Life Coping Skills

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... »

Fixed vs Growth Mindsets

Nearly four decades of research has shown that intelligence is not fixed as scientists used to think; rather, people can develop their brains like a muscle if they put in the effort. People who do that – persisting despite obstacles – can be said to have a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset and they enjoy significantly more success than their fixed-minded peers. In this article, we define ... »

Self-help Strategies for OCD and OCPD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) are said to affect two to three percent of the population for OCD (that is: more than 500,000 Australians) and one percent for OCPD, although three to ten percent of the psychiatric population is said to have it (Long, 2011). Many cases probably go untreated. As a therapist, what can you give to obsessive clie... »

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... »

What Does Resilience Look Like?

As a counsellor or other mental health professional, of course you help your clients deal with difficult life events when they come to your therapy rooms. But how do you boost their capacity to prevail over adversity when they are not with you?Most of the time when mental health professionals talk about resilience, they are referring to psychological hardiness, primarily, and physical toughnes... »

Social Support Development Skills

The saying that “no man is an island” seems not truer anywhere than in the realm of resilience. Happiness author and business coach Alvah Parker lists ten traits of resilient, happy people. In the very first one she notes that resilient people “are strong people who realize the importance of having a good social support system and are able to surround themselves with supportive friends and family”... »

Optimism Skills and Resilience

Do you tend to look on the bright side of things? More importantly for your clinical work (if you are a counsellor, psychologist or social worker): do your clients? It used to be deemed generally irrelevant whether someone tended to see the glass “half-full” or “half-empty”, but the work of Martin Seligman in recent decades has shown that optimists have an advantage in the game of surviving and th... »

Counselling Strategies for Dealing with the Lonely Client

In part 1 of this 2-part series, we explored the symptoms, causes and effects of loneliness. In this continued article, we’ll discuss various counselling strategies for dealing with the lonely client and provide you with guidelines to maintaining appropriate professional boundaries. »

Symptoms, Causes and Effects of Loneliness

According to Murphy and Kupschik (1992), loneliness is defined as a state in which a person describes experiencing an overwhelming sense of inner emptiness and social isolation. It is, therefore, an emotional state. Loneliness is more than a person feeling that they want to be able to connect on a social level with others – but rather it is a perceived sense of disconnection, rejection and alienat... »

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: »

Coping with the Death of a Loved One

Losing someone you love can be like losing one half of yourself.  The pain and emptiness felt during the grieving process can go on for months or years, however no two people will ever respond to the same situation in the same way.  Working through grief is a day by day, week by week process.  You may have bad days when you think you will never recover from this loss.  You may also think that you ... »

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