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Copyright: 2012 Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors

Institute Inbrief - 21/12/2017


Welcome to Edition 282 of Institute Inbrief! We’ve all read about the benefits of mindfulness meditation. In this edition’s featured article we address some of the common challenges you’ll likely face as an early adopted of this practice, offering tips on how to overcome them.


Also in this edition:

  • Schema Therapy: Origin, Definition and Characteristics
  • Loss and the Chronic or Terminally Ill
  • New Course: Diploma of Financial Counselling
  • Social Media Updates & Much More!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and amazing starting of 2018!!


Enjoy your reading!





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Diploma of Counselling


It’s time to start loving what you do!


We’ve been training qualified Counsellors for over 25 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

You can learn more here:



AIPC’s Community Services Courses


Helping You Help Your Community!


We’ve helped people from all sorts of backgrounds become counsellors, and now we can assist you in fulfilling your goal of working within the Community Services sector! From 2017, AIPC is delivering the following two new courses:


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) – learn more


Diploma of Youth Work – learn more


There has never been a better time for you to become involved and invested in the Community Services industries. It is predicted, between the years of 2015 to 2019, that employment within the Health Care and Social Assistance industries will increase by 18.7% (, 2015).


By gaining a qualification in Community Services (Case Management) or Youth Work, you will be contributing to an industry that serves a very important purpose: to assist those with personal or relationship challenges. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping others overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. And there’s no better time to do that than now!


To learn more about these programs, visit


AIPC courses:


Diploma of Counselling


Diploma of Financial Counselling


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)


Diploma of Youth Work


Bachelor of Counselling


Graduate Diploma of Counselling


Master of Counselling



OPEN NOW: Semester 1 Intake Bachelor & Master of Counselling


Have you started thinking about study in 2018?


Our Semester 1, 2018 intake is now open for the Bachelor of Counselling and Master of Counselling. Places are strictly limited, 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:

  • [Master] Receive up to 6-months credit for prior Counselling studies
  • [Bachelor] Affordable, high quality tertiary education
  • Study externally from anywhere in Australia, even overseas
  • Residential Schools in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth
  • Start with just 1 subject
  • Online learning portal with all study materials, readings and video lectures

You can learn more about the programs here:


Bachelor of Counselling:  


Master of Counselling:


Applications will exceed available places, so we urge you to submit your obligation free expression of interest now.



Mindfulness Practice: Problems and Solutions


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. Mindfulness is said to be:


“Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis” (Marlatt & Kristeller, 1999, p 68)


“Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p4).


“Consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience, with openness, interest, and receptiveness” (Harris, 2007).


Mindfulness interventions have been shown to be beneficial for a wide range of psychological and physical conditions such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, personality disorders, and addictions. Controlled trials of normal populations have also demonstrated positive changes in brain function and immune response, self-awareness, perceived stress, and increase in self-compassion (Shapiro, Astin, Bishop, & Cordova, 2005; Beddoe & Murphy, 2004), and there is more. Some of the benefits are not directly obvious, but they lead to recognizable clusters of improvement.


But mindfulness — especially at the beginning of practice — can also present many challenges. So that you know that what you are experiencing is not “just you”, and so that you will have some responses ready when you are coaching or instructing clients in mindfulness practice, we pose several problems which occur initially and throughout a person’s practice and we propose solutions. We address these to you.


Fidgety; can’t sit still; physically tense or unable to relax


Relax! The part of you that fears change is putting up resistance. Remember, you are not traveling to some weird planet in another galaxy; you are just exploring the frontier within.


 “Meditation doesn’t work for me”


Again this might be resistance because change is scary. Look to the possibly frightened part of yourself that might be resisting it. What might happen if you start being in the “now” instead of living in the past (with memory) or the future (with imagination)?


“I get a headache or tension when I do mindfulness practices”


This happens sometimes when people are straining with their minds. Try changing the source of your concentration from your head to your heart by using your breath. Consciously feel that you are breathing into and out of your heart as you watch your breath.


“I’m not sure I’m doing it right. Shouldn’t my practice be more??”


Just let it be. In the same way that you are accepting your thoughts, sensations, and emotions even if you are not sure you like them, so, too, can you accept that your mindfulness practice is unique. It shouldn’t be any particular thing except implemented regularly.


Can’t get comfortable


Body is sore, itchy, cramping, or otherwise resisting your efforts. There are at least two possibilities here: (1) that part of you is resisting the experience of going within (see points 1 and 2, above), or (2) that you actually do need to pay a bit more attention to the body’s needs. If, for example, you would love to sit in lotus posture because it looks cool and you’ve seen really “advanced” people do it but you have very inflexible limbs, you are looking for trouble if you insist that your body curl up this way when it cannot do so without pain or discomfort.


Lying down tends to induce sleepiness, however, so your best bet might be sitting in a straight-backed chair or on cushions (if you can fold your legs up somewhat to balance upright). See what works for you. Remember, it is about being with and accepting what is, and part of that might be acknowledging the body’s current limits. Staying seated in cross-legged position gets easier over time.


“Thoughts keep coming; I can’t concentrate; my mind is like a chatterbox”


There is bad news here. This is not “a problem”; this is normal. Stop beating up on yourself and return to observing what is happening without getting caught up in the thoughts. To worry about having thoughts is to multiply the number of the thoughts you noticed you had by the number of worry thoughts you have about those noticed thoughts: a multiplicative effect taking you away from the experience of the moment! Part of the art of mindfulness is to take your attention away from the thoughts and give them no importance.


No time to for mindfulness practice; too much to do


Time is not the problem; fear might be. Again, part of you is probably resisting change. Go to bed 10 minutes earlier and get up 10 minutes earlier. Now you have 10 whole minutes to explore being in the spacious present with the most profound and inclusive sense of yourself. Beyond working with scheduling issues, you can get creative. Try some of the mindfulness exercises designed to be practiced when you are walking the dog, on the train going to work, or washing the dishes. However you do it, try to link your practice into your everyday routines.


“I keep thinking of all I have to do”


Take a few minutes before or at the start of your mindfulness practice and write down everything you have to do later on. You can even include items that you want to worry about. Then when the pressured, worry thoughts arise during your practice, you can tell your mind, “Don’t worry, Mind; this is being dealt with.” You can then release the thoughts and return to observing what is happening.




This, too, is all too common for practitioners! Some even have a name for it: “sleepitation”. Sometimes taking about six long slow breaths (like: 20 counts in, 20 counts holding, and 20 counts out — if you can with comfort) will help this, as will affirmations that you are breathing in powerful energy and alertness. Spend the first 30 seconds of every practice with the most intense concentration you can muster. If still feeling sleepy, you can add in music, a guided meditation, or mantras which you repeat, but if the issue persists, make sure that you are getting enough sleep and consider shortening your mindfulness practice sessions (you can schedule in more sessions).




Hmmm. Westerners, especially therapists (!), have great difficulty letting go of striving for specific outcomes. In mindfulness the idea is to focus attention on the breath and then open to awareness of other phenomena (including mental ones). In the mindfulness paradigm, we must acknowledge that the urge to “get somewhere” does not generally catalyze change or growth, because it springs from non-acceptance of the present reality/moment without having awareness and full understanding of that reality. Beyond that, impatience is somewhat unrealistic. After all, you don’t plant your favorite vegetable and then pull it up by the roots every day to check if it is growing, do you? You must similarly allow your practice the time it needs to unfold into ripeness and maturity.


Feeling stuck and/or “dry”


Are you being self-critical or impatient (see above)? Practice mindfulness daily, remembering to notice the benefits in your life. “Stuck” or “dry” mindfulness practices can also indicate that you are forcing your mindfulness time into a mold, a pattern that is the same every time. Again, if this happening, it runs counter to the core assumption of mindfulness, which is that we can gain the greatest benefit from accepting what is with gratefulness, and not attempting to force reality to be different.


Many are the meditators who have “confessed” (usually years later) that they had an extended stuck/dry period. One, a monk, claimed to have had such a period continuously for seven years! (Personal communication from a Self-Realization Fellowship monk to author, circa 2004) (Problem list adapted from Meditation Society of Australia, 2013; Walsh, 2006).




Harris, R. (2007). The happiness trap: stop struggling, start living. Wollombi, NSW, Australia:  Exisle Publishing, Ltd.


Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.


Marlatt, G. A., & Kristeller, J. L. (1999). Mindfulness and meditation. In W. R. Miller (Ed.), Integrating spirituality into treatment (pp. 67-84). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.


Shapiro, S.L., Astin, J.A., Bishop, S.R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals:  results from a randomised trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12 (2), 164-176.


AIPC courses:


Diploma of Counselling


Diploma of Financial Counselling


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)


Diploma of Youth Work


Bachelor of Counselling


Graduate Diploma of Counselling


Master of Counselling


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Schema Therapy: Origin, Definition and Characteristics


Have you been working as a therapist in shorter-term therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)? In Australia, the clients of psychologists, for example, have been able to access Medicare rebates for their therapy for a limited number of sessions. Their practitioners, in return, are strongly encouraged – if not mandated – to work in well-researched, “gold standard” therapies such as CBT; they are held accountable for certain outcomes. Yet not all clients respond equally well to therapies such as CBT, which usually include no more than 20 sessions and often less than that. What would you advocate as a therapist for the following clients?


Click here to continue reading this article.



Loss and the Chronic or Terminally Ill


Australians, like Americans and their other Western counterparts, are living longer but suffering more chronic diseases. While the Australian boy born today can expect to live to 79.9 years and the Australian girl to 84 (the American statistic is similar), the odds are that they will be plagued by chronic illness, which will eventually kill them. Eighty percent of deaths in the United States now occur among persons age 65 years and older (Lyness, 2004).


Click here to continue reading this article.


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Learn from Global Mental Health Experts


Mental Health Academy puts quality learning by global experts at your fingertips, 24/7. Accessing cutting-edge evidence and practice-based knowledge has never been more convenient than MHA.


Topics explored by MHA courses include: Evidence-based therapies, mindfulness, CBT, focussed psychological strategies, children & adolescents, relationship counselling, motivational interviewing, depression & anxiety, addictions, trauma, e-therapy, supervision, ethics, plus much more.


Join MHA now to enjoy:

  • Access to on-demand, video-based learning (100+ hours)
  • Access to self-paced, text-based learning (120+ courses)
  • Invitations to select events and Masterclasses
  • Online, 24/7 access to courses - from anywhere
  • Personalised online classroom to facilitate learning
  • Professional certificates of attainment
  • New programs released every month
  • Plus much more!

Learn more here:



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).


New Course: Diploma of Financial Counselling


Our Diploma of Financial Counselling provides you with the specialised skills and knowledge to work in the field of Financial Counselling, with underpinning understanding of the Counselling and Community Services disciplines.


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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 Frameworks
  • Brief Interventions and Loss & Grief Support
  • Individualised Support and Working with Mental Health
  • Advanced Counselling Techniques

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AIPC courses:


Diploma of Counselling


Diploma of Financial Counselling


Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)


Diploma of Youth Work


Bachelor of Counselling


Graduate Diploma of Counselling


Master of Counselling


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