Psychological Solutions For A Better Life

Posts tagged ‘Therapy’

New Beginnings

20140107-145801.jpgIn my preparation for coming ‘back to work’ I glanced through old comments and notifications and found a comment left in 2008 “How do I know I am with the right therapist”? I don’t know how I answered back then, but today I thought “What an interesting question”. How do therapists/counsellors know that they are right for a particular client, and how do clients know that they are with the right therapist?

Often both clients and therapists fall prey to the assumption that therapy is the only path to recovery and/or that therapy with a particular therapist is the only path to healing. This is a dangerous assumption. Let’s not forget, the client is doing the healing, not the therapist. The capacity of the seed to become a fully grown, healthy plant is within he plant, not with he gardener. He or she is only providing an environment in which that growth can accelerate. When the seed is not growing the gardener has failed to provide the appropriate environment. (more…)

A Model Of Change

Normal_change0 Many people want to make changes in their lives. Change can have many faces, but no matter what change people aim for, it's always a difficult process. Whether you want to loose weight, stop smoking, exercise regularly, stop eating sugar, or leave a relationship changing is always much more difficult than people anticipate. 

Often people get angry with themselves for not sticking with 'the programme' or they suffer criticism or 'friendly' teasing from friends and family members who can't understand that the person won't stick with their decision.

I thought the following stage model of change from Prochaska and DiClemente  might be a useful piece of information to help people in their process of Change. My advice: don't be too hard on yourself. Change is a process that often goes back and forth. It may have distinct stages, but don't expect to manage them in a clear line. As always: Self-compassion goes a long way.

Stage of Change


How can you help and encourage the person ?


currently considering change: "Ignorance is bliss"

lack of readiness

decision is theirs

re-evaluation of current behavior

self-exploration, not action

and personalize the risk of not changing


about change: "Sitting on the fence"

considering change within the next month but getting emotionally ready to implement change

lack of readiness

decision is theirs

person to look at the pros and cons of behavior change

and promote new, positive outcome expectations that will come with change


Person has some
experience with change and is trying to change:

"Testing the
waters"  – preparation could be f.e. looking up information, saving money,

to act within 1month

and assist in problem solving re: obstacles

patient identify social support

that patient has underlying skills for behavior change

small initial steps


Change has been made and new behavior needs to be practiced. This takes about 3-6 months.

People need a lot of support and encouragement in this phase.


on restructuring cues and social support

self-efficacy for dealing with obstacles

feelings of loss and reiterate long-term benefits


commitment to sustaining new behavior

months to 5 years

for follow-up support

internal rewards i.e. feeling better, more self-confidence etc.

coping with relapse


of old behaviors: "Fall from grace"

trigger for relapse

motivation and barriers

stronger coping strategies

When Grief Becomes Complicated

Butterfly Blue The normal expectation of the grieving process is that after a while grief is no longer all-consuming and the person is creating a new life without the person or something that has been lost. That doesn’t mean that the sadness about the loss is going away completely. Whenever we are reminded of the loss, we will feel grief about the loss. However, this feeling is expected not to take over a person’s life.


What Multiples Taught Me About Therapy

Th_counselling starwars It's a rainy Saturday in Auckland.I am sitting at the computer, someone gives a very skillful rendition of a piece by Schubert on the radio, and my coffee is freshly brewed. I love this kind of day. It excuses me from garden work and invites me to play around on the net. Because I want to discuss therapy this month, I am snooping around the net a bit. First thing I comes across is a blogpost at 'Before you take that Pill about a group of psychologists/psychiatrists applying to the DSM-IV committee to get the diagnosis of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) removed from the next edition. That gets my juices flowing as you might gather from my comment on that blog.


10 Instant Stress Buster

In line with the topic of ‘Stress’, that has been the focus
of my last newsletter, here now a few tips of what you can do to deal with


Swearing: It may be hard to believe, but
research has shown that swearing can release stress.  If you are in a stressful conflict situation
with your boss, partner, or friend, you might want to leave the room, go to the
bathroom to wash your hands and vent your frustrations. It’ll help you to be
less tense. When you come back you can approach the other to find out how you
can together solve the dispute.


Hugs ‘n Kisses: It’s proven by research, hugging
and kissing is good for you. It releases the hormone oxytocin, a feel good hormone
associated with love and bonding. You can see, there is a reason that we feel
like hugging a friend or loved one when we see them sad or in distress! So
don’t be shy and give hugs and kisses abundantly.


Find The Hoku Pressure Point: This is the fleshy
part between your thumb and index finger. If you are stressed, massage this
point for 20 to 30 seconds and you will feel an instant relief. Physical
therapists know that it is a universal pressure point for releasing upper body
tension. You can this simple intervention everywhere: at home while watching
tv, at work, or at your desk.


Leaning Back: This advice is for those people who
hold stress in their back. If you experience back pain, especially in your
lower back, experts advice you to lean right back when you sit on a chair, for
example. Ideal angle seems to be 135 degree. Another good exercise for back
pain is: lay on the ground, flat on your tummy, put your hands right next to
your shoulders and push your upper body upwards as far as you can while your
hips remain on the ground. Hold that position for a while, and then lower
yourself back to the ground. Repeat this several times!


Watch Something Funny:  Can’t find anything funny on TV? Have a browse
through the video clips on You Tube. I think this clip with the cat and the
is pretty funny!


Make a Budget: Often people’s stress is around
money issues – usually a shortage of money for the things you would like to
have or HAVE TO pay. Making a budget often helps with getting your incomings
and outgoings sorted. You can see where any tight spots are and go about
finding solutions more easily. Download a budget forms here.

Having Sex: This is in the same bracket as ‘hugs
and kisses’ above. Research is pretty clear that having sex is a pretty good
stress buster. Of course that only counts for those of you who enjoy sex
generally and for whom having sex is not a trigger into bad memories from the

Have a run/exercise: Exercising in nothing new,
but let me put it up here again. Exercising regularly is not just a great stress-buster
it also seems to have a preventative function when you get into the habit of
exercising regularly. It’s best to work up a bit of a sweat and get the good
old heart pumping!


Organise your Tasks: Being organised is a
perfect antidote to getting stressed. While some stressors are unavoidable, you
can eliminate a lot of stress in your life when you get into the habit of being
organised. Make a plan for each day, what you have to do, where you have to be.
Rank the items according to their importance, so that you don’t end up having
done a lot of things but the important tasks remain unfinished!


 Having a
Most of the stress busters mentioned above can be done in an instant
you just have to make up your mind. You might need a bit more preparation to
organise a massage. What kind of massage depends probably on your preference.
Do you like a more sporty massage that involves deep tissue work and intense
working on your muscles, or do you prefer a softer massage with nice aromatic
oils and soothing music? No matter which one you prefer, both will de-stress
you and give you a sense of well-being.

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How To Get Over Childhood Stress: The Process Of Healing

I have explained in the previous article “How to Get Over
Childhood Stress: The Process of Getting Hurt"
how childhood experiences became
part of the child’s neurological physiology that over time, through re-enforcement
and repetition becomes an aspect of its personality structure.

The task of recovery is to stop the process of repetition
and re-enforcement of the unwanted beliefs, thoughts, and behaviours and to
encourage new, positive ways of being in this world. Thus new neuro-pathways
need to be created (if you remember that has to happen through experience!!) or
if they exist but are just faint connections they have to be strengthened
through more and regular traffic. At the same time it has to be avoided to go
down the familiar path of neuro-connections that are negative and unhelpful so
that they wither away. On paper that sounds very easy, doesn't it?


The Quick Fix for Panic and Anxiety

If you suffer from severe anxiety or panic attacks, the likelihood is that your doctor reaches for the prescription pad and prescribes a psychotropic drug (psychotropic drug = a drug capable of altering one’s mind, emotions, and behaviours). Only in very few instances will you be referred for psychotherapeutic treatment. Drug treatment seems to be the treatment of choice.


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