Archive

for February, 2017

What to do when your child’s FOMO spirals out of control

Posted on February 23, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

By Danielle Corbett, Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Consultants, Newmarket

For those of you that don’t know what FOMO stands for, don’t fear you have missed out. FOMO or Fear of Missing Out, is not actually as new age as your average 15- year-old might think.

More traditionally termed ‘The grass is always greener’ this primal human instinct to stay connected has recently been heightened by our addiction to smart phones, ipads, computer screens…and wait for it….social media.

Teenagers haven’t changed much over the generations, except that they now socialise or “hang out” online, rather than in shopping malls or at the local park, partly due to parental concerns about personal safety.  So instead of gossiping and doing all those adolescent behaviours in real life, they now watch it happen in real time on a screen.  To be on social media is to feel connected to their peers.  And just like in real life, events and interactions online can go pear-shaped rather rapidly.  The difference is though, if you are teenager and you go offline for an hour, suddenly you have missed the biggest dust-up or fight of the year, and on the social outer.

Social media get a pretty bad rap from health professionals across the world but what is so bad about staying connected, after all it’s a hard-wired human response? In fact, there is a dedicated part of the brain, the amygdala, part of the limbic system, specifically designed to detect whether our lives are in danger. Now it’s quite ridiculous to suggest that missing out on a Snapchat or Facebook Messenger event is life threatening but it triggers the same flight or fight response in our brains.

But jealously issues aside, our newfound need to be connected every waking moment is causing other psychosocial problems, particularly within the adolescent set.

Clinical Psychologist, Danielle Corbett, who specialises in adolescent psychology is seeing more and more cases of ‘FOMO’ related stress and anxiety.

“I am seeing many young clients who are in a state of vigilance with difficulties living in the present moment and it is this state of living that causes social and emotional problems such as anxiety and stress.

“Basically, social media is opposite of mindfulness in our youngsters, and in particular, girls are struggling with feelings of personal inadequacy, and difficulties living in the present” Ms Corbett said.

Recent research from University of Chicago found that social media is even more addictive than cigarettes and that getting your fix is equally as urgent to social media users.

Ms Corbett professional advice is; “Instead of trying to quash the urge completely, adolescents and those struggling with social media should embrace the need to be connected without letting it control your life.

“Learn to curb the overwhelming drive to be connected online and redirect it to communicating in real time with real people” she said.

Practicing mindfulness is another way to counteract some of the unwanted stress caused by social media. A few easy ways you can put this into practice are, enrolling your child in extracurricular activity, encouraging face to face socialisation (as this also helps build their adulating skillset), limiting internet times or allocating phone free time whilst going for a walk together. Parents might even find this this allows you to reconnect with your child who in a blink of an eye will have left the fold for good.

For more information on Danielle Corbett and the team of Clinical Psychologists at Psychology Consultants visit www.psychologyconsultants.com.au

 

 

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Chronic Pain – More than a Pain In The Neck!

Posted on February 20, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

By Dr Claire Jensen, Clinical Psychologist, Psychology Consultants, Newmarket.

Unless you have suffered chronic pain, it is very difficult to imagine the stress it places on a person’s life, not to mention the impact on those around them. Without intervention, chronic pain can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life, lead to sleep problems, exhaustion, stress, relationship and work dysfunction, as well as mental health problems.

According to Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) one in five Australian adults suffer from both severe chronic pain and either depression or other mood disorders, costing the country $35 billion a year.

Despite this it is only in the last two decades or so that Chronic Pain has received the increased research and funding it requires. We now know much more about how we can support chronic pain sufferers to manage their pain levels, reduce the vicious downward cycle of pain and improve quality of life.

Like most modern medicine, taking a holistic approach is considered best practice and this extends to chronic pain management, where practitioners take a biopsychosocial approach assessing; the biological, psychological and social aspects of the person’s situation.

Clinical Psychologist, Dr Claire Jensen, who is extensively trained in chronic pain management stresses the importance of engaging a holistic team of professionals that you can trust to assist you to manage all aspects of your pain.

“Many clients avoid seeing a psychologist as they are worried others will think ‘Your pain is all in your head!’ but Cognitive strategies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), mindfulness and relaxation can be just as important as pain medication or physiotherapy,” she said.

“Pain is a subjective experience and thus whatever pain the client describes is the true experience for them. Pain is certainly not ‘all in a person’s head’ but the brain and body are closely linked and thus it is a great asset to learn how to access the brains natural medicine cabinet, i.e., how to assist the brain to relax and release helpful chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.”

Clinical Psychologists can help chronic pain sufferers work through the daily struggles that present, offering strategies that will help the individual manage their pain, improve their mood and sleep, as well as recognise how unhelpful thoughts feed into the pain cycle. This in turn leads to an increased quality of life and reduced risk of associated depression and anxiety.

Many chronic pain suffers feel trapped within debilitating negative thoughts that influence our mood, memory, function and ability to enjoy everyday life. CBT has been extensively researched for its positive effect on managing negative thoughts associated with pain, through adaptive coping skills, such as distraction and relaxation, that produce calming thought processes.

Another more recent technique embraced by health professionals across the world is mindfulness. Leading the way, Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn brought mindfulness to the forefront of chronic pain management to separate the person’s thoughts, moods and emotions from the pain itself.

Dr Claire Jensen says “Mindfulness is about increasing a person’s ability to choose which thoughts are most helpful for them to pay attention to. Increasing aspects of control is important for individuals with chronic pain who often feel like they have lost all control due to pain”.

Dr Claire Jensen practices from Psychology Consutlants at Newmarket. To read more about Dr Jensen visit: psychologyconsultants.com.au/teammemberprofile/dr-claire-jensen/

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Why Being Angry Could be Making you Sick

Posted on February 8, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

By Kathryn Smith, Clinical Psychologist

We all get a little worked up at times and let’s face it, sometimes we ‘fly off the handle’ and this is okay. Feeling angry is a normal human instinct; a hard-wired response in our brains but for some, anger is like a raging inferno ready to burst into flames at any time and this is not a healthy way to live.

Recent studies have shown that this type of uncontrollable anger not only affects your immediate quality of life but can put you at risk of long term health concerns including anxiety, depression and even cardiovascular disease.

The good news is there is a way forward and the first step is identifying the problem and then learning to manage your anger.

So why manage your anger if it’s a normal human instinct I hear you say? Older theories encouraged venting anger as a good release and way to get past the problem, however researchers have now found that this only exacerbates the problem fueling the internal inferno for future outburst.

This is not to say we should ‘bite our tongue’ but managing anger and expressing it in a more controlled way provides a release without the negative side effects, allowing you to focus on the underlying issues triggering anger.

Clinical Psychologist, Kathryn Smith says; “Part of anger management is mindfulness, being aware of your body and recognising the triggers that make you angry.

The next step is more technical and involves personalise thought response before, during and after an episode, that allow you to tame the beast, so to speak.”

Each person’s management style will be different but here are some suggested thoughts that might help you keep your cool and minimise the aftermaths: 

1. Just breathe. It sounds simple but taking a deep breath in and exhaling gives you time to think before you respond.

2. I am not going to let them get to me. I am in control of this situation.

3. I am not going to judge them; their opinion is not important to me.

4. Let’s not take this so seriously. Is there a funny side to this?

5. I can’t change them or this situation with anger but I can change my thinking.

If you or someone you know has problems with anger, seeking professional help will allow you to develop personalised management strategies and address underlying emotional and psychological issues. Psychology Consultants has a large and diverse team of Clinical Psychologists based at Newmarket and Morningside who are committed to helping people from all walks of life with their emotional and psychological hurdles. Visit the Brisbane Psychologist page of our website to learn more www.psychologyconsultants.com.au

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Is this how you started your working year?

Posted on February 3, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0

If you are tired of waking up tired and would like 2017 to be the year of ‘better sleep’, Towards Better Sleep group insomnia programme might be the answer you have been looking for.

A frequent excuse for not turning up to work is tiredness due to not having a good night’s sleep. The Reawakening Australia report conducted by Deloitte in 2011, estimated the financial cost of insomnia to the health care system to be 118.7 million and in excess of 1.5 billion dollars to the workforce annually. Evidence suggests that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression and an increased risk of other co-morbid conditions creating an even more significant impact on the workforce.

Towards Better Sleep is a cognitive behavioural therapy group programme designed to equip insomnia sufferers with long term strategies to correct faulty thinking and behaviour and enjoy the health benefits of better quality sleep.

Facilitated by Psychiatrist Dr Curt Gray and Clinical Psychologist Psychologist Kathryn Smith, TBS has been running for over 15 years with people across Brisbane reaping the rewards of better quality sleep.

A group setting offers participants the opportunity to share their stories, and learn from the experiences and ideas of other insomnia sufferers, in a private and confidential environment. It also allows the therapists to treat more people in a cost-effective way.

The first programme for 2017 commences 16th February and costs $380 in total. As the group sessions are a medical service, provided by a medical practitioner a medicare rebate can be provided. Places are limited so register today by contacting reception tbs@psychologyconsultants.com.au or call (07) 3356 8255. For more information on the programme visit www.towardsbettersleep.com.au 

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