Institute Inbrief - 28/06/2016
Welcome to Edition 249 of Institute Inbrief! How willing are your clients to acknowledge unhelpful attitudes and beliefs that they may have? As a therapist, you can initiate the discussion about stress by asking clients about negative, unhelpful attitudes. In this edition’s featured article, we discuss how to identify and replace stress-inducing attitudes in clients.
Also in this edition:
- Helping Clients Identify Sources and Symptoms of Stress
- Trauma, ASD and PTSD
- Why Bother Setting Goals?
- Social media updates, quotes, seminars, and more!
Enjoy your reading!
Join our community:
Bachelor and Master of Counselling
Semester 2, 2016 Intake – CLOSING SOON!
Our Semester 2, 2016 intake for our Bachelor and Master of Counselling is closing soon. Places are strictly limited in both courses, so please express your interest early.
The programs are all government Fee-Help approved, so you can learn now and pay later.
Some unique features of the programs include:
- Study externally from anywhere in Australia, even overseas
- Residential Schools in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane
- [Bachelor] Save thousands on your qualification
- [Master] Receive up to 6-months credit for prior Counselling studies
- Start with just 1 subject
- Online learning portal with access to all study materials, readings and video lectures
- Learn in a friendly, small group environment.
*Residential Schools are delivered in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for the Bachelor of Counselling.
You can learn more about the programs here:
As applications exceed available places we urge you to submit your obligation free expression of interest now.
Diploma of Counselling
It’s time to start loving what you do!
We’ve been training qualified Counsellors for over 24 years. Overwhelmingly, the number one reason people cite as why they became a Counsellor – to start loving what they do. They were stuck in a rut doing something they had no passion for, and it was dragging them down.
If you want a deeper understanding of yourself, and to use that knowledge to assist others overcome their challenges and start enjoying life again – then counselling is likely for you.
Too often we get drawn into a career that offers little personal satisfaction. Counsellors are passionate about the important work they do. They’re often someone that friends and family naturally come to for assistance. And they get immense personal reward helping others.
If that sounds like you, then it’s time to start pursuing your passion:
- Learn about yourself and help others lead better lives
- Be employed in one of the fastest industry growth sectors in the nation
- Self-paced training, so you can fit learning around your life
- Flexible and supported training with quality learning materials
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. You can recognise them because they are often distorted, exaggerated, highly self-critical, or self-defeating “tapes” that re-play over and over again in the client’s head, causing personal anxiety, self-doubt, depression, and of course, major stress.
As a therapist, you can initiate the discussion by asking clients about negative, unhelpful attitudes. Which attitudes or beliefs do clients identify for themselves as problematic? Provide them with a copy of the list below and invite them to go through by describing how often they engage these attitudes/beliefs. How does the client currently deal with these distortions? How stressed does the person make him/herself as a result of them?
Questionnaire – how often do you engage these attitudes/beliefs?
(Assign one of the following options: “Not Much”; “Sometimes” or; “Frequently)
- Intolerance for myself and others
- Compulsion to overwork
- Messages of unworthiness (e.g., “I don’t deserve __”)
- Obsession with envy
- Feelings of incompetence
- Fear of committing
- Non-acceptance of myself
- Non-acceptance of others
- Unprocessed regret
- Sense that the world “should” be a certain way
- Distorted sense of control (either too much or too little)
- Lack of perspective
- Placing conditions on my happiness
- Lack of gratitude
- Cognitive Distortions
If the client discloses that he or she has harboured some of the above attitudes, your task as a mental health professional is that of putting the unhelpful beliefs into context; few human beings escape dealing with these altogether; most of us struggle with a few of the above demons! As with all of these unfortunate mental “glitches” in our wiring, however, we do not have to choose to keep hanging onto them. A powerful antidote is to strongly challenge these as we identify them.
We do this by making a “disputing statement” or rebuttal which gives a kinder, more realistic evaluation of ourselves or our situation. The rebuttal doesn’t limit us so much or place such https://www.aipc.net.au/courses/diploma-of-counsellingent conditions on how things “should” be. It helps us to solve problems where the original statement, a “cognitive distortion”, would tend to keep us stuck (AIPC, 2012).
Some types of cognitive distortion stressors have been identified. How many of these does the client believe that s/he uses?
- Overgeneralisation: You make a universal rule from one isolated event. If you failed once, you will always fail. With this one the critic uses unbalanced, absolute words like “every”, “always”, “never”, or “all”.
- Global labelling: You automatically use pejorative labels to describe yourself, rather than accurately describing your qualities (any clichéd statements about your appearance, performance, or intelligence give this one away).
- Filtering: You see the world as through coloured glass, but not rose-coloured. With this distortion-stressor, you only let in rejection, unfairness, loss, or other negative stimuli. You are a biased reporter of your own experience, paying attention to the negative but not the positive.
- Polarised thinking: You lump things into absolute black-and-white categories, with no middle ground. You have to be perfect or you are worthless.
- Self-blame: You consistently blame yourself for things that may not really be your fault. You can spot this one by observing if you are always apologising.
- Personalisation: You assume that everything has something to do with you, and you negatively compare yourself to everyone else. Personalising has a narcissistic component, and makes you react inappropriately: forever comparing yourself with others, perhaps getting your feelings hurt, and possibly even picking fights over non-existent issues.
- Mindreading: You assume that others don’t like you or are angry with you without any evidence for your assumptions.
- Control fallacies: You either feel that you have complete responsibility for everyone and everything or feel that you have no control, that you are a helpless victim.
- Emotional reasoning: You assume things are the way you feel about them (adapted from McKay & Fanning, 1987).
Get the client to rebut the critic, reduce the stress
If your client engages some cognitive distortions, the exercise below can help him or her self-regulate in regard to critical attitudes and distorted self-perceptions. For this work, the goal is for clients to catch their inner critic displaying an unhelpful attitude or critical or distorted perception of them. Give the client a copy of the template below and explain that, for each distortion discovered, s/he is to note the day/time and the triggering event. The client should summarise the harsh (stressful) thought, attitude or perception that his/her critic displayed.
Then the person should generate a rebuttal: a statement that counters the distorted, highly critical thought or attitude. In the example below, we have put the distorted thought and also the stress-reducing rebuttal into the second person – that is: as if someone else were addressing the client – but the first person can also be used, with the client saying, for example, “I am competent”. The last section is for the client (perhaps jointly with you) to identify the type of cognitive distortion that it was (if it was). This is optional, but will help clients to identify patterns in their way of stressing themselves through their self-perceptions.
Here’s the example:
Date/time it happened: 9 June 2016 @ 1pm.
Triggering event: I forgot to bring materials with me that I needed for my work.
Critical or distorted through or attitude (critic self): “You idiot! This was so simple. You are always so disorganised!”
Stress-reducing rebuttal (kinder, more realistic self to self): “You had a lot to remember this morning. You don’t generally forget things. You normally are a competent organiser.”
Type of cognitive distortion (optional): Overgeneralisation and global labelling.
Talking back to the critic inside
In the exercise above, we advised you to encourage clients to come up with their own language, their own way of silencing the critical inner voice that can stress us so much by instilling extreme, distorted, and irrational attitudes and perceptions. For additional “ammunition” against the critic, here are some statements which can be used to put the critic in its place.
- For overgeneralisation: “What evidence have I got for that conclusion?” “Do I really have enough data to make a rule?”
- For global labelling: “No more labels – be specific.” “I refuse to call myself by names.” “Labels are mistaken opinions based on limited experience.”
- For filtering: “Wait! Open your eyes and look at the whole picture.” “You can choose to stop blanking out the good things.”
- For polarised thinking: “No more absolutes; nothing is totally anything.” “There are infinite gradations of good and bad in all I do.”
- For self-blame: “Everyone makes mistakes; it’s just human.” “I always do my best according to my awareness at the moment.”
- For personalisation: “Hold it: no comparisons!” “Most of the universe has nothing to do with you; don’t be so paranoid!”
- For mind reading: “I have no way of knowing what they’re thinking.” “What else could that mean? Why assume the negative?”
- For control fallacies: “I got myself into this mess and I can get myself out.” “I’m not in charge of others and don’t need to blame myself for their behaviours.”
- For emotional reasoning: “There is nothing automatically true about my feelings.” “What am I telling myself that makes me feel so sad, so anxious, so angry? (Adapted from McKay & Fanning, 1987)
Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors (AIPC). (2012). Mental Health Social Support, an online course. AIPC.
McKay, M. & Fanning, P. (1987). Self-esteem. New York: St Martin’s Press.
Join our community:
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 of. For instance, some clients may be very comfortable in their work environment, but are having intense relational difficulties (a personal stressor), while others may be dealing with the effects of events such as job redundancy, resulting in the environmental stressors of insufficient funds, possible need to shift house or relocate to a different city, or massively re-arrange finances in order to survive.
Trauma, ASD and PTSD
What is “trauma”? The word seems to be used inconsistently in the mental health field, sometimes referring to an adverse event and sometimes describing the psychological injury sustained from experiencing such an event. “Trauma” comes from the Greek word for “wound, hurt, or defeat”; before 1700 it was used to mean a physical injury, the sense in which many medical practitioners today use the word. The sense of a “psychic wound, [an] unpleasant experience which causes abnormal stress” has been in use from around 1900 (Harper, 2015) and is more aligned with the counselling and psychology sense. In this article, we will refer to trauma not as an event, but as the psychological injury which results from experience of the adverse event.
Mental Health Academy – First to Knowledge in Mental Health
Get unrestricted access to over 250 hours of professional development education in mental health, including specialist courses and on-demand videos. Plus FREE and EXCLUSIVE access to the 10-hour Psychological First Aid (PFA) program ($595.00 value).
Mental Health Academy is Australia’s leading provider of professional development for mental health practitioners. MHA’s all-inclusive memberships give you instant access to over 250 hours of learning – including videos presented by internationally-renowned experts in counselling, psychology and mental health.
Topics explored include: Evidence-based therapies, mindfulness, CBT, focused psychological strategies, children & adolescents, relationship counselling, motivational interviewing, depression & anxiety, addictions, trauma, e-therapy, supervision, ethics, plus much more.
Benefits of becoming a premium member:
- FREE access to the PFA program ($595.00 value)
- Over 100 specialist courses to choose from
- Over 100 hours of video learning on-demand
- CPD endorsed by leading industry associations
- Videos presented by international experts
- New programs released every month
- Huge range of topics and modalities
- Online, 24/7 access
Have you visited Counselling Connection yet? There are hundreds of interesting posts including case studies, profiles, success stories, videos and much more. Make sure you too get connected (and thank you for those who have already submitted comments and suggestions).
Why Bother Setting Goals?
You are here on this planet for the duration. What will you do with the time that is allotted to you? Who will you become? What will you have in your life: which people, things, and experiences? What will your legacy be? When you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to direct your energies, impulses, and activities – your will – with greater clarity toward the achievements that really matter to you.
Click here to read the full post and leave a comment.
Note that you need a Twitter profile to follow us. If you do not have one yet, visit https://twitter.com to create a free profile today!
"Anybody can learn to think, or believe, or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel…the moment you feel, you’re nobody but yourself."
~ E. E. Cummings
Many students of the Diploma of Counselling attend seminars to complete the practical requirements of their course. Seminars provide an ideal opportunity to network with other students and liaise with qualified counselling professionals in conjunction with completing compulsory coursework.
Seminar topics include:
- The Counselling Process
- Communication Skills I
- Communication Skills II
- Counselling Therapies I
- Counselling Therapies II
- Legal & Ethical Framework
- Family Therapy
- Case Management
Not sure if you need to attend Seminars? Click here for information on Practical Assessments.
Click here to access all seminar timetables online.
Join our community: