Social support

Caring for others: Ethical considerations

In two previous articles we discussed the process of providing emotional and psychological (or social) support to others – including the reasons why we help; the traps we can fall into as we attempt to help others; and the typical needs and motivations behind supporting others. In this article, we delve into key ethical considerations when providing social support, including the adoption of a code... »

Caring for Others: Avoiding Common Traps

In the first article in this series we highlighted needs and motivations behind providing emotional and psychological support to others, touching on the “shadow” side of helping: trying to meet personal needs through the helping relationship. Both professional and non-professional helpers can unwittingly do this, even when they are meticulous, highly ethical helpers, so it is crucial to gain an un... »

Caring for others: Why do we do it?

When a friend is going through a hard time, we often think about how we can lend a hand and provide emotional support. But are we always aware of the reasons why we want to help? Is it because we feel obliged? Or perhaps because we just want to help – to be there for someone who has been around for us when we needed?We’d like to say, “It doesn’t matter what unresolved issues are hiding in your... »

Challenges of Families with a Parent Working Away from Home Base

For modern Australian families there is another dimension of challenge that sits just outside the framework of what used to be considered “normal”. Much has been said about the mining boom and the advantages that it has brought to this country’s economy in what are generally troubled economic times globally. Similarly, few Australians would argue about the necessity for Defence Force personnel to ... »

Challenges of Families Who Experience Domestic Violence

There is no way around it; all four functions of a family are put at risk in the sad situation of family violence, and to a large degree the risk factors are interrelated. Focusing first on Function One, family formation and membership, we can comprehend how the pervasiveness of family violence in Australia (which is a microcosm of the global picture) hugely distorts the capacity of the family to ... »

Challenges of Blended and Step “Remarried” Families

The “blending” of a re-marriage means that the old norms, rules, and ways of gaining acceptance are now null and void. Blended and step family members generally do not realise this at the outset, wanting to re-create the biological family of origin (the children’s desire), or the first marriage (the spouses’ unconscious wish). They cannot. In remarriages, there are at least three types of “emotion... »

Challenges of Single-parent Families Due to Death or Separation

In this article we will explore challenges faced by single-parent families due to death or separation. But before we dive into this subject, we encourage you to explore a little background information that will set the tone for the series. First, we recommend you read the article Trends and Statistics of the Contemporary Family to understand some of the emergent trends and statistical truths about... »

What is Psychological First Aid?

Imagine for a moment that you are a survivor of a powerful cyclone. Let’s say that you and all your loved ones managed to get out safely, but you arrived at the community shelter with only a backpack each of essential medicines, basic documents (such as your birth certificate and passport), and a few precious photos. There was not time to grab more. After the winds receded and you were allowed to ... »

Helping Families Enhance Resilience: Creating supportive contexts

This is the third article of a 3-part series titled Helping Families Enhance Resilience. The series explores how you (as a person providing social support) can help families deal with transition by developing effective resilience skills. »

Helping Families Enhance Resilience: Encouraging effective parenting

This is the second article of a 3-part series titled Helping Families Enhance Resilience. The series explores how you (as a person providing social support) can help families deal with transition by developing effective resilience skills. The series we will address three principal areas of focus, which reinforce one another: Supporting a positive self-concept; Encouraging effective parenting and; ... »

Helping Families Enhance Resilience: Supporting a positive self-concept

This is the first article of a 3-part series titled Helping Families Enhance Resilience. The series explores how you (as a person providing social support) can help families deal with transition by developing effective resilience skills. The series we will address three principal areas of focus, which reinforce one another: Supporting a positive self-concept; Encouraging effective parenting and; C... »

Problem Gambling: Signs, Myths and Facts

Also called “ludomania” or “compulsive gambling”, problem gambling occurs when someone has an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. It is not the gambler’s behaviour which defines whether problem gambling is occurring. Rather, it is whether the gambler or others experience harm from the gambling behaviour. At the severe end, it may be referred to as... »

Suicide: Statistics, Characteristics and Myths

Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud called suicide “murder turned around 180 degrees”, or more wryly, “a very poor response to a very bad day”. Also called “self-murder” or “self-killing”, suicide is the act of deliberately or intentionally taking one’s own life. It is an attempt to solve a problem of intense emotional pain with impaired problem-solving skills (Kalafat, J. & Underwood, M., n.d.). »