What Psychologists Do

Psychologists are highly trained mental health specialists who focus largely on behaviour, on understanding its causes and how to change it. While people are usually aware of much of what they do, a lot of behaviour occurs on the fringes of awareness and it is there, that it can contribute to problems. For example, arguing in relationships, eating or drinking when stressed, procrastinating, worrying and avoiding are all behaviours that can happen without full awareness. We can change those behaviours, but only by becoming aware of them and understanding why they occur.

Some psychologists do this by providing a supportive ear, listening without judging and asking questions that promote a different way of thinking. Others add a practical component, teaching skills and techniques the clients can use to feel better and function more effectively in life. Still others focus on formal assessments to identify and diagnose emotional, academic and neuropsychological conditions. Generally speaking, all psychologists try to understand the needs of the person seeking their services and tailor an intervention to meet those needs.

People consult the psychologists at Shift Cognitive Therapy in Oakville because of work/life stress, anxiety, phobias, excessive worry, depression, trauma, unexplained medical symptoms, medical issues with strong behavioural components (e.g., diabetes, drinking, obesity, pain), relationship issues and family issues, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, child behaviour problems and learning issues.

Growing bodies of evidence show that psychological interventions are often less expensive than medication and are as or more effective than medication for conditions like anxiety and depression. This is because psychological interventions teach people to manage their symptoms, instead of masking them. When people feel more confident coping with their own issues they use the health care system less.