Dr Michael PlayerMichael's qualifications are a Bachelor of Psychology with First Class Honours from the University of Newcastle, a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Macquarie University, and a PhD in Psychology from the University of New South Wales.
In addition to his private practice work, Michael is a Research Affiliate at the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Centre, where he is currently investigating biomarkers for mood disorders, and circadian factors involved in the stress response. Prior to that he spent six years at the Black Dog Institute investigating neuroplasticity changes in those suffering depression, the biology of depression and its treatment, and understanding men's emotions, including how to improve their overall mental health.
Michael's key clinical areas of interest and expertise include stress, depression, anxiety, coping mechanisms, physiological and neurophysiological aspects of mental health and mental illness, men's mental health, relationships, couples therapy, trauma, grief, addictions and chronic illnesses, managing strong emotions, working with young people, and enhancing wellbeing.
Michael enjoys working with both individuals and couples experiencing relationship difficulties. He helps people to understand the factors driving their relationship problems and preventing them from enjoying and maintaining healthy relationships. Michael is respectful of the struggle that couples and individuals face when first coming to therapy, but knows that once they do they stand to gain key skills and insights that will make a significant difference to their relationships.
Michael has a particular interest in men's health. He has spent many years researching the way men cope with low moods, depression and why they suicide. He has developed a number of treatment plans to assist men better manage their mood, including web-based e-learning programs, including 'Unwind', which was trialled in an Australian FIFO mining population.
Another key area of interest and expertise for Michael is meditation and mindfulness. A committed meditator himself, Michael has seen first hand how awareness of thoughts and self can lead to acknowledgment and acceptance of pain and suffering, and eventually to changes in life circumstances.
Michael has worked in and consulted to a range of hospital, educational, government, industry and community groups on a range of issues relating to the assessment and treatment of many mental health problems. These include anxiety treatment for children and adolescents, the cognitive retraining of patients with Schizophrenia, and improving the well-being and quality of life for those suffering chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Michael has published numerous research articles in respected peer-reviewed journals, including: The British Medical Journal, The Journal of Affective Disorders, The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology and many others. Some of the topics of Michael's papers have included neuroplasticity in psychological disorders; brain-based treatments for depression; men's approaches to stress, coping and depression; and what prevents suicide attempts in men.
Michael has received a number of academic awards and has presented his research at a wide range of national and international conferences.
While still having a very active research role, Michael's most satisfying work is with his clients. He cherishes his privileged position as a clinical psychologist, and believes that everyone has the capability to take a positive role in their wellness journey. As no two people are alike, Michael uses a number of therapeutic approaches to assist clients to view their past and present afresh, and make their way forward. These approaches include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Schema-Focused Therapy, Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy (IBCT), as well as the important information gained from clients themselves.
Michael is registered with the Psychology Board of Australia, and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Clinical Psychology Association.