Kirrilie Smout is a clinical psychologist who has worked with children and teens for more than 20 years. She is the author of three books about young people and the director of Developing Minds, a child and adolescent psychology clinic in Adelaide and Calm Kid Central, an online psycho-education program for children with “big feelings”
Parents are key to helping little ones navigate the social, emotional, cognitive and practical changes that come with starting prep
Partners, parents, even a pet: one in 20 Australians struggle to cope with being apart from their loved ones
Fights between children serve an important purpose, writes Dr Lyn O’Grady MAPS. It’s one way that children learn to resolve problems, and negotiating conflicts with each other also helps them to work out their place in the family. Some siblings get along more easily than others. This can depend on factors such as temperament and the way…
Flexible work should not be a perk or a privilege. Implemented correctly, it benefits both company and employee
Why laptops are better than tablets, and technology needs to stay out of teen's bedrooms
Smartphones are proving useful educational tools - but psychological research highlights the risk of their presence on the classroom
Australian research is helping to make sense of online trolls and their motivation for harming strangers
The ‘yes’ vote in the marriage equality postal vote confirms that the Australian community supports marriage equality. The survey result also sends the message to LGBTQI+ young people, adults and families that they are accepted in Australian society, that their love, relationships and families are valid and that they belong. Beyond the celebration, many LGBTQI+…
Swapping traditional psychometric tests for game-based assessments has the potential to provide more accurate measures of cognitive ability – and increase the fun factor.
Difficult days, challenging conversations and awkward situations can be neutralised with these simple psychological tips, according to Dr Lyn O’Grady MAPS.
Helping teens manage online technology safely and wisely is often a tough task for parents and carers. But it can be navigated
How parents and teens are learning to navigate the risks of life online
Fast-changing technology and the ways to manage its impact are of great concern for parents. But helping your children develop their skills is a more constructive approach than strict rules and outright bans, says Jocelyn Brewer Assoc MAPS.
For Olympian Libby Trickett, regular mental health checks have been her secret weapon - in the water and out
Shot on the job, police officer Daryl Elliott Green faced a fight for his life. Police psychologists were at the centre of his recovery
For fans, sports can deliver your highest highs – and your lowest lows. Here is how to stay upbeat through the ups and downs of your sporting life
Complaining to friends about flabby arms or big thighs can incite comparison with other women and cultivate body dissatisfaction
Incarceration has a psychological toll that continues long after a prisoner is freed
Attentive teachers and parents can help developing teenagers navigate academic disruption
Incidences of bullying are occurring in preschools. With bullying linked to a range of poor outcomes in adulthood, psychologists are urging schools to adopt best practice to protect students.
A behaviour management approach which focuses on understanding what individuals are trying to achieve by their behaviour. Problem behaviour persists because it serves a purpose and is an attempt to meet a person’s needs, however imperfectly. Psychologists work to understand the individual’s motivations and reinforce more constructive methods. This approach has proven useful in addressing…
A psychological approach that assists in behaviour change by focusing on a person’s motivations for problem behaviour, examining the consequences of it and addressing their ambivalence about making positive change. The approach arose from work in the area of substance abuse and is now thought to be effective in addressing bullying and the management of…
Bullying occurs when an individual or group repeatedly behaves towards a specific individual with the intention of causing harm or distress. This can include physical, verbal, social or online attacks. Psychological research has shown that being bullied, being a bully or witnessing bullying are all associated with negative effects on mental health.
Moments of pure absorption in your work provide powerful insights that help to boost your wellbeing and performance
Open-plan offices and hot-desking are taking a toll on workplace relationships. Modern offices are making workers less friendly rather than more, as they struggle with noise, distractions and a lack of belonging.
Hyperactivity, impulsivity and difficulty concentrating are the hallmarks of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The pitfalls are many and the risk of another divorce is high. But step parents who can navigate the high-stress first year are on their way to a stable new family.
Our fast-changing world will require new responses. Critical thinking will be important to ensure we can navigate the complexities of modern times. But what is it?
Bringing mindfulness to the challenges of children can help parents to better enjoy the precious early years
Dr Kelly Allen MAPS says research shows that a sense of belonging is important to ensure young people thrive at school
A state of being totally absorbed in an activity, in which we feel both adequately challenged and equipped with the skills to meet the challenge. The concept forms part of ‘positive psychology’. Flow, also referred to as being in the zone, was developed by the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. He has linked achieving flow to increased…
Donald Trump has famously professed an aversion to germs. But when does distaste become a disorder?
Australian psychologists are untangling the many factors that cause academic problems for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Insights from positive psychology reveal the factors that can help people be happier and more satisfied.
Positive education strategies provide Australian students with skills, behaviours and resources to thrive during the school years and beyond.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is published by the American Psychiatric Society as a classification and diagnostic tool for mental health professionals. The fifth edition, known as the DSM-5, was published in 2013 after a long period of research, consultation and some controversy. It is one of the potential reference tools used…
A growing body of evidence reveals feeling happy is linked with better physical and psychological health.
Amplifying strengths helps children reach their full potential and improves wellbeing.
Everyone wants to feel well but there’s a lot more to wellbeing than happiness and yoga.
Use of physical restraint in detention settings is outmoded, according to a leading expert, and amounts to a physical assault that would be unacceptable in any other setting.
In our modern world, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, enabling us to be more connected and efficient than ever before. But our move online has also resulted in the serious and growing global phenomenon of internet addiction.
The risk of violence against women is usually higher in cultures that reinforce male superiority
Blended families are more common than ever but creating harmony at home isn’t always easy. Here’s what parents can do to help boost family togetherness.
Dominance and control through many forms of abuse is an unfortunately common and destructive force in many relationships.
In high-risk occupations, leaders can protect the health of their staff by promoting certain behaviours like getting enough sleep, dealing with grief or talking up about stress.
Helping children to deal with worries and stress will help them grow into resilient adults.
Many professions - paramedics, police, firefighters - involve helping people in traumatic circumstances but witnessing trauma has its own effects that can haunt people for life.
The death of a brother or sister during the teenage years can affect how young people develop independence, romantic relationships and even career paths.
Ageism is rife but negative perceptions of older people are not just restricted to the young – research shows older people can also hold bias about ageing which can impair their mental and physical health and enjoyment of life.
From racially motivated comments by some of our most well-known media personalities, to toxic debates about asylum seeker policy and extreme right-wing politicians’ surging popularity in western nations, our communities seem more fractured than ever. So what can be done to create a more cohesive and harmonious society?
Clergy-perpetrated child abuse can have a dramatic effect on children’s faith, family relationships and how they view the world.
Most people don’t join violent extremist groups for ideological reasons. Instead, they join for social reasons – with someone they know, to connect with other people or to find a sense of purpose.
Helping swimmers struggling with anxiety or poor performance, building team dynamics and minimising distractions in the athletes’ village are all in a day's work for sports psychologist Georgia Ridler at the Olympics.
Training the mind is the difference between winning gold and failing to qualify in Rio.
Aviophobia – or fear of flying – is a type of anxiety disorder. Even though flying is one of the safest methods of travel, somewhere between one in four and one in 12 people are concerned about flying to the extent that they won’t travel by plane, fly uncomfortably or have to self-medicate in order to fly.
Developing connections outside traditional hierarchies can help organisations and employees to become more efficient, creative and better able to deal with complex problems.
The experience of grief is very individual, and while death may end a life, it doesn't end a relationship.
A strengths-based approach to leadership is more effective than the traditional method of focussing on performance weaknesses. To help organisations grow and thrive we need to tap into people’s strengths.
We’re jetting off overseas more than ever but that doesn’t mean we like it, with as many as one in four travellers admitting to a fear of flying. Here’s what you can do to cope with aviation travel.
Elite athletes use a lot more than natural born talent to achieve personal bests. The best part is many of the strategies they rely on for success are just as useful for amateur athletes.
A negative vibe at work can lead to poor mental health outcomes, but proactive leadership can reduce the risks and create a more productive working environment.
All children feel anxious when they’re growing up, but children affected by anxiety disorders experience extreme fear, nervousness and shyness, which affects their quality of life.
Striving for precision may seem like a desirable trait, but research suggests extreme perfectionism is a risk factor for depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
Living with family violence affects how children see themselves and the world around them, leading to a raft of negative consequences.
Social media can offer many benefits to adolescents, connecting them with friends.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious but treatable mental disorder that affects more than half a million Australians.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are common injuries resulting from a blow to the head that often lead to long lasting physical, emotional and behavioral effects.
A focus on people's strengths not just symptoms or challenges is helping people with mental disorders achieve a better quality of life and avoid being defined by their condition.
Identifying children with autism early - before age two - is possible and greatly improves their opportunities for development.
Infidelity is everywhere we look and before marriage most people say a cheating partner is a deal breaker. However, many couples later realise that relationships damaged by infidelity can recover.
Abuse can happen to anyone, but recognising the difference between devotion and control can help to identify a potentially harmful situation before you’re in too deep.
Advertisers play on emotions and our desire to be part of the in-group, but contrary to what you might think, they’re not trying to make us buy things we don’t want.
The same strategies that help elite performers overcome anxiety and stage fright can help you perform at your peak every day.
Children admitted to hospital can experience trauma, not just from their injury but from the experience. Psychological research is measuring the impact and suggesting solutions.
Governments, police and the wider society often struggle to understand, control and prevent anti-social behaviour. Psychology has some of the answers.
Dr Susie Burke FAPS talks about how to aid people's recovery after a natural disaster.
Unconscious bias can negatively affect our workplace interactions and judgments, resulting in an unfair or imbalanced work environment.
Children love playing sport – but not always for the reasons you expect. Help create a happy playing field with these tips for amateur coaches.
Psychological support can help people with diabetes overcome the fears and challenges often associated with this chronic health condition.
Learning to handle stress in healthy ways is very important. Fortunately, it is easy to learn simple techniques that help. These include recognising and changing the behaviour that contributes to stress, as well as techniques for reducing stress. The following tips can help you look after your mind and body, and reduce stress and its…
In psychological terms, interventions describe actions or therapies undertaken to bring about positive change in behaviour, thoughts or feelings. Once a difficulty, disorder or developmental issue has been recognised, a psychologist would recommend a proven ‘intervention’ – course of action or activity. For example, for children with autism this might be a particular focus on…
Psychologists use a range of ‘assessment’ strategies and tools, including interviews, questionnaires and various tests to better understand what is happening for a client; for example, to diagnose a mental health problem or learning difficulty.
Psychologists are university-educated experts in human behaviour, emotions and mental processes. They work with people across the lifespan to help individuals to improve their lives. Psychologists work in a vast range of settings including hospitals, community settings, private practice, correctional facilities, schools, the defence forces, research centres, government departments and organisations. Psychologists have a minimum…
Evidence-based refers to any information or practice that is based on a strong research foundation that has been tested. Psychologists often talk about ‘evidence-based’ practice which means using treatments, interventions or strategies that have been rigorously tested.
The Bystander Effect is a term that describes the phenomenon whereby individuals or groups of people ignore someone in distress (calling for help, being attacked, being abused) rather than going to help. Research has found that the more bystanders there are at an event the less likely any one person is to help. The term…
Co-morbid refers to co-existing health or mental health conditions being experienced by one person. Many health conditions occur together, for example, a person with diabetes might also experience depression, or a person suffering anxiety might also have substance abuse issues. It is important to recognise co-morbidity so that this can be taken into consideration in developing…
Here Dr Susie Burke FAPS explains how to include children in home disaster-planning and how being involved can help allay their fears and anxieties.
The lifestyle changes needed to improve our health can be hard to start and sustain. Here are our six steps to making healthy lifestyle changes.
Psychological research shows that racist attitudes and behaviours are learned but equally you can combat racism by role modeling tolerance and positively influencing the people around you.
Cognitive behaviour therapy, often referred to as CBT, is a popular proven psychological talk therapy aimed at changing a person’s unhelpful thought patterns (I am no good, I can’t do this) to more helpful thoughts. It recognises that how we think affects our feelings and behaviour. It is now a well-supported and recognised treatment, which has…
Extensive media coverage of violence, conflict, terror and war in the international community, and here in Australia, means that many children will be aware of world events and the possibility of violence close to home. Children often cannot easily understand time and place. They may experience events as concrete and local and profoundly personal and emotional,…
Psychology is a scientific discipline and profession that focuses on human behaviour. Through rigorous research and practice, psychology aims to understand people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour and enhance life by applying strategies and proven treatments to disorders as well as helping people improve their health, work, relationships and performance.