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How to choose a therapist? Part 9

Definitions of Mental Health Services 

The breakdown below introduces some of the services or types of therapies available. Deciding which type of service is the most appropriate for you may feel daunting. If you are unsure if a particular provider can assist you, then discuss this with them. Treatment choices should be guided by an appropriate assessment process. All providers are ethically bound to honestly disclose what they can offer and will often guide you or refer you to other professionals when they believe they are not the most appropriate choice.


Includes services relevant to taking custody of a non-biological child, as if it were one's own. This might include placement, screening, follow-up or preparatory counselling and psychotherapy.


This refers to a range of possible legal services and may include psychotherapists or other professionals assuming an advocacy role in a court of law; e.g. a psychotherapist may testify on a child's behalf on matters related to well-being. Advocacy may also refer to services related to the promotion of public awareness and human rights issues surrounding mental health.

Art Therapy

A form of psychotherapy that makes use of free self-expression through painting, drawing or sculpting. The creative process and the resulting artwork are used to express and explore feelings and address emotional issues.

Assessment (Children)

Assessments are used in educational and psychological settings by psychologists and psychometrists to accomplish a range of objectives, and to direct therapy.

Assessment (Custody)

The investigation into all aspects of a child's life (parental functioning, home, family environment and background), used to help determine child custody and access during opposed divorce proceedings.

Assessment (Developmental) The investigation into a child's intellectual, emotional and developmental competencies and resources. Used to inform the caregiving and learning environments that would likely help a child achieve his or her developmental potential.

Assessment (Disability)

The investigation into the accurate evaluation of the impact of disability status on all aspects of the patient's life, including financial remuneration, personal and workplace productivity, and access for existing and future healthcare needs.

Assessment (Forensic)

The investigation into the mental and psychological state of a defendant, witness or offender in order to inform the court, for use as evidence.

Assessment (General)

The systematic investigation of a person's behavioural, emotional or intellectual functioning.

Assessment (Intellectual) 

The investigation into the general intellectual functioning and cognitive abilities of an individual.

Assessment (Medico-Legal)

Assessments that are done independently from the plaintiff or defendant in a court case that has an impact on matters relating to public liability and workers' compensation in common law.

Assessment (Neuropsychological)

A performance-based method to assess cognitive functioning and to diagnose brain damage, disease and severe mental illness.

Assessment (Organisational)

The systematic process for obtaining valid information about the performance of an organisation and the factors that affect performance.

Assessment (Personality)

The measurement of human character traits and their portrayal in quantitative terms.

Assessment (Psycho-Educational)

The investigation into the developmental, family, school, social/emotional, personality/temperament and health histories of an individual. This includes the administering and interpreting of norm-referenced and projective tests.

Assessment (Scholastic)

The investigation into an individual's aptness and the potential for school or university admittance. Tests might include fundamental reading skills, mathematical, rational and writing capabilities assessed over a period.


Services which promote the awareness of mental health issues in society and organisations.

Care Centre

A facility that provides rehabilitative, recuperative and ongoing skilled treatment to patients or residents in need of support with the activities of daily living.

Child and Adolescent Services

Mental health care services provided for children, usually up to school-leaving age.

Child Protection Services

Usually, a government-based service that provides protection for children at risk of, or who are experiencing physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or emotional or physical neglect.

Child Support Service

The service that ensures a parent makes ongoing payments for the financial benefit of a child; also known as child maintenance.

Clinical Supervision 

The supervision of a clinical practitioner by another practitioner that is meant to be beneficial to the professional growth and confidence of both the supervisor and the supervisee. This practice is intended to develop clinical skills and leads to improved outcomes for clients.

Coaching (Business)

The process of systematic, structured conversation and guidance with a client, individual or team, to increase efficiency, productivity and the setting and attainment of goals. 

Coaching (Life)

The process of systematic, structured conversation and guidance with a client, advising them in making decisions, setting and reaching goals, or dealing with challenges.

Community Support Programme

A community-based initiative offering community-focused interventions that aim to support the community and develop its ability to function. Examples of services might include coordinating existing services or encouraging community member involvement.

Conflict Management

The practice of limiting the negative characteristics of conflict, while increasing the positive aspects, to improve learning and group outcomes, including effectiveness or performance in organisational settings.


A meeting with an expert or professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist to seek advice or diagnosis.

Counselling (Career)

An expert-guided process to help a person maximise their skills, set goals and make a career, educational or general life decision.

Counselling (Crisis)

The emergency psychological interventions aimed at assisting individuals in a crisis or trauma situation to restore balance to their biopsychosocial functioning, and to minimise the potential for psychological trauma.

Counselling (Divorce)

Care aimed at divorced couples to assist them in disengaging from their former relationship and malevolent behaviour toward each other or their children.

Counselling (Family)

Care aimed at families and family members to improve communication and resolve conflicts.

Counselling (General)

The provision of assistance and guidance by a professional to help address a person's personal, social, life-stage, or psychological problems and difficulties.

Counselling (Marriage)

The provision of assistance and guidance by a professional to help recognise and resolve patterns of behaviour and different types of conflicts, and improve relationships.

Counselling (Parent)

The provision of assistance and guidance by a professional aimed at helping parents with any difficulties that they may be experiencing in their role as parents.  

Counselling (Religious/Spiritual)

The provision of psychological assistance, advice and guidance by a professional, following the guiding principles of a religion or spirituality.

Counselling (Stroke)

Counselling and guidance by a professional aimed at stroke survivors and their families. The focus usually lies on providing psychoeducation and rehabilitation, and aims to return the client to the most independent state possible.

Counselling (Trauma)

Includes a range of techniques aimed at addressing the impact and effects of experiencing traumatic life events. 

Court Services

The provision of assistance and guidance by a professional for all parties involved in a court matter. This includes mental well-being, legal and financial services.


Services relating to the protective and financial care or guardianship of someone or something, usually relating to custodianship of children following a divorce, neglect or parental loss situation.

Day Centre

Daytime care for people with special needs (physical or emotional) who cannot be fully independent. May also include day centres providing services to individuals and groups struggling with emotional difficulties. 

Disability (Medico-Legal)

Services relating to the inability to perform normally on any aspect of functioning, including functioning at work.

Drama Therapy

The use of drama or theatre as psychotherapeutic tools to help clients process emotions and identify and resolve psychological difficulties. 

Dream Analysis

The analysis of dreams to investigate and diagnose a patient's mental state and unconscious mind.

Drug and Alcohol Counselling (Abuse, Addiction and Recovery) 

Counselling and guidance aimed at patients who are abusing, addicted to or recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. The focus usually lies in overcoming the cycle of addiction.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Procedure conducted under general anaesthesia, in which a small electric current is passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure to reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses.

Emotional Intelligence 

Services relating to the development of one's ability to be aware of, control and express one's emotions, and to manage interpersonal relationships thoughtfully and empathetically.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

An employee benefits programme offered by the employer and intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might negatively impact job performance, health and well-being. Usually refers to the provision of a limited number of counselling sessions.

Employee Wellness Programme

A coordinated and inclusive set of health promotion and protection training applied at the work site. It includes programmes, policies, benefits, environmental supports and links to the surrounding community, and is designed to encourage the health and safety of all employees.


The branch of medical science dealing with the incidence, distribution and control of disease in a population, but can also refer to the sum of the factors controlling the presence or absence of a disease or pathogen.


Services related to working with ethical dilemmas and the promotion of ethical practices. Ethics refers to the moral principles governing a person's or group's behaviour.

Gambling Compulsion Counselling 

Counselling and guidance aimed at patients who suffer from an uncontrollable urge to gamble. Counselling is usually directed at assisting patients to gain an understanding of their addiction and to learn to manage their urge to gamble in new, sustainable ways.

Grief Counselling 

Counselling and guidance for patients who have lost a loved one or experienced major life changes, triggering feelings of grief. Counselling aims to provide support and help the patient adjust to their new life.


Services related to the provision of housing. 


The induction of a state of consciousness in which the client is highly responsive to suggestion or direction that assists the modification of behaviour and processing of unresolved emotions.

Information/Resource Service

A service provider whose function is to supply persons with the necessary information and psychoeducation to enable them to make informed decisions, get adequate healthcare and be knowledgeable about their wellbeing issues.

Inpatient Services

A hospital or institution offering patients overnight emotional and/or physical care.

Jungian Analysis

A method of psychotherapy that draws on the theories developed by C. G. Jung. Emphasis is on the individual psyche, the collective unconscious and the unconscious, the persona, the archetype, the ego, the complex, the shadow, the anima and animus, the self and individuation. 

A suivre


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