PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATION | when upset or anxious

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PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATION | when upset or anxious

Summary:
– Our minds belong to us, but we do not always control or know what is in them
– can be difficult to not at times feel confused
– can be difficult at times to tell how we are feeling, & what is the meaning of those feelings
– unfocused thoughts constantly orbit our mind constantly
– we need to sort things out
– we need to get on top of things
– meditation as a solution to the chaotic mind
– in the Buddhist world view, anxieties & excitements are not trying to tell us anything especially interesting or valuable
– empty the mind of its confused content
– Western tradition of meditation – similar aim, but believes the anxieties & excitements are important signals about how we should direct our lives
– bring the troubles more securely into focus, & achieve calm through understanding our thoughts & feelings

Meditation requires:
– setting aside some time (20 minutes once per day)
– with pad & pencil to write your answers, ask yourself:
– what is it I regret, am sad, anxious or feel agitated about at present?
[because we are uncertain of meaning, it is best to write “unfiltered”]
[The practice can be comforting/rewarding & help stop us making grave errors in relation to having careers we do not really like]
– see below for specific instruction

Philosophic meditation helps us embark on life’s journey with the right equipment & the right map – it ensure we check our feelings, rather than just “trusting” them only to find ourselves somewhere we do not wish to be.

– argues it is not thinking too much that is the issue, but that we have not yet thought enough.

Philosophic meditation:
– 20 minutes per day
– ask yourself:
1. What am I currently upset about?
2. What am I currently anxious about?
3. What am I currently curious or excited about?
[Two or three words per each/Unprocessed]

Further questions for when upset [when unprocessed, bitterness, confusion & mis-directed aggression result]
– What scared you about the incident?
– You’ve been hurt. It’s normal to be hurt. How have you been hurt?
– What good part of yourself feels in danger?
– How might a nice person have ended up doing what this person did to you? If they were not actively mean, what other explanations could there be for the hurt they have caused?
– if this were to carry on, what would/might be the catastrophe?
– what are you afraid might happen if this were to continue?
– have you been affected like this before?
– if you had to pin down an incident in the past that this somehow reminds you of, what would it be? Is there a pattern here?
– if this had happened to a friend, how would you advise them?
– what might you be able to learn from this upset?

Questions for anxiety:
– tell the story of the coming anxious period in great detail & say exactly what you imagine might go wrong.
– what would happen to you if it did all go wrong?
– if this were to keep happening, then…
– the danger here is that…
– how might you still be ok, even if it was all absolutely terrible?
– how would the person you would ideally like to be, deal with this situation?
– what previous situation does this remind you of? Have you been in something like this before?
– what happened in the past?
– what helped in the past?

Questions for excitement:
– see article

[answering questions helps us begin to unscramble our thoughts & feelings so as to reduce anxiety & increase clarity]

Source: School of Life: http://www.thebookoflife.org/philosophical-meditation/

ABC RN MIRRORS OF THE MIND [language, empathy, neurological basis of ASD]

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ABC RN MIRRORS OF THE MIND [language, empathy, neurological basis of ASD]

MIRRORS OF THE MIND Summary:
– mirror neurons – discovered in 1992 [monkey research in Parma, Italy]
– has taken psychology & neuroscience by “storm
– there was controversy about their existence in humans, but there is now scientific agreement that they exist
– when people extend hand, a person responds – this is mirror neurons in action
– evolution of language, empathy (theory of mind – reading another’s mind or being in another’s shoes) & the neurological basis of ASD
– based on simulating another’s experience – the mirror system
– they play a part in humans imitating others
– why some refer to us as homo imitatus
– mechanism to simulate what others are feeling – imitation is smart
– the chameleon effect – copy something/someone unconsciously
– autism is considered a break down of the mirror system – the “broken mirror theory”

Discussion with Professor Greg Hickock from Uni Calif Irvine
– has written a book about the myth of mirror neurons
– believes “the mirror system” has been over-sold & is a victim of over-reach
– he questions the interpretation, not the existence of mirror neurons – believes the theory falls short with language:
– babies cannot produce speech at 1 month old
– people with cerebral palsy
– people with facial paralysis
– watching sport is it motor imitation or sensory imitation (responding on a sensory level)?
– problems with broken mirror theory & autism
– “the intense world syndrome” – world is too intense for AD
– hyper-sensitive to external stimuli or hyper-empathic to other’s pain.

Source: All in The Mind; RN podcast; original broadcast date: 14 Dec 14

CBT Guide available – https://payhip.com/b/spSQ

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This is an evidence-based, easy-to-understand Guide I have developed in relation to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, the gold standard when it comes to the treatment of psychological distress. 12 pages in length, just 4,200 words long, this guide represents a good investment in your health and well-being, not to mention your understanding of what CBT treatment typically involves. I hope you find it useful. Best wishes Mark – eBook available here using Paypal @ https://payhip.com/b/spSQ

Interesting Radio National broadcast about differing views on what constitutes “success” in life

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Source: Radio National Late Night Live broadcast: Australian Writer Kate Grenville…

Author discusses new biography “One Life” about her mother – differing views of success; struggles are part of life, as are reversls, importance of incremental steps

Broadcast date: 25 March 2015

POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY – TAKE EVERYTHING STEP-BY-STEP

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POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY – TAKE EVERYTHING STEP-BY-STEP

Summary of article:
– negative thinking/self-talk undermines our happiness/success
– this can also include mantras (things you were told) from childhood
– 1980s – New Age positive self-talk/affirmations
– association for psychological science (US) says do not do these as they are so “unbelievable/not credible” for the person with low self-esteem that such talk serves merely to inadvertently reinforce the original negative self-belief
– article likens it to being told to not think of pink elephants & then all you can do is think bout pink elephants
– the new buzzword us “incremental” – don’t set goals too big – have a series of mini-goals, & just focus on one of these at a time
– watch also for the tyranny of “shoulds” & “musts” in relation to what you think you should/must do (they become a but like a parental/authority figure which a person rebels against/resists)
– important to praise ourselves for small personal gains made
– rather than focusing upon the gains that haven’t been made
– small steps are the bedrock of major gains

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/columnists/positive-psychology-take-everything-step-by-step/story-e6frg7g6-1227280249537

Anxiety – first steps [understand & reduce symptoms]

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Anxiety – first steps [understand & reduce symptoms]

– Describes an emotional reaction to a perceived threat
– Often known as the fight/flight/freeze response
– It is adaptive and designed to protect you in the face of danger
– It is accompanied by physiological symptoms

However
– When the anxiety reaction becomes overly sensitive, it can disrupt normal life and become extremely debilitating for the individual

Panic Attack
– Is an extreme physical reaction
– the symptoms are as if there is a fear of dying or “going crazy”
– These attacks can happen often and in a variety of situations

To manage anxiety, an individual needs to understand:
– Their triggers
– The nature of their fears
– What they do to reduce anxiety (Avoidance; Reassurance seeking; Distraction; Thought suppression)

Anxiety Management
– Realistic thinking
– Exposure or engagement (That is, facing your fears)
– Learning new anxiety management techniques:
– Slow breathing
– Relaxation – to squeeze out the stress and let in relaxation
– Positive affirmations
– Goalsetting and planning
– Problem-solving

To begin with:
– Monitor your anxiety throughout the day
– Rate its severity out of 10
– Record your symptoms
– And finally, record the events that were taking place at the time

The aim is to increase your:
– Awareness of environmental triggers
– Awareness and recognition of your subjective levels of anxiety

Source: Mark Taylor Psychology @ https://marktaylorpsychology.wordpress.com/

Our Brain Sees Known Words as Pictures

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Our Brain Sees Known Words as Pictures

Summary of article:
– no dedicated mechanism for reading given it is a fairly recent invention
– hypothesis that reading involves visual perception based on parts of brain that were activated (blood flow studies using fMRI)
– study conducted – evidence gained to support hypothesis where brain sees whole words, converts to pictures hence explaining why reading can occur quickly
– idea of the brain using a visual dictionary in the Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) of the brain, located in the left side of the visual cortex approx behind the left ear [opposite, on the right hand side of the brain is the Fusiform Face area responsible for facial expression which allows humans to recognise faces quickly]
– fMRI study found people responded differently to real, whole words as opposed o nonsense words, or pseudo words such as “haric” (a common test in dyslexia/word recognition screens)
– saw how neurons learned & became “tuned” to new words
– could have implications for learning whole words as opposed to phonetic spelling

Source: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/our-brain-sees-known-words-pictures?sf8271990=1

THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF WORKPLACE BULLYING [Association for Psychological Science]

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THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF WORKPLACE BULLYING [Association for Psychological Science]

Summary:
– study has found workplace bullying often becomes a vicious cycle, where the more anxious & stressed one becomes, the more likely they are to be targeted for more workplace bullying & abuse
– serious effect on the victim ranging from depression to burnout
– anxiety displayed by the victim makes them more vulnerable to further persecution
– hypothesis – the strain of dealing with bullying exhausts a worker’s mental resources, leaving them less able to stand up to abuse – the associated psychological stress leads to poorer work performance & less support from colleagues & supervisors
– bullying leads to victims having negative perceptions of their workplace, resulting in further personal stress & job negativity
– note: bullying did not necessarily predict the onset of depression
– victims of bullying require coping skills & social support

SOURCE: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/minds-business/the-vicious-cycle-of-workplace-bullying.html

Depression – Warning Signs – most common symptoms

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Depression – Warning Signs – most common symptoms

Summary:
1. Self-Criticism
– tyranny of shoulds
2. Loss of Interest
– can exacerbate isolation
3. Significant Weight Changes
– lose interest in food
– emotional eating in a conscious effort to boost mood [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – eating carbohydrates boosts temporarily serotonin]
– inactivity can boost weight gain
4. Unexplained aches & pains
– pain signals are amplified
– depressed people also typically have a lot more negative self-focus so are more likely to notice pain & concentrate upon them
5. Anger & irritability.
– both a symptom & contributor to depression
– recommends working through feelings of anger & resentment

Source: https://www.yahoo.com/health/5-warning-signs-of-depression-you-shouldnt-ignore-113902935833.html

CLOUDS, TREES, STREAMS

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CLOUDS, TREES, STREAMS

Summary:
– they represent nature in its most tranquil, gentle guise
– in our busy, practical age there is little encouragement to appreciate them
– clouds are forever changing & show us that things pass in time [perhaps like our moods? Our concerns?]
– clouds are in “constant drama” much like human beings
– clouds can provide a moment of relief for us
– clouds can help return us to a broader perspective
Trees:
– an image of patience & resolution, of endurance (able to weather all conditions)
– western tradition – philosophy from books
– eastern tradition – philosophy also comes from nature
– trees provide us with education about the cycle of life as well – that change is unstoppable
– & that change needs to be accepted rather than thought of as a catastrophe
Streams:
– always communicating, chattering, whispering, arguing, dozing, confiding, shouting
– provide an object of contemplation when we are trying to think
– their constant activity enlivens our imagination
– they can provide us with the opportunity to develop insight, but we need to be careful to capture such insights or they too will slip away like the water in the stream
– article suggests rituals to remind ourselves to engage with nature
– clouds, trees & streams provide us with opportunities to contact calm & reason, tenderness & thoughtfulness

source: http://www.thebookoflife.org/clouds-trees-streams/

THE BRAIN – the origin of consciousness

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THE BRAIN – the origin of consciousness

Summary:
– 2 theories: regional (focal) & global neural activity
– study used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) technology hitch measures changes in blood oxygenation in areas of the brain
– supported idea that awareness was linked to global activity in neural networks across the brain
– this finding is in addition to knowledge about distinct areas of the brain being responsible for particular cognitive functions such as attention, language & control
– conscious awareness seems o break down the modularity of these functions

Source: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/new-research-yields-insight-origins-awareness?sf7995926=1

HOW YOUR BRAIN DELETES TRAUMA

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HOW YOUR BRAIN DELETES TRAUMA

Summary:
– memories operate on a one-in, one-out policy
– recall leads to the forgetting of others
– known as active forgetting
– regarding trauma, it is important to prevent the intrusive memories of those traumas intruding upon & dominating their everyday life
– reminders, flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/21/how-your-brain-deletes-trauma.html?source=TDB&via=FB_Page

HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE

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HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE

Summary:
– Mark Twain: Worrying is like paying a debt that you do not owe
– Occasional wearing may serve a coping function, helping a person to think & plan ahead
– too much & it becomes distracting, impeding productivity, concentration & affecting mood
– chronic worry can derail a person’s life – aka Generalised Anxiety Disorder
– Often runs in families (a general anxious apprehension)
– Often diagnosed with depression
– Worry is a devious foe
– People who worry a lot most often see their fears or worries come to nothing
– i.e. most catastrophic situations do not materialise
[note the negative reinforcer – leading to the mistaken belief that worrying means things do not turn out bad][correlation is confused with causation]
– research shows that worry hinders rather than aids effective problem-solving
– over time worry morphs from habit into a requirement born of superstition
– worrying also provides short-term stress relief through avoidance & works again as a negative reinforcer/reward system
– this sets up a worry cycle as difficult to break as drug addiction
– suddenly switching to not worrying can be very disconcerting for the person leading to worrying about worrying
– because old habits die hard

– Treatment used to advocate thought suppression (deny, ignore, avoid)
– no longer supported, & thought it may magnify anxiety
– NOW: engage such thoughts in conversation & examine them, question them (& challenge) with real life/world evidence

– Barlow – 2 cognitive Distortions:
1. Over-estimation bias
[the voice of worry ignores actual probabilities & instead imagines & predicts imminence]
2. Catrastophising bias
[consequences are imagined to be negative & extreme – the voice of worry ignores gradations & imagines the worst]

-In real life not all situations are bad &
– not all bad situations are imminent or extreme
– Living requires taking on low-probability risk everyday
– for e.g. – taking a shower could see a person slip & break their neck, but the likelihood is low & the risk is therefore deemed worth it (I.e. taking the shower)
– accurately calculating the odds is crucial to a human being’s decision-making ability & calculation of risk so that we can function/engage in life while exercising judgment:
– low-risk activities we engage in
– high-risk activities we avoid (or not worth taking the risk)

2 questions need to be asked:
– how likely is it really?
– how bad is it really?
[so as to guide the person to see, contrary to their cognitive Distortions, most high likelihood events are not terrible & most terrible events are not likely]

– we are not looking to counter negative thoughts with positive thoughts necessarily, but rather realistic thoughts so that a person can determine for themselves the following:
A. An event may be imminent, but mundane
B. some events are not the end of the world, but are just the world
C. Some potentially catastrophic events can be disregarded (not worried about), because on the whole they are mundane events that need to be done as part of everyday life
D. Some events we believe to be catastrophic are not so at all

SOURCE: Psychology Today @ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201501/how-stop-worrying-and-get-your-life?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

Insomnia – CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) Treatment

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Insomnia – CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) Treatment

Summary:
– insomnia is trouble falling sleep, staying asleep, awakening too early, or any combination of all three
– sleep difficulties typically last longer than one week
– effects:
– not feeling refreshed after sleep
– energy
– mood
– ability to function at work, school & in general life

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine & the National Institute of Health recommend two therapies:
– doctor-prescribed sleep medication (short-duration only); &
– CBT which looks at:
– providing psychoeducation about insomnia
– sleep behaviours
– Excessive time in bed
– Irregular sleep schedules
– sleep incompatible activities
– hyperarousal
– sleep thoughts
– unrealistic sleep expectations
– misconceptions about sleep
– sleep-related worries
– poor coping skills
– sleep behaviours
– inadequate sleep hygiene
– lifestyle factors (caffeine, alcohol, exercise)
– environmental factors (bedding, lighting, noise)

Other questions to consider:
– What triggered your insomnia?

Please note I have conducted sleep clinics as part of my psychologist training here in Australia.

Treatments for anxiety

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Treatments for anxiety

Treatment depends on the type of anxiety being experienced:
– Mild symptoms can be relieved with lifestyle changes such as regular exercise
– Gold Standard – Cognitive behaviour therapy
– Thinking and behaviour affect how you feel
– Types of thinking being engaged in (often automatically)
– what are productive & non-productive worries
– Relaxation and breathing techniques to manage anxiety & relieve physical tension
– The behaviour therapy component focuses on behaviour activation to increase a person’s level of activity & engagement in pleasurable activities
– graded exposure to feared situations

Other things to consider: family, friends, support, relaxation, exercise, eating well, mindfulness

Types of anxiety:
– GAD: frequently worrying & being worried about a number of events & activities
– OCD: obsessions (frequent thoughts, images or impulses) ‘/or compulsions (repetitive behaviours or mental acts) to manage the obsessions
– Panic Disorder with or without agoraphobia: regular & unexpected panic attacks – may also be accompanied by anxiety & avoidance places, situations & people
– PTSD: experiencing distressing memories, increased physical &mental tension, & avoidance of places, people & feelings related to a traumatic event where the person felt extreme fear, powerlessness or terror
– Social Anxiety Disorder: noticeable & constant fear of one or more social or performance situations
– phobia: fear of object or non-social situation, often leading to avoidance

Source: Beyond Blue

Once I just get this done, everything will be perfect

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Once I just get this done, everything will be perfect

Summary:
– one thing can never be everything
– for most of us, stressful life events are a hassle rather than a horror
– take a step back & appreciate what is not stressful in your life at such times
– when overwhelmed, take inventory of everything that is good in your life
– do this, particularly when you are very busy or sleep- deprived

Source: http://albertellis.org/once-i-just-get-this-done-everything-will-be-perfect/

Insomnia – CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) Treatment

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Insomnia – CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) Treatment

Summary:
– insomnia is trouble falling sleep, staying asleep, awakening too early, or any combination of all three
– sleep difficulties typically last longer than one week
– effects:
– not feeling refreshed after keep
– energy
– mood
– ability to function at work, school & in general life

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine & the National Institute of Health recommend two therapies:
– doctor-prescribed sleep medication (short-duration only); &
– CBT which looks at:
– providing psychoeducation about insomnia
– sleep behaviours
– Excessive time in bed
– Irregular sleep schedules
– sleep incompatible activities
– hyperarousal
– sleep thoughts
– unrealistic sleep expectations
– misconceptions about sleep
– sleep-related worries
– poor coping skills
– sleep behaviours
– inadequate sleep hygiene
– lifestyle factors (caffeine, alcohol, exercise)
– environmental factors (bedding, lighting, noise)

Other questions to consider:
– What triggered your insomnia?

Please note I have conducted sleep clinics as part of my psychologist training here in Australia.

Building a Brain – “our brain is a great computer because it is a great guesser”

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Building a Brain – “our brain is a great computer because it is a great guesser”

brain programs around the world:
– international movement focusing on:
1) how to use information to get good results for people with mental illness &
2) can we understand what is going on in the brain which makes us human (at a cellular level in real time)
– moving beyond MRI which measures blood flow rather than neuronal activity itself
– at moment we have symptoms & neuronal chemicals
– an individual neuron has approx 30 connections each x billions of neurons
– bionic eyes are being developed
– neurons are context dependant – same neuron perform different functions at different times
– super-computers cannot at present simulate the brain (insufficient memory; incredible data requirement; will need to have interactive supercomputers with new software)
– assist in the diagnosis of brain diseases
– cognitive architectures – a chip on your computer to perform particular functions
– “our brain is a great computer because it is a great guesser”
– consciousness – is a special state where neurons are collectively working together
– decision-making states and all the other states our brain assumes to do something
– philosophers, ethicists, psychologists, neuroscientists are working together in this research

Source: broadcast date 8 June 2014 on RN’s Australian version of the BBC’s All in the Mind program

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Guide – NOW AVAILABLE

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Guide – NOW AVAILABLE

Hello – I thought I should let readers know I have developed a little publication called: “What is cognitive behavioural therapy? A 2015 Research- based Easy-To-Read Guide to Understanding Cognitive Behavioural Therapy”.

It is available from the following link eBay Australia using Paypal @
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/271778990147?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Cost is $9.95 AUD & contents include:
– CBT Basics, including cognitive triad, underlying principles & treatment approach
– blueprint of CBT, including tools & why it is helpful
– why CBT works – focus upon beliefs, thoughts & behaviours
– automatic thoughts
– Types of distorted or unhelpful thinking
– Call beliefs
– Map for therapy
– Utility of mindfulness based CBT techniques
– CBT online apps
– List of resources typically used as part of CBT

References:
– Australian psychological Society
– Australian family physician pod cast
– Clinical psychiatry new
– People psychology podcast
– Beyond blue
– Back Institute
– Positive psychology
– The bulletin of the Australian psychological Association
– Bath pod public lecture
– Radio National – the prison of depression podcast
– Judith Beck CBT: basics and beyond
– Stanford University podcast video lecture series
– Hugh Mackay: the good life what makes life worth living

A COGNITIVE EXPLANATION FOR ANGER & HOSTILITY

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A COGNITIVE EXPLANATION FOR ANGER & HOSTILITY

Dr Beck believes anger results hen a person:
– feel they are being devalued & that this is wrong
– results in drop in self-esteem
– capture feeling & the belief (often exaggerated)
– automatic thoughts arise – need to capture [see Ways to Elicit Automatic Thoughts]
Remember too the ABC Model:
– A for Activating event
– B for thought/underlying belief
– C for consequence

– often people believe A leads automatically to C, but there is B (mindfulness can assist in capturing

Ways to Elicit Automatic Thoughts
– therapy can assist you to capture during therapy (imagine & role play – I.e. in vivo recretion in sessionso as to discover the automatic thoughts

Automatic Thoughts
– ask yourself: what specific thoughts am I having now [writing can assist in identifying out of session – assists in identifying cognitive distortions
– you can also notice a change in affect
– can also be referred to as NATs [Negative Automatic Thoughts]

Record, Rationalise & Replace (3 columns on one page)
– record in detail
– rationalise (label type of ST)
– replace (dispute/assess against facts/evidence)

Types:
– Mindreading/assuming
– shoulds, musts, oughts – perfection
– over-generalise
– catastrophise

Sources: Beck institute video for A COGNITIVE EXPLANATION FOR ANGER & HOSTILITY, Ways to Elicit Automatic Thoughts, Automatic Thoughts video

Beck Institute videos [various] – CBT

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– Beck Institute videos [various]
1. CBT in the treatment of depression
– case formulation
– DO NOT use thought record
INSTEAD – behavioural activation is where you begin, including in the office [
– often client is feeling hopeless & wanting to give up
– Q: what would you think if I said that if you follow a few simple instructions you will be able to get of of bed, play ping pong etc.,?
– let’s do a behaviour experiment -‘sit up, in the edge if the bed & put your 2 feet down. Now try standing up. What do the experiments show you?
– activity scheduling with severely depressed
– thought records with moderately depressed people
– get them invested in something outside of themselves (particularly if they are ruminators] – invest in something outside of the tidal wave
– grounding – look, point, name
– thought record – helps in seeing/working out alternate explanation
E.g. Dr – each time You see a patient, Write down if it is pleasurable or not, Whether it added to your sense of mastery
Note: behavioural activation is a form of cognitive restructuring because the patient believed he could not get up.

– work with patient to develop a schedule
– engagement: follow-through

2. Cognitive Restructuring in CBT [or alternative explanations/sensitive challenging/evidence for something]
– what went through your mind?
– when a person is depressed they have a 1 track mind (tunnel vision) [the walls preclude other information coming in]

3. CBT in Substance Abuse
– case formulation
– generic cognitive model
Situation – thoughts – mood/feelings – behaviour – physical reactions
– craving is so strong, it’s ok to give in to it (this time) or I’ll start tomorrow [known as permission-giving]
– experiential/exposure &then going away from it

4. Restructuring Negative Core Beliefs
– core beliefs never go away, but they become latent/quiet
– schemas & core beliefs are essentially the same
– therapy builds up a wall around the negative schema so that it remains inactive
– resilience & positive attitudes de-activate the schema
– restructuring the event
– are there alternative explanations
– does it logically follow?

5. Negative Core Beliefs in CBT
– usually strong/robust & prevails even across relatively neutral situations

6. The Utility of Mindfulness-based CBT Techniques
– Beck: CBT approach of alternate explanation, evidence, application of logic made it worse for cases of Obsessive forms of anxiety (OCD) – belief something bad will happen, I am a terrible person for having such thoughts, by having these thoughts it will come true
– a meditative/mindfulness approach gets the person free – to de-couple from this kind of thinking (round & round/ruminative type thinking)
– mindfulness gives symptomatic relief – does not in & of itself solve the presenting problem, but provides a foundation upon which to work with the cognitive approach
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lHUkG_BtIw4

7. Automatic Thoughts in CBT (parts 1 & 2)
– our thoughts are often inaccurate representations of reality
– feelings are not facts
– we have streams of thoughts all the time (Mind is always active)
– not only not necessary to look at all the thoughts, but it is paralysing to do it
– only look at automatic thoughts that have some kind of unpleasant affect/behaviour (I.e. interfering thoughts that stop you proceeding with what you want to do)
– if anxious
– what was the thought behind it
– conduct some form of reality test – e.g. If x happens, so what? What’s the consequence?
– facilitate problem-solving to correct the automatic thought

– patient-centred : patients themselves decide what they want to work on

8. Evaluating Unhelpful Automatic Thoughts in CBT
– is this productive thinking? [much of what people think is not productive]
– ACT – notice the thought, accept the thought, but not pay too much attention to it

9. The Relationship Between CBT & Neuroscience
– has written 3 papers supporting it
– neuroscience confirms CBT works, but neuroscience has not added to CBT, but has shown that biologically, due to particular gene expression, that some respond more to behavioural activation rather than cognitive restructuring & vice-versa

10. Ways to elicit Automatic Thoughts
– why should we believe what the patient reports? Perhaps it is just something they have read, because it is what they think you expect them to say
– recover in therapy by asking questions
– or you can use imagery (imagine/re-imagine the scenario)
– or we role-play, then you tell me what your automatic thoughts are (do in vivo, then able to do in their life at large)

11. The Blueprint of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
– it’s not just a toolbox of techniques
– CBT is an architecture
Blueprint:
– individuals in the course of their development experience certain vulnerabilities
– mal-adaptive attitudes/inflexible beliefs
– can permeate their whole personality leading to a personality disorder
– negative attitudes can be activated by a whole series of things that can impinge on an individual’s ability to function
– perception of all events in a biased way & spreads to other areas
– reality is distorted by internal workings of the mind
– cognitive restructuring – no longer seeing things as just mainly black or white
– changes biased beliefs of I’m no good/unloveable etc.,
– change in attitudes & beliefs/perceptions (I.e. see the positive too)
– people who are depressed see things negatively

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=07JqktJGyyA

APHORISMS ( Short sentences that capture a large truth)

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APHORISMS ( Short sentences that capture a large truth)

Summary:
– The proof of good parenting – the child has no desire to be famous [F. Scott Fitgerald]
– The true indicator of a man’s character is the health of his wife. [Cyril Connolly]
– We all have strength enough to bear the misfortunes of others [de la Rochefoucald]
– What is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears [Seneca]
– The Only people we can think of as normal At those we don’t yet know very well. [Freud]
– Insomnia is the nights revenge for all the thoughts we forgot to have in the day [Mailer]
– There are some people who would never have fallen in love – If they hadn’t heard there was such a thing. [de la Rochefoucald]
– We keep a special place in our hearts for people who refuse to be impressed by us. [de la Bruyere]
– The best vaccine against anger is to watch others in its throes.[Proust]

Source: School of Life @ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t93LeMFaLFE

11 QUOTES ABOUT STIGMA & MENTAL ILLNESS

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11 QUOTES ABOUT STIGMA & MENTAL ILLNESS

Summary:
– depression is not a weakness, is not a moral shortcoming, is not something people have brought on themselves – it is an illness
– mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma & bias shame us all

SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/10/mental-illness-quotes_n_6817674.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve

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The power of believing that you can improve

Carol Dweck (psychologist & researcher in the area of human motivation) presented in relation to the “growth mindset” (the understanding at our talents & our abilities can be developed) v’s a “fixed mindset” perspective (where people “run” from challenge)
– the grade of “not yet” meaning that you are always learning/striving to do better & achieve the best you can as part of a “learning curve”
– the person with the “growth mindset” engages with mistakes, processes the error, learns from the error & corrects the error
– Dweck suggests the following:
– Praise wisely
– not praising intelligence or talent
– praise the process that the child engages in
– praise effort, strategies, focus, perseverance, attention & improvement (not A’s)
– praise kids when they show they are hardy & resilient
– use words such as “yet” & “not yet” to build confidence & encourage persistence
– neurological development is promoted by attempting challenging things/going outside the comfort zone – neuroplasticity & new connections

Source: TED talk @ http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – FOUR CORNERS BROADCAST

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD – FOUR CORNERS BROADCAST

Summary:
– psychological injury of veterans is real
– homelessness a real issue for some returning vets
– vet with story about flashbacks & insomnia/nightmares (recurring)
– medical discharge
– broke
– homelessness
-estranged from family
– suicidal ideation
– St John of God Hospital – group therapy (filmed)
– soldiers, fire-fighters, police
– described their experiences
– violence/sexual abuse background (soldier/vet referred to earlier)
– group rules
-nature of PTSD – clinical psychologist talks to the group
– fight/Flight/Freeze system – leading to terror or horror response for veterans, with ongoing thoughts, (system gets locked on & doesn’t go away once danger is no longer there – a survival system is no longer working effectively)
– PTSD makes highly-effective people unable to function
Trauma memories are totally different to normal memories
– trauma memories get frozen, the memories when triggered turn the system on
– engage the memories/visualise the memories in greater & greater detail so as to take the power away from the memory
– as much detail as you can – what thinking & feeling (exposure therapy)
– anxiousness will be experienced
– 2nd vet’s experience:
– swinging moods
– meltdowns/explode
-isolates himself
– does not like crowds/noise
– story of a meltdown in a theme park
– felt he was attacked by his son whom he nearly punched (impacted on the child)
– marriage breakdown
– went to a Mental Health Unit upon return to Australia
– stigma attached to mental illness
– lost his career / no assistance in transitioning to civilian life
– anger/anxiety
– psychiatrist session
– separate thought from emotion (the training of the warrior)

3rd vet’s story of repeated deployments to Afghanistan:
– aggressive, wound up, confused, emotionally detached resorted to alcohol abuse
– discipline impacts upon the child & the partners
– PTSD requires constant monitoring, medication – no cure in his opinion
– concept in war: “blooding” – lock away the emotions & continue on with the mission
– Tried to not feel & process his emotions while he was there
– culture – not disclosing feelings – stigma/career-destroying

Soldier On was interviewed in relation to a soldier & his interactions with bureaucracy

PTSD associated with depression & the abuse of alcohol

Source: FOUR CORNERS – ABC-TV broadcast date: 9 March 2015

Parents who “over-value” children may turn them into Narcissists

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Interesting study including comments by Professor Mark Dadds who discusses the risk of “over-valuing” children, while noting the need to value children, praise them & let them know of their self- worth.

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/sci-tech/parents-who-overvalue-their-kids-may-turn-them-into-narcissists-study-20150309-13z5ks.html

A-HA PARENTING: 10 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF PUNISHING YOUR CHILD [change from punitive to empathic parenting]

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A-HA PARENTING: 10 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF PUNISHING YOUR CHILD [change from punitive to empathic parenting]

Summary:
– His actions have an impact on the world
– He can always choose his actions
– He is responsible for his actions
– Everyone makes mistakes
– When mistakes happen, you have to repair them
– Cleaning up mistakes is harder than choosing the right action
– Reflect on their actions to make better choices next time
– It takes courage to do the right thing
– When we make responsible, considerate choices we become the person we wish to admire
– And we feel better about ourselves

Parents:
1. Move from anger to empathy
– if the child expects judgment & punishment, they are less inclined to open up
– & opening up is necessary to gain insight into the child’s thinking & feelings
2. Connect
– if child is worried you will get upset, the child goes into fight/flight/freeze mode & shuts down.
– If you need more time – take it to come down and manage your anger
– Aim is to find out the child’s reason for acting the way they did
– it may not seem a good reason to you, but it is their reason, & it provides the start point for problem-solving
3. Tell your child you want to hear his thoughts about what happened
– let him talk
– reflect back your understanding
4. Keep your thoughts on connection and learn about what happened from his perspective
– Kids know what is the right choice but something gets in the way
– What was it that got in the way?
– how can he address this so it doesn’t happen again?
– Punishment does not help the parent gain insight
– Does not help the child problem solve themselves – In fact it often involves covering up.
5. Ask open ended questions to keep the conversation light & safe
– Share a laugh
– Remind him that this is a growth experience for both of you
Ask:
– Were you aware of making the choice?
– What led him to the choice?
– What does he think about it now?
– Was there a cost to making that choice?
– Would he do it again?
– Why or why not?
– How could he support himself to choose differently next time?
6. Empower your child to repair “ruptures” – ask:
– What can you do now to fix the problem?
– Did this incident show you Anything in your life you want to change? That’s bigger than just this one incident?
– How can I support you?
7. Resist the urge to jump in with punishments – Instead be quiet and listen
– discipline is not about punishment
– it’s about helping the child realise what he does has consequences & impacts upon others
– about taking responsibility to have a positive rather than a negative impact
– avoid being too heavy as it places the child on the defensive
8. Validate even when he feels there is nothing to repair, or is unable to repair
– calm down (child and parent)
– talk empathically
– help child express & process feelings
9. Step into your own power
– you are the parent
– about supporting the child & making them feel secure
– some children just require more support
10. Expect an adjustment period
– “best you can” parenting
– moving from punitive parenting will mean the child stops obeying out of fear
– more misbehaviour is to be expected
– stay empathic & do not take “perceived rudeness” personally
– stay compassionate
– welcome upset feelings so they open up to you
– you are changing your habits – if you change, the child changes

SOURCE: http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/What_To_Do_Instead_of_Grounding_Your_Kid

Child’s Brain Development – Mind the Bump / Beyond Blue

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Mark Taylor Psychology

Child’s Brain Development – Mind the Bump / Beyond Blue

– Mindfulness for optimal child development
– Research is showing parents who use mindfulness skills increase the likelihood of raising children/adolescents who are emotionally resilient
– We all know what it feels like to be overwhelmed and confused
– we all Also know how reassuring it is when we are able to respond with calm flexibility
– when we do this, we are using our frontal lobes
– we also know that babies, children & adolescents do not have fully-developed frontal lobes & This part of the human brain is not hardwired until the human being is in their early 20s
– neuroscience: humans Have the ability to influence the development of each other’s brains
– mirror neurones
– when a baby is distressed & crying, similar reactions of fear & distress are aroused in the parent
– babies are…

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Getting grief right

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Getting grief right

Summary:
– written by a psychotherapist
– Stages of grief: Denial, anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance
– Cultural expectation About grief – Put it behind you and get on with life
– Coping through acting better than you feel – This can be exhausting
– Approach: tell me your story (The narrative of your life)
– validate the person’s experience
– In therapy stages of grief, Self-diagnosis & societal expectations do not matter – you can surrender to your sorrow
– Grief is as unique as a fingerprint – That is we all do it differently & in our own time
– The story of loss has three chapters:
1. The strength of the bond with the person who has been lost
– the degree of attachment & strength of grief are linked
– The size of their grief is attached to the size of their love
2. The death event itself
– when death is traumatic & premature, the person often questions their sanity
3. The long road that beings when the outside world stops grieving with you
– reassuring others you are ok is often exhausting when you really need to sink into your sadness & grieve & accept
– Support groups can be useful – to learn from others that closure is not wanted because it means closing off a sacred bond
– Isak Dinesen (Writer) “All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.”
– There is no right or wrong way to grieve
– There is no pressure to move on
– There is no shame in intensity or duration
– Sadness, regret, confusion, yearning, & all the experiences of grief become part of the narrative of love for the one who died.

Source: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/10/getting-grief-right/?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=pay&smvar=mapkwp&kwp_0=9727&_r=0

I Matter app – positive conversations about relationships

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I attended an excellent MHPN webinar about DV matters in particular, however this could prove useful nonetheless. The I Matter app is an interactive virtual library of articles/quizzes etc., about what constitutes positive a positive relationship, together with the idea of boundary crossings and when what one believes is a loving relationship becomes a controlling, abusive relationship. The idea is there is never any consent to abuse in a relationship.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Guide – NOW AVAILABLE

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Guide – NOW AVAILABLE

Hello – I thought I should let readers know I have developed a little publication called: “What is cognitive behavioural therapy? A 2015 Research- based Easy-To-Read Guide to Understanding Cognitive Behavioural Therapy”.

It is available from the following link eBay Australia using Paypal @
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/271778990147?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Cost is $9.95 AUD (12 pages, 4200 words) & contents include:
– CBT Basics, including cognitive triad, underlying principles & treatment approach
– blueprint of CBT, including tools & why it is helpful
– why CBT works – focus upon beliefs, thoughts & behaviours
– automatic thoughts
– Types of distorted or unhelpful thinking
– Core beliefs
– Map for therapy
– Utility of mindfulness based CBT techniques
– CBT online apps
– List of resources typically used as part of CBT

References:
– Australian psychological Society
– Australian family physician pod cast
– Clinical psychiatry new
– People psychology podcast
– Beyond blue
– Back Institute
– Positive psychology
– The bulletin of the Australian psychological Association
– Bath pod public lecture
– Radio National – the prison of depression podcast
– Judith Beck CBT: basics and beyond
– Stanford University podcast video lecture series
– Hugh Mackay: the good life what makes life worth living

Re-Reading is Inefficient – 8 Steps for Studying Smarter – ability, intelligence, & learning are related to how you approach learning – i.e. working smarter.

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Re-Reading is Inefficient – 8 Steps for Studying Smarter – ability, intelligence, & learning are related to how you approach learning – i.e. working smarter.

Active learning strategies are recommended on the basis of psychological research. Such strategies include: flash cards, diagramming & quizzing yourself so as to discover gaps.

Summary of main points:
1. Don’t just re-read class notes, assignments & text book chapters
– most students report this is there number one go to strategy.
– Research shows the second reading is often cursory because it creates the false impression that you know it, when in fact there are most likely gaps in your knowledge

2. Ask yourself lots of questions. Better to read once & ask yourself lots of questions.
– retrieving information actually helps with memory consolidation
– when you get it wrong, it provides an accurate diagnostic for what you do not know.
– questions to ask yourself are: Why? How? What?
[so instead of reading & skimming, ask yourself questions to aid your understanding

3. Connect new information to what you already know.
– on the second reading, relate new information to material you already know

4. Draw out the information in a visual form
– use drawings, diagrams, flow charts, visual models
– very effective for memory retention
[more engaged learning rather than passive learning]

5. Flash cards so you can re-test yourself (even for those things you get right)
– repeating is good for memory retrieval

6. Don’t cram – space out your study & repetition to aid memory retention

7. Teachers should do this too – that is go over things in class & in homework

8. No such thing as a maths person.
– Carol Dweck from Stanford University has researched student mindsets about learning where they typically fall in one of two categories:
– fixed learning – i.e. “I have a certain amount of talent for this topic.” – Where beyond a certain point, the student thinks they can no longer learn/develop.
– growth mindset – learning involves using effective strategies, putting aside time to do the work, & engaging in the learning process so you learn & develop. [generally becoming more successful students who persevere]

Source: http://www.vox.com/2014/6/24/5824192/study-smarter-learn-better-8-tips-from-memory-researchers

20 QUOTES FROM CHILDREN’S BOOKS – Part 1

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20 QUOTES FROM CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Summary:
1) A.A. MILNE – Winnie the Pooh:
“Promise me you will Remember you are braver than you think; stronger than you seem; smarter than you think.”

2) Dr Seuss – Horton Hears a Who
“A person’s a person no matter no matter how small.”

3) Aesop – The Lion & the Mouse
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

4) A.A. MILNE – Winnie the Pooh:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

5) Roald Dahl – The Twits
“If you have good thoughts thy will shine out of your face like sunbeams & they will look lovely.”

6) Dr Seuss – Oh the Places You’ll Go
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who will decide where you will go.”

SOURCE: http://encurious.com/post/90982259223/quotes-from-childrens-books

TEDX Cambridge – Talks to Understand How We Work & How to Work Better Together [PART ONE]

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TEDX Cambridge – Talks to Understand How We Work & How to Work Better Together [PART ONE]

Summary of talks:
Linda Hill (Management Visionary, Business Professor)
– studies “leaders of innovation”
– across industries & across different countries
– to have innovative organisations (creating new & useful products & services) will require humans to “un-learn” their traditional notions of leadership, leadership teams & “brains trusts” more generally [as well as the focus on who is right & who us winning; not setting a direction & ensuring no one deviated from it.]
– ideas such as creating a vision [often to be innovative, this “vision” is hazy at best
– innovation is not about individual genius but collective genius
– cites example of company that has created computer-generated movies & made the genre mainstream
– process cannot typically be condensed to a “neat series of steps” (typically process is iterative, inter-related & messy)
– movie shots – some quick, others not; some shot in order, but most not – scene/content dependent
– leadership must allow individuals to contribute their “slice of genius”
– at the heart of innovation is a paradox – individual creativity & harnessing for one particular piece of work
– innovation is a journey – a collaborative problem-solving among people who have different expertise & points of view
– trial & error, false starts, & mistakes are typical (exhilarating & scary for individuals simultaneously)
– she states successful innovative organisations have three capabilities:
1. Creative Abrasion (creative marketplace of ideas through debate & discourse – amplifying difference, rather than minimising difference; it is not brainstorming where people suspend judgment, but discussion based on expertise to create options – based on diversity & subject matter conflict)
2. Creative Agility (testing & refining the ideas & options; reflect & adjust based on learning through discovery, rather than planning a future; running a series of experiments rather than pilots)
3. Creative Resolution (decision-making; “no going along to get along”; no individual or group is allowed to dominate; decisions not the sole province of the boss, but rather more inclusive)
She cites another company – this time a well known search engine company:
– allowing talented people to play out their passions

Innovative organisations allows people to be creative & be willing to use that creativity o solve problems

New leadership looks like:
– building a sense of community – a world to which people want to belong, like a public square where people will interact
– building the three capabilities
– anyone, regardless of role/level, can contribute
– where all “disruptors & minority voices can speak up & be heard”
– talented people “don’t want to follow, they want to co-contribute”
– “nurture the bottom up”
– not a dictator of viewpoints, but rather an aggregator of viewpoints
– hire people who argue with you
– “the social architect rather than the visionary”
– not having everyone “looking up (to the boss)” but outwards – unleash the power of the many & release the stranglehold of the few

Source: http://tedxinnovations.ted.com/2015/02/15/playlist-talks-to-understand-how-we-work-and-how-to-work-better-together/

CRIPPLING WORKLOAD – Mental Illness in the Australian Workplace (RN ABC)

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CRIPPLING WORKLOAD – Mental Illness in the Australian Workplace (RN ABC)

Summary:
– mental illness – main reason workers take extended sick leave &/or become incapacitated (research by dr Sam Harvey, Psychiatrist – based on national health surveys conducts in the period 2001 to 2011)
– costs also for the economy ($10.9 Bn annually cited – source: The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance)
– affects 1 in 5 workers annually
– stigma/prejudice still present
– cites case of teacher not being supported in workplace
– high rates of depression within the law & Federal Court Judge’s own experience with depression (Justice Shane Marshall), as well as instances of bullying
– mental illness extends across all industries
– dr Harvey – mental illness accounts for 10% of workers compensation claims & 1/3 of workers compensation budgets (reason cited: psychological injury takes longer to recover from than physical injury; figures cited – 14.2 weeks away from work when a psychological injury c/w 4.8 weeks lost from work for a muscular-skeletal injury)
– professor from Deakin Uni – costs of mental illness are tip of iceberg when one considers issues of turn-over, retraining, & “presenteeism”; also states he believes that – due to stigma – for every one workers compensation claim (psychological injury) made, some 30 go unreported
– makes point about job strain arising as a result of people having high-demanding jobs, but little control about how to get the job done
– cites figures that such work conditions exist for approx 22% of women & 18% of men
– mental illness in the workplace is often ignored as a health & safety problem

SOURCE: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/crippling-workload/6130900

How your job can be positive for your mental health – suggestions fom Headpace

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Employment can assist with mental health recovery while continuing to provide the individual with financial security.

summary of article:

– work provides structure & routine

– work provides/contributes a sense of meaning & purpose

– provides opportunities for social inclusion & support

Possible barriers:

– reduced self-confidence

– peer pressure/social stigma & possible discrimination from employer &/or colleagues

– uncertainty about support available

– continuing concerns that workplace stress issues have not been adequately addressed, coupled with loss of connection with work & colleagues

Plan RTW (Return to Work)

– regular catch-ups ith employer/colleagues so as to “stay in the loop”

– letting employer know if you wish to receive visits from colleagues

– consider letting employer contact GP

reources are also available from the link, plus a personal story video, advice on making adjustments & workplace rights

http://www.headsup.org.au/taking-care-of-myself-at-work/working-with-a-mental-health-condition?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_term=Benefits%20of%20work%20&utm_content=hu_employee&utm_campaign=headsup
Source: Headspace & beyond blue @

The Blueprint of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy [Beck Institute]

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The Blueprint of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
– it’s not just a toolbox of techniques
– CBT is an architecture
Blueprint:
– individuals in the course of their development experience certain vulnerabilities
– mal-adaptive attitudes/inflexible beliefs
– can permeate their whole personality leading to a personality disorder
– negative attitudes can be activated by a whole series of things that can impinge on an individual’s ability to function
– perception of all events in a biased way & spreads to other areas
– reality is distorted by internal workings of the mind
– cognitive restructuring – no longer seeing things as just mainly black or white
– changes biased beliefs of I’m no good/unloveable etc.,
– change in attitudes & beliefs/perceptions (I.e. see the positive too)
– people who are depressed see things negatively

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=07JqktJGyyA

Concerns mandatory reporting is putting doctors at risk – Radio National [calls for change to laws & working environments]

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Concerns mandatory reporting is putting doctors at risk – Radio National [calls for change to laws & working environments]

Summary:
– conundrum – mandatory reporting forces doctors to hide mental illness from other doctors for fear of being mandatorily reported
– doctors are traveling to WA for treatment of their own mental health issues to avoid mandatory reporting which applies in other states – this is because WA is exempt from the mandatory reporting requirements
– doctors can be reported under the categories of inappropriate conduct & impairment, with a notification leading to suspension or restrictions placed upon their practice & information being placed on the AHPRA website
– reports in media about recent deaths of four young doctors (3 psychiatric registrars & 1 medical intern, all working in public hospitals) has highlighted these fears & how they potentially impact upon a doctor’s likelihood to seek as early as possible treatment for mental health related issues
– a review of mandatory reporting laws has recently been completed, but is not yet public; however the review is expected to be tabled at the April meeting of the Council Of Australian Governments (many in the medical profession are reported to be hoping that the laws revert to the West Australian model (& this has been further supported by 2 medical insurers)
– working environment issues also cited, as was extra duties

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2015-02-15/6083558

http://www.australianbadgeguides.com/

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We thought you may be interested in having a look at this growing online community @
http://www.australianbadgeguides.com/buy-the-guides/ – particularly if interested in Australian social & cultural history dating back to WW1 (as shown in Australia’s fundraising badges, buttons & pins, such as Anzac Day, Legacy Appeals etc.,) – for information our well-researched 2015 Guide to Australia’s Fundraising Buttons, Badges & Pins – Anzac Day is now available for immediate reading as a downloadable eBook using Paypal from http://www.australianbadgeguides.com/buy-the-guides/) & our 2014 Guide to Australia’s World War One Badges is also available, amongst many others.

How do you know if you need therapy?

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With the exception of the UK references, this is a timely article – if in Canberra, I can be contacted on 0467 087 300 & I practice CBT & mindfulness in particular – I appreciate it is a big step, but if the following applies to you, perhaps it is worth considering
– a relationship ending
– loss of someone close to you
– perhaps you’ve always felt at odds with the world
– do you feel you are running into the same problems time & again
– you are thinking about past traumas more often of late
– you feel your home & work life is suffering
– you are no longer enjoying the things that once gave you pleasure
– do you find yourself, eating or drinking more than usual, or are you taking drugs to cope?

Source: https://psychologies.co.uk/how-do-you-know-if-you-need-therapy

KIDSMATTER – HELPING CHILDREN RESOLVE CONFLICT

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KIDSMATTER – HELPING CHILDREN RESOLVE CONFLICT

Summary:
– friends can have conflicts too
– children need to have relationship repair skills
– conflict is a normal occurrence in life
– children who have the skills to manage conflict are
– happier
– have stronger relationships &
– learn better at school
– many parents let children sort it out themselves – hence why the loudest often works
– other parents jump in & “fix”
– suggests trying this when child disagrees with friends /siblings
1. Ask all sides for their side of the story
2. Have children state their own needs & wants by asking them what thy want
3. Help children listen & understand the needs & wants of the other
4. Help children think of different ways to solve the problem – assist & encourage the children to develop solutions
5. Help develop win-win solutions
6. Put solution into action & review

https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/families/enewsletter/helping-children-resolve-conflict

POSITIVE PARENTS – LOVE COURAGEOUSLY

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POSITIVE PARENTS – LOVE COURAGEOUSLY

Summary
– Courageous love is expressive

– consider using:
– touch (physical) races, wrestles, hugs
– tell them in words (praise, affection)
– time focused on them & them alone
– gifts – a gift or token of your love
– service – like helping him or her with his/her chores

Ask your child to name three things that make him/her feel loved the most
– journal it
– make a point of doing it /showing it each day

Source: http://www.positive-parents.org/2015/02/love-courageously-challenge-day-six.html

Protect yourself from anger: Learn to boost confidence and composure

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Protect yourself from anger: Learned to boost confidence and composure

Summary:
– grievous are the consequences of anger as much as the causes of it
– concept of “ego anger” with irrational demands, recurrent & lingering features
– consequences can include:
– physical violence
– relationship loss
– when expressing anger, people tune into the emotion rather than the substance
– long-term health risks
– concept of “anger traps”
– confident composure:
– recognise you can only directly command yourself
– can influence controllable events only
– you have psychological resources to defuse conflicts & finesse those conflicts (I.e. responding flexibly & effectively)

Blame-Anger Factor
– holding onto anger is like holding onto something ready to throw it at another person
– “road of life” analogy – rarely smooth – full of challenges, frustrations, stress, blame
– it is normal to blame those you believe caused you pain
– condemning & punishing is like holding onto something
– confidence to take charge of yourself & adversity (despite the anxiety caused)
– you have options – to stress yourself or
– to problem-solve & exude confident composure
– begin by showing empathy to others important to you & thereby building relationships
– control your own reactions
– deep-breathing;
– buy time to calm down
– examine anger assumptions – why you believe it is ok to get angry
– change from “ego anger” to “enlightened” – why play the game of “anger”?
– accept reality – the situation is as it is
– make Your anger/impatience/frustration the target of change
– defuse & let go of the anger

The Anger-Anxiety-Procrastinaation Connection
– confrontation anxiety
– or is it more realistic to be assertive, noting it is difficult but more helpful & effective than bottling it all up
– procrastination is used to avoid confrontation
– put off procrastination by
1. Accepting there is a problem which needs to be addressed/changed
2. Break steps down into plunks – smaller, planned chunks
3. Develop a positive, can do form of reasoning
4. Accept her emotions without ignoring/distracting herself
5. Change her behaviour & act as though she can do it without argument or anger

Aristotle – Anyone can become angry. That is easy. To be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, & in the right way… That is not easy.

– ego anger is triggered by irrational demands & expectations & it may seem automatic (as if caused by something)
– however, you do have a choice to think, feel & act differently.
– believe you can respond reflectively & effectively, & then do so
– practice makes progress, & when mistakes are made, practice repair

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-and-sensibility/201104/protect-yourself-anger

http://rebtnetwork.org/

How highly successful people deal with depression

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How highly successful people deal with depression

Summary of article:
– develop a goal with therapy
– so as to steadily achieve little wins which, together, eventually amount to change
– be willing to examine the arc of your life – that is your early experiences – to think deeply about your past
– stop self-sabotaging
– think about themselves & their life in new ways
– recognise that past traumas can come into their lives, & overwhelm them, leading them back to a child-like place (& way if thinking, feeling & behaving)
– “flooding” of old traumas – knowing ow to recognise them & pull yourself out of the situation
– identify triggers for depression as soon as they start
– are prepared to invest in therapy (e.g. cited in article – person has therapy 4 hrs/week)
– person states one session per week did not work for him (three for himself & one with his partner)
– identify patterns & implications of arguments with loved ones
– working out treatment – therapy, medication or combination pharmacotherapy
– also with exercise, pastimes/hobbies, journaling, faith/spirituality
– they recognise that depression “just happens” & is not a “personality flaw/weakness”
– it is a true disorder, not a shortcoming
– typically has multi-factorial cause
– they recognise recovery from depression takes time & a lot of work
– are not prepared to be stigmatised because of their illness
– are mindful of signs

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/04/the-most-powerful-ways-to-beat-depression/

The Genetics of Depression

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The Genetics of Depression

Summary:
– It can be deeply debilitating
– 1 in 7 Australians experience at some time in their life
– Depression is at the top of the list of chronic diseases affecting people worldwide (& also the as test growing type of chronic disability in the world)
– It is also the condition most likely to take you out of work, out of school & to non-participation in your family
– it is linked to suicide, AOD (Alcohol and other Drugs) problems, relationship breakdowns
– biopsychosocial causes – personality, circumstances, genetics (I.e. where it known to often run in families)
– depression is thought to be 1/3 caused by genetics & the rest – environment: stressful life events (moving house, relationship problems, difficulties at work)
– twin studies further confirm that depression runs in families, with identical twins more likely to have a similar depression type than non-identical twins
– interview with one girl – She believed the cause of her depression to be loneliness & lack of support – depression ran in the family; she developed a toolkit approach – 30 minutes exercise per day; 10 minutes meditation; she had a list of people she could call when feeling sad – she said this list was vital because when depressed she often forgot there was anyone in the world who cared
– she notes that she believed at the time she had changed,more personality had changed & that she would never get better
– she believes depression is still a taboo topic [she notes her mum’s advice: treat it like a broken leg; if everyone had a broken leg then they would all have an identity crisis, but a broken leg is not an identity crisis – it is a broken leg – everyone in society accepts a broken leg – but society uses the brain as an identifier of you the person – therefore, this just makes it that bit more difficult to overcome]
– she participated in the Australian Genetics of Depression Study – part of one of the world’s largest studies [a 5 year study into all the various types & presentations of depression]
– another woman: 45 & diagnosed with blood cancer – developed depression & anxiety which manifested themselves with the following symptoms
– confusion, emotional, loss of functionality at home, unable to motivate herself to get out of bed, & fear/anxiety

So, how does depression impact and change the brain?
[This can be now known due to brain imaging/scanning or fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Images) studies]
– Structural changes in the frontal lobes of the brain
– Structural changes in the temporal lobes
– Structural changes in the hippocampi (associated with memory)
[These changes were also related to how long you had depression; Whether you have had a relapse of depression; And whether you had sought treatment – no treatment changes the brain architecture over time – much like any organ in the body left untreated]

Genome-Wide Association Scan Technique (to locate the hundred of genes involved & which interact with the environment)
– has powered a breakthrough in complex disease genetics
– it can find genes associated with schizophrenia (170 genes are associated with it)
– the search is now on for depression-related genes – the company in Brisbane (?) is looking for volunteers to provide a saliva sample (based on people having received a depression of diagnosis)

– depression is a big umbrella term
– the study can help identify whether depression is circadian in basis (body clock)
– SSRI – very good for anxiety-type forms of depression

Later in the day people (rather than morning person) are more associated with depression
Body clocks are chaotic – associated with Bipolar Depression
– changes in seasons often disrupt personal body clocks

Source: ABC RN | All in the Mind | Podcast date: 25 June 2017

Five Signs of PTSD (Disorder must be caused by an outside event – such as combat, trauma, or witnessing an event, plus cumulative trauma for case workers, reporters for e.g.)

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Five Signs of PTSD (Disorder must be caused by an outside event – such as combat, trauma, or witnessing an event, plus cumulative trauma for case workers, reporters for e.g.)

Summary:
Childhood trauma case study 1.- nightmares, flashback & panic attacks
– people did
Symptoms:
1) Intrusion or re-experiencing – flashbacks – So realistic and you really live the traumatic experience – There are often triggers
2) Hyper arousal or reactivity – Constantly on edge & paranoid about perceived danger & self-harm/aggression to self/others
3) Avoidance (places, memories, strong emotions) – Can use AOD to not feel
4) Negative thoughts about the self, others and the world are universal in PTSD
– They can also take the form of asking questions why
– The future is often not able to be seen
5) Dissociation: Feeling of being detached from who you are & your own body; The feeling that you are not real – for example not recognising yourself in the mirror; The world itself may not seem real – as if things were not really happening
– This is the brains way of getting away from the trauma

Source: Savvy Psychologist Podcast 21 October 2016

Three Toxic Thinking Habits that Feed Your Insecurity

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Three Toxic Thinking Habits that Feed Your Insecurity

Summary:
– Another word for toxic thinking habits is cognitive distortion
– They are difficult to change because they often “feel right”
– All human beings do cognitive distortion is from time to time

1) Emotional reasoning [particularly harmful in the context of relationships]
– Mistakes feelings for fact
– If you feel guilty it must be your fault
– if you feel anxious something bad must be about to happen
– Because I feel jealous – It proves you are cheating on me
– Because I feel vulnerable – we must be about to break up
2) Mind reading
– You’re insecure thinking puts judgements into other people’s heads – Making you think other people are judging you and are about to reject you
– You might also mind read that you believe others feel superior to you
3) Personalisation
– such thinking – Everything is about you
– Leads to self blame / paranoia

Tips to help manage these three toxic thinking happens:
– Half the battle is catching yourself (when you notice your mood plummets
1) Put your thoughts on trial – You need hard evidence / facts – not gut feelings or intuitions
2) Act confident & secure – Also known as taking “opposite action” to what you would normally do
– Act the way you want to feel, and your thoughts will eventually catch up
3) Inoculate yourself against insecurity
– You have serious questions about your confidence & worth
– Prepare for doubts, by planning ahead with realistic expectations &
– No matter what I do, some people will not like me
– Develop realistic mantras that target your insecurity
– Repeat your mantra over and over – this is a way of facing your insecurity and thereby extinguishing your insecurity

Source: Savvy Psychologist Podcast | 12 May 2017

Five ways to Rebuild Broken Trust

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Five ways to Rebuild Broken Trust

Summary:
– Trust cannot be guaranteed
– Once lost, it takes lots of time and work to rebuild
– Trust goes beyond cheating (There are many ways we can betray trust – relapse regarding alcohol use; Letting us down; Lying; Leaving us when they were supposed to protect us)
– Trust is comfort in your partners presence
– Depending on your partner gives you more
– Trust means not having to protect yourself around your partner
– Trust is the willingness to be vulnerable because you know you will be cared for
– What are your reasons to rebuild trust?
– Or in other words, what do you get out of this relationship?
– Real trust has intrinsic worth (Making each other laugh; The benefits of being a team; Respect; Being each other’s biggest fan) not transactional benefits such as money,status etc.,

How to rebuild trust:
1) Know this will take time
– Partners should not tell you why aren’t you over this yet?
– Similarly, at every disagreement the partners passed should not be dredged up again
2) A real apology should be delivered
– I am sorry that I did…
[It should not justify, minimise, blame or urge you to just get over it – These are not real apologies]
– Real apologies should: Take responsibility, express remorse, Understands why you are hurt are hurt, and promises to make amends
3) Gather evidence of dependability and predictability
– Go through situations where the partner will be true and kind & transparent
– For example: Going to therapy; Deciding on goals together, Being transparent about where you are and when you will return; agreements about doing things
4) Focus on the here and now
– Ask yourself: Are you prone to rumination about a past or a possible future without coming to a decision
5) Take a leap of faith (Not the religious kind)
– The belief that your partner will act in loving and kind ways
– Being vulnerable is the only way to discover whether your partner will or will not let you down again
[Not a one size fits-all temp late]

Source: Savvy Psychologist Podcast | 26 May 2017

There’s More to OCD than Hand-washing

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There’s More to OCD than Hand-washing

Summary:
– people with OCD have difficulties with unwanted thoughts
– OCD affects 500,000 Australians & manifests in many ways:
– intrusive thoughts
– intrusive images
– intrusive impulses
– anxiety is felt, with repetitive actions &/or thoughts to make anxiety Go away
– most people know about contamination anxiety leading to excessive hand washing
– but this is just one type
– more common rituals are harming/aggressive obsessions
– bad things happening to self or loved ones
– inappropriate sexual thoughts

Causes of OCD?
– personality
– temperament
– early upbringing
– things running in the family

– vast amounts of time are spent in rituals and this causes stress
– people are often embarrassed about seeking treatment

Treatment
– accepting you can have thoughts in your head, but that you do not have to do anything with them

Some common compulsions include:
– skin picking
– hair pulling
– excessive cleaning – self/house
– checking things
– counting things

Source: ABC @ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-21/what-is-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/8637554

Workplace Bullying: recognising & surviving it

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Workplace Bullying: recognising & surviving it

Story about Caroline Dean (prison worker at Risdon Prison in Hobart, Tasmania):
– culture of bullying
– sustained intimidation
– she received more than just harsh words/disrespect from colleagues
– she developed mental health issues
– she became hyper-vigilant to threat
– discusses prison culture & one prison system in Tasmania
– the rehabilitation work she did was not respected by other staff (& was met with hostility) who were more focused upon ongoing punishment of prisoners (who were often referred to as “scum”) NOT rehabilitation
– she notes how “freeing” journaling is for prisoners to find out things about themselves in a non-confrontational/threatening way
– the workplace was “command & control” & operated on instilling fear
Other ways bullying was manifested to her:
– snide comments made to her
– being talked about indirectly while present (veiled threat-like behaviour / intimidation – for e.g. That they planned to do a strip-search) & said in a public forumn
– surveillance of her after hours via security cameras (a system in place for prison security, but which had been abused due to a lack of checks & balances)
– accusations /official complaints made about her – trafficking in contraband & stealing prison plans
– watched closely
– being not allowed to bring in equipment without it being checked at security
– she was let known that she was not trusted by the majority of management
– she was isolated/singled out – nothing she did was ever right & was always criticised
– she was told she could not come in
– she was referred to in the parliament of Tasmania

She sought psychological therapy subsequently:
– she learnt that she had disrupted a system which had become “normalised”
– this helped her realise that the behaviour directed towards her was “not personal”, but rather institutional bullying
– she talked about her behaviours – such as being assertive & asking questions – she realised this was not warranted & not her fault
– she learned her fears were irrational, & note hypervigilance, fearfulness & paranoia
– she learnt about her communication style & how it may inadvertently impact on others
– she was angry about the unfairness of her treatment
– helped her to gain perspective
– she got active & became a lobbyist/activist for anti-bullying, as well as learnt as much as she could about bullying
– she notes sleep & diet problems (eating a lot of take-out) eroded her Wellbeing & resilience
– her focus is on respect & workplace behaviour policies outlining expectations for respectful behaviour/communication
– bullying is different to conflict (put-down, degrading, humiliating, high-level of sick leave)
– she notes people”game” the system regarding bullying & lodge malicious complaints
– managers have a huge role in setting the tone & role-modelling in a workplace
– often managers are unaware of their inter-personal effects, because they have often been promoted on the basis of technical skills

She now offers corporate training regarding bullying within organisations

She also did a TED Talk about her personal experience of bullying

Source: ABC Conversations | podcast date: 15 June 2017