Common psychological treatments

Different types of mental health conditions require different treatments. Here are some common and less common forms of psychological treatment.

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Key takeaways

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy is the most used psychological treatment in workers compensation.
  • There are short-term and ongoing forms of treatment.
  • Self-help and wellbeing practices may compliment your treatment.
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Common treatments

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)

CBT is the most widely-used psychological treatment. It's a type of talk therapy offered by psychologists and many other mental health professionals.

CBT key features include:

  • identifying troubling situations or conditions in your life
  • becoming aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these problems
  • identifying negative or inaccurate thinking or habits
  • reshaping negative or inaccurate thinking or habits
  • developing strategies designed to increase activity involvements and social engagement.

CBT is considered a short-term therapy, with the number of sessions ranging from five to 20.

The length of treatment will depend on how severe your symptoms are, how long you've had these symptoms, how quickly you make progress and how much support you receive from your family and friends. 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

ACT focuses on assisting individuals to fundamentally accept uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that can't be changed, and stop investing effort and energy into suppressing these, or ruminating and worrying about them.

A key technique here is combining the practice of mindfulness with self-acceptance to develop psychological flexibility. 

Mindfulness training

The practice of mindfulness involves spending periods of time deliberately trying to focus on the here and now, the present moment, and non-judgmentally observing passing thoughts, feelings and sensations without engaging with them.

When practiced regularly, there is evidence that this technique can improve the management of anxiety, depression and pain. 

Eye movement desensitisation reprogramming (EMDR)

EMDR is a type of exposure-based intervention where your psychologist will ask you to bring your mind to emotionally-disturbing material, and hold a focus on this, whilst also engaging in a ritual of prescribed eye movements.

Whilst this may seem a bit odd, there is significant evidence that it is effective in reducing the impact on current functioning of a past highly-stressful or traumatic experience. 


Medication can be useful in the treatment and management of mental illness. Medication is prescribed, monitored and managed by your nominated treating doctor or psychiatrist.

The dosage, type of medication and prescription period may need to be varied to manage any side effects. The dosage and type of medication may also change over time, as your symptoms change or improve. 

Visit the Medication in the workers compensation scheme page for full details.

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Less common treatments

In-patient programs

These programs are normally conducted within hospital or medical facilities (private or public system) and involve a multi-disciplinary approach which may include medication, group sessions, counselling, goal-setting, CBT and leisure.

They are typically utilised for multiple patients of similar diagnosis (for example post-traumatic stress disorder) and background (such as emergency services and armed forces).

Patients are overseen by psychiatrists, psychologists and registered nurses.

The length of stay can vary, dependent on the nature of the referral. In-patient programmes may be used for patients at high risk of self-harm, to monitor change and stabilisation of new medication(s), or for detoxification and rehabilitation (for example drugs and/or alcohol dependency). 

Out-patient programs

Some injured workers may take part in an extended out-patient program following discharge from an in-patient program, or access out-patient services instead of in-patient treatment.

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Add to your treatment

Aside from the conventional treatment types noted above, there are also self-help and wellbeing practices that may compliment your treatment.

These include:

  • exercise
  • good nutrition
  • good sleep hygiene
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • relaxation and breathing techniques
  • alcohol and drug avoidance.

We recommend that you discuss these with your treatment team before starting.

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