Psychological Service

Head of Service: Dr. Patrizia Bressan

The Santa Croce Clinic provides a team of qualified psychologists and psychotherapists in order to guarantee the patient a psychological support or a real psychotherapy where indicated. The role of the psychotherapist is to accompany the person, with individual or group interviews, in a path of self-awareness and self-strengthening for the recovery of personal resources.

Individual interviews and psychotherapy

Psychotherapy intervention is an interpersonal process that involves the use of purely psychological tools (verbal and non-verbal) aimed at treating the patient’s situations of suffering related to his personal life history. The theoretical reference models are diversified and chosen according to the greater effectiveness demonstrated in specific disorders. In general terms, it is possible to intervene on behavioural and cognitive aspects of the symptoms (cognitive-behavioural therapy based on learning theories), or on dysfunctional structural aspects of the personality (psychodynamic psychotherapy based on psychoanalytic theories). The interviews are usually held weekly and last one hour: they can be carried out in an inpatient setting (during hospitalization) or outpatient (in agreement with the local doctor, as an integration and completion of a shared treatment pathway).

Psychodiagnostic and Testistic Evaluation

In some cases, on medical indication, psychodiagnostic evaluation tests are carried out in order to clarify the diagnosis in case of clinical doubts. The psychological evaluation is a process that takes place between the clinical psychologist and the patient suffering from a psychological distress and that allows to outline a picture of psychological functioning, the prognosis and the methods of therapeutic intervention. The purpose of this assessment is to relate the discomfort subjectively experienced with the maladaptive symptoms and behaviours that result.
In order to make a correct assessment by the psychologist, the patient is subjected to some tests characterised by precise rules of administration and are evaluated and interpreted according to certain standards. These tests allow to outline a structural personological evaluation (reality examination, defences, anxiety…), an evaluation of the functionalities of the main instruments of relation that the subject develops during his existence (attention, language, memory and orientation, praxis, gnosis, …) and an evaluation of the intellectual capacity of the subject aimed not only to measure the intellectual capacities of the subject but to identify information on the functioning of basic aspects of the self.

  • Psychotherapeutic treatment with EMDR technique

    Responsible of the service: Dr. Patrizia Bressan

    The EMDR method (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is mainly used for the treatment of stress-related disorders, among which Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stands out. These are the feelings that arise in an individual when he or she has experienced, witnessed or been confronted with a potentially life-threatening event, with danger of death or serious injury, or a threat to his or her physical integrity or that of others. The response to such an event includes intense fear, vulnerability, or horror.

    The focus of EMDR therapy is therefore both memories (dysfunctionally stored information) related to traumatic events from situations of evident objectivity (e.g. natural disasters, disasters, etc.), and memories from events perceived as subjectively traumatic (early, unique or recurrent stressors or deficits) having to do with dysfunctional relational aspects of attachment relationships. The goal of EMDR is to move the innate information processing system to transform dysfunctionally stored perceptions and push the patient towards self-healing. The results of treatment include reduction of the disturbance and cognitive restructuring, generating changes in physical and emotional responses.

  • Emotions Group

    Responsible of the service: Dr. Paola Del Giorgio

    Emotions are a fundamental part of our existence and accompany us from birth in every life event. Being able to recognize them, identifying them in their various components, understanding their causes, expressing and managing them, is an essential ability for our psychological well-being. However, emotions are often not recognized, but rather acted upon without awareness. They often appear incomprehensible, making the person experience an unpleasant sense of discomfort, which however remains unclear and difficult to attribute to external events. The person does not understand why he/she feels bad and consequently cannot communicate it, remaining imprisoned in a vicious circle of continuous suffering.

    The aim of the Emotions Group is to help participating patients to get in touch with their emotions, learning to identify them by giving them a name, to recognize the different correlates, both somatic and cognitive, and to be able to express them within a protected context characterized by a non-judgmental group. At the same time they can learn to better regulate particularly intense emotional states, avoiding impulsive and destructive actions. The comparison with the experiences of others is particularly significant, as it helps them to acquire greater awareness of their own psychological functioning and of the different and possible ways of experiencing and managing emotions.

  • Group in Play

    Responsible of service: Dr. Mariela Browne

    The development of the ability to create and live interpersonal relationships, indispensable for inclusion in the adult social context, is a fundamental aspect of growth in adolescence. The Group in Play was created with the aim of welcoming young patients who are going through a phase of psychic discomfort and who need support in the development of these skills. The specificity of the therapeutic group is that the adolescent can simultaneously experience a vertical relationship with the adult/therapist and horizontal relationships with their peers. Bringing adolescents together in a group means stimulating and facilitating a movement of openness towards peers.

    The peer group is precisely the sphere to which the adolescent resorts to try to emancipate himself from the family group of origin and constitutes a fundamental experience of interaction with others. If this is valid for adolescents without problems it is even more valid when it concerns adolescents with problems. The group allows patients to compare and share their experiences, to feel less isolated.

  • Mindfulness

    Mindfulness emerges when we open ourselves in a direct way to our experience. The term can be translated as awareness or mental presence, understood as “the clear awareness of what is happening moment by moment” (J.Kornfield). Mindfulness, therefore, is a fundamental quality of the mind that can be trained, just as the body can be trained by going to the gym. Every time we voluntarily bring our attention to the physical sensations of our experience, and we do it in the present moment and in a non-judgmental way, we give space for the emergence of Mindfulness.

    Much of our time we live immersed in a conceptual world where we continually interpret events to the point of mistaking these interpretations for reality itself. This fact is a continuous source of small and big sufferings; we would like things (and ourselves) to be different from how we think they are or we would like them to be as they were in the past. Rarely do we awaken to the present to see how things really are. Practicing Mindfulness can make us change our relationship with everyday suffering by learning to respond to life’s challenges wisely instead of reacting impulsively, regaining balance in our minds and a more peaceful life.

    “Mindfulness is about waking up to our life. It’s about sensing the exquisite intensity of each moment. It makes us feel more alive. It allows us immediate access to our powerful inner resources of introspection, transformation and healing” (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

  • Tomatis Method

    The Tomatis method is a neurosensory stimulation technique that uses music to re-educate the ability to listen. Many people can hear well, but listen poorly. This ability is not a mere perception of sounds, but a real cognitive function. In other words, listening means adapting effectively to one’s own sound world and this adaptation passes through the active selection of what we want to hear and the ability to defend ourselves from sounds that are too loud or annoying. We could define listening as the function of “focusing” sounds.

    By re-educating listening you are more facilitated to communicate effectively and listen to yourself, ultimately opening up to life. A greater clarity and awareness in listening to oneself and to others leads to a reduction in those erroneous representations that can lead to communication misunderstandings, resulting in a closure of communication with impulsive or isolating attitudes. The method has as its objective the reactivation of the functionality of the ear, which leads to the improvement of many other important functions such as attention, motor coordination, body awareness, memory and verbal functions. All these activities are extremely important in personal development and in regaining one’s psycho-emotional balance.