S35: Bridging the Gap in Psychological Service Provision

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By September 5, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Andrea Schilder, Dylan Lane

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Bridging the Gap in Psychological Service Provision

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Andrea Schilder is a Clinical Psychologist with more than 15 years experience working with a wide range of consumers who have mental health issues in both the public and private sectors.

Dylan is a psychologist with the Royal North Shore’s Acute Mental Health Team, for the last 3 years he has been working with clients who have severe mental illness, and often experience social isolation. His work in this area has provided insight into the importance of community and social participation. Psychological strategies aimed at increasing social functioning and interpersonal skills have become an important focus of his research and practice.
These have been selected by group facilitators from a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

The Lower North Shore's Community Mental Health Team have been running a Psychotherapy Support Group over the past year.

The goal of this treatment program include-

1. To provide Psychological Intervention to consumers unable to access this privately, often because of financial constraints and mental health symptoms preventing engagement outside of the service.
2. To encourage the development of mutually supportive friendships between consumers outside of the group.
3. To provide psycho-education and psychological interventions which are protective and preventative for a wide range of mental health problems.
4. To improve the physical and mental health of consumers through increased social support.

Group Structure-

1. Introduction and ice breakers
2. 30 minutes of psycho-education and skill practice
3. Group activity/ sharing
4. Morning tea

Psychological interventions-
Week 1- Group Rules, Measures, Why Social Support?
Week 2- Mindfulness
Week 3- Relaxation Training
Week 4- Social Skills training
Week 5- Problem Solving
Week 6- Behavioural Activation
Week 7- The importance of Physical Health
Week 8- The Role of Emotions and Distress Tolerance
Week 9- Values
Week 10- Group Picnic, measures

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: The audience will learn about the barriers typically faced by consumers of public mental health services, with severe mental health issues, who are often in need of both psychological intervention and social support.

Learning Objective 2: The audience will learn about the importance of social support for mental health, as well as psychological interventions which can be preventative and increase resilience in a wide range of mental health conditions.This group therapy program can be replicated in other outpatient and inpatient settings.


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Zimet, G.D., Dahlem, N.W., Zimet, S.G. & Farley, G.K. (1988). The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 30-41.

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