for March, 2019

Are you channelling Mary Poppins?

Posted on March 24, 2019 in Uncategorized - 0

Psychology Consultants, Brisbane

When you think about it, Mary Poppins is not really the best role model for children or adults for that matter. “Practically perfect in every way”… if only she knew that perfectionism is practically a disease.

A perfectionist, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is “A person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection”. This philosophy is therefore based on a fear of failing. Living in constant fear of falling short or making a mistake, the perfectionist can live with high levels of anxiety and stress often leading to other mental health issue. Striving for perfection is simply not sustainable; it’s a completely subjective and abstract notion that defies the very meaning of being human.

The irony is, the underlying motive for most perfectionists is success which will ultimately lead to happiness (apparently). However, history would show that people who have achieved great success, are not in fact perfectionists but those who are comfortable enough to make mistakes. Take Steve Jobs for example, his life principals were based around two things, the power of positive thinking and allowing yourself to fail. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life”. Steve Jobs 2005

Learning to let go doesn’t mean dropping your standards but rather, allowing yourself to embrace the opportunities and enlightenment that can come from making mistakes. It’s about disassociating perfection with self-worth; it need not define you.

If you are raising children, or even have grown up ones, the need to ‘let it go’ as the Ice Queen would chant, is even more important. Children model their behaviour and perception of the world based on their parents, teachers and carers. Demonstrating through words, actions and experiences, that it is okay to fail, will teach children to reach for the stars without a fear of falling.

Recognising that perfection won’t bring you happiness and showing yourself the compassion, you would to others who fall short, is the first step to your personal peace treaty. If you need help with personal strategies to emancipate yourself from perfection, visit our website to read about our team of experienced Clinical Psychologists who are committed to helping you flourish.




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Caught in an Anxiety Fog?

Posted on March 17, 2019 in Uncategorized - 0

Kind of like driving a car in a bad fog, it’s hard to think clearly and make good decisions when you are overwrought, overwhelmed and feeling anxious. If only clearing your brain fog was as easy as turning on the windscreen wipers. It may not be quite this simple but there are some simple ways to think more clearly and make better decisions when you feel like anxiety related brain fog has taken hold.

Although ‘brain fog’ can be caused by a number of medical conditions, this article focuses on what to do when you have anxiety related brain fog. The first step is to identify that it is anxiety that is clouding your vision and impairing your cognitive function. The next step is to stop focusing on your anxiety. It is common when entrenched in a bout of anxiety to become obsessed with how you are feeling, to worry about how it may impact on your family, work and life. Internally focused thoughts will only worsen symptoms of brain fog, that may include, a lack of concentration, fatigue, irritability, intense fear and irrational thoughts. It can be difficult to acknowledge that you are becoming internally focused when you are in the thick of it but by understanding your stressors and what triggers your anxiety, you can take better control of your thought process.

Anxiety related brain fog results from elevated stress hormones causing the body to react by suppressing the rationalisation and core memory part of the brain (the cortex and hippocampus) and increasing areas of the brain (the amygdala) designed to respond to danger. Once the mind recognises that there is no real threat or danger, stress levels will reduce, the body will calm and anxiety will ease.

Everyone’s external stressors or triggers are different and it’s important to recognise what causes you to have an overly anxious mindset. A calming mantra that works for you when you are caught in the thick of anxiety can be very helpful in reducing stress levels. In treating anxiety, psychologists often use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help people identify when their thought patterns are negative and replace them with more helpful thoughts, resulting in more positive behavioural outcomes. Part of cognitive behavioural therapy in treating anxiety is monitoring your ‘self-talk’ and testing realities of negative talk by evaluating the thoughts that lead to unhelpful fears and beliefs.  The treatment focuses on questioning the negative thoughts and beliefs that lead to the feelings of anxiousness in various situations.

Working with a Clinical Psychologist to design your own personal strategies to manage anxiety may help you feel more empowered and in control of your mind. Whilst addressing any underlying causes of your anxiety may help you to overcome it in the long run.

For more information on anxiety treatment, visit

To view our team of Clinical Psychologists, visit the Brisbane Psychologists page here.


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What to expect from Group Therapy

Posted on March 13, 2019 in Uncategorized - 0

Group therapy can be confronting and off-putting for some people; let’s face it, talking to strangers about your struggles is not for everyone. But when it comes to treating insomnia or eating problems, it’s really very effective, enabling people with similar personal problems but completely different life experiences to share and learn from one another.

Most groups and in particular, our insomnia program, Towards Better Sleep, offer small groups of no more than 9 participant the opportunity to learn about insomnia treatment approaches in an intimate and confidential setting. Towards Better Sleep, is run over four, one hour sessions typically spread out over 6 to 8 weeks.

With the guidance of two experienced facilitators, participants come away from the program equipped with clinically proven methods for better sleep. Once more, the group setting allows participants to gain a new perspective on sleep and learn how others might deal with their individual situations.

TBS Facilitators: Kathryn Smith & Dr Curt Gray

Towards Better Sleep facilitators, Dr Curt Gray (Psychiatrist) and Kathryn Smith (Clinical Psychologist) have been running the group for over 15 years and have witnessed first-hand the profound results of the cognitive behavioural therapy program.

“When you are struggling with something like ongoing insomnia, it can be hard to believe that anyone else can be doing it as tough as you but once they start the program, they quickly see how common their experiences are”, says Kathryn Smith.

“When you are surrounded with people who have taken the courage to reach out for help and take charge of their life, there is a high level of respect and validation amongst the group”, notes Ms Smith.

Another key benefit of group therapy is the extra change in your back pocket, with it being a more cost-effective way to see a therapist. You might also find when surrounded by others who are in a similar situation, that there is an added level of support that cannot be found in individual therapy.

Working in a group to overcome problems, like insomnia can also reveal personal insights that you may not otherwise have recognised. Facilitators work to ensure that group therapy is a safe, confidential and welcoming space, allowing you to learn more about yourself to improve your outlook and general wellbeing as well as the task at hand.

The next Towards Better Sleep programme commences on Thursday 18th July. To learn more about it or to register visit






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Welcome Dr Nicola Spence to our Morningside practice

Posted on March 13, 2019 in Uncategorized - 0

MA (Hons), DClinPsy, MAPS
Master of Arts (Hons) – Psychology, Doctorate of Clinical Psychology
Membership: Australian Psychological Society

Nicola has worked as a Clinical Psychologist in both the UK and Australia since 2011. She has held various positions in the fields of adult mental health and forensic mental health over this time and we are now pleased that she is joining the team at Psychology Consultants, Morningside.

In her work, Nicola uses an integrative approach, drawing on various therapy modalities to adapt therapy to best suit the needs of each person. She primarily draws upon the evidence-based therapies of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion-focused Therapy (CFT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI).

Nicola’s areas of interest include working with people who experience a range of difficulties, including anxiety (e.g. phobias, OCD, social anxiety), depression, trauma and stress, self-esteem difficulties, occupational stress and addictions. In addition to offering direct intervention, Nicola is also passionate about the development of others and offers clinical supervision and training to other clinicians.

Nicola works from the Morningside office on Thursday & Friday; please phone (07) 3395 8633 to make an appointment.

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