How to tell if your child or teen is addicted to screen time or gaming

Gaming and screen time addiction behaviours can manifest differently in children and teens, but here are some common signs and behaviors to look out for:

  1. Preoccupation with Screens: Children or teens addicted to gaming or excessive screen time may constantly think about screens, eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to play games or engage with digital devices. They may exhibit restlessness or become irritable when unable to access screens.

  2. Loss of Interest in Other Activities: One significant indicator of addiction is a noticeable decline in interest or participation in activities that were once enjoyed, such as sports, hobbies, or social interactions. Screen time takes precedence over other aspects of their lives.

  3. Difficulty Controlling Usage: Children or teens addicted to screens may have difficulty controlling the amount of time spent on gaming or digital devices. They may struggle with adhering to agreed-upon screen-time limits and may feel compelled to continue using screens despite negative consequences.

  4. Neglected Responsibilities: Addiction to gaming and screen time can lead to neglect of academic responsibilities, chores, or personal hygiene. Falling grades, incomplete assignments, and poor performance in other areas of life may be observed.

  5. Withdrawal Symptoms: When access to screens is restricted or taken away, children or teens with addiction tendencies may exhibit withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in substance-related addictions. These symptoms may include irritability, restlessness, anxiety, and even depression.

  6. Escalation of Usage: Addiction often leads to an escalation in screen time and gaming behavior. Children or teens may require increasing amounts of time to achieve the desired level of satisfaction or stimulation. They may also engage in secretive behavior to hide the extent of their screen time from parents or caregivers.

  7. Interference with Sleep: Excessive screen time, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns. Children or teens addicted to screens may experience difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep due to overstimulation from gaming or digital activities.

  8. Social Isolation: Excessive screen time can lead to social isolation. Children or teens may withdraw from social interactions, preferring to spend their time alone with screens rather than engaging with peers or participating in family activities.

It’s important to note that these behaviors alone may not indicate addiction, as occasional and controlled screen time is a part of modern life. However, if these behaviours are persistent, intense, and significantly impact various aspects of a child’s life, it may be a sign of an addiction issue.

If you suspect that a child or teen may be struggling with gaming or screen time addiction, it is advisable to seek professional guidance from healthcare providers, therapists, or counselors who specialize in behavioral addictions or child psychology.

Read More

Supporting Parents: Effective Strategies for Dealing with Children Addicted to Gaming and Screen-Time

Child and teen screen and gaming addiction

In today’s digital age, it’s becoming increasingly common for children to develop addictive behaviours towards gaming and excessive screen-time.

As parents, it can be challenging to navigate this territory and find effective strategies to support our children while ensuring their well-being. In this article, we will explore ways to assist parents dealing with children addicted to gaming and screen-time. We will also delve into the effects of excessive screen-time on children’s physical and mental health.

  1. Understand the Effects of Excessive Screen-Time: Excessive screen-time can have a profound impact on a child’s well-being. Research has shown links between excessive screen use and issues such as:

a) Physical Health: Encourage parents to educate themselves about the physical consequences of excessive screen-time, such as obesity, poor sleep patterns, and sedentary lifestyles. This knowledge will help parents prioritize healthier habits for their children.

b) Mental Health: Excessive screen-time has been associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, attention problems, and social difficulties. Inform parents about these potential risks, empowering them to take action.

  1. Open Communication and Establish Boundaries: a) Set Clear Expectations: Encourage parents to communicate openly with their children about their concerns regarding excessive screen-time. Establish reasonable boundaries and rules regarding when and how much screen-time is allowed. It’s essential to involve children in this conversation to foster their understanding and cooperation.

b) Consistency is Key: Consistency in enforcing screen-time rules is crucial. Encourage parents to lead by example, limiting their own screen-time and engaging in alternative activities with their children. This approach helps create a healthier family environment.

  1. Encourage Alternative Activities:

a) Explore Interests: Encourage parents to help their children discover and pursue new hobbies and interests outside of screens. Whether it’s sports, arts, music, or other activities, engaging in these interests can provide healthy alternatives to screen-time.

b) Foster Social Connections: Help parents understand the importance of face-to-face social interactions for their child’s development. Encourage them to arrange playdates, family outings, and opportunities for their child to connect with others in meaningful ways.

  1. Utilize Parental Controls and Monitoring:

a) Implement Technology Solutions: Inform parents about the availability of parental control features and apps that can help manage and monitor their child’s screen-time. These tools can assist in setting time limits, filtering content, and promoting healthy technology use.

b) Create Tech-Free Zones and Times: Suggest that parents establish specific areas or times in the house where screens are not allowed. This can be during meal times, in bedrooms, or during family activities. Creating these designated screen-free zones helps children develop a healthier relationship with technology.

Conclusion: Helping parents navigate the challenges of managing children addicted to gaming and screen-time requires a balanced approach that combines understanding, open communication, and practical strategies. By empowering parents with effective techniques and knowledge about the impact of excessive screen-time, we can support them in guiding their children towards healthier habits and a well-rounded upbringing.

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Encourage parents to remain patient, seek professional advice if needed, and provide ongoing support as they navigate this journey. Together, we can help children find a healthy balance in their relationship with technology and foster their overall well-being.

Do you have any other questions or topics you’d like us to explore further? Reach out or book a counselling parenting support session.

References:

Not sure if addiction is the issue. Check out our post on behaviours that point towards gaming or screen addiction.

Read More

Perceiving the World Through Altered Eyes: Understanding How PTSD Changes the Sufferer’s View from a Polyvagal Perspective

Trauma counselling image

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex condition that not only affects the mind but also alters the way individuals view the world around them. By examining PTSD through the lens of the polyvagal theory, we can gain insights into the body’s autonomic nervous system responses to trauma, shedding light on the altered perception experienced by sufferers. In this blog post, we will delve into how PTSD changes the way individuals view the world, drawing from the principles of the polyvagal theory and its implications for healing and recovery.

  1. Understanding the Polyvagal Theory
  • Introducing the Polyvagal theory and its relevance to PTSD
  • Exploring the three states of the autonomic nervous system: ventral vagal, sympathetic, and dorsal vagal
  • How trauma disrupts the body’s autonomic balance
  1. The Impact of Trauma on Perception
  • Examining the altered perceptions experienced by individuals with PTSD
  • Hyperarousal and hypervigilance: A heightened sense of threat and danger
  • The disconnect between actual and perceived levels of safety
  1. Altered Social Engagement and Connection
  • The role of the ventral vagal system in social engagement
  • How trauma affects the ability to trust and connect with others
  • Repercussions for relationships and social interactions
  1. Perceptual Filters and Cognitive Processing
  • How trauma shapes the cognitive processing of information
  • Heightened reactivity and distorted perceptions of reality
  • The impact on memory, attention, and decision-making
  1. Healing and Recovery from a Polyvagal Perspective
  • The importance of creating a safe environment for trauma survivors
  • Techniques for regulating the autonomic nervous system and promoting safety
  • Integrating the principles of the polyvagal theory into therapeutic interventions
  1. Cultivating Resilience and Restoring Perception
  • Building self-awareness and self-regulation skills
  • Engaging in trauma-informed therapies to reframe perceptions
  • Rediscovering a sense of safety, connection, and trust in the world

Conclusion: Through the lens of the polyvagal theory, we can begin to grasp how PTSD alters the way individuals perceive the world. Understanding the impact of trauma on the autonomic nervous system provides valuable insights into the challenges faced by sufferers and paves the way for trauma-informed interventions that promote healing and recovery. By recognizing the altered perceptions of those with PTSD, we can foster empathy, support, and provide effective strategies for restoring a sense of safety, connection, and trust in the world.

Read More

What is Childhood Emotional Neglect

Childhood emotional neglect

Childhood Emotional Neglect: Understanding the Invisible Hurt

Childhood emotional neglect is a subtle yet profound form of childhood trauma that often goes unnoticed or unrecognized. Unlike other forms of abuse or neglect that involve active harm or deprivation, emotional neglect is characterized by the absence or unresponsiveness of emotional support and nurturing during a child’s developmental years. It occurs when a child’s emotional needs are consistently overlooked, minimized, or disregarded by their caregivers or environment.

Signs of Childhood Emotional Neglect:

Low self esteem

Chronic pleasing people or cry for help- avoiding abandonment or rejection at any cost

Outbursts of anger and frustration

Depression

Anxiety

Easily overwhelmed

Inability to self-discipline

Difficulty trusting people

Unexplained pain eg. fibromyalgia

Dissociation especially from affection

School difficulties

Confusion in self or self expression

Fear of rejection

 

Childhood emotional neglect can develop from:

  1. Lack of Emotional Validation: Emotional neglect often involves caregivers failing to acknowledge, validate, or respond to a child’s emotions. The child’s feelings and expressions may be dismissed, ignored, or invalidated, leaving them feeling unheard and invalidated.

  2. Absence of Emotional Connection: Children require emotional connections with their caregivers to feel safe, loved, and secure. Emotional neglect can manifest when caregivers are emotionally distant, unresponsive, or preoccupied, leaving the child feeling emotionally disconnected and unimportant.

  3. Ignoring Developmental Milestones: Emotional neglect can occur when caregivers fail to provide guidance, support, and encouragement during important developmental milestones. This neglect can hinder a child’s emotional growth, autonomy, and self-esteem.

  4. Inadequate Attention to Emotional Needs: Emotional neglect often involves a lack of attention or responsiveness to a child’s emotional needs. Caregivers may prioritize physical or material needs while overlooking the child’s need for emotional warmth, comfort, and understanding.

  5.  

The long-term effects of childhood emotional neglect can be far-reaching and impact various areas of an individual’s life, including:

  1. Emotional Well-being: Adults who experienced childhood emotional neglect may struggle with regulating their emotions, identifying and expressing their feelings, and forming healthy relationships. They may experience a persistent sense of emptiness, low self-esteem, and difficulties trusting others.

  2. Self-Worth and Identity: Emotional neglect can undermine a child’s sense of self-worth and personal identity. As adults, they may struggle with self-doubt, a lack of confidence, and an inner critic that constantly questions their value and abilities.

  3. Intimacy and Relationships: Emotional neglect can impede the development of secure attachments and healthy relationship patterns. Adults who experienced emotional neglect may struggle with intimacy, vulnerability, and maintaining meaningful connections with others.

  4. Self-Care and Self-Nurturing: Individuals who have experienced emotional neglect may find it challenging to prioritize self-care and practice self-nurturing behaviors. They may struggle with setting boundaries, recognizing their own needs, and seeking support and comfort.

It is important to note that emotional neglect is often unintentional, and caregivers may themselves have experienced neglect or have difficulties in understanding and meeting emotional needs. Recognizing the impact of childhood emotional neglect is crucial to breaking the cycle and seeking healing and support.

Recovery from childhood emotional neglect involves acknowledging the past experiences, seeking therapy or counseling to process the emotions and develop healthy coping strategies, and actively working on self-compassion and self-care. By nurturing their emotional well-being, individuals can begin to heal the invisible wounds of childhood emotional neglect and reclaim their sense of self-worth and emotional fulfillment.

Read More

5 Empowering Ways to Cultivate Lasting Self-Esteem

Building Self-esteem

Self-esteem is the foundation of our mental and emotional well-being. It impacts our relationships, achievements, and overall happiness. Building and nurturing self-esteem is an ongoing process that requires attention, practice, and self-compassion. In this blog post, we will explore five unique and empowering ways to build self-esteem that can help you develop a stronger sense of self and thrive in all areas of life.

  1. Embrace Self-Compassion:

Self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. It involves acknowledging your imperfections and failures without harsh self-judgment. Cultivating self-compassion allows you to develop a healthy relationship with yourself and counter negative self-talk. Remember to offer yourself the same compassion and empathy you would offer a dear friend in challenging times.

Action Steps:

  • Practice self-talk: Replace self-critical thoughts with self-compassionate and supportive statements.
  • Engage in self-care: Prioritize activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul, such as exercise, meditation, and hobbies.
  • Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals for guidance and encouragement.

 

  1. Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate Achievements:

Setting realistic goals and celebrating your accomplishments, big or small, is vital for building self-esteem. When you set achievable goals and actively work towards them, you develop a sense of competence and self-worth. Acknowledging and celebrating your achievements reinforces positive self-perception and motivates you to continue growing.

Action Steps:

  • Identify your values and aspirations: Reflect on your passions and interests to set meaningful goals aligned with your values.
  • Break goals into manageable steps: Divide larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks to maintain motivation and track progress.
  • Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge and reward yourself for reaching milestones, even if they seem minor. Treat yourself to something you enjoy or engage in a meaningful self-affirmation ritual.

 

  1. Practice Self-Expression:

Self-expression allows you to authentically communicate your thoughts, emotions, and creativity. Engaging in activities that facilitate self-expression can boost self-esteem by fostering a deeper connection with your true self and amplifying your unique voice.

Action Steps:

  • Journaling: Write freely and openly about your experiences, feelings, and dreams. Journaling promotes self-reflection, clarity, and self-awareness.
  • Artistic outlets: Explore various creative outlets, such as painting, singing, dancing, or playing an instrument, to express yourself without fear of judgment.
  • Public speaking or joining a club: Practice articulating your thoughts and opinions in a supportive environment, like a public speaking club or a hobby-based group.

 

  1. Cultivate Resilience:

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, challenges, and failures. Developing resilience is crucial for building self-esteem because it allows you to view difficulties as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as reflections of personal worth.

Action Steps:

  • Reframe setbacks: Instead of dwelling on failure, view setbacks as valuable lessons and opportunities for personal development.
  • Practice self-reflection: Reflect on your strengths and areas for growth, and focus on continuous improvement rather than perfection.
  • Build a support network: Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals who encourage you to persevere during challenging times.

 

  1. Engage in Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations:

The way we talk to ourselves significantly influences our self-esteem. By replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations, you can shift your mindset and build a more positive self-perception.

Action Steps:

  • Identify negative self-talk patterns: Pay attention to the negative thoughts that arise throughout the day. Challenge and replace them with positive, realistic statements.

Read More

10 signs of birth trauma in babies and children

birth trauma unsettled baby

As parents, we want nothing more than to protect our children from harm and ensure that they grow up happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. However, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, and our children may experience trauma that can have a lasting impact on their emotional and physical well-being.

One type of trauma that can affect babies and children is birth trauma, which refers to any physical or emotional harm that occurs during the birth process. If your child has experienced a traumatic birth, it’s important to recognize the signs and seek help to address any issues that may arise. Here are ten signs of birth trauma to look out for:

    1. Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
    2. Difficulty breastfeeding or feeding in general
    3. Reflux or colic-like symptoms
    4. Extreme fussiness or irritability
    5. Excessive crying or inability to be comforted
    6. Hypersensitivity to touch or movement
    7. Muscle tension or stiffness
    8. Difficulty regulating body temperature or breathing patterns
    9. Delayed developmental milestones
    10. Reduced social interaction or increased withdrawal

Birth trauma can be caused by any event before or during birthing such as the umbilical cord being caught around the babies neck causing difficulty breathing, baby being stuck and requiring forceps delivery or c section, baby requiring emergency procedures before or after birth, and other events that can cause shock, or trauma in the birthing process.  Somatic therapy and counselling can help babies with birth trauma by addressing their physical symptoms, helping to regulate their nervous system, help them complete stuck processes, and providing a safe and nurturing environment for healing, parental support and recovery. Mums can suffer from birth trauma to. Seek support from an experienced trauma therapist if you think you might have experienced a traumatic birth. This can include miscarriage, still birth, c sections or emergency procedures.

Mom female hands teach the infant baby toddler to push

Read More

The importance of safety in relationships

Relationship counselling image

The Importance of Safety in Relationships: An introduction to Polyvagal Theory and how it helps in understanding relationships

Human beings are social animals, and our ability to form and maintain meaningful relationships is central to our survival and well-being. Yet, relationships can be fraught with difficulties, misunderstandings, and even trauma. One key factor that shapes the quality of our relationships is the sense of safety that we feel with others. In this post, we’ll explore the importance of safety in relationships from the perspective of Polyvagal Theory.

Polyvagal Theory, developed by neuroscientist Dr. Stephen Porges, provides a framework for understanding how our autonomic nervous system (ANS) responds to cues of safety and danger in our environment. According to Polyvagal Theory, the ANS has evolved to detect and respond to threats in a hierarchical manner, with different circuits being activated depending on the nature and intensity of the perceived danger.

At the bottom of the hierarchy is the freeze response, which is activated when a person perceives a threat that is overwhelming or inescapable. This response is characterized by immobilization, dissociation, and a shutdown of bodily functions such as breathing and digestion. When we’re in a state of freeze, we’re not able to engage with others or form meaningful relationships.

The next level up in the hierarchy is the fight or flight response, which is activated when a person perceives a threat that can be overcome by either fighting or running away. This response is characterized by increased heart rate, respiration, and muscle tension, and is designed to prepare us for action. However, when we’re in a state of fight or flight, we may be too agitated or reactive to engage in constructive communication or connection with others.

Finally, at the top of the hierarchy is the social engagement system, which is activated when a person perceives safety and a sense of connection with others. This response is characterized by the release of hormones such as oxytocin and the activation of the ventral vagus nerve, which regulates heart rate, breathing, and digestion. When we’re in a state of social engagement, we’re able to connect with others, communicate effectively, and form meaningful relationships.

So what does this mean for our relationships? It means that creating a sense of safety and connection with others is essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships. When we feel safe, our social engagement system is activated, allowing us to communicate effectively, empathize with others, and engage in constructive problem-solving. On the other hand, when we feel threatened or unsafe, our ANS may activate the fight or flight response, making it difficult to communicate effectively and damaging our relationships.

Of course, creating a sense of safety in relationships is easier said than done. Many of us have experienced trauma or difficult life circumstances that have shaped our nervous systems in ways that make it difficult to feel safe with others. Additionally, our current social and political climate can create a sense of threat and uncertainty that can activate our fight or flight response.

However, by understanding the role of the ANS in shaping our social behavior, we can begin to cultivate practices that help us feel more safe and connected with others. Some practices that may be helpful include:

  1. Mindfulness: By practicing mindfulness, we can learn to observe our thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them. This can help us regulate our nervous system and respond to social cues in a more flexible and adaptive manner.

  2. Self-compassion: By cultivating self-compassion, we can create a sense of safety within ourselves that can help us feel more secure in our relationships with others.

  3. Connection: By cultivating connections with others, we can activate our social engagement system and create a sense of safety and belonging.

  4. Trauma-informed therapy: For those who have experienced trauma, trauma-informed therapy

Happy multi-generation family gathering around dining table and having fun during a lunch.

In conclusion, the importance of safety in relationships cannot be overstated. The Polyvagal Theory provides us with a framework for understanding how our nervous system responds to social cues of safety and danger, and how this shapes our behavior in relationships. By cultivating practices that help us feel more safe and connected with others, such as mindfulness, self-compassion, connection, and trauma-informed therapy, we can create healthier and more fulfilling relationships. Ultimately, by prioritizing safety and connection in our relationships, we can create a world where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.

Read More

Seven Areas of Post Traumatic Growth Possible After Trauma Integration

Post traumatic growth, Sad woman becomes happy and free. People letting go of fears, sadness, grief and pain concept.

Experiencing trauma can be one of the most difficult and painful experiences a person can go through. But it can also be a source of profound wisdom and growth. Here are some key insights and lessons that people often learn from their experiences of trauma:

1. Resilience: Many people who have survived trauma discover that they possess a remarkable inner strength and resilience. They may find that they are able to endure and overcome challenges that they once thought were insurmountable.

2. Compassion: Surviving trauma can also deepen a person’s capacity for empathy and compassion. Having experienced pain and suffering themselves, they may be more attuned to the struggles of others and more able to offer understanding and support.

3. Gratitude: Trauma can also teach people to appreciate the good things in life more deeply. Having faced the darkness, they may have a newfound appreciation for the light, and a greater sense of gratitude for the blessings in their lives.

4. Perspective: Trauma can also provide a unique perspective on life. It can help people see what is truly important, and let go of the things that are not. It can also give them a deeper understanding of the fragility of life, and a greater sense of urgency to live each day to the fullest.

5. Courage: Surviving trauma often requires great courage, and many people find that their experiences have helped them develop greater bravery and resilience in the face of adversity.

6. Self-awareness: Trauma can also be a catalyst for self-reflection and self-awareness. People who have survived trauma may gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and their deepest desires and fears.

7. Healing: Finally, trauma can be a catalyst for profound healing and transformation. People who have experienced trauma may be forced to confront their deepest wounds and work through them in order to heal. This can lead to a greater sense of peace, fulfillment, and purpose in life.

In conclusion, while trauma is undoubtedly a difficult and painful experience, it can also be a source of profound wisdom and growth. Survivors of trauma often discover inner strength, compassion, gratitude, perspective, courage, self-awareness, and healing that they might not have otherwise found. By embracing these insights, survivors can move forward with greater resilience, empathy, and purpose in life.

A trauma therapist can play a vital role in helping someone heal from trauma and achieve post-traumatic growth. By creating a safe and supportive environment, helping to regulate emotions, developing coping strategies, addressing negative beliefs and attitudes, encouraging growth, facilitating somatic therapies, and supporting a trauma-informed lifestyle, a trauma therapist can help a person move forward from trauma with greater resilience, purpose, and fulfillment.

 

Read More

Authenticity Vs Attachment the Struggle to be You

Healing wounded self

“People have two basic needs. Attachment and authenticity.
When authenticity threatens attachment… attachment trumps authenticity.”
— Dr. Gabor Mate

 

People have many needs some basic and some more complex. As a person ages they may start to notice many aspects of their lives that are not happy and as they would like to be. People often feel they have made sacrifices to keep other people happy and in doing so they have lost a part of themselves. Sometimes people can feel they are no longer themselves at all. Many people have a strong drive to find their true-selves.

Psychospiritual development can proceed in many ways through a person’s life span. Yet it often happens in a big way when a person realizes that a pattern or belief system from childhood is no longer serving them.

As Gabor Mate said in his quote, “we’re born with a need for attachment and a need for authenticity.” Most people abandon their true-selves (authenticity) to please others and keep the relationships (attachments) even if they are ones that are toxic and destructive.

As children we learn to perform or behave in a way that will get us the support and attachment we need. We form strong belief systems that as we get into our 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s we notice issues in our lives and often are unaware of what is causing these issues. I say we because everyone does this. It is a part of life. If we have secure attachments as children and develop healthy beliefs we go on to live relatively happy fulfilling lives. However if we have had insecure, destructive or abusive attachments we develop unhealthy beliefs which go on to form many issues in the areas of relationships, work and money to name a few.

These belief systems are often untrue beliefs we form about ourselves through the interpretations of how others treated us as children and might be as simple as things like:

  • I need to always be a good boy/girl and do as others tell me
  • I always need to follow the rules
  • It’s not safe to be vulnerable
  • I need to put other’s needs first

or as complex as

I’m not worthy
It’s not safe to be me
I don’t deserve to be heard
I am hopeless
Nothing I do is good enough
I’m unlovable

Each unhealthy and untrue belief we have develops certain unhealthy behaviours and we ignore the truth of who we are and sacrifice or avoid our need for authenticity (being our true self). In turn we don’t make healthy attachments, we end up in unhappy relationships possibly even abusive ones.

As adults, we realise that our behaviours no longer serve us and that they are causing many issues and we start longing to be our authentic true selves and to be happy. We often feel unable to be themselves or feel lost.

We notice we are playing out a pattern of behaviour that isn’t working to support the attachment (relationships we really long for… and it’s killing our authentic self.

If you notice patterns of behaviour that cause issues, attract unhealthy or toxic relationships, or cause those you love to distance themselves or you feel unhappy in who you are or that you are not who you feel you want to be deep down in your soul then it may help to speak to a counsellor who understands psychospiritual transpersonal transformation.

Psychospiritual transformation is the process of discovering what those unconscious patterns from childhood are, and getting rid of the patterns that no longer serve us. We help you discover the unhealthy beliefs from your childhood and reprogram them to healthy ones that then help you be your true authentic self and develop healthy attachments (relationships) with people you love having in your life and that respect and love you for who you are.

*Sessions can be in person, by phone or video call. Call now to book your first session to see if this therapy suits you.

Read More

Difference between a Counsellor and Coach

Difference between a Counsellor and Coach

Counselling & Coaching are two of the most commonly used modalities today to support people who feel they want to improve their life.

People who are looking for improvement usually have one of two reasons for wanting to change:

1. They are unhappy and are mentally or emotionally distressed due to issues they are suffering in an area of their life.
 
2. They are happy but are wanting to reach goals and improve/develop further in an area of their life. eg relationship, business, sport etc.
 
Counselling & Coaching have a lot of similarities and both use psychological theories and modalities to support clients through problems to get to where they want to be.
 
There are some major differences that set them apart.

COUNSELLING

Counselling is a therapy, it deals with psychological and emotional personal healing and trauma recovery.

Counselling is for people with some level of dysfunction or disorder.

Counselling is a confidential service between the counsellor and the client where they work together to heal the client’s issues.

Counselling can be a short or long term process depending on the client’s needs.

Counselling concentrates on the past and present issues.

Counsellors are Diploma or Degree trained and have practical or clinic hours as part of their training.

Qualified counsellors are registered with a regulated board or professional body which follow strict codes of ethics and conduct and require supervision, training and development.

Counselling cost around $80-$250/hr and most clients use between 1 and 6 sessions. Some may continue weekly or monthly sessions as required.

COACHING

Coaching is popular for improvement in personal (life), business or sporting areas of life so I will just use “coaching” as a generalised term for all these areas of coaching.

Coaching focuses on performance improvement and personal and professional or business development.

Coaching is for people who are already functioning healthily and want to improve on what they have already developed.

Coaching takes a present and future focus.

Coaching may be between one or more parties where the coach helps the client develop skills and reach goals, parties may include a boss or teacher or sporting coach who is also invested in the clients goals.

Coaching is usually a time-limited process where both parties meet regularly to achieve an outcome.

Coaches can be qualified or unqualified and may or may not be registered and follow a strict code of conduct that requires professional development or supervision. They may have their experience from many different industries or skill areas, such as  leadership, management, counselling or psychology. Many counsellors do coaching but not all coaches are counsellors. There are slowly more peak bodies forming in the coaching industry as it is growing in popularity and hopefully that means there will be stricter codes of conduct and training and supervision requirements for the safety of clients.

Coaching costs vary from hourly sessions to yearly contracts. Some may charge $80-1500+/hr to a year costing $15 000+.

It is obvious that there are  many differences in these professions and commonly they co-exist. They can often cross over each other at times and techniques or skills are shared between them and benefit clients in many ways. Many counsellors become coaches and many coaches have had experience in counselling.

If you have any questions regarding this topic you can contact us via the contact us tab.

Read More

Depression

Girl with depression sitting alone on the floor in the dark room. Black and white photo

An Holistic Approach to Depression

Depression is a common and often debilitating mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can manifest in a variety of symptoms, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. It can also cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and changes in appetite. Depression can interfere with a person’s daily life, including their ability to work, study, and maintain relationships.

Depression can have a range of causes, including genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It can be triggered by life events such as loss, trauma, or stress, or it can develop gradually without a clear cause. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background, and it is one of the most common mental health disorders.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. While traditional treatments for depression often focus on medication and talk therapy, a holistic approach recognizes that depression is often a result of imbalances in multiple areas of a person’s life.With appropriate treatment, most people with depression can recover and lead fulfilling lives.

At our holistic wellness center, we take a comprehensive approach to understanding and treating depression. In addition to traditional therapies, we also offer a range of holistic treatments such as nutrition for mental health, counselling, exercise, and stress management techniques to help address the root causes of depression.

We believe that by addressing the whole person, we can help individuals achieve lasting recovery from depression and improve their overall well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, we encourage you to reach out for support. Our team of trained professionals is here to help you find the path to healing and happiness.

Examples of Holistic Treatments for Depression

There are several holistic treatments that may be effective in the treatment of depression. These treatments aim to address the whole person and may involve a range of physical, emotional, and spiritual interventions. Some examples of holistic treatments for depression include:

  1. Exercise and movement: Regular physical activity can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. This may include activities such as walking, yoga, or tai chi.

  2. Nutrition: A healthy diet can support overall well-being and may help to alleviate symptoms of depression. This may involve incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into the diet, and reducing the intake of processed and sugary foods.

  3. Stress management techniques: Chronic stress can contribute to the development of depression. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help to reduce stress and improve mood.

  4. Acupuncture or Acupressure: This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves the insertion of thin needles into or applying pressure to specific points on the body to promote healing and balance. Some research suggests that acupuncture may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression.

  5. Massage therapy: Massage can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which may be beneficial for those with depression.

It’s important to note that while these holistic treatments may be helpful, they should not be used as a substitute for evidence-based treatments such as medication and therapy. It is always best to work with a mental health professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.

Read More

Anxiety

Trauma counselling image

What is Anxiety?

“All anxiety derives from intolerance for uncertainty, which leads to two coping mechanisms: worry or avoidance. Worry is doubt about future events. Avoidance is distracting ourselves from the unpleasant sensation of anxiety. Anxiety can be both a temporary state and a personality trait. Generalized anxiety disorder is excessive worry about everyday issues.”

Brene Brown Atlas of the Heart

Experiencing the occasional feeling of anxiety is a very normal part of life. Life is often uncertain and if we think in certain ways we can feel anxious which will then cause us to behave in ways we wouldn’t if we were not feeling anxious.See the image below for an example of this.

Some people with anxiety disorders  experience excessive, intense and persistent worry, fear and even dread about everyday situations. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it interferes with everyday life. Anxiety disorders include repeated episodes of feeling intense anxiety, worry and fear and can turn into feelings of dread and terror that reach a peak within minutes of the initial cause (panic attacks). The cause can often be a mystery. Some people can pick the event, or thought that started the anxiety developing but often anxiety becomes a false alarm that triggers before we are even aware there is anything wrong.

Feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily living and can be difficult to control. We often experience a state of fight, flight or freeze which can feel out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time.

Anxiety may cause you to avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. Anxiety symptoms may start in childhood or teen years and continue into adulthood.

Examples of anxiety disorders include:

Generalized anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Specific phobias

Separation anxiety disorder.

People often have more than one anxiety disorder. Anxiety can result from a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism that may need treatment.

 

Symptoms of Anxiety

Some Holistic Treatment Options for Anxiety

Holistic treatments for anxiety may include interventions that address the physical, emotional, and social aspects of the condition. These treatments may include:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety.

  2. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions and learn to respond to them in a more balanced way.

  3. Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce anxiety symptoms by releasing endorphins, which are chemicals that improve mood.

  4. Nutrition: A healthy diet can help support overall well-being, including mental health.

  5. Social support: Connecting with others, whether through therapy, support groups, or social activities, can help individuals feel less isolated and improve their overall well-being.

  6. Somatic Exercises: Somatic exercises are activities that can help reduce anxiety by focusing on the body and the sensations it experiences. Activities may include mindfulness movement, Progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or tai chi or breathing exercises.

It is important to speak with a mental health professional or qualified instructor before starting somatic work. They can help you determine the best exercises for your individual needs and guide you in proper form and technique.

Read More