Thrive in Motherhood

Anxiety, uncertainty, insecurity, frustration, self-doubts, guilt, and exhaustion are common feelings shared amongst moms in the counselling room. When the role as a mother inevitably becomes exhausting sometimes, it affects the quality of their relationships with their children and further intensifies their fear of failing in their role as a mom.

In my counselling journey with many moms, I found that three main reasons often lead to overwhelming stress and frustrations during motherhood.

 1. Unrealistic expectations of motherhood

Many mothers tend to set high standards and expectations for themselves as a mother because of the desire to give their children the best. For example, we often hear mothers say “I must be there for my children when they need me.”, “I must be calm and caring to my children.”, or “I should manage my career and parenting as others do.”.

Whether these expectations are from ourselves, family, society, or culture, these can easily put mothers at risk of self-doubt and worries.

 2. Mommy guilt and the resultant lack of boundary setting

Mothers often feel torn between desiring to do something for themselves and their conflicted feelings about leaving their children alone. They might feel guilty for prioritising themselves, their career, or interests over their children, or even feel guilty for not wanting to spend time with them. This guilt can easily lead to shame and self-criticism, which results in the perception of labelling themselves as a terrible mom. These negative and conflicted feelings would impact the mental health of mothers.

 3. Suppressing individual feelings

Another common observation amongst mothers is that they often judge their negative feelings or try to hide them to be “positive” for their children. They might feel that it is essential to create a positive space for their children. Hence, allowing their negative feelings to surface would only affect their children. However, it is really important to remember that negative feelings are normal and as likely to occur as positive feelings in our life. By allowing ourselves to embrace our negative feelings, mothers also model for their children that all emotions can be embraced and validated.

So, let us take some time to reflect on motherhood, take time to take care of ourselves, and celebrate the meaningful and rewarding role of a mother.

Below are some strategies that might help you move towards balancing motherhood and yourself:

  • Take some time to reflect on your expectations of motherhood and check if they are realistic.
  • Supermoms are not superheroes as they are humans too. Recognise your needs and feelings and be honest with yourself. Validate and permit yourself to experience different kinds of emotions. There are no right or wrong feelings.
  • Most importantly, remember that your role as a mother is only one out of the many roles that you play in your life. Occasionally, allow yourself to step out from that role and indulge in your own me time. With that, you would feel more rested and recharged when you return to your role as a mother.

Happy mom! Happy children!

Written by:

Elizabeth Pan

Psychotherapist & Counsellor

SACAC Counselling

An exploration of the relationship between very superior IQ and Mood Disorders

It has long been thought that a positive correlation may exist between an individual having an IQ score of 130 or above (considered a very superior IQ) and having a mood disorder. According to Wlassoff (2014), “the fascination with genius and an obsession with finding a positive link between high intellectual potential and depression and other mental disorders dates back to the time of Hippocrates in the 4th century B.C.” (p. 9). 

Today, scientists continue to explore the concept. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as referred to in this document is measured by well-researched and validated standardised psychological tests that measure intelligence and cognitive abilities. These include: (1) Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and (2) Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Adults (WAIS-IV) and Children (WISC-IV) (various editions.) According to Maron (2003), an average IQ score ranges from 90-109. The above average IQ falls between 110-119, and the superior IQ falls between 120-129. A score above 130 is very high and considered to be very superior, and often referred to as gifted.

Temperament is especially credible as an indicator in the discussion of bipolar disorder, as it is one of the underlying indicators of personality. Some people who could be notably mentioned in this category include Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Beethoven, Tolstoy, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Winston Churchill. It cannot be a coincidence that many of those persons were considered revolutionary or genius during their specific time periods and also suffered from a debilitating mood disorder (Pediaditakis, 2014).

A mood disorder can be a disabling condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2013), 9.5% of the population suffer from mood disorders, and 45% of these cases are considered to be severe. In the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013), bipolar disorder and depressive disorder (also known simply as depression) are considered

two separate conditions. The diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder includes at least one manic episode, which may have been preceded by – or may be followed by – a hypomanic or major depressive episode. Bipolar disorder is different from depressive disorder in that mania is a cycle of high elation and deep depression. Depressive disorder, on the other hand, is a state of constant sadness. It is best described as sadness that can interfere with an individual’s life and functioning. Depressive disorders tend to involve “clear-cut changes in affect, cognition, and neuro-vegetative functions and inter-episode remissions” (DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 193). However, depressive disorder lacks the mania component, which is a hallmark of bipolar disorder.

In any event, it is hoped that further research on the relationship between a very superior IQ and the presence of a mood disorder may lead to a better understanding of the social and personality implications of those individuals from populations who fall into this category. Ideally, research will lead to early detection, more available interventions, and effective treatment for these individuals in the future. This study is composed of a literature review using various sources and databases.

References:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 

National Institutes of Health. (2013, March 18). Common Genetic Factors Found in 5 Mental Disorders. Retrieved July 04, 2016, from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/common-genetic-factors-found-5-mental-disorders

Maron, J.P. (2003). Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Retrieved July 06, 2016, from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3405700368.html

Pediaditakis, N. (2014, September 26). The association between major mental disorders and geniuses. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/association-between-major-mental-disorders-and-geniuses 

Wlassoff, V. (2014, December 18). Does high IQ increase the risk of depression and mental disorders? Brain Blogger . Retrieved June 27, 2016, from https://brainblogger.com/2014/12/18/does-high-iq-increase-the-risk-of-depression-and-mental-disorders/ 

Written by:

Leah Selakovic

Psychologist

SACAC Counselling

Foggy brain?

I am pretty sure I have always been a bit foggy. My teachers told me at 9 that I was sometimes great and sometimes a big muddle. They were right. I didn’t ascribe it to any special condition – it was just me!

But maybe it wasn’t just me. Recently, a wind has been blowing which blew some surprising goods, COVID-19, of course. Studies of people with long COVID-19 have found that about half of those may have brain fog. What is good is that brain fog has been noted and discussed for a long time, in relation to a wide range of conditions, such as chronic fatigue, allergies, menopause, ADHD, kidney failure as well as anxiety and depression. COVID-19 has helped to make clearer that persistent difficulties with memory and concentration, a lack of clarity, may have a specific cause.

So far, however, it has not been possible to pin down just what is causing the foggy symptoms. There is considerable variation in the symptoms and their severity, but one study suggests on average a cognitive deficit of about half a standard deviation, with difficulties tending to be around executive functioning (planning, organising, concentrating, etc). 

The neurophysiology underlying the problems has not been clearly identified either, with suggestions of inflammation of some areas or reduced ability of some brain areas to obtain nutrients. Nevertheless, COVID-19 has spurred research in this area. However, it also seems likely that the COVID-19 cases will improve – the fog will not be permanent. Sleep, diet and exercise are very likely to help reduce the problems. Occupational therapy may also help to relearn new ways to do some things.

Sabrina Brennan has written “Beating Brain Fog” about the broader condition, and if like me, you do sometimes forget everyday routines and facts, it might be worth checking it out. It may play an important but neglected role in understanding other conditions, too.

References:

Sukel, K. (2022). Lifting the fog. New Scientist, 254(3390), 38–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0262-4079(22)01024-7 

Written by:

Dr. Tim Bunn

Consultant Educational Psychologist

SACAC Counselling

What are Bipolar Disorders?

Bipolar disorder is often misconstrued with other mental illnesses, however what is bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder which is typically characterised by drastic shifts in mood. These drastic shifts in moods are frequently marked by episodes of mania and depression. Some individuals with bipolar are free of significant mood changes in between episodes, however this can vary from person to person, with some individuals having lingering side effects in between episodes. 

Before defining mania and depression it is also worthy to note the fact that there are more than one types of bipolar disorder. These include Bipolar I, which is characterised by the individual having at least one manic episode. Which can be potentially followed up by less severe manic or depressive episodes. This form of bipolar disorder is also known to affect both sexes equally. 

The second form of Bipolar Disorder is Bipolar II, this form differs in that it consists of one major depressive episode that can last up to 2 weeks. With individuals with Bipolar II also having a lesser manic or depressive episode potentially lasting for 4 days. The form of Bipolar disorder is more common among women. 

The third form of Bipolar disorder is known as Cyclothymia. Individuals with Cyclothymia will typically experience episodes of less severe mania and depression. The symptoms of these episodes are typically shorter and less severe than those of the other two bipolar disorders. It is also possible for additional forms of Bipolar disorder to occur in the case of an individual with a mood disorder that resembles but does not absolutely follow the specifications of the three mentioned disorders. In this case it would be considered an unspecified bipolar and related disorders. 

When an individual is in a manic state they will usually display the symptoms of intense happiness or playfulness for a prolonged period. In addition to speaking rapidly and/or having fast paced thoughts that may seem difficult to keep up with. This can also be compounded with a sense of irritability or poor temper, an over inflated sense of self and a poor sense of judgment leading to potentially reckless decisions. All of these can be potential symptoms or signs of mania. 

Furthermore, the second episodic indicator of bipolar disorder is depression. Depression is characterised by a variety of symptoms including prolonged feelings of sadness or loneliness. Self-imposed isolation from others, a change in one’s eating habits, lack of interest in usual activities, and a change in sleeping habits. It’s crucial to remember that bipolar disorder does not consist of just mania or depression, rather it is the extreme and unusual shifts between these two episodes that is truly indicative of bipolar disorder. 

Furthermore, it is important to note that bipolar disorder can occur in young adults and teens just as much as it can in adults. Therefore it is important to always remain vigilant, and if you know or someone you know is experiencing these thoughts it is crucial that you seek professional help. 

References:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 

Goldstein, B. I., Birmaher, B., Carlson, G. A., DelBello, M. P., Findling, R. L., Fristad, M., Kowatch, R. A., Miklowitz, D. J., Nery, F. G., Perez-Algorta, G., Van Meter, A., Zeni, C. P., Correll, C. U., Kim, H.-W., Wozniak, J., Chang, K. D., Hillegers, M., & Youngstrom, E. A. (2017). The International Society for Bipolar Disorders Task Force Report on Pediatric Bipolar Disorder: Knowledge to date and directions for future research. Bipolar Disorders, 19(7), 524–543. https://doi.org/10.1111/bdi.12556 

Miklowitz, D. J., & George, E. L. (2008). The bipolar teen: What you can do to help your child and your family. Guilford Press. https://www.guilford.com/books/The-Bipolar-Teen/Miklowitz-George/9781593853181

Perez Algorta, G., MacPherson, H. A., Youngstrom, E. A., Belt, C. C., Arnold, L. E., Frazier, T. W., Taylor, H. G., Birmaher, B., Horwitz, S. M. C., Findling, R. L., & Fristad, M. A. (2018). Parenting stress among caregivers of children with bipolar spectrum disorders. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 47(sup1), S306–S320. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2017.1280805

Written by:

Leah Selakovic

Psychologist

SACAC Counselling

How can secure attachment help my family and me?

Families are often described as the cornerstone of society. But what builds a family?

“The building blocks of a family are emotional bonds and the confidence one has in the security of these is a resource of resilience for an individual but also for the family as a whole.” (Furrow et al., 2019).

When we talk about being at home we refer to a feeling and an experience of belonging. It is a safe place from which to explore the world. The originator of attachment theory, John Bowlby, mentioned that “ all of us, from cradle to grave, are happiest when life is organized as a series of excursions, long or short, from the secure base provided by our attachment figure(s).

Going into the world knowing that our loved ones are there for us gives us a secure basis from which to explore the world. The confidence in these connections gives family members more resilience and allows them to face challenges in life better.

Maintaining good family ties helps to keep these connections as life situations change over time. Once these connections are disrupted it can cause distress to the individual family members and to the family as a whole. If that happens then Emotionally Focused Family Therapy can provide support. It focuses on transforming the family’s insecure pattern into positive cycles of security (Furrow et al. 2019).

A key component is learning to regulate emotions. Emotion regulation describes the ability to influence emotion and its expression (Gross, 1998). This is a complex skill that is learned automatically in families when children feel safe. Accepting children, validating them, and assuring them they are cared for and loved, is what parents can do to make children feel secure. So that they can have that secure base from which to explore the world. Throughout our lives, we all need this support though. So do include older family members as well. 

Once we can regulate our emotions better we connect more deeply with significant others. A simple way that can help you be more emotionally responsive to others is by making use of the acronym A.R.E. It stands for: 

Accessibility: Can I reach you? This is about staying open, even if you feel insecure and have doubts.

Responsiveness: Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally? This is about tuning in to your loved one.  About accepting and prioritizing their emotional cues.

Engagement: Do I know you will value me and stay close? This is about being emotionally present.

A good way to remember A.R.E. is the phrase “ Are you there, are you with me?” (Johnson, 2008). Knowing that loved ones are there for us calms our nervous system and makes us feel safe. It provides a secure base from which we can explore the world. 

References:

Furrow, J., Faller, G., Johnson, S. M., Palmer, G., & Palmer-Olsen, L. (2019). Emotionally focused family therapy: Restoring connection and promoting resilience. Routledge. 

Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 271–299. https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.2.3.271

Johnson, S. M. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of Love. Little, Brown Spark. 

Written by:
Allard Mueller
Counsellor and Psychotherapist
SACAC Counselling

Does my child have Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that expresses itself through a spectrum of symptoms. A child can fall anywhere on this spectrum depending on the level of challenges they are experiencing. They may be high-functioning, or could benefit from highly specialised care.

The ASD symptoms include challenges in the following areas; (1) social interaction and verbal communication; (2) imagination, ideas, and creativity; (3) interests, routines, and repetitive behaviours; (4) gestures and non-verbal communication; and (5) sensory responses.

  1. Social interaction and verbal communication
    These are often evident in the early developmental stages before the age of 3. Your child’s speech may be delayed, for example your child’s first single words may be spoken after 24 months of age, and first phrases may not be spoken until 33 months onwards. Your child may not follow simple commands relating to objects not in view (for example, get your book), or turn to look at you when you call their name.

    There may be a limited shared enjoyment in interaction via showing or requesting toys when playing. Your child may find making and keeping friendships difficult, does not share interests or enjoyment with others, or may find social situations that most children like, such as birthday parties, not enjoyable.

  2. Imagination, ideas, and creativity
    Your child may not have the desire to engage in imaginative pretend play, or this type of play is repetitive, overfocused, obsessive, or copied. S/he may play on their own or nearby, but not with other children.

  3. Gestures and non-verbal communication
    Your child may not be showing a wide range of facial expressions, and/or limited or no eye contact at all. S/he may lack spontaneous gestures that express emotion, such as putting an arm around someone, or does not follow a pointing gesture to where someone is looking.

  4. Narrow range of interests, routines, and repetitive behaviours
    Interests may include an unusual attachment to inanimate objects. Your child may be particularly interested in routines. Change can lead to anxiety or aggression, and they may insist on following their own agenda to avoid these negative feelings. Finally, s/he may display repetitive behaviours such as, hand flapping, spinning, jumping, shaking head, walking on tiptoes, or finger flicking.

  5. Sensory responses
    A child on the Autism spectrum may be particularly sensitive to loud noises or a particular sensory stimuli such as sight, touch, taste, smell, and/ or movement.

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Diagnosis
    The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Version 2 (ADOS-2) is a standardised diagnostic assessment for ASD. This assessment needs to be administered by a trained professional.

What are the available treatments?
Therapeutic work will focus on increasing language and communication skills, and improving attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics. The aim of treatment will also be to decrease any problem behaviours.

Is treatment necessary?
Ask yourself these questions: ‘What would you do if your child had a broken arm or a viral infection?’ Would you ignore it? Or would you take them to the hospital and get the necessary treatment? It is exactly the same with Autism. Are you going to ignore it? Or get your child assessed, and get the necessary support to ensure his/ her needs are met?

References:
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (5th ed.) http://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

www.autismwales.org

Written by:
Mitra Ben-Lamri

Counsellor
SACAC Counselling

Will I lose control while I am in hypnosis?

One of the most frequent worries of my clients when considering experiencing hypnotherapy is the fear of losing control. My clients wonder if, while in hypnosis, they can be made to do things they would normally never do, things that would embarrass themselves or say something they would normally never say.

First, it is important to know that trance-like experiences are not uncommon in our daily life. The hypnotic trance is a completely natural state of consciousness, comparable to the time between sleep and wakefulness, deep meditation, zoning out while watching a movie, or daydreaming while driving on a familiar road. During this time, the brain shows strong activity in the so-called default mode network in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). An area that is particularly important for planning but also for daydreaming. Furthermore, the connection between a part of the prefrontal cortex and the insular cortex can be seen particularly pronounced during hypnosis. This connection supports the brain in the so-called dissociation. Here, the different levels of a stimulus are separated from each other and thus their aspects become clearer. This helps us, for example, to better distinguish the different emotional parts of a thought or a feeling. What is desire, what is fear, and what is conditioning? This clarity enables us to establish better contact with our subconscious. This increases our receptivity to suggestion and autosuggestion.

The 5-Path hypnosis method recognizes that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis; it’s not a matter of whether you can be hypnotized, but whether you’ll allow yourself to be helped to enter hypnosis. Most people go into hypnosis easily once they understand that an individual remains conscious and does not surrender his/her will. Fear of loss of control, which is just a myth, is the main reason some people won’t allow themselves to be hypnotized, but if a person is comfortable with the process and with the hypnotherapist and knows what to expect, it’s surprisingly easy and beneficial. A person is always capable of making normal decisions while in hypnosis. One can’t be ‘made’ to do anything under hypnosis that one would find objectionable under normal circumstances.

The truth is, that hypnosis does not override free will. In a hypnotherapy session, clients are conscious; they are awake, participating, and remembering. Yes, hypnosis is known for using the “power of suggestion,” but our subconscious minds are susceptible to suggestion at all times. Advertising, music, movies, and books routinely plant suggestions into our subconscious. Language and communication are saturated with suggestions. So, when anyone asks me if they will “lose control” in a session, I tell them “no, never”!

https://www.hypnosis-berlin.com/faq/do-i-lose-control-during-hypnosis
https://www.calbanyan.com

Written By:
Laura Spalvieri
Counsellor & Psychotherapist
SACAC Counselling

The Great Resignation: Existential Reflections in the World of Work

According to the definition of the Career Development Institute (2017), “A career refers primarily to the sequence and variety of work roles, paid or unpaid, that individuals undertake throughout their lives; but it is also the construct which enables individuals to make sense of valued work opportunities and how their work roles relate to their wider life roles.” If we look at this definition, there is not a clear distinction between personal and professional life. Both inform one another and our work is connected to our wider life roles as human beings. 

The latest buzzword in today’s economy is the great resignation. The onslaught of a 2-year covid-19 pandemic was followed by the idea of a new normal in the world of work which manifested in a big wave of resignations. The concept of ‘the great resignation’ was coined by Professor Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A & M University, who predicted a massive wave of resignations following the pandemic (Clark, 2022). 

Reasons for the Great Resignation: Existential Reflections

Professor Klotz identified multiple reasons contributing to the great resignation, the first being work burnout, and the second reason is a build-up of frustrations staying on in jobs that they may not have continued staying on during a time of uncertainty and instability (Clark, 2022). 

However, the other two reasons allude to insights that were developed, and retrospectively realizing their needs from living in the pandemic. Existential concerns around the idea of one’s meaning of life and the purpose of one’s existence start to emerge when individuals spend more time at home and grow greater freedom and independence. While one may argue that individuals face more isolation at work due to increased virtual contact and the lack of an in-person presence at the workplace, individuals get to spend more time at home with their family, a privilege that may not have been accessible with the increased number of work hours spent before the pandemic, an increasing global trend. It is noteworthy that longer working hours of 55 hours and up increase the risk of a stroke and ischemic heart disease by 35% and 17% respectively, as compared to 35 to 40 hours a week, ultimately leading to premature disability and deaths (World Health Organization, 2021). Furthermore, with the added convenience of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, work-life boundaries are increasingly blurred and workers end up working after hours.

Career Explorations: What This Means for Us in the World of Work 

If you find yourself struggling significantly in your current job, this is a great opportunity for reflection to sit with these existential concerns and explore these struggles and feelings a little deeper. With every challenging experience comes a time of deep struggle and we can either choose to stay curious and explore our anxieties and fears or avoid them altogether and push through them. Although avoidance offers some temporary relief, it does not usually resolve the issues and emotions. Some questions that you can reflect upon and process with your therapist include the following: 

  • What are your top three values in life and to what extent are they met in your current job?
  • What are the difficult emotions you are struggling with when you consider your current job situation?
  • Which are the biggest obstacles standing in your way of feeling more alive and satisfied or excited about the work that you do in your current job? 
  • If you stay in your current job, where do you see yourself now and in 5 and 10 years’ time?
  • If you are seeking new job opportunities, identify the most important job and employer qualities that can help meet your present needs and future dreams and aspirations.

The realms of work and career are complex, diversified, and connect with who we are as cultural beings. Apart from the basic bread and butter economics that jobs supply, employers globally are starting to recognize that beyond a salary, jobs need to grow to meet the needs of the complexities of the human condition within the culture that they are a part of. The pandemic has merely surfaced these complexities. 

References:

Career Development Institute. (2017, March). Definitions: Career development and related roles. https://www.thecdi.net/write/CDI_Definitions_FINAL.pdf 

Clark, P. (2022, April 4). Commentary: Here’s what the man who predicted Great Resignation thinks is coming next. Channelnewsasia.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/commentary/quit-job-great-resignation-what-next-2604636 

World Health Organization, International Labor Organization (2021, 17 May). Long working hours and increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke.   https://www.who.int/news/item/17-05-2021-long-working-hours-increasing-deaths-from-heart-disease-and-stroke-who-ilo#:~:text=Further%2C%20the%20number%20of%20people,related%20disability%20and%20early%20death

Written By:
Isabelle Ong, Ph.D., LCMHCA, NCC (USA)
Clinical Mental Health Counselor & Psychotherapist
SACAC Counselling

What to expect when life is impacted by changes – Helpful perspectives from “cycles of development”

Based on humanistic psychology, we continue to grow throughout our lives. This includes the times when we are influenced by changes, both those presented as positives such as a new job, marriage, child’s graduation and those presented as negatives such as injuries, separation, or pandemics like what we have been through in the past 2 years. We continue to develop as human beings even during those tough
times.

The theory of ‘cycle of development’ originally describes the specific tasks for children: 1st stage of Being(-6 months), 2nd stage of Exploring (- 18 months), 3rd stage of Thinking (18 months- 3 years), 4th stage of Identity(3- 6 years), 5th stage of Skills (- 12 years) and 6th of Regeneration ( 13-19 years.) (Levin 1974)


Hay linked these ideas to understand our adjustment process to the changes as follows. (Hay 2009): (think of your recent change as you read through the stages)

stage 1; Immobilisation- We seem to do nothing, withdraw as we lack information about the new environment. We need time to absorb new reality.
– New environment is a shock. It is particularly so when the change was not our choice. We do not want to
accept.

stage 2: Denial- we act as if it has not happened and go on as we used to.
– We know we need to survive, so we try, but it does not work.

stage 3: Frustration- we know we need to change but don’t know how.
– We struggle but start to see different ways of handling the situation.

stage 4: Acceptance- we start exploring options that might be appropriate to the new situation.
– We become open to being skillful in new ways.

stage 5: Development- we develop our new skills and knowledge so as to become competent performers.

stage 6: Application- we apply our new skills within our new identity

We feel anxious when we do not know what is coming. Knowledge of what is expected helps to reassure us when going through changes, that we are behaving as most others would. With this knowledge, we will be more comfortable being self-compassionate and giving permission to ourselves to feel sad and disappointed, before advancing to being fully capable again.

References
Hay J. (2009). Transactional Analysis for Trainers. Hertford UK: Sherwood Publishing.
Levin P. (1974). Becoming the way we are. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications. Inc.

Written By:
Rie Miura
Counsellor
SACAC Counselling

What are values and how can I act on them?

Values are freely chosen, are appetitive, are naturally rewarding, tell us about our interests and desires, can not be taken away, are not imposed on us, create a willingness to do hard things.

If we don’t use our values as a compass, there is a high chance of feeling empty, unhappy, having an identity crisis, and not feeling worthy about ourselves. We come to the realization that we have been living our life based upon the values of others. 

Living my life in line with my values will help me live an intentional life. It will give fulfillment, meaning, and direction to my life. Becoming aware of what my values are is the first step. 

What are my values? How can I get in touch with my values? Here are some questions to help you think about your values. 

  • What would you want someone to say at your funeral?
  • What are your top 3 peak life moments?
  • What are your 3 most painful life moments? What does the pain tell you about what really matters? What do you truly care about?
  • What important areas of life have you given up or missed out on?
  • What do you disapprove of the actions of others? How would you act differently in that same situation?
  • What do you stand for?
  • Who do you look up to? Who inspires you? What do you admire about them?
  • What personal qualities do you already have and which new ones would you like to develop?

How can I start acting on what really matters to me in life (acting on my values)?

  • What is the smallest, simplest, easiest action/step you could take, in line with that value?
  • What are larger actions/steps you could take?
  • If that particular action is not possible, what else could you do that would still be living this value?
  • What are short, medium, and long term goals in line with this value?

Written By:
Flo Westerndorp
Clinical Psychologist
SACAC Counselling