Read the article in which Miriam has provided expert commentary on this topic here.
Read the article in which Miriam has provided expert commentary on this topic here.
by Miriam Henke, M Psych (Health)
Have you had the experience of commenting to someone, “The year is going by so fast!” or “It feels like time is speeding up!” You probably have and then wondered why that’s the case. Why do you think we experience a speeding up of time? Is it a genuine acceleration of the earth rotating around the sun? Or a reflection on our human experience of time?
It’s probably the latter. We’re well into the 21st Century now, and as our modern life has evolved and changed, so has our relationship with life and time. We’re probably the busiest we’ve ever been. Juggling work, study, social life, family commitments, caring responsibilities, exercise, sleep, domestic chores, cooking and eating food, hobbies, leisure and recreation, volunteering…the list goes on. That’s a whole lot of ‘doing’ and not much ‘being’. Long to-do lists, worrying about the future, trying to keep other people happy (or at least off our backs), doing lots of things we don’t enjoy, and dropping self-care down to the bottom of the priority list in the process.
Sadly, this is a recipe for stress, burnout, health issues, relationship strain, anxiety and generally unhappiness/discontent with life.
The way we experience time is directly related to how we relate to time. Is time the way you structure your life? Probably. Is time what you use to know what to do and when? Do you ever just sit and be with yourself, without doing anything in particular, and forget about time altogether? If not, then this article is definitely relevant to you.
As a psychologist, I regularly treat people who are stressed out, burnout and finding their mental or physical health suffering as a consequence. Most of those people experience anxiety, criticise themselves for not doing more or for struggling when it seems everyone else is coping with life just fine, and rely on achievement to make them feel good about themselves. When I ask “What do you do for relaxation?” or “Tell me about your self-care strategies”, they’ll often react with some embarrassment or sheepishness, and tell me something like “I know I should relax and look after myself but I can’t/don’t know how to.”
Our bodies and minds depend on “down time”, fun and pleasant activities, relaxation and self-care to function properly. Without enough of it, our minds and bodies start to disconnect from each other and they both begin to suffer. When we are stressed, we activate the Sympathetic Nervous System (part of the Autonomic Nervous System), which is responsible for your body’s fight-or-flight reaction. Being chronically stressed puts the body into a constant fight-or-flight state which over time creates inflammation and compromises the body’s regulation systems. When we relax, we activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System and our high energy functions slow to allow the body to go into a healing and restorative mode.
To make time slow down, and also allow your mind and body to become healthier, here are some useful techniques to try:
Incorporate mindfulness skills into your every day life (e.g. eating, showering, driving), by following this simple technique:
2. Mindfulness Meditation
There is ample evidence that mindfulness practices, including meditation (formal practice) and mindful moments (informal practice). Mindfulness meditation involves disciplining your mind to stay in the present moment, by returning it whenever it wanders or gets distracted. Let go of the idea of having “no thoughts”, that’s not the purpose of the exercise, but rather just being still with yourself for a few minutes, connecting your mind into your body and being in the present moment.
Here’s a basic mindfulness meditation exercise:
Is there any way you can reduce some of the busyness of your life? Can you build in some more down time, relaxation, recreation and self-care? Sometimes we need to schedule this time into our calendars to make it happen. If that’s what you need to do, then do it. Then when the time comes, keep it a high priority (the dishes and laundry CAN wait) and commit yourself to slowing everything down during your precious ‘me’ time.
Ideally, see if you can:
If a lot of your time and energy is taken up with caring for others, or pleasing others, it may be time to confront your fears about saying no to people. I know you probably have things you have to do (as in, you have responsibilities for children or elderly parents), but there is probably some wriggle room in those things you think you have to do, but are really you choosing to do them to please others, avoid conflict or make you feel more worthy. If this touches a sensitive place for you, then know there are ways of overcoming this limitation so you can free up more of your time and energy for you. Your mental and physical health is important, and you may need to say no more to others, so you can say yes more to self-care.
Can you make time slow down? Give these techniques a try and tell me what you discover in the process.
When psychologists began to write and think about intelligence, they focused on cognitive aspects, such as memory and problem-solving. The Intelligence Quotient (IQ) had been considered the best measure for success in life, however over the last 30 years there has been a shift in thinking based on a plethora of research which has found that perhaps IQ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
An example of this research on the limits of IQ as a predictor is the Sommerville study, a 40 year longitudinal investigation of 450 boys who grew up in Sommerville, Massachusetts. Two-thirds of the boys were from welfare families, and one-third had IQ’s below 90. However, IQ had little relation to how well they did at work or in the rest of their lives. What made the biggest difference was childhood abilities such as being able to handle frustration, control emotions, and get along with other people (Snarey & Vaillant, 1985).
Researchers who recognised early on that the non-cognitive aspects of intelligence were also important began quantifying what provided the greatest predictor of success. The concept of Emotional Intelligence was first introduced by Daniel Coleman in his 1995 book. Goleman was a Harvard-trained psychologist and science writer for the New York Times, whose specialty was brain and behavior research.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is essentially the ability to recognise, manage, and use your emotions in positive and constructive ways. It’s also about recognising the emotional states of others and engaging them in ways that feel good to all and create mutual safety, trust, and confidence. The construct of EQ refers to the individual differences in the perception, processing, regulation, and utilisation of emotional information. As these differences have been shown to have a significant impact on important life outcomes (e.g., mental and physical health, work performance and social relationships), this is an area worth paying attention to and improving where possible.
Emotional Intelligence includes four main aspects, including:
➢ Self awareness
➢ Self management
➢ Social awareness
➢ Relationship Management
Individuals with a high EQ are able to quickly and dependably bring stress levels into balance, can remain emotionally aware and harness emotions. They are also able to effectively send and receive nonverbal cues, engage in joyous, playful activity with others, and resolve conflict in ways that build trust. Emotional Intelligence has been shown to be linked to success life, as it facilitates improved, authentic relationship within and with others – our boss, colleagues, team members, clients, suppliers, family and friends.
Absolutely. There are many training programs available today that are giving individuals the opportunity to increase their emotional intelligence and enjoy the benefits. In a study by Nelis et al. (2009), study participants were divided into two groups. One group received an EI training of four group sessions of 2-1/2 hours each. The other group did not receive any training. After the treatment was completed, the training group showed a significant increase in emotion identification and emotion management compared to the control group. Six months later, the training group still had the same improvement on emotion identification and emotion management. The control group showed no change.
A great start-point for developing your EQ is to start with your self-awareness. Here are ten things that lead to increased self-awareness:
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.
Miao, C., Humphrey, R. H., & Qian, S. (2017). Are the emotionally intelligent good citizens or counterproductive? A meta-analysis of emotional intelligence and its relationships with organizational citizenship behavior and counterproductive work behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 116, 144-156.
O’Boyle, E. H., Jr., R. H. Humphrey, et al. (2011). The relation between emotional intelligence and job performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior,32(5), 788-818.
Snarey, J. R., & Vaillant, G. E. (1985). How lower- and working-class youth become middle- class adults: The association between ego defense mechanisms and upward social mobility. Child Development, 56(4), 899-910.
When it comes to the topic of anti-depressants, there are many questions and viewpoints that tend to come out. As a psychologist I am unable to prescribe “psychotropics” (medication for mental health issues), however many of my clients are either current, past or potential future takers of psychotropics. So, I’m often talking to my clients about this very topic, and exploring this world with the facts on hand helps individuals make the best decision for them in any given time of their life.
Last week I attended a professional development seminar run by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) on psychotropics. The guest speaker was Chris Alderman, who is a senior lecturer at the University of South Australia and editor for a pharmacology journal; a very knowledgeable man who’s PhD was on pharmacological treatment of PTSD in war veterans. The information I’m sharing in this article is a combination of the key learnings I took from Chris’ seminar as well as knowledge I’ve gained over the years in this profession.
In the Australian National Health Survey, Australian households reported that 19% of adults were using medication (either prescribed medication and/or vitamins/herbal supplements) for their mental wellbeing. Of these 27% reported using anti-depressants, 23% used sleeping tablets, and 10% said they used medication for anxiety. Anti-depressant medications are the most common psychotropic.
When it comes to the anti-depressant conversation there are a number of things to consider:
So firstly, do you need an anti-depressant? The answer to this is likely to be less straight-forward than yes/no. It depends on your symptoms, circumstances, medical history and more. The best person to ask if your GP. I’ve heard many people tell me their GP was almost too happy to give them a prescription for anti-depressants, and made their own decision to try other things before going down that path. Ultimately, it’s your mind and body, so do your research, consult those with accurate, up-to-date knowledge and be willing to try a few things to get the improvement you’re seeking.
If you do take anti-depressants, there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Like I mentioned earlier, you’re in good company with many other Australians. It’s not a sign of defeat, or being weak, or lazy. They are there to help you get back on track. You wouldn’t feel the same about taking a needed medication for a physical illness, so recognise the fact you’re helping yourself and feel good about that.
When it comes to the treatment of depression, there are a number of options available including:
A really interesting point raised during Chris Alderman’s presentation was about which anti-depressant was the best. I found it surprising to learn that based on all the research to date, there is no significant difference in efficacy between any of the anti-depressants. They all work about the same (they all have an approximately 1/3 chance of working), whether they are older ones (like Prozac) or newer ones. When it comes to selecting the best anti-depressant, a GP or psychiatrist has to take many things into consideration, and Prof Alderman’s advice is expect to trial up to 3 different anti-depressants before finding the one that’s right for you.
A major concern for most people, and rightly so, is the potential for adverse or side-effects. All anti-depressants have side effects. If you look at the packaging and read the adverse reaction warning list, it’s mighty long. The most common reactions include gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, nausea), sleep disturbance, weight fluctuations, and loss of interest in sex. For some people, a side effect is suicidal ideation. This is where the concept of risk:benefit ratio comes in, as an individual has to decide if the side effects are tolerable to gain the benefit of the anti-depressant. So if there is more risk or discomfort, than reward for taking the medication, most people will stop taking the drug. This article is a good read on this point.
If you’re taking other medications, it’s vital your prescribing doctor has duly considered any interaction effects between those medications and an anti-depressant. Some things can simply not be combined, or produce very unpleasant symptoms. If there’s a short-term introduction of drugs (e.g. at the dentist, pre- and post-surgery) and you’re on anti-depressants, you may need to ask the dentist/surgeon/doctor if there are any possible interaction effects that need to be taken into consideration.
One of the biggest frustrations doctors have is non-compliance. The reality is most people will forget to take their medication from time to time. Some people don’t give the medication a chance to do it’s thing. For most anti-depressants there’s a 6-12 week ramp up period for the full effects of the drug to occur. A lot of patience is required. Good doctors inform their patients of this, and arrange follow up consultations to check in on how the patient is doing with their medication, and if any adverse effects have occurred.
So, are anti-depressants addictive? Antidepressants aren’t addictive in the same way substances like alcohol and heroin are. Those abusing antidepressants do not experience the cravings that other drugs cause. Most consider these drugs non-addictive. Others point to the withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants as evidence that a dependence can form, however those symptoms can be minimised if a monitored, GP-directed protocol for withdrawal is followed. Some anti-depressants are extremely unpleasant to simply go cold turkey on, and it can be dangerous. So ask your GP what the process of coming off of any medication is expected to be like.
I think this is an invaluable strategy for making an informed decision, and making sure your busy doctor is taking everything into consideration when writing you out a prescription. Research information for yourself, get a second opinion if you think you’d like one, and consider combining any drug therapy with psychotherapy. Anti-depressants are not a ‘cure’ for depression, but a way of helping manage the symptoms so you can get life back on track, and sometimes the best way to do this is learn how to get your brain to work better for you.
An Alternative Perspective
There is conflicting perspectives with the mainstream view that anti-depressant medication is safe and necessary. The following is a different perspective that has valid research to support it’s part in the debate and if you would like to do more of your own research, you may like to start with the documentary Who Cares in Sweden: http://www.whocaresinsweden.
The three main problems with antidepressant medications from this alternate perspective is:
So why take them, given the risk / benefit profile?
In the USA one in 13 adults are on anti-depressant medication. Prozac is like an amphetamine, and the other SSRIs are derivatives of prozac. A side effect of amphetamine use is depression. So using ADM has the side effect of more depression. “Treatment Resistant Depression” increased in 10 years from 15 – 20% to 40%. Treatment resistant depression blames the patient, when it should really be called “ineffective treatment,” putting the blame on the drug.
There is much to consider when it comes to considering your own mental health or that of someone you love or treat, it’s best to complete your own research and make a truly informed decision.
If you have any questions about this article, please post your comments below. Alternatively, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Change. It’s an inevitable as death and taxes. And yet many of us find change to be challenging and can throw us into a state of turmoil. Yes, there are some reading this who would say they’re great with change, and yet I imagine if you’re one of those people it may be more like positive change being welcome. What about change that’s outside of your control? That’s going to make your life more challenging? Change of your health, financial or marital status?
Change is not just things being different or having new experiences. Change is also our experience when adversity strikes. When things go wrong, or something happens we don’t ask for.
The field of Positive Psychology has specifically sought to answer how we as humans can better cope with change, and even thrive through it. The concept of resilience has been a major part of this discussion, and in particular, what mental traits or type of mindset allows people to be transition through change well or bounce back quickly after adversity occurs.
Coping is a personal and subjective thing. It is more than just ‘getting by’, it’s our ability to still perform, function and be mentally and emotionally ok through the process of change. So how can you tell if you’re really not coping?
There are many signs and symptoms of poor coping, and you may notice some of these can also be signs associated with chronic stress:
If you experience one or two of the above, you’re probably coping ok and might have times where your stress levels get a bit high for short periods. However, if you can see many of these symptoms in yourself (or recognise them in someone you care able), these can be pretty serious if they go on long-term. Chronic stress or poor coping abilities can be a precursor to mental illnesses, such as depressive or anxiety-based disorders. Prevention is best, but early intervention is important so things don’t become debilitating.
Resilience is “the positive capacity of people to cope with stress and adversity” (Masse, 2009). What a resilience mindset looks like has been a major focus of research within the positive psychology movement for the last 20 years or so and some really useful advice has come from the discoveries in the research. I’ll simplify the jargon and keep the good advice nice and simple:
Research has shown that there are 3 key ways in which Optimisits differ from Pessimists. This is where the 3 P’s were developed, based on these key differences.
Using the 3 P’s, by asking yourself:
Is this Permanent? (Will it really matter in a week? A month? A year?)
Is this Pervasive? (Will it impact on my family life? My social scene?)
Is this Personal? (Is it really about ME as a person or is it a work/uni/friends problem)?
Beyond mindset or perspective-taking, resilience is also supported by common sense habits that are healthy for our minds and body’s. This includes:
With change as inevitable as it is, and given resilience is a desirable quality in both professional and personal environments, there are many reasons to develop and build up your skills and habits that are good for you. Some will take practice and some trial and error, but engaging in them a little bit each day will go a long way.
If you have any questions, would like further resources or have comments on this blog, you’re invited to either contact me directly at email@example.com, or add your comment to this blog!
Masten, A. S. (2009). Ordinary Magic: Lessons from research on resilience in human development. Education Canada, 49(3): 28-32
Donna Roberts is currently in the write up stage of her PhD thesis (at the University of Adelaide), looking at child custody, domestic violence and family law in Australia. Her research includes an examination of published legal judgements around the application of the rebuttable presumption of equal shared parental responsibility; interviews with mothers whose children have contact with their violent, abusive fathers; and a survey of young adults who experienced parental separation prior to their 16th birthday about their experiences of contact with their non-resident parent.
For most separating couples, the decision about who looks after the children and the time they spend time with each parent is decided between themselves without intervention from the family law system. For other couples, mediation or legal advice can be useful, however for a small number of couples, usually less than 5%, involvement with the family law system occurs.
Current statistics show that 1 woman in 3, over the age of 15 years who has ever had an intimate partner, has been exposed to at least one form of violence. Overwhelmingly, the perpetrators are men, and the victims are women and children. It is acknowledged that women also perpetrate domestic violence.
Domestic violence – what is it?
It is a pattern of behaviours that intersperses coercive and controlling behaviours with physical violence in order to gain and maintain control of an intimate partner. It includes emotional and psychological abuse, physical violence, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and threats of physical and sexual abuse.
Domestic violence – what are the impacts?
For the (predominantly) women and children subjected to these behaviours, the impacts are many and varied, and include PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Children may ‘act out’ or become withdrawn, and have difficulties at school.
Separating from an abusive partner
Research and statistics show that separation is one of the most dangerous times for women who are in a relationship with a violent, abusive man. Thirty per cent of femicides (murders of women) occur at or around the time of separation. Some women will report their partners to police, others may apply for an intervention order (also known as an AVO) in order to protect themselves and their children, others still will leave him and take no legal action.
This is governed by the Family Law Act 1975, which has been amended several times, including 2006 and 2011. It is the legislation that determines divorce, division of property, and child contact (previously known as custody).
Within Part VII of the Act is a rebuttable presumption of equal shared parental responsibility. The Act states that it is in the child/ren’s best interests for their parents to share responsibility for their upbringing, however, this presumption is rebutted i.e. does not apply if there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that family violence and/or child abuse has occurred. This presumption, if ordered, requires the parents to discuss and come to agreement on the major long-term issues concerning the children, including their education, and their healthcare.
It should also be noted that Section 121 of the Family Law Act prevents participants from discussing their experiences of the system at any time, for any reason. This ostensibly is to protect the children of the parents who have litigated.
Mothers who have left relationships with violent, abusive men, sometimes at the behest of child protection services, may find themselves drawn into the family law system, either because their ex-partner makes an application to spend time with the children, or because they realise that spending time with their father is not good for the children, and they want the children protected.
Donna has found that judges in the Federal Circuit Court (previously the Federal Magistrates Court) are still applying the presumption even in the face of clear evidence of family violence having occurred in the relationship. Over 100 cases were examined, of which 72 (65%) had evidence of an AVO, and the presumption was applied in 15 cases. Judges making the order for equal shared parental responsibility even in cases in which the judge acknowledged the severity of the violence the mother and child/ren had been exposed to
For mothers whose children are ordered by the court to spend time with their violent, abusive fathers, there is considerable distress for both the mothers and the children. In some cases, the mothers have lost custody of the children to the father, despite credible evidence of his abuse of her and the children.
For young adults, where there was violence and abuse, or substance abuse issues in the parental relationship, and they were court ordered to spend time with their father, they did not enjoy the contact, and a significant number of them have little to no contact with their fathers now that they are adults. One participant stated “I should never have been made to see my father after my parents separated.”
Busting myths around domestic violence and child contact
Within society is the pervasive myth that the family courts are biased against men. The research consistently shows that when men ask, they will get it in 70% of cases, with violent, abusive men twice as likely to file for custody as non-abusive men.
Another common myth is that women make false allegations of domestic violence in order to gain the ‘upper hand’ in custody battles. The research shows that when women report violence and abuse, they are more likely to have a worse outcome than in cases where there was no domestic violence reported to the courts i.e. the courts will order that the children spend more time with the father accused of violence and in some cases, mothers will lose custody altogether.
AVOs are a source of another myth – that they are used as a tactical weapon in ordered to keep fathers out of children’s lives, however the research shows that women only apply for AVOs when they have been subjected to severe violence and abuse. It is important to note that section 68Q of the Family Law Act renders a state intervention order invalid. So, even in cases where an AVO prevents the father from being within a certain distance of the mother, and sometimes the children, the father can still have contact with the children, and spend time with them.
There is the belief held that violent men can still be good fathers, and, that children need their fathers. Men who used violence and abuse in their relationships cannot be ‘good’ fathers as their behaviour shows that they are unable to put anyone else’s needs before their own. They will often also abuse the children, with a 30-70% overlap of domestic violence and child abuse occurring in families.
If you have any questions for Donna, feel welcome to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to BeyondBlue, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is “a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them. This could be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods. As a result, the person experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror.” PTSD affects about 12% of the Australian population in their lifetime, which is a significant number if you stop and think about it.
Trauma can be experienced in a number of ways and can be the mental impact of a traumatic event at any stage of life. I’ve treated both children and adults with PTSD symptoms and diagnoses and it’s a challenging presentation. The key signs that someone may be experiencing PTSD, can include:
Often people with PTSD experience other mental health challenges either as a result of, or concurrent with their PTSD symptoms. These additional problems, most commonly depression, anxiety, and alcohol or drug use. It’s understandable that the fear response, being triggered as frequently as it is, can wear a person down and have them seek ways to numb the discomfort or self-medicate.
Studies show that people with PTSD often have atypical levels of key hormones involved in the stress response. For instance, research has shown that they have lower-than-normal cortisol levels and higher-than-normal epinephrine and norepinephrine levels — all of which play a big role in the body’s “fight-or-flight” reaction to sudden stress. (It’s known as “fight or flight” because that’s exactly what the body is preparing itself to do — to either fight off the danger or run from it.)
Both children and adults with PTSD have symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression that include any of the following:
Intrusive thoughts or memories of the event
Avoidance of any reminders of the event
Negative thinking or mood since the event happened
Persistent feelings of anxiety or physical reactions
There are many treatment programs available for PTSD. When trauma first happens, in the first few weeks following most people recover on their own with the help and support of friends and family. As such, a diagnosis of PTSD and other treatments aren’t considered until about 2 weeks after a traumatic experience. The best thing is immediate help and support, however this isn’t always possible and some people don’t have the right support around them. About 25% of people who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD. If traumatic events occur often (e.g. childhood abuse, domestic abuse, living in a war zone) PTSD can become a pervasive, debilitating condition that makes the trauma feel real and present, even after the abuse or life threatening conditions are removed.
Effective treatments are available and these apply for both adults and children. Most involve psychological treatment (talking therapy), and medication can also be prescribed in some cases. Drug treatments are not recommended within four weeks of symptoms appearing unless the severity of the person’s distress cannot be managed by psychological means alone. Generally, it’s best to start with psychological treatment rather than use medication as the first and only solution to the problem.
PTSD is categorised as a type of anxiety disorder, and CBT is one of the most evidence-based and common treatment programs used to treat both anxiety and PTSD. CBT is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel. As a psychologist, I seek to help clients to identify thought and behaviour patterns that are either making them more likely to become anxious, or stopping them from getting better when they’re experiencing anxiety. Being able to recognise unhelpful patterns that are contributing to anxiety, allows people to make changes to replace these with new ones that reduce anxiety and improve coping skills.
In PTSD, it’s common to find someone stuck in catastrophising thinking patterns. This means thinking the worst, believing something is far worse than it actually is, or anticipating things will go wrong. Using CBT, I help people to think that more realistically and focus on problem-solving, plus to systematically reduce the distress certain situations or things that cause anxiety or trigger flashbacks, so that fears can be faced and these situations be approached more rationally. This is called ‘exposure therapy’.
CBT techniques can include:
I utilise a set of techniques called Time Line Therapy™ that has helped a number of my clients with both PTSD and anxiety to reduce their emotional reactivity and find meaning from their experiences. Clients who are undergoing TLT treatment learn how to externalise and disassociate from traumatic experiences, find positive resources and coping strategies from within themselves, and let go of the emotional charge attached to specific events. I’ve found that letting go of the emotions of Fear, Horror/Terror, Overwhelm and Helplessness using TLT particularly effective in reducing or even completely overcoming the symptoms of PTSD.
There is a kind of therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) that is used for PTSD. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another type of therapy for PTSD. Like other kinds of counseling, it can help change how people react to memories of their trauma. With an EMDR-trainer counsellor, the client talks about their memories, while focusing on other stimuli like eye movements, hand taps, and sounds. For example, the therapist moves his or her hand, and the client follows this movement with their eyes.
EMDR has grown in popularity of the years and the evidence supporting it’s effectiveness does exist. At this time I am not EMDR trained, so if you’re looking to try EMDR, there are many good psychologists and other therapists who provide this service. Experts are still learning how EMDR works, and there is disagreement about whether eye movements are a necessary part of the treatment.
Many people want to talk about their trauma with others who have had similar experiences; group therapy allows this to happen with a group of people who also have been through a trauma and who have PTSD. Sharing their story with others may help the person with PTSD feel more comfortable talking about their trauma. This can help them cope with their symptoms, memories, and other parts of their life. Given how important social support is for recovery, this can be one of the best actions to take, along with individual counselling/psychotherapy.
Group therapy helps build relationships with others who understand what a person has been through. It often includes learning how to deal with emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, rage, and fear. Sharing with the group also can help build self-confidence and trust. Ultimately it encourages people to focus on their present life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the past.
Along with the above treatments, there are some extra forms of help and support that can be given to children with PTSD. Here is some help tips*:
PTSD is certainly a challenging condition to treat, but that doesn’t mean it’s not recoverable. Sometimes it takes finding the right therapist, treatment protocol, support group or school to make it work. Sometimes it takes a number of years of consistent work with a therapist, deeper spiritual searching, undertaking self-help programs or a myriad of conditions to recover from PTSD, so the key is to not give up on the possibility of better mental health and keep looking until the right fit is found.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
BeyondBlue 1300 22 46 36
I don’t know about you, but I have been experiencing some pretty “heavy shit” lately, including ending up in hospital for 3 days, having my daughter home sick for a week, and my partner dealing with some quite serious health issues as well!
As stressful as it has been, I can say that there are reasons behind it! Allow me to explain…
2016 is a Universal 9 year (2+0+1+6=9), which, in numerology, is all about endings, and letting go of and clearing out old ways of doing and Being. This current cycle started in 2008, a Universal 1 year (2+0+0+8 =10; 1+0 =1), and we are now in the process of wrapping up things that were started back then.
September is a 9 month and, in a 9 Universal year is ALL about letting go, and clearing out! We had several 9-9-9-9 days in September e.g. the 9th September is a quadruple 9 day – the 9th day of the 9th month in a 9 Universal year, all of which adds up to 9. The same applied to the 18th and the 27th September.
Playing into all of this has been several planets in retrograde (appearing to move backwards, relative to Earth) including:
- Mercury (30 August to 22 September) – Mercury is the planet of communication and travel, and this particular retrograde, the 3rd of 2016, was about overhauling our personal communication, both with ourselves and with others, in order to get clear on who we are at a Soul level
- Pluto (from 18 April to 27 September) which was all about releasing old hurts and embracing past experiences, and healing and clearing these old wounds
- Neptune (from 14 June to 20 November) which is about rediscovering our connection to Source/Spirit/The Universe and aligning our hearts with our heads so that we can “walk our talk”
- Uranus (16 August to 29 December) which is about being spontaneous and doing things we have not done before, perhaps changing up our appearances, and embracing flexibility, being able to adapt to change with a moments notice
- Chiron (27 June to 1 December) – Chiron is an asteroid, representing the archetype of the Wounded Healer. This retrograde is about healing our Inner Child, bringing up old patterns and pain from childhood to be released and cleared.
We are also experiencing 3 super full moons in October, November and December. This month’s full moon on 15 November is going to be the largest full moon since January 1948! A super full moon is one that appears bigger and brighter than a ‘normal’ full moon, and occurs because the moon’s orbit is elliptical, and on one side the moon is about 48,000km closer to Earth than the other side of the orbit. The effects of the moon on humans are well documented – the term ‘lunatic’ comes from lunar, meaning moon!
As you can see, we have been energetically supported in releasing old wounds and old hurts, the old ways of doing and Being, and to overhaul almost every aspect of ourselves as we travel through this 9 Universal year, of endings and letting go.
Even though October is a 1 month, of new beginnings, it is taking place in the 9 Universal year, which means that we are in the process of setting the intentions and lay the foundations for the coming energy decade, starting in 2017 (2+0+1+7=10; 1+0=1).
The 11/2 energy of November is all about mastery (11 is a Master number) and duality (the 2), so we are mastering the dualities within us, particularly the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine, as well as the ‘light’ and the ‘dark’. Polarity and duality are good! There is a lot of talk about “the Shadow side” however, we cannot have good without bad, light without dark, positive without negative, and so these ‘shadow’ characteristics are in fact neither good nor bad, positive nor negative, they just are, and they are part of what makes us who we are, and as such should be embraced.
For those who are unaware of the energies that abound, 2016 has been a quite horrific year! Even for those of us who work with the energies, and are aware of the planetary retrograde cycles etc, we have also had to do our work – letting go of old habits, healing from the past, ditching Karma (where Karma is the consequences of choices we make, not some malicious idea of revenge!), and aligning ourselves with who we are at a Soul level, to bring our Soul’s Divine Gifts into their full expression.
So, the take home message is basically – do the work! Release everything that is no longer serving your Highest Good, and embrace the New You for the New Year!
“Yes, but HOW do I do the work?” I can hear you thinking! If you have realised that you still have some ‘stuff’ that you would like to let go of and/or deal with, I would recommend booking into see Miriam for some Time Line Therapy™, or if you are interested in knowing more about who you are at a Soul level, what your Gifts are, and what baggage you may have brought into this life, then a Soul Realignment™ reading and clearing with Donna is an option.
Recently, I had an article I co-authored with fellow psychologists Taryn Lores and Anna Chur-Hansen published in the Advances of Mind-Body Medicine. This paper explores the interest the general population and those specifically with mood disorders have in a proposed new treatment strategy that combines psychological, mind-body therapies and nutritional approaches.
To read the full article, click on the below link: