We are super exicted to welcome you to 2018. This year has a particularly good vibe to it.
We loved the Sydney Harbour fireworks exploding with joy and celebration. Uplifting as always.
Of course there have been the usual ups and downs of life. My heart has gone out to many who have faced loss and grief in 2017.
At the years beginning, I like to do a review. It’s great to reflect on 2017 by taking a look in the rear view mirror. What’s been my progress, whats got in the way? The way I do this is by looking at last years directions for 2017.
I enjoy a small ritual to invite in my wishes and desires for the opening annual. I keep it fresh and title it simply “Wishlist 2018.”
With my trusty pen I scribe my dreams, hopes and wishes in mu new 2018 diary, she’s a pretty pink this year.
We all know there tons of research about the importance of writing ( yes physcially putting pen to paper) in goal setting. I am not going to bore you with it here. Naturally this applies to dream wishing. Besides it feels good to use your fingers, listen to your thoughts and see them unfold on the fresh clean slate.
This is a creative list where I literally stop my rational brain from interfering. I am responding to my deepest desires and there is often lighter ( read shallower) hopes.
On my list this year is the Clinical Masters of Psychology and there is a new stereo. The only proviso I have for this list is that anything can go on it. It is an open item and receives updates as necessary.
I would love to hear how you much you enjoyed writing your list and if you would be so kind as to share something of what’s on it, I would be grateful and I will respond. Again Happy 2018!
Welcome to mental health awareness week. I wanted to give you some options for you to help yourself. This will be very useful for those of you who have seen the Last Resort Tehcnique – Relationship saving advice on my Blog. Here is the link just in case you missed it.Last Resort Technique.
If you find this helpful please pass on to friends and family who may benefit.
Depression, anxiety and many mental health conditions become isolating and hard to deal with alone. So I want you to know there is help for you, you are not alone. Here are the five tips you can start today to get yourself back to you.
1) Find your tribe
It is well known social connections are crucial for a person who is experiencing depression. Social isolation is one of the hallmarks of a depressed person as they withdraw from social connections. An Australian study’s (Cruwy’s et al., 2014) findings demonstrate that those who not only joined a local group (some did yoga, art, Professor Alexander Haslam (Cruwy’s et al., 2014), a co-author, said:
“We were able to find clear evidence that joining groups, and coming to identify with them, can alleviate depression. “Our work shows that the ‘group’ aspect of social interaction is critical.” “…a group has to matter psychologically in order to be beneficial for depression – simply “showing up” without commitment or engagement is unlikely to be sufficient.”
The authors conclude that their study suggests…
“…that tackling the challenge of depression involves not just putting the person back into the group, but also putting the group back into the person.”
It seems finding your tribe, mob or community is important to healing depression. It’s vital this group is a place where you feel a connection. It could be taking up a hobby, acting classes, Yoga, community classes, Laughter Yoga, dancing, sports, it could even be online.
I was on a talkback radio show for ABC 702 with Radio host Philip Clarke and Professor Katina Michael from the University of Wollongong, where we were pondering is ‘Facebook making us sad.’ A lady called in and said Facebook had helped her recover from depression and it’s isolation. She told us that when a relative put up a profile for her, at first she was unnerved but as she found her friends and family coming out to support her she felt connected. How wonderful.
Look at the resources section at the end of this chapter, to find useful links.
So find your support network to gain connection and healing in the long term. We all need a cheer squad at times to send us love, validation and affirmation.
2) The Power of Pets
The other option is to start up your own tribe. I had a car accident where I was rear ended, leading to an injury and my beautiful car being written off. Very sad loss of course. Certainly an unexpected and tough break, to say the least! This event turned out to be a turning point in my life. My days spent on the bus travelling 90 minutes each way to go to work got rather tedious. I decided to go full time in my private practice Marriage Works, and it has been a fantastic change for the better.
Another light that shone at this time was a friend suggesting I get a pet, which I did. Taneisha was 12 years of age when she came to live with me from a breeder. She was well loved but ready to retire as she could no longer have kittens. I joke, I rescued her from sex slavery – she was a champion Burmese breeding feline. I have always had animals for most of my younger life, raising lambs, fish, chickens, budgies, a duck and cats.
Taneisha as you can see is a beautiful chocolate Burmese (low allergy too!) and spectacularly loving. She has a sixth sense for knowing when a person is down or upset. I was seeing a family and I was surprised when she went straight up to the girl who was agitated and upset and jumped up into her lap. Naturally the child started to stroke her as she settled down to sit. Boy did Taneisha help soothe her.
Pets such as dogs, cats, birds or any animal you personally connect with can become a wonderful and devoted part of a person’s life. The benefits are profound. The unconditional loving of an animal cannot be underestimated. I have seen people care for their pets so tenderly. They will take them for walks, feed them, talk to them and cuddle them, incredibly healing for anyone.
There is scientific evidence from studies of therapy animals visiting nursing homes; hospital units and so forth are helping healing and bringing cheer to all. Only the other day I heard the ‘baa’ of a goat. Now I live in metropolitan Sydney, so this is an unusual sound to hear when it’s not coming from the TV. None of my neighbours has a goat in their yard. I look across my balcony to see the ‘baaing’ was coming from the nursing home across the road. Evidently there was a petting zoo there for residents to touch and connect with physically. What joy I felt as I could see the residents outside in the fresh air enjoying this interaction.
3) You Are What You Eat
It is long known that a healthy diet plays an important part in a persons overall well-being and ability to handle stress. In a large study of 15,093 people who were followed over 10 years, the traditional Mediterranean diet, which includes eating nuts, fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish/seafood, cereals, and monounsaturated oils, had a protective effect and lowered the risk of depression (Sánchez-Villegas et al., 2015). There is a body of thinking from scientists that depression could be partly down to a lack of essential nutrients. There is an added benefit to eating healthily. Food is fuel and if we fill our ‘tank’ with nutrient rich and healthy foods, our system is likely to feel the benefits. This is something we can control in our lives. Luckily fresh vegetables are relatively cheap and easy to come by.
I’d appreciate it if you wish to purchase this worthy book, you click on the link to go directly to Amazon. This is an affiliate link through which I make a small commission if you buy via the link to offset the cost of running this website. You don’t have to use the link, you can search for “The Divorce Remedy” and buy it without the affiliate link.
4) Movement Counts
Now to our bodies. We are movement machines and much research has been done to demonstrate the effectiveness of exercise on our mind and our bodies. We release endorphins, which are neurotransmitters and powerful brain chemicals to lower stress. Research also suggests that the benefits of exercise involvement may be long lasting. Depressed adults who took part in a fitness program displayed significantly greater improvements in depression, anxiety, and self esteem (Craft and Perna, 2004).
The endorphins are our body’s natural pain relief substances and provide positive feelings, similar to that given by morphine. Perhaps you have heard of the ‘runner’s high’ where a person feels euphoric and energised after a workout. (Craft and Perna, 2004).
Exercise has many positive benefits these include
Improving self- esteem
Improves heart health
Boosts energy levels
Lowers blood pressure
Increases strengthen and tones muscles
Helps reduce fat
And it is free. Start small at first. A walk around the block is a beginning, and then adds a bit more. Great if you can access a park or a nature reserve. There is something special about being in nature for us humans. Get your green on. The beach is another wonderful place; take a dip in the ocean and get your dose of positive ions for free. I find there is something very cleansing about being in water that is incredibly healing.
5) Nourish your Spirit
Today in Australia and most of the western world we live in a highly materialistic world, overflowing with technology. The pressure to compete and maintain expensive lifestyles may be draining our spirit. It is thought that a sense of spiritual impoverishment is a contributor in modern societies ever increasing epidemic of depression and anxiety. Perhaps we are undernourished spiritually, leading us to feel a deeper sense of dissatisfaction, disconnection and distress.
In talking about spirituality, I am referring to your belief system that informs and guides your life for it’s highest good. Spirituality is uniquely personal and can be connected with nature, animals or those beliefs espoused by organized religions. Faith can be very healing. Perhaps you grew up in a particular religious system – Judaism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam and Hinduism to name a few. You may want to revisit your local church, synagogue, temple or mosque to reconnect.
If this isn’t your thing you can find spiritual support in many forms. Music offers many people relief and has long been available for spiritual nurturance.
Joining a choir offers us a powerful spiritual expression, support of a group and brain growth. It’s hard to be unhappy for long at a sing-along. I enjoy Salsa as a dance and the music is cheerful and uplifting. I have a Buddhist friend who loves singing in an Anglican choir, so there are many possibilities.
Songs are often intimate and celebratory, offering you harmony- sorry for the pun. Singing lifts your spirits in all senses emotionally and physically. Your brain releases endorphins and oxytocin, powerful mood enhancers and alleviates stress. Music is soul food.
The Power of the Pen.
Writing a journal whether in paper or digitally has been a form of cantharis for centuries. There is something incredibly potent in putting pen to paper that aids in release and reflection. Oprah swears by a daily gratitude list as a supportive practice. Affirmations can be amazingly influential especially when written. I especially like Sondra Ray’s books how to write affirmations, although slightly dated, as they are from the 1970’s. Think about it, our negative thoughts are merely negative affirmations we repeat. What if we were to swap them out for good?
I particularly like Emile Coue’s simple affirmative sentence – “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.” Write and say it out loud and with conviction 20 times a day for 31 days for an experiment. Let us know how it works.
Many a novel takes us on a journey of enquiry, curiosity and fulfilment. For some it may be the Bible or Kabala, or something in a fictional book we can connect with. A personal hero of mine is Rachel Naomi Remen; her books are full of stories that heal (see resources). I also enjoy fantasy novels as usually it involves the underdog rising up and completing a quest, involving their personal growth and triumph for the good guys.
We are so lucky to have access to the written word, whether it is on paper or in our kindle; your local library is full of them, so join up for free. While there you might even look around for a book club to join and discuss the emotional journey an author has taken you on.
Personal blogs are like online diaries, which offer a form of connection. There are blogs on every interest out there – cooking, parenting, fitness, fishing, you name it. Often people can authentically share their perils and success in an honest and intimate manner. Google and find your online community.
Naturally I must mention meditation as a means of spiritual nourishment. Eastern traditions have been using meditation for many centuries both sitting still and in the form of movement. Mindfulness meditation in particular has been taken up by mental health professionals. You can find many groups, self help books and online forums, to access mindful meditation. (See the resources section).
Yoga, Tai Chi and martial arts offer some form of spiritual practice to explore, as well as the added benefit of physical movement in a group environment.
If you want to go for an intensive and have 10 days spare, then I would suggest a vipassana retreat, The word vipassana means “ to see things as they really are” and help you to a greater self understanding and reboot your emotions and priorities. I attended the International Centre for Mediation in Morisset, a Buddhist group from the Burmese tradition headed by Mother Sayamagyi in her life. It was both challenging and divine and all for $50 a day with the healthiest and yummiest food. Yoga weekends away can be a wonderful escape and time out from the world.
Touch and Connection
We are tactile creatures; the touch of massage is supportively intimate with a trusted professional. It can put you in touch with your humanity. Both giving and receiving massage can bring connection and energy to one’s spirit. Many of us do not have another to caress or hold us; massage can give you a safe place to feel nurtured.
I hope you found some help and inspiration in reading this. You are certainly not alone and there is help out there. Please have the courage to reach out. I say this with a heavy heart as last week; dear friends of mine have lost their son to suicide and are heartbroken and devastated. Get help and this too shall pass.
With love, light, hugs and healing,
Here is some helpful information to links for practical support, which I have found to be both ersonally and professionally beneficial. Of course I would love to hear from you if you found something useful, please add your own suggestions and comments you found helpful below. I will personally respond.
Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing. This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.
Information and services for young people, their families and friends as well as health professionals can be accessed through this website, headspace centres, online counselling service eheadspace, the Digital Work and Study Service and postvention suicide support program headspace School Support.
HealthyPlace.com is the largest consumer mental health site, providing trusted information on mental health disorders and psychiatric medications from both a consumer and expert point of view. We have online psychological tests, breaking mental health news, mental health videos, and unique tools like our “mood journal” and more. We’re glad you found us. Visit the website Healthy Place.
Ted Talks (Utube)
Ted Talks offer you an amazing place to access free educational and inspirational material starting at five minutes to view. Please find your interests here TED: Ideas worth spreading
Depression, the secret we share, Andrew Solomon.
This is an excellent informational source and heartfelt personal experience of Andrews journey into depression land.
Yes you read that correctly and there is science to back up the benefits. Here is what their website says “Laughter Yoga Australia is a Social Enterprise, dedicated to providing health and wellbeing programs to organisations that are serious about the care of their staff and clients.” Click this link to visit Yoga Laughter.
I would personally love to hear from you, what you have found helpful in boosting your self esteem, so please drop me a comment section below. I will respond, Thank you and I hope this helps. Please share too.
We are super excited – Marriage Works is expanding with the talents of Rachele Davis coming on board. She starts 28th July so hurry to book as she has limited availabity and we certainly don’t want you to miss out. Rachele is seeing Individuals only at this stage.
Rachele has a wide variety of experience working with clients in her career already. We feel so lucky to have a provisional psychologist with access to the latest therapy innovations joining us in Randwick.
You are getting a fresh face as Rachele heads towards completing her psychological registration with the College of Professional Psychology.
This means Rachele graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology Honors), with a major in Psychology and minor in Philosophy. Rachele is a dedicated and skilled therapist, she completed her Clinical Resource Therapist qualification in 2016 with the Resource Therapy Institute of Australia.
Her skills include working across the lifespan with children, adults and families. Rachele wants you to know she work from a strengths-based frame work with a client centered approach. Since provisional registration she has gained experience working with physical/intellectual disabilities, a range of mood related and developmental disorders, anxiety related disorders and personality disorders. Rachele’s therapeutic toolkit includes Resource Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy.
Rachele’s specialty areas of interest
include working with those of you who have phobias – fear of flying, addictions, social phobia, agoraphobia anxiety, depression, trauma and stress-related difficulties.
Rachele is available on Fridays for individual adult appointments in Randwick.
You will also benefit from a special session rate. Please enquire with me Philipa 0434 559011. Book early to get your preferred time, as she has limitd appointment slots.
In the House of Cards American hit television series, husband Francis Underwood’s ruthless ambition has taken him to great political heights. With wife Claire successful and supportive in her own right.
There is a price to be paid unfortunately!
At one time this was a passionate meeting of hearts. Sadly as Francis’s need to win at any cost (Boy nothing will stand in his way!) makes them the ultimate power couple externally.
Whereas Claire has sacrificed her needs in service of her desire for power also. This childless couple fostered their careers, which has become the baby to be nurtured and developed. Meantime their relationship founders.
Both partners have become lonely. So much so they have found lovers. But even this distraction does not fulfil their needs. Somewhere along they way they lost each other. There is a fantastic episode where you see the house the first owned, with flowers and it looked like a home – their humble beginnings. Very different to living in the White House as the President of the United States of America
Now of course this House of Cards is a fictional television series, well worth viewing. And the characters portrayed are flawed characters to the extreme in this intense drama series. I am certainly not suggesting your marriage or personal situation is similar to the Underwood’s.
The House of Cards relationship is really a metaphor for the instability of what appears to be the perfect partnership. A really strong gust of wind will blow that tower over in a millisecond.
This partnership is characterized by its inner workings. What began, as a loving match of two, over time turns into a husband and wife team great at the practical matters, functioning as business team.
People will often admire this marriage from the outside, as they see two people working side by side, looing like a co-creation partnership. Usually this couple is a great parenting team, ferrying children to sports, dance and all manner of activity, running a household, finically secure and to all appearances successful.
In this relationship style each partner has a sense of the fragility of the relationship. It is the elephant in the room as they just get on with getting on. The foundation laid at the beginnings with good times and dating, has not progressed into a sound structure to withhold the inevitable crisis in any relationship.
This couple bonded together as a pair. But struggles when children are introduced in the mix. Often with Mum (or Dad) finding their love and attention needs being met by the kids. Dad (or Mum) feeling on the outer of this emotional bond either directs their needs into productivity and shifts his focus further into work, sport, or problems with another person or addiction to address this emptiness.
Both recognise on some level each others desires and adult needs are not being met but communication and vulnerability are generally avoided for safer topics of parenting, holidays or investments and such.
No emotional risks are taken, or if one partner attempt to reach out they do it in a manner doomed to fail, with anger, ultimatums, repeated criticisms, seeking solutions, demands and other ineffective immature communication practices.
This leads to the escalating fights. Where both stand wary and further drives a wedge in their partnership. The trade off is silent stagnation.
The secret to addressing the House of Cards relationship is to get really honest and be open to change. You need to really shift you’re Axx in gear as my dear Mum would say. And really hear your partner, listen to understand without defending, solution finding and see how it is for them, and give empathy. Share honestly your feelings with I statements and without accusation or blame.
Healing can happen with effort. If you recognise your insecurity is affecting your self worth, and your relationship. Take steps to deal with it.
If you can acknowledge your relationship as a House of Cards Series, don’t wait for nature to take its course.
Take affirmative action and learn how to express your needs and desires and work with your partner to understand their heartfelt concerns and work together as friends building the structure of House of Care.
Start putting your relationship as the priority. The kids will thank you, work will improve, and your happiness will grow in your partners glow.
Is the House of Cards Relationship something you can identify with?
Perhaps you recognize the red flags? Or possibly you now see it looking back after a loss. Please share your thoughts, comments and insights. I will respond.
For many of us 2016 involved highs and lows. I am certainly glad to be in 2017.
What does 2017 have in store for you? Will it be an easy time or continuing pain?
I’m hoping you want change old patterns and restore harmony.
Too often couples who are stuck in vicious communication cycles feel helpless and desperate. Repeating the same arguments without resolution or relationship repair. You have to have the tools!
Well today is January 1st the day for resolution. So what will be the change you make ? Personally I am aiming for more praise of others and sharing this joy. People really thrive with positive encouragement.
Please let us know your wishes for this year in the comments below.
Want expert relationship counseling? You have found couple therapists providing psychology services for your benefit.
We are back on deck from 10 January, hurry appointments fill fast, so call today for your free 15 minute consult 0434 55 90 11
Over the weekend I saw The Intern with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway starring. ( Spoiler alert I am going to give some things away!)
Anne’s character is a very busy productive woman who has started a very successful internet company, and reluctantly she takes on Robert De Niro as her intern. Well he wins her over of course with his usual charm!
Sadly Robert’s character sees Anne’s screen husband cheating with another school mum. A tad cliche I know. He doesn’t share this until she blurts out her concerns on a business trip. She has known for a while but has hoped it will all go away or ‘he would get it out of his system’.
The ostrich approach rarely works.
The husband’s screen presence is that of a nice guy who has strayed out of his marriage feeling lonely in his chosen role as primary caregiver to their daughter. He comes to his own truth about what is important to him and he decides it is his wife, her having her career and him learning about what led him to step outside of his marriage and breach their marriage vows.
In the best affair apology scene ever ( please feel free to share if you have others you recommend) he confronts the situation head on.
He goes to her work and fesses up. He takes full responsibility for his actionsand choices ( Note he does not blame her, her work, or the lack of time, sex or intimacy). He acknowledges the impact of his unfaithfulness on her and their marriage ( owns the consequences) and commits to change for the future of their partnership by doing what it takes to achieve a new strength in their marriage to repair this marital crisis.
I urge anyone interested in recovering from the effects and impacts of infidelity to watch this, I am sorry it may be painful and sad especially if you are newly aware. Healing can happen with help. And please tell me your memorable moments from the silver screen that have helped you. Look forward to your comments.
Call us today to find out how to repair your relationship crisis.
I am super excited to announce Consultant Psychologist Chris Paulin has joined Marriage Works. Chris is a highly experienced therapist, conveniently based in Woollahra/ Bondi Junction Sydney Eastern Suburbs NSW.
Chris is pleased to be offering his skilled counseling ability to couples and individuals in distress, who want effective help today.
Chris is available in Woollahra/ Bondi Junction.
Please contact him directly to secure your appointment today on 0411 144 646.
Medicare Psychology rebates or Private Health Insurance rebates may apply.
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