Turning Adversity Into Strength
Welcome to Issue 340 of Institute Inbrief
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Issue 340 // Institute Inbrief
Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to Edition 340 of Institute Inbrief! W
hat is trauma? What does post-traumatic growth looks like? And what do we need to watch out for, post-trauma, to ensure we experience growth? This edition's featured article delves into these questions.

Also in this edition:
  1. Living a Mindful Life (AIPC Mindfulness Program)
  2. A Case of Childhood Sexual Abuse
  3. Self-help Strategies for OCD and OCPD
  4. Disaster Mental Health Counselling Credential
  5. Quotations, Seminar Timetables & More!

Enjoy your reading!

AIPC Team. 
Diploma of Counselling
Join one of the most personally enriching careers.

There is no more rewarding way to help others than by providing emotional support that assists people get their lives back on track.

AIPC is the largest provider of counselling courses in the country. We have specialised in counsellor training for over 30 years. We have proudly helped over 55,000 people from 27 countries pursue their personal and career interests in counselling.

Our Diploma of Counselling is a journey of self-discovery, providing deep insight into why you think and behave as you do. And when you graduate, you will be extremely well prepared to pursue a career in counselling – employed or self-employed – enjoying our strong industry reputation and linkage.

As a Counsellor you will:
  1. Be truly passionate about what you do.
  2. Help people every day overcome challenges and lead better lives.
  3. Enjoy job security in one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country.
  4. Have the freedom of owning your own business.

Ready to start your Counselling journey, <<First Name>>?

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Community Services Courses
Helping You Help Your Community
 
By gaining a qualification within the Community Services sector, 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!
 
Diploma of Financial Counsellinglearn more
Do you want to help others who are facing financial hardship?

Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)learn more
Join one of the fastest growing employment sectors in the country!
 
Diploma of Youth Worklearn more
Do you want to positively influence the next generation?

Bachelor of Human Services - learn more
A flexible and affordable alternative to traditional tertiary education.


LEARN MORE 

 
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Mental Health Super Summit
For the 6th consecutive year Mental Health Academy and Act for Kids are co-hosting the Mental Health Super Summit online conference. 


Have you ever attended a conference where you decide what you’ll pay to attend, with all proceeds being donated to charity?

The 2020 
Mental Health Super Summit connects you with an extensive line-up of internationally-renowned mental health experts, delivering live sessions from Australia, USA, and Europe.   

Here’s a snapshot of the event: 
  1. You choose how much you want to pay to attend (from just $50)
  2. All proceeds go to the Act for Kids charity, and are applied towards the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect in Australia
  3. 15 real-time webinars (available to watch on-demand after)
  4. An impressive line-up of leading experts, including Dr. Judith S. Beck, Dr. Justin Coulson, Prof. Pat Dudgeon, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, Dr. Richard Schwartz, and many others
  5. Interact with speakers through live Q&A sessions
  6. Topics include CBT, suicide prevention, family therapy, indigenous mental health, lived experience, working with older clients, wellbeing strategies, plus much more!

The Summit is delivered entirely online, with all sessions accessible in real-time and on-demand, from the comfort and safety of your home. 

LEARN MORE & REGISTER  
 
Turning Adversity Into Strength
What counts as trauma? What would growth look like? And what do we need to watch out for, post-trauma, to ensure we experience growth? 

Most of us would have heard the saying, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” While the optimist in us will hope this saying holds true, it now seems there is some more veracity to this claim. Since the 1990s, there has been huge interest in the question of whether, after a trauma, we must succumb to post-traumatic stress, or whether we are able to instead experience post-traumatic growth.

The question isn’t new, as all of the world’s major religions have told us about the transformative power of suffering. But the new emphasis is more scientific, so we need to ask: what counts as trauma? What would growth look like? And what do we need to watch out for, post-trauma, to ensure we experience growth?

What is trauma?

“Trauma” can refer to any major adversity. This could include being in the midst of a natural disaster, serious illnesses or injuries, or deaths of friends or family. Traumatic experiences could also include any form of assault, abuse or violence as well as things like damage to or theft of our property. In fact, any adverse event can be traumatic, depending on the situation and our circumstances.

Dying, surviving, resilience, and thriving

Health researchers have previously asked whether people can recover to pre-trauma levels after a serious adversity. Researchers created three broad categories for people recovering from trauma: those who would succumb completely (death); those who would survive in a greatly reduced capacity; and those who managed to return to pre-trauma functioning were deemed resilient. Those three outcomes seemed to be the only choices.

Now positive psychology proponents have added a fourth outcome: thriving, by which they mean going beyond the level of functioning the person was at before the catastrophe struck. The distance between resilience (equal to pre-trauma functioning) and thriving (a higher level of functioning, beyond where the person was before) is the measure of post-traumatic growth, or PTG.

Areas of growth

You might ask, “What kind of growth are we talking about here — and how would it be measured?” Excellent question! Health scientists are developing the various tests that will help quantify PTG scientifically. The good news is that the cases of growth after traumatic events are far outweighing the reports of disorders. The findings are showing five areas of growth for those who have experienced traumatic events:

  1. Discovery of new opportunities not available before
  2. Closer relationships with others, especially others who suffer
  3. Greater appreciation for life
  4. Greater sense of personal strength
  5. Spiritual growth


Busting the myths

We probably can’t avoid most of the traumatic events that come our way — life happens, after all. But researchers are careful to remind us that growth comes from the struggle to cope with the trauma, not from the event itself. So let’s look at a few of the misconceptions around resilience and thriving.

Resilience is a given — you have it or you don’t. Well, not exactly. Resilience is not a trait; it’s a capacity, one we learn and develop. We can all be more resilient than we were before by learning to use our strengths and supportive resources.

Thriving people are independent, tough, and self-reliant. It’s a great stereotype in Western cultures — the rugged individualist — but the reality is that resilient and thriving people know how to tap into their resources. Their social networks — friends and family — are some of the most important resources. Thrivers are able to ask for help when they need it.

Thrivers are immune to stress and negative feelings. People experiencing PTG have just as much stress and negative emotion as anyone, but they are also able to feel positive emotions, such as joy and gratitude. Thrivers find meaning and purpose in their lives even as they face loss and trauma.

Adversity makes people stronger. Many people do experience positive changes after struggling with a crisis. But it’s not the adversity itself that makes the difference. If it were, all people experiencing the same adverse event — say, surviving a terrible cyclone — would have equal post-traumatic stress or growth. Most will have post-traumatic stress for a while. The thrivers will also maintain positive emotions as they persevere with adaptation, explore the new environment, and learn things that will eventually enable them to build new resources to overcome the difficulty — in the process, they will experience growth. So it’s not really a question of stress or growth; for thrivers, these both may be present in the recovery process.

A caveat

All this talk of growing because we’ve been through tough times, rather than in spite of them, is exciting. There is a word of warning, though: believing that we can overcome trauma and be stronger than before is probably helpful to our development but if we take growth as a given, we may have unrealistically high expectations for ourselves and others.

These types of expectations can do more harm than good, so it is important to take a balanced approach to any traumatic situation. For example, many cancer patients complain about the “prison of positive thinking”, and we are guilty of a profound lack of compassion if we assume that growth will always occur and crisis-stricken people should just “get over it.” We honour people by acknowledging what they’ve been through. After all, the saying that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” contains two possibilities; becoming stronger is only one of them.

A Case of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Marna attended counselling to try to do “something” with her memories of child abuse that currently seem to be affecting her life. She attended twelve appointments over a six-month period. In this scenario, the professional counsellor uses an eclectic approach incorporating Humanistic, Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Abuse Literature Approaches. For ease of writing, the Professional Counsellor is abbreviated to “C”.

READ MORE 
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 clients and their families to encourage personal initiative toward conquering symptoms? That is the focus of this article.   

READ MORE 

More articles: www.aipc.net.au/articles

 
Disaster Mental Health Counselling Credential
The gold standard program in Disaster Mental Health Counselling.

Disasters are on the rise. Whether it’s disasters like the recent bushfires in Australia or the current COVID-19 global pandemic, the outcomes can have enduring emotional consequences for individuals and communities.
 
As a mental health professional, how prepared are you to work in a disaster situation and provide the best possible support? And not just at the time of the disaster, but also in the months and years following?
 
To train you in this challenging yet rewarding field, Mental Health Academy has released the world’s first
Disaster Mental Health Counselling Credential Course. This 31-hour deep-dive program will teach you best-practice strategies, clinical skills and cultural insights to effectively serve in disaster-affected areas, anywhere in the world.

As a course participant, you will enjoy access to:
  1. 10 hours of highly engaging video lectures
  2. On-demand, 24/7 access to learning materials
  3. Dozens of downloadable articles & handouts
  4. Case studies, illustrations & real-life stories
  5. Interactive, peer-driven online forum
  6. Lifetime, unrestricted access to content
  7. Practical online assessment platform
  8. Ongoing support via email/phone

Upon completion of this course, you’ll be issued with an internationally-verifiable MHA Digital Badge and a downloadable CPD Certificate.

LEARN MORE & ENROL  
 
Have you visited Counselling Connection yet? Our official blog has over 500 posts counselling, psychology, self-growth, and more! Make sure you too get connected. Below is a link to one of our popular blog posts.

Infidelity: Rebuilding After a Betrayal

She makes an appointment to talk about the “what next” since the affair. You assume that her spouse has been unfaithful, but when she turns up to session, she tells you that she was the one who strayed. “It felt so good at the time,” she says. “I felt more alive and sexy than I have at any other time in the last decade. But it all happened so fast.” Is there any hope, she wonders, of re-building her marriage and saving it? As a therapist, you may have helped many devastated clients navigate through the roiling waters of recovery after they have been betrayed by a spouse or intimate partner. The therapeutic work may look a little different when the client is the cheater. 

READ MORE 

More posts: www.counsellingconnection.com
"Love is the quality of attention we pay to things."

~ J.D. McClatchy
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:
  1. The Counselling Process
  2. Communication Skills I
  3. Communication Skills II
  4. Counselling Therapies I
  5. Counselling Therapies II
  6. Legal & Ethical Frameworks
  7. Brief Interventions and Loss & Grief Support
  8. Individualised Support and Working with Mental Health
  9. Advanced Counselling Techniques

Click here to access all seminar timetables online.
 
To register for a seminar, please contact your Student Support Centre.
For more information, visit:
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