for September, 2016

Meet Our Psychologists Series- featuring Dr Jillian Millar

Posted on September 13, 2016 in Uncategorized - 0

Welcome to the “Meet Our Psychologists Series”, where we will regularly profile individual team members about their professional insights and personal experiences as psychologists.


Introducing Dr Jillian Millar

Doctorate of Clinical Psychology – Edith Cowan University.
Post-Graduate Diploma of Psychology – Edith Cowan University.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – Griffith University.


Years of Practice:
2008-2016 – 8 years and counting.

Time with Psychology Consultants:
Started in July 2010, just over 6 years.

What inspired you to become a Psychologist?
I am naturally a very curious person and enjoy discovering how and why things came to be the way they are. At school I enjoyed biological science and social science so when it came time to pick a university degree, Psychology seemed to be an interesting intersection of the two fields. They say Psychologists are modern day “armchair philosophers” and ponding all the big existential themes seemed like an incredibly appealing career for me.

What areas do you work in and what are your practicing philosophies?
My primary theoretical orientation is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with adults. This approach seeks to make the unconscious processes and patterns in our lives more conscious, thereby providing us with an opportunity to alter some of the more problematic patterns within ourselves and our relationships with others. By examining the influence our past has on our present and future, we can gain insights into the links between how we feel and behave.

What’s the best thing about working at Psychology Consultants?
The staff at Psychology Consultants are a remarkable group of people: welcoming, warm, and down to Earth individuals. The office morale is friendly, understanding and generally quite happy; it makes it a nice place to work.

Is there a rewarding moment or time in your career you would like to comment on?
I have so many rewarding and stimulating moments in my work as a psychotherapist every week. When a client and I are able to understand the links between their past and what they are currently experiencing it is such an incredible experience, a mix of feeling fascinated and intrigued, as if I am getting a sense of the overall picture of an incredibly multi-faceted jigsaw puzzle. It’s a very humbling experience to be a part of helping someone understand themselves at a very deep level.

Do you think the negative stigma surrounding mental health is improving?
I do. Slowly but surely I see a growing acceptance and awareness of how important mental health is in our everyday lives. Every single one of us is susceptible to struggling with the ups and downs of life, the stress and pressure we face can catch up with us all. I see the role of Psychologists as similar to a Personal Trainer for the mind; you don’t have to be unhealthy before you can benefit from prioritizing your health and wellbeing. Sometimes we help clients who are in crisis and may only want or need a short term intervention, other times people may choose to engage in a regular psychotherapy to help maintain good mental health and functioning.

If you had one piece of advice for someone considering therapy, what would it be?
It is vital that clients feel there is a good “fit” or “click” with their Psychologist, this can sometimes take a few sessions to determine if it is a good match. But if there is not, it is perfectly reasonable to try a different Psychologist.

Read more about Dr Jillian Millar here.


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Why Rejection Can Really Bite!

Posted on September 7, 2016 in Uncategorized - 0

Psychology Consultants, Brisbane

At some time, we have all experienced the crunching feeling of rejection. It happens from an early age in the playground where Sammy turns his back on his friend, and its equally as difficult to watch as a parent. At school you could be the last person to be picked for the netball team. And it happens in your career, when your 30th job application is turned down. And at times, perhaps hardest of all, it happens in your love life.

The simple fact of the matter is humans need to belong; our need for social acceptance is as strong as our need for food and water and that’s why it hurts so badly. Naomi Eisenberger, PhD, at the University of California, Los Angeles, Kipling Williams, PhD, at Purdue University, and colleagues found that social rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain (Science, 2003).

Rejection especially on a continual basis can seriously affect our emotional and psychological state and we therefore need to focus more attention on how to deal with this inevitable fact of life.

Dr Stan Steindl of Psychology Consultants, Brisbane suggests that practicing self-compassion may soften the feelings of rejection.

“Instead of beating ourselves up about not landing a job or missing out on a place on the basketball team, perhaps we need to treat ourselves like we would treat a friend who has just had this experience” he said.

Rejection is hard to take but there are a few ways you can take it onboard and bid it farewell
1. Practice self-compassion – talk to yourself as you would a good friend.

2. Take some time out to get over the experience. Rejection can take time and perspective to overcome.

3. Exercise can be an effective release of anger and negative energy. So embrace your ‘inner Bolt’ and go for a run (or your preferred exercise method).

4. Try not to personalise. Often the reasons for rejection are not to do with our capabilities but can be purely circumstantial.

5. Know that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Take the rejection on board as a character building experience.

6. Talk it through with a friend or loved one, this will help feelings of shame and provide an outlet for frustration.

If your feelings of rejection are more chronic or long suffering, talking to a professional psychologist can help and may prevent ongoing negative behaviour that can lead to further social isolation.

For more information on our Brisbane Clinical Psychologists visit the team page of our website.

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Music to my ears

Posted on September 1, 2016 in Uncategorized - 0

Understanding Dementia during Dementia Awareness month, September 2016

Psychology Consultants, Brisbane

This month marks Dementia Awareness month, a timely reminder to take a moment to understand a disease that is impacting 353,800 Australians living with it and 1.2 million carers.

Firstly, it’s important to recognise that dementia is not a normal part of ageing but rather a chronic and degenerative disease.

Dementia, as defined by Alzheimer’s Australia is “the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning”.

For families and loved ones witnessing dementia symptoms in their parents or relatives, it can be overwhelming, scary and often ignored as an avoidance strategy.

However, ignoring the signs can often lead to a breakdown in communication or worsening in the patient’s symptoms.

Effectively communicating with someone with dementia can be challenging and often lead to confusion and frustration as the dementia sufferers past and present merge into one.  One interesting therapy that has been clinically shown to alleviate symptoms of dementia, is music therapy.

According to Kimmo Lehtonen, PhD, professor of education at the University of Turku (Finland) and clinical music therapist, music has the power to revoke memories in dementia patients, improve mood and communication, due to its relationship with unconscious emotions.

An old tune or piece of music can unlock memories and emotions in the elderly, empowering them to remember lyrics and release feelings of enjoyment, otherwise forgotten.

Although music therapy is used across all age groups, it is particularly successful in older adults and those with dementia as it empowers the person to communicate when the disease has stolen those basic needs of expression.

David Aldridge, chair of qualitative research in medicine at the University Witten Herdecke (Germany) and editor of Music Therapy in Dementia Care says “Using songs in a therapy setting promotes communication. Singing has many functions; it offers a communicative structure, stimulates and regulates, and enables dialogue.” ( -Juliann Schaeffer)

According to Today’s Geriatric Medicine website the outcomes of music therapy include:

  • memory recall;
  • positive changes in moods and emotional states;
  • a sense of control over life;
  • non-pharmacological management of pain and discomfort;
  • stimulation that promotes interest even when other approaches are ineffective;
  • structure that promotes rhythmic and continuous movement or vocal fluency as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation; and
  • opportunities to interact socially with others.

One vital tip in successfully implementing music therapy; know the person’s taste in music to trigger the desired response and emotional reaction.

If you are caring for someone living with dementia and would like advice on how to manage behavioural change or deal with the emotional impact of the disease, speaking to a psychologist can help. For more information view our website under the Team tab.


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