Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety can impact any of us at some time or another, e.g. going to a job interview or exam, or meeting someone for the first time, apart from any other situations.

This youtube clip “Know when Anxiety is Talking from Beyond Blue is a good example of how anxiety can apply in a workplace setting.

If however your anxiety is impacting on your life, or restricting what you do, it might be time to speak with your GP about getting a Mental Health Care Plan, so you can get Medicare subsidised sessions with a Psychologist to look at this and what can be done. 

While we probably won’t get results “overnight”, it is reasonable to expect that after a few sessions of looking at what is “behind” the anxiety and what can be done to reduce it, changes in anxiety levels will probably reduce, or at least be more “manageable”.  

For those wanting to do some reading on the subject, I read this book ANXIETY (by a Psychiatrist, Dr Mark Cross who has his own longstanding experience with it) over the course of a long weekend (it’s also in dozens of libraries) and recommended it on the Huntingdale Psychology, Counselling & Clinical Hypnotherapy facebook page. 

Medicare pays subsidies for Psychologist services, because “talking therapy” works.

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Whether it is difficulties with Alcohol, Marijuana or other illicit drugs, I may be able to assist.

Usually this can involve looking at the reasons behind the use of whatever drug or drugs you are using, whether legal (like Alcohol) or illegal like Marijuana, “Ice”, “party drugs” or other types of illicit drugs.

While there is no “Magic Wand” to deal with whatever drug is creating problems for you, we can certainly look at what is “behind” the drug use, to seek to overcome or reduce it’s impact and what you can do now.

Whether it is looking at whether you are trying to deal with hurts or negative events from the past, or you are an “Adrenaline Junkie” , (i.e. you like the feeling of being “high”,) or drug use is used as a way to “escape” a particularly negative situation, we can look at the options available to you and what can be done to change your situation.

Blokes Stuff

Colin finds that a high percentage (well over half) of his clients are blokes.

  • Guys often like to talk to another guy and male psychologists are a minority in the profession;
  • They like the fact that Colin has worked in both Blue and White collar settings;
  • He offers “after hours” (evening, i.e. after work) and Saturday morning bookings;
  • Bookings can be made at short notice (up to about an hour beforehand) via HealthEngine;
  • Depression, Anxiety, Stress, addictions, relationship difficulties and difficult workplaces are just some of the matters Colin deals with;
  • The thought that consultations are confidential (except for a few emergency” situations) and the guy can safely “let his guard down”;
  • He has over a half century’s life experience;
  • His professional experience includes work in the Domestic Violence (DV) and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) fields (in a Prison Farm setting);
  • Guys report that it is easy to develop a professional relationship with him;
  • His clients cover a wide range of professions including, tradies, mechanics and other manual workers, apart from retirees and NDIS clients;
  • Clients are often given handouts to take home with them to think about later (see e.g. the “Refrigerator Quotes” links) or suggest books to read or movies to watch;
  • Telehealth is available for all clients, including those in the country, including on FIFO sites;   


Admittedly guys will often wait till the proverbial $%*# hits the fan!  But it might be time to “bite the bullet” and get a referral from your GP.

Although there is no “magic wand” we can still work on issues of concern.

Guys often report they find it useful and helpful to talk with someone “a few steps removed”, when they feel they are “up the creek without a paddle”.

Depression

If you are having troubles with extended periods of feeling downhearted and blue, it might be time to see your General Practitioner about getting a GP Mental Health Care Plan.

Matthew Johnstone has written books on the subject, (I had a Black dog his name is Depression – It’s in dozens of libraries) with one being animated and put onto Youtube by the World Health Organisation. (You can also buy his books from his website.)  

Talking with someone who is “a few steps removed” can be useful as a way of looking at what can potentially be done, to reduce the degree of depression. 

Medicare pays subsidies for Psychologist services, because “talking therapy” works.

 

Domestic Violence

Archie Roach – Walking Into Doors – This video on YouTube is what it’s all about.

Ring 000 if you feel you are in danger.

National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service

Phone counselling and support 24/7 – Phone 1800 737 7321800 737 732 FREE including online counselling

Or see the website 1800respect.org.au for more information  

“We have payments and services to help you if you are experiencing family or domestic violence.”

The WA Police on their webpage have information about:

  • How to report family violence
  • How can police help?
  • What is a Police Order?
  • Do you need a Restraining Order?

 

As the Police say: “The most important thing you can do is to get help!

You need information and support to make yourself safe and end the abuse.

Is it a crime? YES!

Examples of criminal offences that occur in family and domestic violence situations include assault, sexual assault, making threats about a person’s physical safety, stalking, damage or stealing of property and breaching Restraining Orders.” http://www.police.wa.gov.au/Yoursafety/familyviolence/tabid/895/default.aspx

Domestic Violence is not about, or the same as “Anger Management” because Domestic Violence is directed towards a person with whom the “offender” is in a close intimate relationship (definitely not a “stranger”)

It should also be remembered that it can occur in all sorts of relationships (including same-sex relationships) and is not always a case of a man being domestically violent towards a woman, sometimes it is the other way around.

Usually working on Domestic Violence involves looking at attitudes, beliefs and behaviours 

This can include looking at the offenders actions, while trying to separate the actions from the person.

For example instead of thinking (and possibly saying) “You are a bad person!” look at the offence as an otherwise good man (usually) engaging in bad behaviour.

The Duluth Model is a widely used way of looking at Domestic Violence and identifies how domestic Violence involves a number of parts to it, not just the physical “violence”.

Anger Management is about learning to express your disagreement, frustration etcetera in a socially acceptable way. It can also be about working out if your anger is really justified? Learning to use a better way to respond to something you don’t like, can be another part of learning to manage anger.

In the case of intimate relationships this can also be about creating a situation where both parties feel safe to express disagreements, disappointments and the like, without fear of physical or emotional violence.

For those interested a link to the Irish Man Up campaign.

Family of Origin Issues

From a combination of work and life experience I have come to realize that not everyone had an uneventful childhood.

Some of the issues that individuals might bring to me as a Psychologist and Counsellor include one or both parents being either:

  • Physically absent – where the parents might be divorced, separated or deceased, or “Single Mums or Dads”, or who had parents who were so busy working to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads they didn’t have much time for their children
  • Emotionally absent and not giving the child the physical and emotional support they needed to grow up as well adjusted adults;
  • Physically or sexually abusive to their child or children.


Although well intentioned, the parents may have had their own:

  • Mental health issues;·
  • Alcohol or other drug addictions;
  • History of physical and or sexual abuse or neglect as children;
  • Situations where “the fickle finger of fate” dealt them a difficult life


That meant they could not give their children the love and attention the developing child needed. 

There is any number of variations of the sorts of situations described (or not described) above. 

Although counselling cannot change the past, it is possible to look at history with an “adult eye” and assist the person to look at their experiences in a new way.

This is not to ignore what has happened in the past, but to try to help the client to feel more comfortable with what has happened or not happened and try to reduce the impact on their current life.

Gay and Lesbian Issues

Why might a Gay man or Lesbian see a Psychologist? (Either in-person or via Telehealth)

Some reasons could include:

  • Depression or Anxiety (often, though not always, a result of “less than equal” treatment)
  • Wanting to develop a Gay/Lesbian support network away from “the scene”?
  • Wanting to explore questions about “How will I meet Mr/Ms Right?”
  • Dealing with issues about discrimination or less than equal treatment
  • Feeling the need to hide who you really are in the workplace or other settings
  • Wanting to reduce internalized Homophobia or heterosexism
  • Feeling guilty about being Lesbian or Gay or that it’s “wrong”
  • Concerns about responses of family, friends, or your church to “coming out”
  • Conflicts between cultural or religious beliefs and homosexuality
  • More general fears about “coming out”
  • Social isolation from other Lesbians and Gay men
  • Alcohol or other drug addiction
  • Want to feel better about being Gay or Lesbian      
 

Dealing with Grief, Loss & Change

Although death (like taxes, and change) is one of the inevitable parts of life, how and when it impacts the individual or family can be quite different, depending on circumstances.

Death can come with or without warning, e.g.

  • It could follow on from an ongoing illness;
  • Alternatively death may follow an accident (i.e. is unexpected) or some sudden or unexpected health event, e.g. a Heart attack or Stroke;


It is not always a death that can “knock the wind out of your sails” so to speak.

It can be other changes that are not expected.

Whether it is

  • The loss of your job (e.g. in recent times as a result, directly or indirectly of COVID-19);
  • Without any (obvious to you) warning, your spouse leaves you;
  • Some sort of natural disaster, e.g. a fire or flood;
  • Your pet cat or dog (your constant companion) is no longer available to keep you company;
  • There are other significant or unexpected changes in your circumstances.


As a result you may not be “your usual self”, you might go into “hibernation” (and not because of COVID-19,) or you may “wallow” in your own self-pity and have difficulty accepting the changes that come about as a result of these circumstances.

Admittedly, sometimes the support and assistance of family and friends may for a period of time, be what you need. However, after a while, it may be that you need to speak with someone who is “a few steps removed”.

Prepare-Enrich

I am now trained and authorised to administer this relationship enhancement program, that has been used by millions of people worldwide.

It can be used on both opposite and same sex couples, those who are (legally) married, living together or those planning to marry. It is often done as part of “Marriage Preparation”.

Prepare/Enrich can also be done by couples who have been together for a long time as a sort of “tune-up” of the relationship.

Initial and follow-up sessions (only in evenings or Saturday morning) are scheduled for two hours. With an absolute minimum of a total of four hours of consultation.

There is both the “Full” and the “Lite” version, which has been described as useful for a “Tune-up”.

The PREPARE/ENRICH online assessment is customized to a couple’s relationship stage and structure and provides certified facilitators with a detailed report on the couple’s strength and growth areas. Many aspects of the couple relationship are covered, some that may not yet have been thought about before.

It should be noted that Prepare/Enrich is not “Couple Counselling”.

However, this can be done separately after completion of the Prepare/Enrich program.

Further information available from the main Prepare/Enrich website.

Both the “Full” and the new “Lite” (or “check-up”) versions include:

  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Financial Management
  • Affection and Sexual Expectations
  • Spiritual Beliefs
  • Marriage/Relationship Expectations
  • Couple Map (a look at couple closeness and flexibility)
  • Family Map (a look at the differences and similarities between the 2 families of origin)
  • A SCOPE Personality assessment or each partner*


* Social—degree of comfort in social settings; Change— degree of comfort with change; Organized – how organised and persistent is the person in pursuing goals; Pleasing-how considerate and cooperative is the person in their interactions with others; Emotionally Steady – calm vs sensitive or the emotional response to stress.


Additional topics covered in the “Full” version

  • Commitment Scale
  • Relationship Dynamics
  • Personal Stress style of each partner

Workplace Issues

Over my working life I’ve experience in a range of different types of workplaces, from my early days in clothing factories (cutting out shirts and pyjamas), office jobs in the Federal and State public service, as well as in not for profit and community based organisations, including work in a Prison Farm and separate Domestic Violence group settings.

That is separate from the more “fill-in” or casual jobs, like helping out with a stock-take, or counting cars and trucks going past an intersection!

Over the years, I’ve also had clients coming to see me who have worked in a range of settings, from (like me) some fairly menial jobs, and or labour intensive roles (e.g. “Tradies” – you can see my article about working with them here) through to people in fairly senior technical or professional roles.

  • Dealing with work-life balance (e.g. work and parenting/carer roles);
  • Difficult working relationships with co-workers or bosses;
  • Expected or unexpected unemployment, or underemployment;
  • Dealing with “ism’s” (sexism, racism, heterosexism and or ageism).

Depending on the circumstances I may refer clients to books like;

  • Difficult personalities : a practical guide to managing the hurtful behaviour of others (and maybe your own!) / Helen McGrath and Hazel Edwards
  • Enough about you, let’s talk about me : how to recognize and manage the narcissists in your life – Les Carter
  • Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman
  • Fathering from the fast lane: Practical ideas for busy dads – Bruce Robinson
  • Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for building a Good Life in the Digital Age – William Powers
  • The asshole survival guide : how to deal with people who treat you like dirt / Robert I. Sutton
  • The no asshole rule [building a civilized workplace and surviving one that isn’t] / Robert I. Sutton

 

I may also refer clients to websites like: