I have written pieces before on the importance of a daily self-reflective practice, including a method by which to regain equanimity of mind.
There are two articles on this site about that if you want to follow up on it. One is called: "Mindfulness Without The Om" and the other is called: "The Only Method You Need For Mental Health"
Today, I wanted to share one of my experiences with you, to show you that it can be fun, too.
Recently in my practice, many clients have complained of feeling stuck in anxious and depressed emotional states, with apparently no choice but to recycle the same tears, sadness and negative self-talk, with each and every day like Groundhog Day. They are encumbered by a burden they cannot define that weighs heavily on their shoulders, grips their chest in a vice-like pressure or sits in their stomachs like a lead boulder. Does that sound familiar to you?
Recently, I have heard a lot of complaints from consumers of mental health services as well as highly trained and experienced colleagues talk about the draconian imposts that an insistence on so-called "evidence-based" therapies be delivered by psychologists who are registered with Medicare under the Better Access To Mental Health program. Basically, "evidence-based" means Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) because that is the most widely researched kind of psychotherapy and it is the basis upon which the Better Access program is funded.
I invited Dr Aaron Frost to contribute his excellent article to my blog because it's about time we as a profession in psychology focused more on outcomes based evidence rather than evidence-based psychotherapy. Based on the meta analysis of decades of research, we find there is equivalence between various treatment models, also known as the "Dodo Verdict," which is: "all have won therefore all must have prizes" as Hubble, Duncan and Miller describe in their book "The Heart And Soul Of Change."
The active ingredient of what works in therapy is not the treatment model per se but other factors - such as the relationship, expectancy (placebo) effects and client resources. Theoretically, if you have a great therapeutic relationship, a resourceful client and a knowledgeable and experienced practitioner, a tarot card reading would be just as effective as CBT.
It's about time common sense returned to our profession and I encourage my colleagues to take a stance on the value we bring to the public by helping to contribute to Dr Aaron Frost's research and to stop politicians framing what we do in terms of cost and pseudo-science that is evidence-based practice.
Do you have the kind of mind that never gives you any rest because it constantly nags, criticises and hammers you with its incessant demands? If so, it's likely that you experience quite a lot of anxiety as well.
There's a good chance you've done a lot to help yourself already, including reading about mindfulness and meditating to help quiet your mind, but when you try it as suggested, you squirm, get distracted and just can't sit still! It’s worse when mindfulness meditation just seems to make you feel even more anxious and you wonder whether you’re going backwards.
Do you struggle with a mind that never stops, hammering you with harsh thoughts, demands and self-criticism, never letting you rest or get a good night’s sleep? A busy, racing, out-of-control mind is the driver for all symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Practicing the skill of mindfulness in a daily self-reflective practice is the most effective way to a clearer, more peaceful mind, better relationships, improved creativity, a happier workplace as well as for working through limiting, self-sabotaging beliefs.
Targets of workplace bullying typically make three major mistakes that unbeknownst to them, has a massive negative impact on their mental health as well as any chance they might have of getting a favourable outcome from their situation.
Before going any further, not only is it possible to get a great outcome as a result of being bullied, it is probable. Growth is the outcome of trauma in the majority of cases according to landmark research in the area by Tedeschi and Calhoun (1 & 2).
If you understand the mistakes you are likely to make and correct them as you go, your growth is likely to accelerate as you begin to develop a strategy that has you triumphing over trauma rather than coming undone.
The three mistakes to avoid are as follows:
One of the best feelings on this earth is when you are madly, deeply, in love with your man. When you’re in it, it feels like it will last forever and you both make plans to make sure it stays that way.
However, more often than not, that feeling fades away within 6 months to 2 years, especially if you overdo it and spend way too much time together in the early stages. The more contact you have, the faster you come back down to earth.
Afterwards you’re left facing the real human being you met, with all his flaws, foibles and irritating habits. It’s at this point that you’re beginning to wonder if you’re with the “wrong” man because that “in love” feeling has gone and things have become quite boring.
It feels really great, after you've been single for longer that you wanted, to finally meet someone you can feel safe enough to fall in love with. Therefore, it comes as quite a shock when down the track, you realise that you're no longer "in love" with the same person who you thought you'd be with for a lifetime.
At first, it seems confusing, worrying and perhaps even embarrassing to admit that your feelings have changed; after all, it's supposed to be happy ever after, right?
Is it normal to no longer want to have sex with your partner?
Thoughts are powerful; they create your reality. Control your thoughts and you create your reality. A positive mindset begets positive end results. These popular tenets are espoused by the likes of Louise Hay, Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins and countless other self-help gurus.
The problem is, they don’t actually work. Consider the last time you really wanted something to happen. It could be a dream job, an ideal relationship or even a parking space in the city.
Having learned from the best, you used positive affirmations in the ways suggested. You wrote your desired outcome on a card, kept it on your person at all times and repeated the phrase over and over in your head. The end results of your efforts were probably not the ones you were looking for.
Having failed, you might have berated yourself. You didn’t do the affirmations correctly, you were somehow undeserving, or even: “it was meant to be”.
I've have created this blog to help you clarify and resolve pressing issues you are currently struggling with. I hope that you find the following advice useful but remember to contact your preferred mental health professional for help in implementing some of these strategies.