Psychological treatments or ‘talking therapies’ are an effective way of treating both anxiety and depression, and are suitable for all age groups including young people.
They work by helping you to change your thinking patterns and improve your coping skills so you're better equipped to deal with life's stresses and conflicts. As well as supporting your recovery, psychological therapies can also help you stay well by identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviour.
There are many different types of psychological therapies, and the ones we’ve listed below all have good evidence for their effectiveness. Your health professional can help you find one that you’re comfortable with. They will also tailor the therapy to your needs, helping address your specific issues, worries, thoughts or fears.
Individual, group or online – what’s best for me?
Some people prefer to work one on one with a professional, while others get more out of a group environment – it’s really up to you.
Treatment or therapy groups are usually run by a trained mental health professional for a set time (e.g. 10 weeks). There’s normally an assessment before the first session and partners may be invited to attend at least one session in the program.
Online and phone services
If you find the idea of seeing someone a bit daunting, or there isn’t anyone locally that you can access, online and phone counselling can be a great help.
Online services, also known as e-therapies or computer-aided psychological therapy, can be just as effective as face-to-face services for people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression. Most e-therapies follow the same principles as CBT or behaviour therapy by helping you to identify and change patterns of thinking and behaviour, and the structured nature of these treatments means they’re well suited to being delivered online.
You work through the program by yourself, and although e-therapies can be used with or without help from a professional, most involve some form of support from a therapist. This can be via telephone, email, text, or instant messaging, and helps you to successfully apply what you’re learning to your life.
If you'd like to explore what's on offer and what might work for you, the Australian Government's mindhealthconnect website has a library of online programs.
Programs for young people
Tailored online psychological programs are also available for young people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression. These programs, such as moodgym and ecouch, help young people to identify and change their patterns of thinking and behaviour. Most programs are self-driven and some offer contact with a health professional.
These programs are not the best option if the young person has severe anxiety or depression; that’s when personal contact with a health professional is essential.