Stress & Burnout

Helping Clients Relax: Techniques that Focus on the Body

Most relaxation approaches understand that the main point is for the relaxation practitioner to attain a greater state of focus and concentration. What’s up for grabs with each technique is that which is focused on, and how. In this article, we explore techniques where the practitioner focuses in some way on the body, either just observing it, or in some cases, actively tensing and then relaxing i... »

Mindfulness Meditation vs Stress

Although only recently embraced by Western psychology, mindfulness practices and techniques have been part of many Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Tai Chi, Hinduism, and most martial arts, for thousands of years. The various definitions of it revolve around bringing non-judgmental consciousness to the present experience, so it can be considered the art of conscious living. Mindfuln... »

Exercise: A Moving Part of Wellness

As with questions of diet, exercise is perhaps uppermost in the minds of those looking to enhance their wellness. The quest for fitness, however – as with diet – is so pervasive in developed cultures that some controversies are inevitable. As with our previous article on diet, we believe the best approach is for you to offer your client basic guidelines to help them (re-)shape their fitness regime... »

Helping Clients Identify Sources and Symptoms of Stress

Stress as a perceived demand or threat can come to us from multiple sources, and usually many are occurring at once. In stress management, we can generally refer to stressors as being of a personal or environmental nature. The environmental ones may be general or special. Part of your discussion with a stressed client can usefully centre on which types of stressors the client is experiencing more ... »

Identifying and Replacing Stress-inducing Attitudes in Clients

How willing are your clients to acknowledge unhelpful attitudes and beliefs that they may have? Some of these may be unexamined ways of thinking about themselves and their lives that were given to them by parents and other early caregivers. They may not really be the clients’ attitudes and values, but they were put there so early on, it is hard for clients to tell that they do not belong with them... »

Balance and Stress Management

The world’s religions, most scientific literature (Treadway, 1998), and most cultures’ traditions of common sense and wisdom agree: as human beings, we need balance. That is, we most capably give ourselves an antidote to the stresses of life if we have balanced, nurturing connections with ourselves, between ourselves and significant others, and between ourselves and a higher power (however we conc... »

Helping and Stress Management

Stress is any pressure, demand, or threat placed on an organism (say, a human being) that causes a need to re-establish balance or “equilibrium”. The Oxford Dictionary online adds that stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” In this article, we look at stress management from the perspective of a helper: that is, anyone who is ... »

Fostering Resilience: In-session boosters to help clients bounce back

Suppose someone asks you, a mental health practitioner, “What is the most important thing you do as a counsellor (psychotherapist/psychologist/social worker) for your clients?” Your response might go along the lines of “helping them sort out their problems”, “educating them and inspiring them to make their lives work,” or possibly “providing support and a safe container while they explore new [pre... »

Fundamentals of Stress and Anxiety

Although never quite adequately defined, vague generalisations such as “stress and tension are normal reactions to events that threaten us” are used to describe it. Such threats can come from accidents, financial troubles and problems on the job or with family and through our emotional and physical reactions to the given situations, we become what is termed ‘stressed’. Not that long ago, the terms... »

Six Anger Management Strategies for Clients

“Kassinove and Sukhodolsky (1995) defined anger as a felt emotional state. This private state varies in intensity and duration, as well as frequency, and is associated with cognitive distortions, verbal and motor behaviours, and patterns of physical arousal. Although anger may emerge spontaneously, another person is typically seen as the cause of anger. And it usually includes a perception of blam... »

Counselling Techniques to Reduce Stress

How do we cope with stress? There are literally thousands of books, articles and websites that cover stress and stress management. However, the ancient and natural ways are probably still the best ways towards peace and serenity. The old adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’ is certainly true for stress management. Below are three counselling techniques counsellors can utilise with clients: »

Work-Life Balance: Ways to Restore Harmony

According to the Australian National Occupational Health and Safety Commission Report, December 2003, high stress levels lead to thousands of stress-related WorkCover claims every year. Cases of mental stress had by far the highest median (8.5 weeks) and average (16 weeks) time lost, and accounted for 29% of all new cases of disease. This is way above the median of 3.4 weeks lost and average of 9.... »

Burnout and Self-Care Strategies

Self-care is an intrinsic, continuous and highly important activity performed by any professional, particularly those involved in health care. Also called the 'inner therapy', this practice aims to ensure that both mental and physical health of the professional is in good shape. So why is self-care for Counsellors important? Essentially, Counsellors have a clear responsibility: their clients. If a... »