Panic attacks are common for children and adolescents. There are many new and challenging experiences that can trigger panic attacks for young people. If you notice that your child freezes, zones out, trembles or has an ’emotional meltdown’ in new or unfamiliar situations this may be an indicator of panic attacks.
This ‘fight or flight’ response can be very overwhelming and even one panic attack can lead a young person to avoid the situation or circumstances in which this occurred.
If you think your child is experiencing panic attacks, or you’re a young person reading this and think you need help, please ask us for support at Head to Toe Clinical Psychology.
Study and Exam Stress
Pressure to perform well academically at school can be felt very strongly by young people, particularly those studying HSC. Assessments and exams can be hard for students who are perfectionistic or doubt their own abilities, or for those who struggle with ADHD or other learning difficulties.
Anxiety about not having the required skills to study well, or about performing as expected by teachers, peers or parents can lead to procrastination, loss of motivation, sleep difficulties, panic attacks, or school avoidance. For some, school just feels too overwhelming, and ‘opting out’ seems like a good alternative to trying, for fear of failing, despite being capable students.
If your child or teenager is having difficulty at school, or you’re a young person reading this, ask us how we can help you.
Everyone experiences ups and downs in mood, this is normal, however a prolonged period of sadness, emptiness, lack of motivation or low energy could signal a more significant difficulty with our mood.
If you have noticed these issues or if you have been struggling with self-worth, finding enjoyment or meaning in life, we want to help. Contact us at Head to Toe to start moving forward in your life.
Self-harm means hurting yourself on purpose. Young people, and adults, sometimes hurt themselves as a way of coping with intense emotional distress or physical pain. Sometimes this is related to current social or psychological stressors or trauma. Adolescents who are struggling with anxiety, mood, emotion regulation and stressors are more vulnerable to self-harming.
It can be very difficult for adolescents to ask for help when they are distressed and self-harm, or to know how to support their friends if they notice they are self-harming. Parents can also often feel overwhelmed by their child’s emotions and can be uncertain how to respond.
Our psychologists are trained in therapeutic approaches and strategies that are effective in reducing self-harm. Contact us at Head to Toe to discuss how we can help your child or family.
Difficulties with sleep are very common and can be acutely disruptive to our every day functioning. Whether it takes a long time to get to sleep, you wake multiple times in the night, have nightmares. restlessness, or wake up feeling unrefreshed after being in bed for 12 hours, all of these sleep issues can be improved with assistance from a psychologist.
School schedules are not always aligned with children and adolescents’ natural sleep cycle. Adolescents in particular often have delayed sleep onset which can make it a struggle to wake feeling ready for the school day. Daytime sleepiness can contribute to difficulties with concentrating and participating in class, or interacting with friends. Adolescents also often use electronic devices late at night when their peers are interacting online, which is helpful for social connectedness but can be problematic for sleep.
Anxiety, depression and other mental health difficulties can also interfere with our sleep-wake cycle and contribute to ongoing disruption of sleep and energy. Sometimes there are biological or medical components to sleep difficulties. Our psychologists will work with you and your child, together with their GP or specialist, to find a solution.
Navigating friendships is not always straightforward for young people. Peer exclusion or conflict are commonly reported as a source of concern by children and adolescents. Changes in friendship groups, starting a new school or activity, and missing a long period of school are common triggers for worries about friendship issues.
Young people who are more introverted or perhaps socially anxious tend to find it harder to resolve friendship issues. Adolescents who have a different way of relating to peers, or who have found social skills tricky to grasp, may need support with resolving peer issues.
Our psychologists at Head to Toe love to work with young people in building social confidence and developing skills that encourage the maintenance of friendships. Get in touch if you think your child would benefit from assistance with improving how they feel about their friendships.
Bullying can take many forms and is never acceptable. For our young people, bullying can have long-term effects on self-worth and confidence, and at the extreme it can be traumatic.
Bullying at school can lead a student to avoid school or have a negative effect on their concentration and participation in class or interaction with peers. Schools have a responsibility to respond to reports of bullying but sometimes it is not enough, and adolescents may need the support of a psychologist to overcome this problem.
Cyber bullying is becoming increasingly common and can also have significant effects on young people’s emotional wellbeing. Many parents or caregivers of adolescents worry about keeping their child safe online. If you think your child is a victim of cyber bullying and you need assistance with how to address this, a psychologist can help you with where to start.
At Head to Toe we have experience in supporting young people who are being bullied. Send us an enquiry or give us a call to talk about your concerns and how we can help.
Family Stress and Relationship Issues
Young people can be easily upset by changes or stress in their family or home environment. All families face challenges and sometimes these may feel more manageable to adults while they create worries for children.
As parents we are often very attuned to our children’s stress levels and this can be a concern for us, creating a feedback loop of ‘worry’ between parent and child. Sometimes conflict between family members arises and it is difficult to balance the needs of everyone. Communication can be negatively effected in many family situations. During the Covid pandemic many families are feeling the strain of mandatory restrictions, and changes to the way we live with new school or workplace requirements.
If you believe that your child or adolescent is struggling due to family stress or change, please call us and ask how we can help. Our psychologists are experienced in working with families to support improved relationships.
FND in Children and Adolescents
Children and young people can develop functional somatic symptoms or FND. This can be incredibly disconcerting for young people and their parents, given that intense, debilitating symptoms can seem to appear ‘out of nowhere’.
As with adults, FND symptoms are caused by a problem with the functioning of the nervous system. The sending and receiving of messages between the brain and body has been disrupted.
FND symptoms include changes in movement, gait, sensory perception, cognition, limb weakness, seizures, tremors and dizziness. These symptoms are associated with musculoskeletal pain, headache, fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, anxiety and sleep difficulties (among others).
Receiving a diagnosis from a neurologist as quickly as possible is important for accessing prompt and appropriate treatment. Children and the adults in their lives will benefit from a good understanding of symptoms and how to best manage them. It is important to maintain inclusion in activities and schooling to reduce negative impacts on emotional wellbeing.
At Head to Toe we are experts in the psychological management of FND. We can help your child and family to understand the cause of symptoms and the contributing physical and emotional factors. We can assist you in developing strategies and a plan to manage FND symptoms and reduce the negative effect they have on your child’s life.