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2 days ago

Alpha Psychology

Anxiety can be like an overprotective parent ... See MoreSee Less

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Thanks very helpful. Take care.

Keep em coming, very helpful

Well done Deidre

1 month ago

Alpha Psychology

Don't be that person for whom "narcissist" basically just means "someone I don't like"
.....seriously, don't be that guy/gal
... See MoreSee Less

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Tell me more.

2 months ago

Alpha Psychology

A PSYCHOLOGIST ISN’T A SURGEON

The mind is resistant to change. The mind is also highly individualised and nuanced in many respects (although fairly generic in some other respects). The mind is also a nebulous, ineffable, non-physical entity. For these reasons it is impossible for a psychologist to be like a surgeon, much as you might want them to be.

Some people enter into therapy hoping that a psychologist can ‘fix’ them. Not just fix them, but that the fix will ultimately ‘work’, which is understandable but very misguided. It’s a strangely passive stance to take towards personal growth and yet, nonetheless fairly common. Often people are hoping for a magic-wand-cure type of thing from their dealings with psychologists but this is mistaking the PRACTICE of psychology with the EXPERIENCE of surgery.

A surgeon will insist that you lay motionless on the operating table and they will literally prod and slice, poke and manipulate, diddling about with your insides, changing your body at will. You get no say in the process whatsoever, once you’re under anesthetic at least. This is one of the terrifying aspects of surgery but oddly - and simultaneously - one of the more reassuring. Some people can appreciate having another person be entirely responsible for them in this way. Personal ownership can be daunting. Self-reliance can be intimidating. Handing yourself over when you feel lost and ill-equipped can be a relief. But a psychologist isn’t a surgeon.

Unfortunately the mind is resistant to change, highly nuanced and non-physical. A psychologist can only make suggestions and offer advice based upon their understanding of you; those ideas and suggestions can only enter the mind through a kind of osmosis (if you’ll allow it). Nobody can open up your mind and shove a new thought process into it, no one can crack open your cranium and wedge a new perspective into it. Not in the lets-cut-off-that-gangrenous-toe kinda way. Even ideas that strike your psyche as revelatory still need to be synthesised and consolidated somehow.

Which is all to say that the work is up to you I’m afraid. In Alcoholics Anonymous they say “it works if you work it.” You can’t attend the gym and look at the machines, hoping to get fitter. You can’t buy a guitar and glance at it on the stand, expecting to be a minstrel. You can’t aspire to play in the championship game by watching the weekly practice. It’s the same with your mind.

Your psychologist can be a coach for you. Your friends might be a guide for you. Your mother may be a confidant or a collaborator or a mentor for you. But at the end of the day it’s YOU, and only you, who has to do the work. Which is both the good news and the bad news. A psychologist isn’t a surgeon!
... See MoreSee Less

A PSYCHOLOGIST ISN’T A SURGEON

The mind is resistant to change. The mind is also highly individualised and nuanced in many respects (although fairly generic in some other respects). The mind is also a nebulous, ineffable, non-physical entity. For these reasons it is impossible for a psychologist to be like a surgeon, much as you might want them to be. 

Some people enter into therapy hoping that a psychologist can ‘fix’ them. Not just fix them, but that the fix will ultimately ‘work’, which is understandable but very misguided. It’s a strangely passive stance to take towards personal growth and yet, nonetheless fairly common. Often people are hoping for a magic-wand-cure type of thing from their dealings with psychologists but this is mistaking the PRACTICE of psychology with the EXPERIENCE of surgery. 

A surgeon will insist that you lay motionless on the operating table and they will literally prod and slice, poke and manipulate, diddling about with your insides, changing your body at will. You get no say in the process whatsoever, once you’re under anesthetic at least. This is one of the terrifying aspects of surgery but oddly - and simultaneously - one of the more reassuring. Some people can appreciate having another person be entirely responsible for them in this way. Personal ownership can be daunting. Self-reliance can be intimidating. Handing yourself over when you feel lost and ill-equipped can be a relief. But a psychologist isn’t a surgeon. 
  
Unfortunately the mind is resistant to change, highly nuanced and non-physical. A psychologist can only make suggestions and offer advice based upon their understanding of you; those ideas and suggestions can only enter the mind through a kind of osmosis (if you’ll allow it). Nobody can open up your mind and shove a new thought process into it, no one can crack open your cranium and wedge a new perspective into it. Not in the lets-cut-off-that-gangrenous-toe kinda way. Even ideas that strike your psyche as revelatory still need to be synthesised and consolidated somehow.  

Which is all to say that the work is up to you I’m afraid. In Alcoholics Anonymous they say “it works if you work it.” You can’t attend the gym and look at the machines, hoping to get fitter. You can’t buy a guitar and glance at it on the stand, expecting to be a minstrel. You can’t aspire to play in the championship game by watching the weekly practice. It’s the same with your mind. 

Your psychologist can be a coach for you. Your friends might be a guide for you. Your mother may be a confidant or a collaborator or a mentor for you. But at the end of the day it’s YOU, and only you, who has to do the work. Which is both the good news and the bad news. A psychologist isn’t a surgeon!

Comment on Facebook

And a surgeon not a dietitian... which most problems are caused by.

2 months ago

Alpha Psychology

THE ART OF EMPATHY….YOU GET WHAT I MEAN, RIGHT!?

Teaching empathy can be like Beethoven trying to teach piano. Those who are naturally gifted at music or art or poetry are sometimes the worst teachers because they are doing their craft so effortlessly they can’t really explain it. It’s like asking a possum how it’s doing its possum-thing “I dunno *shrug* it’s just me being me” (I hope now you’re imagining what it looks like for a possum to shrug!)

My point here is that naturally empathetic folk can find it very difficult to explain how they are performing this most elegant of feats because it’s coming very naturally to them. Hence, learning empathy can be a struggle for those who are less talented. Well – here I come to save the day - let me help you out with this little dilemma (even though you didn’t actually ask for my help and I’m inflicting it upon you....you’re welcome *kiss*)

Imagine 4 cane baskets side by side. Now picture that upon the side of each of these baskets is a word; one says ‘Me,’ the other says ‘Mum,’ the other reads ‘Dog’ and the last one reads ‘Sister.’ Have you got that? Visualising 4 baskets with 4 respective labels? Good!

Now let’s take a juicy topic. Let’s pick an easy one to start with…..religion! No, politics! No, money! Egad are there no safe, uncontentious topics anymore? Let’s go with parenting…..just for a laugh. Picture, with your mind’s eye, filling your basket with little pieces of paper, thousands of little bits of paper in fact. Upon each one is written a though. The basket is full of your thoughts on parenting. It’s up to the brim with ALL of your thoughts, your memories, your beliefs, your values, your assertions….all revolving around parenting. You could rummage and research, sift and sort through this trove of thoughts till your heart’s content. The point is that these myriad thoughts are YOURS! They inhabit the basket labelled ‘Me.’

Empathy is the ability and the inclination to STOP digging and delving into your own perspective. To put the lid on that basket marked ‘Me’ for a moment, and to open up to somebody else’s perspective, to look through THEIR basket.

The reason why empathy – as a practice – can be so damn difficult is because you’ll start hunting through your mother’s opinions and beliefs on parenting and the second that you come upon a thought you disagree with you’ll stop being curious and interested in HER basket and you’ll just return to you own. She thinks “children should be seen and not heard”……”what drivel” you think to yourself in response. But hold up a second, you’ve just gone back to your OWN basket there. A single thought from her that you disagree with and you’re straight back to your own basket digging through to find all the reasons you disagree and all the justifications for your disagreement. In your sister’s opinion “children are little angels”….”well, you’ve clearly never had a difficult child” you snipe to yourself in your head. Hang on, you’ve gone back to your own basket AGAIN! Constantly returning back to your own biases and agenda is not true empathy.

I think we can resist genuine empathy because it asks us to put a lid on our own perspective and that can feel very threatening to our ego-centric-tendencies…bless their little cotton socks. We erroneously believe that if we were to truly and fully empathise with another’s position it would compromises our own stance…but it doesn’t! It just doesn’t!

I will talk to clients sometimes who have very thoroughly and completely walked me through their position on something. Then, when introducing even the slightest hint of an alternative position, its game on! Shut down! Like a viper striking, they’ll rapidly launch into reiterating their own opinions. But I hadn’t forgotten what they said 2 seconds prior – there might be some signs of early onset dementia but my short term memory isn’t THAT bad.

Within our intimate relationships the ability (and willingness) to HEAR someone else’s thoughts on something doesn’t mean you agree. It doesn’t mean you disagree either. It doesn’t mean anything apart from the fact that you’re a generous and courteous listener. It’s just polite to hear someone out and let them lay their thoughts before you. You are never under any obligation to pick up those pieces of paper, the one’s that belong to them, and transfer them into your basket. Not unless you WANT to.

And….ultimately….when all is said and done…at the end of the day….you’ve always got the option to just empathise with the dog….his opinion on things is always very straightforward…”food, food, food, pee, happy, happy, walk, food, food, sleep”…..
... See MoreSee Less

THE ART OF EMPATHY….YOU GET WHAT I MEAN, RIGHT!?

Teaching empathy can be like Beethoven trying to teach piano. Those who are naturally gifted at music or art or poetry are sometimes the worst teachers because they are doing their craft so effortlessly they can’t really explain it. It’s like asking a possum how it’s doing its possum-thing “I dunno *shrug* it’s just me being me” (I hope now you’re imagining what it looks like for a possum to shrug!) 

My point here is that naturally empathetic folk can find it very difficult to explain how they are performing this most elegant of feats because it’s coming very naturally to them. Hence, learning empathy can be a struggle for those who are less talented. Well – here I come to save the day - let me help you out with this little dilemma (even though you didn’t actually ask for my help and I’m inflicting it upon you....you’re welcome *kiss*)

Imagine 4 cane baskets side by side. Now picture that upon the side of each of these baskets is a word; one says ‘Me,’ the other says ‘Mum,’ the other reads ‘Dog’ and the last one reads ‘Sister.’  Have you got that? Visualising 4 baskets with 4 respective labels? Good! 

Now let’s take a juicy topic. Let’s pick an easy one to start with…..religion! No, politics! No, money! Egad are there no safe, uncontentious topics anymore? Let’s go with parenting…..just for a laugh. Picture, with your mind’s eye, filling your basket with little pieces of paper, thousands of little bits of paper in fact. Upon each one is written a though. The basket is full of your thoughts on parenting. It’s up to the brim with ALL of your thoughts, your memories, your beliefs, your values, your assertions….all revolving around parenting. You could rummage and research, sift and sort through this trove of thoughts till your heart’s content. The point is that these myriad thoughts are YOURS! They inhabit the basket labelled ‘Me.’

Empathy is the ability and the inclination to STOP digging and delving into your own perspective. To put the lid on that basket marked ‘Me’ for a moment, and to open up to somebody else’s perspective, to look through THEIR basket. 

The reason why empathy – as a practice – can be so damn difficult is because you’ll start hunting through your mother’s opinions and beliefs on parenting and the second that you come upon a thought you disagree with you’ll stop being curious and interested in HER basket and you’ll just return to you own. She thinks “children should be seen and not heard”……”what drivel” you think to yourself in response. But hold up a second, you’ve just gone back to your OWN basket there.  A single thought from her that you disagree with and you’re straight back to your own basket digging through to find all the reasons you disagree and all the justifications for your disagreement. In your sister’s opinion “children are little angels”….”well, you’ve clearly never had a difficult child” you snipe to yourself in your head. Hang on, you’ve gone back to your own basket AGAIN! Constantly returning back to your own biases and agenda is not true empathy. 

I think we can resist genuine empathy because it asks us to put a lid on our own perspective and that can feel very threatening to our ego-centric-tendencies…bless their little cotton socks. We erroneously believe that if we were to truly and fully empathise with another’s position it would compromises our own stance…but it doesn’t! It just doesn’t! 

I will talk to clients sometimes who have very thoroughly and completely walked me through their position on something. Then, when introducing even the slightest hint of an alternative position, its game on! Shut down! Like a viper striking, they’ll rapidly launch into reiterating their own opinions. But I hadn’t forgotten what they said 2 seconds prior – there might be some signs of early onset dementia but my short term memory isn’t THAT bad. 

Within our intimate relationships the ability (and willingness) to HEAR someone else’s thoughts on something doesn’t mean you agree. It doesn’t mean you disagree either. It doesn’t mean anything apart from the fact that you’re a generous and courteous listener. It’s just polite to hear someone out and let them lay their thoughts before you. You are never under any obligation to pick up those pieces of paper, the one’s that belong to them, and transfer them into your basket. Not unless you WANT to. 

And….ultimately….when all is said and done…at the end of the day….you’ve always got the option to just empathise with the dog….his opinion on things is always very straightforward…”food, food, food, pee, happy, happy, walk, food, food, sleep”…..

Comment on Facebook

Bit of humour can break the ego-centric thought train! 🚞 😳

That was a great read. Food for thought x

Great read.

2 months ago

Alpha Psychology

DON’T LIVE AT THE CEMETERY!

Grief is one of those experiences that will invariably touch all of us at some point – and not the sexy kind’a touching either! We use phrases like gut-wrenching and heart-breaking and soul-destroying when we talk about grief; grief over a terminal illness or grief about a marriage breakdown or grief over a death. If life can be a bi**h then this is definitely one of those areas where she does her best work.

Here’s what I’ve learned from working with people who are in deep sorrow; first you die too – which is the sucky part! Then you hang out at the grave – which is the depressing part! Then you are reborn – which is the cool part! Now some of you might be asking yourselves “where have I heard this story before”. I know! I know! It’s a very familiar and very old tale - death and resurrection and all that garb - but just go with me for a second here (it’ll be worth it, I promise!)

First you die too! If you have poured your heart into a relationship or you have invested your time and resources into a venture, if you have drenched your soul in your children or if you have devoted yourself to a passion then there are facets of yourself that you have given away. Little pieces of you are with another person or place or thing. It’s like your spirit is comprised of tiny jewels and you entrust these priceless pieces of yourself to others. Well….sometimes we do this so completely that when the person leaves or dies it feels like they take us – or at least aspects of us – right along with them. In this sense grief can very much feel like dying too and what’s left is a ghost where a whole and full person once stood. It’s like a hollowing out of the ‘self’ when too much of you has suddenly and uncontrollably disappeared along with the thing or person that has been lost.

One of the major problems in this stage is that people never completely recover a full and whole sense of ‘self’ after a major loss. But perhaps that is one of the inevitable consequences of loving someone (or something) with the entirety of your being. I don’t know.

The second phase is when you essentially live at the grave site. It’s the tomb experience. It’s wandering in the desert. After a tragic or catastrophic loss, when pieces of you have been torn away, it’s supremely tempting to pitch your tent, blow up your inflatable mattress and lay down beside the grave, residing amid the dead. Particularly when you have given yourself over to one that you’ve adored, it is difficult to remember what life was even like beforehand. It’s all too easy to court death when you are living in the cemetery and you've begun to feel like a ghost. It's In these desolate moments that the ghouls and goblins come out to cackle and howl about the futility of existence and the fragility of love. The allure of depression can set in here, the idea of suicide can woo you here. This dance with darkness can leave people trapped in mourning long after the physical presence of their loved one is gone or long after the ending of a job or a project.

One of the major problems in this stage is that people often give up, they essentially live at the cemetery. Their experience of life is perpetually bleak and grey and empty.

But here’s the good news. The last step is rebirth, its resurrection (or at least that’s the hope). People who have been in deep mourning for an extended period of time can hear the siren song of death it’s true, but they can also begin to harken to life again. I think that’s the key; to get out of the damn cemetery and live again. Roll up the swag and be determined to walk away from that headstone marked ‘Here Lies Hope’ ‘R.I.P Happiness’ ‘Gone But Not Forgotten Serenity’

It can be incredibly difficult to do this, but here’s the thing; the cherished one who has been lost, who’s physical presence isn’t with us any longer, I would hazard a guess that this person, who can no longer enjoy a sunset or a cheeseburger or a warm bath, this person would probably give anything for just one more day of existence. Sometimes living FOR a loved one can give you the impetus to find beauty in that sunset again. Let your gaze fall upon it with fresh eyes, with THEIR eyes. This is one of the gifts that the dead can bequeath to us daily. If you have the blessing of time (whether you want it or not) you might as well use it. The wheel of time is going to keep turning for you and much as you mourn the fact that time stands still for your darling…your darling child, your darling relationship, your darling enterprise… try to look at the colours the way your beloved would if they had just one more day. Or, if your heart aches with sadness over the death of a treasured relationship – be it a friendship or a marriage - then get up from the grave and reclaim your own life back. Don’t let mourning rob you of the pleasures of your day…your morning coffee or Dance Monkey or blackforrest cake!

It’s hard, I know. Sometimes you’re unwilling, I know that too. A meager FB post certainly isn't a panacea. But perhaps just try. Try to not live at the cemetery. You can visit. That’s ok. But then get up and join the living, as best as you can.
... See MoreSee Less

DON’T LIVE AT THE CEMETERY! 

Grief is one of those experiences that will invariably touch all of us at some point – and not the sexy kind’a touching either! We use phrases like gut-wrenching and heart-breaking and soul-destroying when we talk about grief; grief over a terminal illness or grief about a marriage breakdown or grief over a death. If life can be a bi**h then this is definitely one of those areas where she does her best work.  

Here’s what I’ve learned from working with people who are in deep sorrow; first you die too – which is the sucky part! Then you hang out at the grave – which is the depressing part! Then you are reborn – which is the cool part! Now some of you might be asking yourselves “where have I heard this story before”. I know! I know! It’s a very familiar and very old tale - death and resurrection and all that garb - but just go with me for a second here (it’ll be worth it, I promise!)

First you die too! If you have poured your heart into a relationship or you have invested your time and resources into a venture, if you have drenched your soul in your children or if you have devoted yourself to a passion then there are facets of yourself that you have given away. Little pieces of you are with another person or place or thing. It’s like your spirit is comprised of tiny jewels and you entrust these priceless pieces of yourself to others. Well….sometimes we do this so completely that when the person leaves or dies it feels like they take us – or at least aspects of us – right along with them. In this sense grief can very much feel like dying too and what’s left is a ghost where a whole and full person once stood. It’s like a hollowing out of the ‘self’ when too much of you has suddenly and uncontrollably disappeared along with the thing or person that has been lost.   

One of the major problems in this stage is that people never completely recover a full and whole sense of ‘self’ after a major loss. But perhaps that is one of the inevitable consequences of loving someone (or something) with the entirety of your being. I don’t know. 

The second phase is when you essentially live at the grave site. It’s the tomb experience. It’s wandering in the desert. After a tragic or catastrophic loss, when pieces of you have been torn away, it’s supremely tempting to pitch your tent, blow up your inflatable mattress and lay down beside the grave, residing amid the dead. Particularly when you have given yourself over to one that you’ve adored, it is difficult to remember what life was even like beforehand. It’s all too easy to court death when you are living in the cemetery and youve begun to feel like a ghost. Its In these desolate moments that the ghouls and goblins come out to cackle and howl about the futility of existence and the fragility of love. The allure of depression can set in here, the idea of suicide can woo you here. This dance with darkness can leave people trapped in mourning long after the physical presence of their loved one is gone or long after the ending of a job or a project. 

One of the major problems in this stage is that people often give up, they essentially live at the cemetery. Their experience of life is perpetually bleak and grey and empty. 

But here’s the good news. The last step is rebirth, its resurrection (or at least that’s the hope). People who have been in deep mourning for an extended period of time can hear the siren song of death it’s true, but they can also begin to harken to life again. I think that’s the key; to get out of the damn cemetery and live again. Roll up the swag and be determined to walk away from that headstone marked ‘Here Lies Hope’ ‘R.I.P Happiness’ ‘Gone But Not Forgotten Serenity’

It can be incredibly difficult to do this, but here’s the thing; the cherished one who has been lost, who’s physical presence isn’t with us any longer, I would hazard a guess that this person, who can no longer enjoy a sunset or a cheeseburger or a warm bath, this person would probably give anything for just one more day of existence. Sometimes living FOR a loved one can give you the impetus to find beauty in that sunset again. Let your gaze fall upon it with fresh eyes, with THEIR eyes. This is one of the gifts that the dead can bequeath to us daily. If you have the blessing of time (whether you want it or not) you might as well use it. The wheel of time is going to keep turning for you and much as you mourn the fact that time stands still for your darling…your darling child, your darling relationship, your darling enterprise… try to look at the colours the way your beloved would if they had just one more day. Or, if your heart aches with sadness over the death of a treasured relationship – be it a friendship or a marriage - then get up from the grave and reclaim your own life back. Don’t let mourning rob you of the pleasures of your day…your morning coffee or Dance Monkey or blackforrest cake! 

It’s hard, I know. Sometimes you’re unwilling, I know that too. A meager FB post certainly isnt a panacea. But perhaps just try. Try to not live at the cemetery. You can visit. That’s ok. But then get up and join the living, as best as you can.

Comment on Facebook

This is so true, of any Grief, your Life is a Gift, Treasure it, use the right tools, see the good, be sober, correct yourself, & be Grateful on a daily basis 4 the smallest things,I can Breathe I can see I can I can. God Bless Lyn Howard

This was a bit too long to read but some people just never get to the other side of grief - they just don't!

Life is like a Balance Sheet. Sometimes the losses outweigh the profits. I know we need to fight for more profitable outcomes. But sometimes it just gets too hard and we get so tired of trying.

Good post

When my mother was dying she told to look ahead. It took a while but now I do.

Clumsy.

I wonder if that was written by someone who has lost their soul mate? I lost my wife after 52 years of marriage, and we were an item for three and a half years before that...the bulk of my life has been shared with her. As it says in the Bible, we are joined and become one flesh. After almost 4 years without her, it has not got any better, because half of me is gone, and life for me is not good. Being a Christian, I look forward to the day I am taken and will spend eternity with her. Some people who lose their partner get on with life and find another partner...there is nothing wrong with that, but we are all different and I have no desire to look elsewhere...the empty space by my side can not be filled.

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2 months ago

Alpha Psychology

KIDS AND PUPPIES….THEY BOTH NEED TRAINING!

There’s a curious thing that seems to be happening with parents these days and I don’t believe that it’s a good thing necessarily. I’m not referring to the ongoing epidemic of mental health issues amongst kids and teens or the sometimes cavalier manner in which we deal with kids and medication. I’m not talking about the state of our current mental health systems or the apparent fracturing of the family unit, although all of these factors might play their part in the curious case of what I’ve affectionately dubbed ‘as-they-are’ parenting.

Maybe it’s just me and my skewed sample – which is entirely possible I realise - but parents seem to treat kids as if they’re ‘as-they-are’ and “oh well, what’s to be done about it” (*shrug*) Let me give an example so that I’m making sense; Sometimes parents will come to me and talk about the anger that their child is exhibiting. A young son might fly into a rage when the Playstation is switched off. A young daughter may become violent when she’s told that she needs to go to school. The curious thing that parents will do is apparently ask these kids, some as young as 5 or 6, why they are getting angry and what’s to be done about it. Which sounds very kind and generous on the surface I know, but there’s a problem here.

It would seem that we now look to children to explain and rationalise and ultimately correct their OWN behaviour. An angry kid who is being bombarded with questions such as “WHY did you do that?” and “WHAT are you going to do about it?” is likely to become MORE overwhelmed and irritated rather than less. What’s more, anger is a complex psychological state and fully comprehending it is a mammoth undertaking, even for some adults. Asking a kid why they are angry is failing to account for the emotional intelligence that’s being expected of them. Some insightful, self-aware kids might be able to hazard a decent guess to this very complicated question but most can’t and any answer you’re likely to get is probably just a bumbling stab in the dark on their part.

The situation is made even worse when parents ostensibly carry a hidden agenda in asking for an answer to the “why” question because there is a tacit expectation that kids will explain themselves to the ADULT’s satisfaction. This is a nightmare for a kid who’s angry and confused and is now being asked to bring their powers of deduction and logic to the fore….and then the “what” questions start! “What can I do to help you little Susie?” “What shall we do about this little Timmy?” Is it any wonder kids will just scream “I DON’T KNOW!” (It’s enough to drive anyone mad)

While all this is bad enough, the thing that I find ultimately confounding is that we have lost touch with the basic notion that YOU will educate your kids about their feelings and behaviours….it’s called parenting! It’s not a matter of passively observing a child’s behaviour – like an interested scientist – and hoping that they’ll figure themselves out before it all gets too bad. “My son doesn’t sleep very well.” As if that’s through pure happenstance and nothing can be done about it. “My daughter just refuses to eat properly.” As if that is an innate quality that’s just ‘her’. No! It’s not! Please understand, I’m not intending to sound insensitive or unkind here because we all appreciate the terrible struggle and strain that parenting represents. It’s hard and some kids are monumentally harder than others. That’s just a fact.

But I would like to offer a message of hope, not the disheartening rhetoric of the modern ‘as-they-are’ parent brigade who would suggest that it’s all hopeless and parenthood is merely a luck-of-the-draw kinda deal where you either get a good egg or a rotten stinker. We adults, who (at least in theory) are smarter and wiser and stronger than our miniature counterparts know better a great deal of the time. This ‘as-they-are’ style of parenting seems to presume that kids will just figure themselves out without direction or mentorship or guidance and it’s leading to chaos within our homes and schools. Take your power back mums and dads.

Don’t ask your beautiful, spirited, fiery young daughter why she is so angry if she’s too young to fully grasp that question. Tell her why she is probably angry so she can learn from you. Don’t ask your sassy, vivacious, boisterous young son what he’s enraged about. You probably already know the general outline better than he does. Just tell him the sitch and then tell him what his management options are. Let’s lead our kids again so they can relax and follow. Not all the time obviously! And not in all areas of course!

But I think modern parents need encouragement to reclaim their power and reinforce their wisdom and too much deference to kids isn’t psychologically healthy for anyone. So even if I’m the only one today who can give you some parenting props….you know what you’re doing. Trust yourself more. You have permission to lead. Do it lovingly, of course. Do it wisely, naturally. But definitely do it!
... See MoreSee Less

KIDS AND PUPPIES….THEY BOTH NEED TRAINING!

There’s a curious thing that seems to be happening with parents these days and I don’t believe that it’s a good thing necessarily. I’m not referring to the ongoing epidemic of mental health issues amongst kids and teens or the sometimes cavalier manner in which we deal with kids and medication. I’m not talking about the state of our current mental health systems or the apparent fracturing of the family unit, although all of these factors might play their part in the curious case of what I’ve affectionately dubbed ‘as-they-are’ parenting. 

Maybe it’s just me and my skewed sample – which is entirely possible I realise - but parents seem to treat kids as if they’re ‘as-they-are’ and “oh well, what’s to be done about it” (*shrug*) Let me give an example so that I’m making sense; Sometimes parents will come to me and talk about the anger that their child is exhibiting. A young son might fly into a rage when the Playstation is switched off. A young daughter may become violent when she’s told that she needs to go to school. The curious thing that parents will do is apparently ask these kids, some as young as 5 or 6, why they are getting angry and what’s to be done about it. Which sounds very kind and generous on the surface I know, but there’s a problem here. 

It would seem that we now look to children to explain and rationalise and ultimately correct their OWN behaviour. An angry kid who is being bombarded with questions such as “WHY did you do that?” and “WHAT are you going to do about it?” is likely to become MORE overwhelmed and irritated rather than less. What’s more, anger is a complex psychological state and fully comprehending it is a mammoth undertaking, even for some adults. Asking a kid why they are angry is failing to account for the emotional intelligence that’s being expected of them. Some insightful, self-aware kids might be able to hazard a decent guess to this very complicated question but most can’t and any answer you’re likely to get is probably just a bumbling stab in the dark on their part. 

The situation is made even worse when parents ostensibly carry a hidden agenda in asking for an answer to the “why” question because there is a tacit expectation that kids will explain themselves to the ADULT’s satisfaction. This is a nightmare for a kid who’s angry and confused and is now being asked to bring their powers of deduction and logic to the fore….and then the “what” questions start! “What can I do to help you little Susie?” “What shall we do about this little Timmy?”  Is it any wonder kids will just scream “I DON’T KNOW!” (It’s enough to drive anyone mad)

While all this is bad enough, the thing that I find ultimately confounding is that we have lost touch with the basic notion that YOU will educate your kids about their feelings and behaviours….it’s called parenting! It’s not a matter of passively observing a child’s behaviour – like an interested scientist – and hoping that they’ll figure themselves out before it all gets too bad. “My son doesn’t sleep very well.” As if that’s through pure happenstance and nothing can be done about it. “My daughter just refuses to eat properly.” As if that is an innate quality that’s just ‘her’. No! It’s not! Please understand, I’m not intending to sound insensitive or unkind here because we all appreciate the terrible struggle and strain that parenting represents. It’s hard and some kids are monumentally harder than others. That’s just a fact.  

But I would like to offer a message of hope, not the disheartening rhetoric of the modern ‘as-they-are’ parent brigade who would suggest that it’s all hopeless and parenthood is merely a luck-of-the-draw kinda deal where you either get a good egg or a rotten stinker. We adults, who (at least in theory) are smarter and wiser and stronger than our miniature counterparts know better a great deal of the time.  This ‘as-they-are’ style of parenting seems to presume that kids will just figure themselves out without direction or mentorship or guidance and it’s leading to chaos within our homes and schools. Take your power back mums and dads. 

Don’t ask your beautiful, spirited, fiery young daughter why she is so angry if she’s too young to fully grasp that question. Tell her why she is probably angry so she can learn from you. Don’t ask your sassy, vivacious, boisterous young son what he’s enraged about. You probably already know the general outline better than he does.  Just tell him the sitch and then tell him what his management options are. Let’s lead our kids again so they can relax and follow. Not all the time obviously! And not in all areas of course! 

But I think modern parents need encouragement to reclaim their power and reinforce their wisdom and too much deference to kids isn’t psychologically healthy for anyone. So even if I’m the only one today who can give you some parenting props….you know what you’re doing. Trust yourself more. You have permission to lead. Do it lovingly, of course. Do it wisely, naturally. But definitely do it!

Comment on Facebook

Ilove my grsndchildren with all my heart and i can see how hard it is become parents to day i have never saw so much young children thet cant sleep by themselves that shout at parents or hound there parents till they cave in you no what is good for your children you are good stop them taking control because they really want you to take control and help them have a happier more controlled lif with rules it is not ok for them to iterupt and it isnot ok for them to hound you to death with what they want to do of course there will be times youoccasionally give in give them a reason why you did butthe main thing is if you say nothat means no if you ha ve to go and get help to see if your doing the right thing as it is better to do this when they are young enough to be taught some self control than for you to spend years watching them struggle with their lives help them to make better choices that both of you willbe proud of Dont ask them over and over again tell something once then the second time xay something like you haveto do this it is important that you listen to me so we dont argue naturely if there in the middle of something if it is important give them a time to finish or tell them they need to stop as it needs to stop as it is bed time or whatever reason there is if you want them to come with you dont give a choice unless you know there is a reason to leave them at home If tou take them shopping and you want them to look at clothes get your shopping done first without them complaining at you then if time permits do something with them but at all times you should be in charge until they are old enough if it is not important that they come and someone can look after them then give them a choice but while they are young they have to get them to listen to youand show manners without you having to get angry and depressed but repeating and repeating is not good for you and they get all hiped up mabe try putting a list on the fridge morning and night what you would liked them to do before there is timed for tv or whatever sorry for raving on i just wsnt to see you less stressed and respected lobve you always my friend ❤❤❤❤

Don't have kids or puppies. Mind you the cat's driving me up the wall....😨

The name shows you’re not up to date with ethology

2 months ago

Alpha Psychology

IF YOU’RE CONFOUNDED BY EVIL YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR OWN NATURE

I will speak with clients sometimes who seem utterly bemused and confounded by the bad behaviour of others; a distraught wife who is befuddled by the aggression and dishonesty of her husband, a hardworking employee who is dumbfounded by the insensitivity and spite of his employer, a sweet and generous young man who is devastated by the cruelty and malice of his classmates.

The error in locating evil outside of ourselves is twofold; firstly its naïve, secondly its false. Let’s tackle the first one first…the matter of naivety. Believing people to be fundamentally good puts many people at a huge disadvantage. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here, of course people can be lovely (that should go without saying, but I’ve said it now anyhow). Absolutely every single human being, irrespective of their behaviour – ANY behaviour – is valuable and worthwhile in the most basic sense. That’s the fundamental edict of many major religions and most of us agree with that tenet. Here comes the big BUT ….BUT….individual people either choose to be decent and kind and sincere or they don’t. Presuming that people think or act or feel in honourable ways is simple wrong especially when they demonstrate themselves to be ignoble. As Maya Angelou said “when someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”

When a husband has been unkind and impatient a few times then it’s prudent to be understanding and gracious, we all have bad days and bad patches right?!. When he has been rude and selfish a few more times, over a few more months then it behooves you to be a little suspicious of what these behaviours may indicate. When this same husband starts to be aggressive and demanding then it’s telling you something about his basic nature. Yes I know, for all the naysayers who’ll pick me up on this overly simplified example….I know…it’s an overly simplified example…yes…but you understand the spirit of what I’m saying here.

It’s NOT that our hapless husband’s basic nature is any worse or different to anybody else’s either - we’ll get to that in a moment. For the time being, it’s suffice to say that this behaviour is showing you something. This person is advertising who they are and probably who they intend to be in the future. Being an astute observer of somebody’s choices is a much more empowered position to hold than making the blanket assumption that all people are basically good. Attributing good intentions to somebody, under the guise of nicety or piety on your part, is actually very foolish and does neither person a service. You can remain impassive and withhold condemnation on somebody’s behaviour while still being honest about what they’re doing and who they seem to be.

To cry foul when this same husband, whose behaviour over an extended period has consistently demonstrated a lack of honour or balance or empathy, then has an affair or becomes physically violent is naïve. And to lament “I just can’t believe that he would do this” is simply untrue because he had been flagging this behaviour for months, maybe even years. To bemoan “I just don’t understand how somebody can be this way” is also untrue because you CAN understand your own darker impulses. Which brings me to my second point.

An individual who has given themselves permission to indulge their more base instincts…impulses such as cruelty or selfishness or disinterest…this person isn’t different to you. As much as we would like to think that all those horrid, nasty, wicked people were at a safe distance over there in that ‘other’ camp. Oh no, no, no, no. The only difference between YOUR little bit of perfectly rational and warranted irritation and THEIR massive rage is a difference in degree not form. Suggesting to yourself that, given the right circumstances, you too couldn’t be susceptible to massive rage is to profoundly misunderstand your own human nature. If you have the capacity for minor irritation then you have the capacity for blind rage. Full stop. End of story. Sorry 'bout that.

You might protest, and rightly so, that you (oh saintly one) would never cheat on a partner or steal from an employer or betray a friend or hit a child. Well, that may well be true, and kudos to you if it is. BUT…that does not mean that your measured frustration with your kids is any different to somebodies unchecked fury at their kids. You DO understand what it’s like to think solely from your own perspective! You DO understand what it’s like to feel justified in your position despite disagreement! You DO understand what it’s like to simply want what you want even if it’s at another’s expense! You DO understand what it’s like to feel pushed to your limit and to not make great choices as a consequence! The fact that you put limits on your behaviour is fantastic. It’s literally what makes this whole society game that we’re all playing together tenable.

You draw your line in the sand and staunchly refuse to cross it. But you also know what it’s like to be tempted to cross that line and wander into dishonesty or unkindness. I would hazard to guess that you’ve actually crossed that line (despite your protestations that you never would) and I would be so bold as to suggest that you've been dishonest or unkind at some point in your life too – shock and horror. Constrained anger is safer for us all. Constrained self-interest is better for us all. Constrained lust or greed is healthier for us all. But that doesn’t mean that it’s natural for humans to inhibit these darker impulses. In actuality, it’s far more natural for individuals to choose NOT to place limits on their dark nature. Goodness is a virtue precisely because it’s a supremely difficult choice to make sometimes and it can take self-discipline to achieve.

If you are sometimes able to achieve a level of goodness through sheer force of will or by deliberate design…well done! We all thank you for it! But remember, you still grapple with your own demons…just like every single one of us….and….there but for the grace of God.
... See MoreSee Less

IF YOU’RE CONFOUNDED BY EVIL YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR OWN NATURE

I will speak with clients sometimes who seem utterly bemused and confounded by the bad behaviour of others; a distraught wife who is befuddled by the aggression and dishonesty of her husband, a hardworking employee who is dumbfounded by the insensitivity and spite of his employer, a sweet and generous young man who is devastated by the cruelty and malice of his classmates. 

The error in locating evil outside of ourselves is twofold; firstly its naïve, secondly its false. Let’s tackle the first one first…the matter of naivety. Believing people to be fundamentally good puts many people at a huge disadvantage. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here, of course people can be lovely (that should go without saying, but I’ve said it now anyhow). Absolutely every single human being, irrespective of their behaviour – ANY behaviour – is valuable and worthwhile in the most basic sense. That’s the fundamental edict of many major religions and most of us agree with that tenet. Here comes the big BUT ….BUT….individual people either choose to be decent and kind and sincere or they don’t. Presuming that people think or act or feel in honourable ways is simple wrong especially when they demonstrate themselves to be ignoble. As Maya Angelou said “when someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.” 

When a husband has been unkind and impatient a few times then it’s prudent to be understanding and gracious, we all have bad days and bad patches right?!. When he has been rude and selfish a few more times, over a few more months then it behooves you to be a little suspicious of what these behaviours may indicate. When this same husband starts to be aggressive and demanding then it’s telling you something about his basic nature. Yes I know, for all the naysayers who’ll pick me up on this overly simplified example….I know…it’s an overly simplified example…yes…but you understand the spirit of what I’m saying here. 

It’s NOT that our hapless husband’s basic nature is any worse or different to anybody else’s either - we’ll get to that in a moment. For the time being, it’s suffice to say that this behaviour is showing you something. This person is advertising who they are and probably who they intend to be in the future. Being an astute observer of somebody’s choices is a much more empowered position to hold than making the blanket assumption that all people are basically good. Attributing good intentions to somebody, under the guise of nicety or piety on your part, is actually very foolish and does neither person a service.  You can remain impassive and withhold condemnation on somebody’s behaviour while still being honest about what they’re doing and who they seem to be.  

To cry foul when this same husband, whose behaviour over an extended period has consistently demonstrated a lack of honour or balance or empathy, then has an affair or becomes physically violent is naïve. And to lament “I just can’t believe that he would do this” is simply untrue because he had been flagging this behaviour for months, maybe even years. To bemoan “I just don’t understand how somebody can be this way” is also untrue because you CAN understand your own darker impulses. Which brings me to my second point.  

An individual who has given themselves permission to indulge their more base instincts…impulses such as cruelty or selfishness or disinterest…this person isn’t different to you. As much as we would like to think that all those horrid, nasty, wicked people were at a safe distance over there in that ‘other’ camp. Oh no, no, no, no. The only difference between YOUR little bit of perfectly rational and warranted irritation and THEIR massive rage is a difference in degree not form. Suggesting to yourself that, given the right circumstances, you too couldn’t be susceptible to massive rage is to profoundly misunderstand your own human nature. If you have the capacity for minor irritation then you have the capacity for blind rage. Full stop. End of story. Sorry bout that.
 
You might protest, and rightly so, that you (oh saintly one) would never cheat on a partner or steal from an employer or betray a friend or hit a child. Well, that may well be true, and kudos to you if it is. BUT…that does not mean that your measured frustration with your kids is any different to somebodies unchecked fury at their kids. You DO understand what it’s like to think solely from your own perspective! You DO understand what it’s like to feel justified in your position despite disagreement! You DO understand what it’s like to simply want what you want even if it’s at another’s expense! You DO understand what it’s like to feel pushed to your limit and to not make great choices as a consequence! The fact that you put limits on your behaviour is fantastic. It’s literally what makes this whole society game that we’re all playing together tenable.  

You draw your line in the sand and staunchly refuse to cross it. But you also know what it’s like to be tempted to cross that line and wander into dishonesty or unkindness. I would hazard to guess that you’ve actually crossed that line (despite your protestations that you never would) and I would be so bold as to suggest that youve been dishonest or unkind at some point in your life too – shock and horror. Constrained anger is safer for us all. Constrained self-interest is better for us all. Constrained lust or greed is healthier for us all. But that doesn’t mean that it’s natural for humans to inhibit these darker impulses. In actuality, it’s far more natural for individuals to choose NOT to place limits on their dark nature. Goodness is a virtue precisely because it’s a supremely difficult choice to make sometimes and it can take self-discipline to achieve. 

If you are sometimes able to achieve a level of goodness through sheer force of will or by deliberate design…well done! We all thank you for it! But remember, you still grapple with your own demons…just like every single one of us….and….there but for the grace of God.

Comment on Facebook

There is good and evil in all of us. It is which we choose to shine stronger on the exterior that defines us.

Or maybe you are confusing other people for yourself. Not everyone is capable of this, which is why even in wartime Germany about 10% of the population were courageous enough to actively assist foreign air crew to escape back to the allies, and assist those being persecuted to escape from the regime. Not everyone is capable of ultimate evil or will ever succumb to the temptation...or the fear.

I think being judgemental is sometimes an affirmation about the shortcoming having been overcome by the accuser - surely we all fall short, and in different areas of life. We seek sameness in our relationships, and it is wise not to assume everyone wants to (or can) change, and to what you want them to be. Differences serve to define culture, and in language too. A person (linguist of sorts) who can relate through different cultures will find less opposition - and less compatibility. Interesting is the human soul.

Well said. Life is about choices and these people DO choose to be mean and nasty

Too many people are blind folded until they are hurt and hurt again.

Be like master Yoda then?!

This makes so much sense.

This should be taught in primary schools and religious lessons.

Good post

I feel like a demon sometimes

sounds like sexist bullshit

TLDR

Take the Mickey out or him!

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4 months ago

Alpha Psychology

MANAGING YOUR MENTAL MESS:
YOU CAN’T RELY ON JUST ONE STRATEGY!

Some people seem to labour under the delusion that any given psychological strategy should be a panacea – a cure all, a final solution. Often clients will say to me that some strategy or method or idea just “didn’t work”. Well….no….one single thing won’t work if you are using that word to mean “I’m fixed and healed and whole and new for all time, under all circumstances, and the problem shall never return, so sayeth the Lord, Hallelujah”.

Perhaps there is an expectation that one particular technique will work because, hey, alcohol does the trick pretty well doesn’t it?! And, let’s be honest with each other here, it does do a pretty reasonable job. Yes it works to dull the senses, cloud the memories and lift the mood (temporarily). That’s why people use it, obviously. But it can have some fairly unsavory side effects too can't it? Maybe this is why we often anticipate that a single strategy will “work” because something like alcohol can “work,” medication can “work,” drugs can “work” in the broadest sense of that word.

You get a nice little buzz, a pleasant floaty feeling, a temporary reprieve without putting in much effort. And there's the rub....without much effort. It’s the kind of mentality that I imagine a hammer takes to a nail. We want something easy to just get the damn job done. But psychological strategies don’t “work” like that. We, as humans, are neither hammers nor nails. No single strategy is going to work ad infinitum. You are possibly going to get a 5% benefit to your mood from someting like healthy eating. 5%! It barely touches the sides, the improvement is almost imperceptible….damn and drats and double bummer! But it’s a start isn’t it? It’s something.

They you might decide to try sleeping more and hey presto! Whoop and yipee and by golly there’s a 15% improvement. NOW you’re getting somewhere. Now you actually FEEL a little better. Then….just for the hell of it….you decide to give that meditation stuff a go *excited face*…..for 2 days.... *are-you-serious face*! Well, shock and horror, that tiny foray into the world of meditation didn’t net you much benefit. It didn’t “work” for you supposedly. Maybe it would have “worked” if you’d given it an honest try. Maybe if you’d persisted you would have garnered a benefit….but perhaps not. Maybe it represented a possible 30% improvement, but you didn’t want to stick with it. No heat, no judgement. It just wasn’t your thing. So you start walking (another 5%), you take up a musical instrument (7%), you read a self-help book (10%), you try listening to a podcast (2%).

And then you have an awful day. Stop doing ALL of it. And you’re back to square one!

My point is that there is no single thing that is going to “work” for depression or anxiety or anger or trauma or anything else really. Some things you won’t want to do at all. Some things you won't want to do on some days. Some things will work at some times but, inexplicably, not at other times. Some things will work beautifully then ostensibly stop working entirely. This isn’t because anything is going wrong. This is merely because you’re human and evolving and changing and complex and messy. So, dear friends, the moral of the story is; don’t rely too heavily on any one, single strategy in the hopes that it’s going to see you through dark times. Develop a suite of strategies that suit your style so that you can be the well-equipped, forward-thinking, savvy, badass, psychological master that I know you can be.
... See MoreSee Less

MANAGING YOUR MENTAL MESS: 
YOU CAN’T RELY ON JUST ONE STRATEGY! 

Some people seem to labour under the delusion that any given psychological strategy should be a panacea – a cure all, a final solution. Often clients will say to me that some strategy or method or idea just “didn’t work”. Well….no….one single thing won’t work if you are using that word to mean “I’m fixed and healed and whole and new for all time, under all circumstances, and the problem shall never return, so sayeth the Lord, Hallelujah”. 

Perhaps there is an expectation that one particular technique will work because, hey, alcohol does the trick pretty well doesn’t it?!  And, let’s be honest with each other here, it does do a pretty reasonable job. Yes it works to dull the senses, cloud the memories and lift the mood (temporarily). That’s why people use it, obviously. But it can have some fairly unsavory side effects too cant it? Maybe this is why we often anticipate that a single strategy will “work” because something like alcohol can “work,” medication can “work,” drugs can “work” in the broadest sense of that word.

You get a nice little buzz, a pleasant floaty feeling, a temporary reprieve without putting in much effort. And theres the rub....without much effort. It’s the kind of mentality that I imagine a hammer takes to a nail. We want something easy to just get the damn job done. But psychological strategies don’t “work” like that.  We, as humans, are neither hammers nor nails. No single strategy is going to work ad infinitum. You are possibly going to get a 5% benefit to your mood from someting like healthy eating. 5%! It barely touches the sides, the improvement is almost imperceptible….damn and drats and double bummer! But it’s a start isn’t it? It’s something. 

They you might decide to try sleeping more and hey presto! Whoop and yipee and by golly there’s a 15% improvement. NOW you’re getting somewhere. Now you actually FEEL a little better. Then….just for the hell of it….you decide to give that meditation stuff a go *excited face*…..for 2 days.... *are-you-serious face*! Well, shock and horror, that tiny foray into the world of meditation didn’t net you much benefit. It didn’t “work” for you supposedly. Maybe it would have “worked” if you’d given it an honest try. Maybe if you’d persisted you would have garnered a benefit….but perhaps not. Maybe it represented a possible 30% improvement, but you didn’t want to stick with it. No heat, no judgement. It just wasn’t your thing. So you start walking (another 5%), you take up a musical instrument (7%), you read a self-help book (10%), you try listening to a podcast (2%). 

And then you have an awful day. Stop doing ALL of it.  And you’re back to square one! 

My point is that there is no single thing that is going to “work” for depression or anxiety or anger or trauma or anything else really. Some things you won’t want to do at all. Some things you wont want to do on some days. Some things will work at some times but, inexplicably, not at other times. Some things will work beautifully then ostensibly stop working entirely. This isn’t because anything is going wrong. This is merely because you’re human and evolving and changing and complex and messy. So, dear friends, the moral of the story is; don’t rely too heavily on any one, single strategy in the hopes that it’s going to see you through dark times. Develop a suite of strategies that suit your style so that you can be the well-equipped, forward-thinking, savvy, badass, psychological master that I know you can be.

Comment on Facebook

We must realize that we must evolve with the diseases in order to overcome them - whether it is a only mental state or not, it at least thinks it is alive - or we do 🤔. Perpetuating, or putting things in motion is what our brains do... check it out.

Forfeit all strategies Be humbled Be grateful Be joyous Breath in Fresh air Breath out The chicken shit They are trying To sell you

Granny used to say, "wash your face and polish your shoes, then have a cuppa, THEN look at things again". Never did any harm and at least I had clean shoes to show for it!☺

Be greatful just to be alive, unless in terrible pain