Well it's been a big year and I'm now working across three practices to happily mold around my move to the Gold Coast. It's great to be back to what I do best - counselling psychology - after a 6 month job working for a occupational rehab company. It also means I can restart my desire to expand all I know and do in Child and Adolescent trauma.
This time last year I was incredibly inspired by a training I completed with Dr Robbie Adler-Tapia (see below). Robbie is an expert on treating trauma in children, particularly with EMDR. I have had a great deal of success in reducing symptoms of trauma (anxiety, acting out, poor sleep etc) with EMDR, relaxation and self soothing strategies.
Now it's time to branch out and add to my repertoire of therapies and absorb some cutting edge thinking. So you can imagine how excited I am about attending the Childhood Trauma Conference in Melbourne next week. I have signed up for Pat Ogden's Masterclass: Wisdom of the Body, Lost and Found: The Role of Posture and Action in Predicting the Future.
This will be extremely interesting for me since I believe the body is not only important in storage of trauma and pain, but also holds keys to healing and releasing it. Kids developmental stage determines their cognitive (thought) levels so the body's language is vital.
My own experience of mime and yoga has given me lots of information about the potential of body work to closely and beautifully support any conventional psychological approaches when helping kids, so I await this masterclass with much anticipation.
I'm also looking forward to the other presentations I've enrolled into:
Connection before Correction: Supporting Foster and Adoptive Families to Manage Challenging Behaviour Whilst Allowing Healing From Developmental Trauma (Kim Golding) and
Pretend You Feeded Me: A Developmental Rewind (Ed Tronick & Marilyn Davilier)
Plus I get to have a few days in one of my favourite cities - Melbourne!
Last month, I completed a 2 day training with Dr Robbie Adler- Tapia from Phoenix, Arizona who is expert on treating trauma in children. She's a gorgeous, down-to-earth woman and an outstanding psychologist. I felt very grateful to have been in her company and to be so inspired by her.
I think about the potential to clear a child's trauma and how that may free them up not only now but in adulthood. How's that for a concept?
That's a concept that keeps resonating with me. And for all the right reasons. I mean what's not to like about the potential to give that to a person?
Anyone interested in seeing a film that handles bipolar and depression with realism, sensitivity and intelligence will want to see Silver Linings Playbook. I loved this film. The sincerity and delicate humour behind it made me want to stand up and clap at the end. (I didn't because I feared being sent to Baltimore).
For me, it's remininiscent of A Brilliant Mind, a story of a schizophrenic genius, played by Russell Crowe.
John Laws needs to retire. The background to this story can be neatly summarized by the Herald Sun's article here. My viewpoint?
I am a psychologist who works with adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
Comments such as those made by John Laws last week on 2SM are infinitely harmful
to the healing process. These sensationalist reactions only confirm the
inaccurate cognitions made by the child as s/he grows up. "It's all my fault"
is the most common faulty belief that needs to be overcome. [NB.This can take years.] Apart from being
cruel and insensitive, this form of (further) abuse is entirely frustrating to
my work and to all the others in my profession who are trying to help people
I've just submitted this to GetUp! in support of their campaign demanding an apology from John Laws himself, and then a committment from radio 2SM to educating their presenters in dealing with the subject of child sexual abuse.
My work by it's very nature involves receiving secrets. It's sacred information from the hidden spaces within my clients. The teenagers I see are beautiful, young and free. But those qualities are the last things that they themselves see if they are battling depression and anxiety. As they slowly approach me, with their intelligent caution they begin to share secrets. At times, I find some of those secrets heartbreaking. They speak of self hatred and isolation. Behind the shy smiles, there are beliefs of being ugly, dumb. There's something wrong with me.
Such is the truly monstrous nature of depression and anxiety. The turnaround is what we work towards. Sometimes it involves medication. But no amount of pharmaceutical support will ever be as good as the power of genuine self regard that is continuously nurtured. Refusal to believe any of these Black Dog* thoughts, a stubbornness, a determination not to be defined by this condition...These are the things to be inspired.
The great blessing for the young is that they are young. With their whole lives ahead of them, they can learn to take this Black Dog, tame it and keep it in it's rightful kennel. It can actually be a stunning opportunity - the meeting of depression and/or anxiety can be the whole reason for the growing of strength and true self esteem that can be taken into adulthood.
I am always greatly moved and honoured when I am allowed into these secret places, these shadowy spaces. Once that door is opened I can sit down with my teenage pal and we can nut out the best ways of being kind and compassionate to the self first. Then we get to work out how he or she can start to have some fun again and to grow who they are, in all their rebellious and wonderful youth.
*Winston Churchill's Black Dog was the name he gave his depressive periods.
I was a very young woman when I discovered the writer Anais Nin. She spoke in a language that enthralled and inspired me. Her fiction reads like poetry. Her lectures formed a body of work that described womanhood, feminism, world peace, psychology and art. All from the sweet and intelligent mind of the beautiful Anais.
She influenced much of my thinking into my 20's and remains an endeared hero today. Can you possibly imagine my delight in finding that Dangerous Minds have just today posted a video in which she (wait for it) speaks? I've only ever read her in these 30 odd years.
Is it true? Am I dreaming? Ah, Delight appears at my doorway.
Counting now around 50,000 words, I find myself mumbling, as I clack away on the laptop, 'Nobody likes this. Nobody will ever like this.'
That no-one has read it yet remains irrelevant. The whole exercise makes me want to grind my teeth and hit a table with something. One of the cats perhaps? Yegads. It would have to be stiff and therefore dead, so I don't go any further with that thought.
But then I watch and listen to Neil Gaiman, and I smile (it's a happy, though stupid smile). I smile with hopefulness. As Inky at Inside A Dog notes: This is the best idea EVER.
Literature for YA (Young Adults) and kidlets is so much fun. Even if more than half of it takes place in your own dear deluded head, the whole idea is that you will indeed connect with other same-head types. Or at least talk with types who like a good story.
Ok then. I will soldier forth towards the thing I'm soldiering towards. Yes.
"People hear commonsense and they remember that's actually what they think deep down." - Steve Biddulph on his new book "Raising Girls". I think that's great base from which to write a book for parents. Steve Biddulph is an Australian psychologist already known for his popular parenting books including Raising Boys.
Also in this (Australian Women's Weekly Jan 2013) article he says that we're in trouble - "A catastrophe is happening... We are not loving our children enough... " and that "TV is teaching our girls that being "hot" is the most important thing about being female. Sexuality has been thrust upon girls prematurely so they feel they have to project it before they even know what it is."
Over the last decade, I started to mourn and wonder what feminism had even accomplished for a while there. All that work and we have 10 yr olds girls aspiring to look like Hollywood on two legs and feeling bereft and a failure if they "don't shape up".
'What's the point?' I started to think.
The point is exactly what Steve is talking about. Inaction isn't an option. "There is such a thing as weak parents who cop out." Steve feels like telling them, 'Don't be such a wuss. Decide what you're going to have in your house.' This is excellent and inspiring stuff. All from a guy who grew up having Asperger's.
Have a look at some more books on parenting girls at Kidspot.
Lovers of magic, witches, wizards and (goofy voice) really pretty moving pictures, take note! This looks to be a little gem and it's released next month.I was sold from the moment I heard,"You don't know much about witches do you?" But even moreso after a couple of crows chant "You'll die! You'll die!"
Turn on the video below, it's lovely. For the three and a half minutes it takes to watch, just stop. Breathe gently and slowly. Dont think, don't plan, just breathe and watch. 2 things, that's all. Breathe and watch.
Tip: Turn off your phone/s and let the loved one's know they can either join you or leave!
This is such a great story - a teenager coming out as gay with a happy cake to celebrate and inform! "Good Morning Parents..." reads the letter of introduction. How inspiring to be so young and able to have the courage to say (and with humour): Hey Guys, I'm Different and I'm Really OK with it. Can you be too please?
My thoughts go to other young gays who know damn well the response would never be as supportive as this story describes. Sometimes secrecy is survival - but if this part sounds like you, make sure someone knows. Someone you trust and who makes you feel good about simply being you.
The purposes of this site are to inform and entertain on matters of psychology. The advice given is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for professional consultation regarding individual cases. Please consult a physician or psychology professional if in doubt.