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Iris Blog

Responses to Parenting Questions – Part 1

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When working with people who care for children there are always a raft of questions across a variety of topics and there are a few common threads.  I’m highlighting a couple of these questions and some resources which provide you with more information.

How do I build up a healthy self-esteem in my child?

We all want the best for our children and have been told that praise is a good way to ensure they step into the world in a positive and confident way. Thanks to research, scientists have identified some important elements to providing praise. The following links provide good research based examples of this:

Fidget toys as school – Should we use them?

Good question! My fellow psychologist Barb Kelly (Clinical Psychology Registrar) asked the same in a recent post. Have a look for yourself on her thoughts http://mindwarepsychology.com.au/should-fidget-spinners-be-banned/

I feel this is one of those times when the decision really requires the input of the parent, school, and psychologist working together to decide if it is the right support for the child at that point in time.  As Barb shared, movement is an important part of being able to learn.

All the very best on your parenting journey.

What can I do to make this anxiety or stress go away?

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An understandably common question for people who come to see me.  Life stressors, whether they be from family, relationships, physical health, work or mental health take over and can feel all-consuming at times.  Given the variety of those stressors there is no 5 Tops tips to Freedom within this post!  Some points to consider:

  • Go back to basics: Am I setting a routine that supports eating, sleeping and connection with others?
  • Acknowledge that as a human being on this earth you are going to feel stressed at times and right now is tough – there are solutions, perhaps not unearthed yet, to tap in to.
  • Step outside and look at nature or pat an animal (a friendly one of course!)

Remember every person is different. There is so much more that psychology can offer to support you with your stress and/or anxiety. Consider contacting Iris Psychology on 0411 59 44 21 or your regular GP for support.

 

Awareness First

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I have had the great pleasure of learning about our bodies and its response to stress and trauma across the years.  I continue to be in awe of the ability of our bodies to protect ourselves automatically, through a series of biological events resulting in an experience called the “Flight, Fight, or Freeze” response.  It is where we may exit stage left very quickly, aggressively take action, or become still or quiet – all valid protective responses to a threat.  This automatic body-brain response makes sense, as during stressful events we decide that survival must take the lead.  It is protection at all cost.

Things however can come unstuck. Sometimes this response occurs in situations where the threat is not as high as what our body senses tell us that it is.  That alarm switch is flicked and we can respond in a way that surprises us – aggression, withdrawal, agitation etc. This can happen time and time again, and we begin to question if there is something wrong with us or start to believe there is nothing we can do.

There is however a lot that can be done.  It starts with Awareness First.  This means getting to know what is going on inside our minds and our bodies both during stressful and pleasurable events.  We get to know ourselves not by judging what we do, but instead kindly and curiously observing what is happening – taking some nice deep calm breaths as we do.

Like many things in life a good tip is to start small.  Start with observing your self during a pleasant event, notice what happens in your mind and body. Then progress to some uncomfortable experiences.  Practice does make progress however when we are aware we are engaging our brain in a different way with our experience.  From these small changes big ones can follow, however, Awareness First!

If this blog as raised some concerns or been triggering please all Lifeline on 13 11 14.  If you’d like professional support or guidance with awareness skills, contact Iris Psychology on 0411 59 44 21 or talk to your General Practitioner for alternative mental health support.

What is Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

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Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a present-focused talking therapy that acknowledges the impact of your relationship with thoughts, emotions, and body sensations on your behaviour; ACT therefore seeks to support mindful change towards valued goals.

ACT seeks to support psychological flexibility through mindfulness, acceptance of your internal experience, committed actions, identification of values, and awareness of our relationship with our thoughts. ACT takes a collaborative approach between you and the psychologist, with invitations to consider how or if ideas apply to the individual’s specific situation through experimentation or reflection on past experience.

Research on ACT has significantly increased over the past 15 years with areas explored including: depression, anxiety, alcohol and other drugs dependence, health conditions, chronic pain, obesity, and stress.

Do you have questions?  Ask Iris Psychology via the Contact Us page.

Penny Flowers, Hartwig, psychology, counselling, rural and remote, mental health, ex patriate, veterans, PTSD, trauma, tele-health, on-line, couples therapy, Gottman therapist, anxiety, depression, CBT, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, ACT, Solution Focused Therapy, Mindfulness