Evidence-based treatment

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There are a variety of proven treatment options that can help manage any mental health issue effectively.

Ever head a friend say something like, “I went to see a counsellor but it didn’t work…all I did was talk.” This is a common misconception about the treatment process.

Talking about what you are thinking and feeling is definitely a part of most therapy. For some people, having someone listen is enough to make them feel better. But there are times when you may also need practical strategies and skills to combat the challenges you’re facing. When you’re looking for the right health professional to speak to, you should consider whether the counsellor or therapist uses evidence-based treatment approaches.

‘Evidence-based treatments’ are types of therapy that have scientific proof in helping people manage certain issues. Treatments might:

  • teach you ways to challenge and change negative thoughts 
  • lift your mood
  • calm your body down and help you relax
  • help you put troubling thoughts to rest
  • show you strategies to improve your relationships 
  • help you reduce unhelpful coping methods such as drinking too much

Browse the topics below to find examples of evidence-based treatments for common mental health issues faced by Victoria Police employees.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

This treatment uses bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements) and safe exposure to trauma-related images, beliefs and emotions to reduce emotional distress.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

This involves the identification and challenging of trauma-related thoughts to develop healthier beliefs. It also focuses on imagined and real-life exposure to trauma-related material in a safe and supported way.

Depression

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT involved identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, allowing you to develop healthier beliefs and coping strategies.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

This focuses on the relationships you have with other people and how these interpersonal patterns may impact on your depression. This form of therapy will help you to communicate with others and change unhelpful patterns in relationships.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

This treatment helps you to stay in the present moment, rather than getting caught up in unhelpful thoughts about the past or the future. It also teaches you how to make a conscious choice in the way you respond to situations, rather than just reacting without thinking.

Anxiety

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT involved identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, allowing you to develop healthier beliefs and coping strategies.

Will I need to go on medication?

In some cases, medication can boost the effects of evidence-based therapy and help make life seem more manageable.

There are pros and cons when taking medication to manage your mental health symptoms, and it’s a personal decision that should be made with the advice of a trusted team of health professionals. You should talk to your GP if you would like to discuss medication options.

What you can expect from your treating clinician

Assessment and Diagnosis

A vital part of the treatment process is the initial clinical assessment and diagnosis before treatment. This should be managed by an experienced mental health professional— someone trained in the treatment of psychopathology. For most people, the first part of the assessment and diagnosis is completed by a GP.

Many people see a GP initially so that they can be put on a mental health care plan through Medicare.

A mental health care plan can subsidise the cost of psychological treatment appointments, which can be helpful when ongoing treatment is needed over the course of a year.

Find out more about mental health care plans or speak to your doctor

In any initial assessment, you’ll be asked about your current symptoms, your psychological history, any important family history, medical conditions, drug and alcohol use and any trauma or significant life events. The more honest you are with your answers, the more effective the initial assessment will be. 

Establishing rapport

If you are finding it difficult to open up to your clinician in the first few sessions, it might be worth looking at other options. It’s very important to have a good rapport and trust with your treating clinician because this can impact how effective a treatment is.  

Treatment Plan

Your treating clinician should be able to explain the proposed treatment plan. This should include a rough estimate of the number of sessions and the treatment approach that will be taken.  

Regular check-ins

Over the course of treatment, your treating clinician will be regularly checking your progress against the treatment plan that was developed.

These activities should all be done in collaboration with you.