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Melbourne has just been voted the World’s most live-able city , its great being a Melbournian! However, we live in such a fast paced world that such titles can mean little in our day to day lives as we push ourselves to take as much as we can out of our days, at work, school, university and social life. What does it leave for us? A work-life balance can be just one of those phrases that we throw about in conversation, but means little in the reality of our daily life. Take some time to think and ‘take stock’ of your life. Ask yourself, is your lifestyle controlling you, or are you managing your lifestyle?
Eat breakfast, try not to skip meals, eat smaller portions of food and try to include more vegetables and fruit in your diet. Restrict take-away foods, especially foods that are high in fat, salt, sugar. Drink water instead of sugary drinks and not use so called diet soda drinks as a replacement. Increase the number of alcohol free days per week and restrict alcohol intake when you do drink. Limit tobacco usage.
Small changes in your life can bring the changes that you need for improved mental and physical well being.
Dr Grace Hancock - Clinical Psychologist
How can a Psychologist Help my Child?
A psychologist who is trained and experienced in working with children and their families can help with difficulties broadly related to emotions, social functioning, behaviour, development, and other factors which may be affecting your child’s wellbeing. Common reasons for children to start therapy with a psychologist include: persistent worries or anxiety, feeling sad or lacking interest in activities, stress about school work, difficulties with friends, big emotions (including anger), behaviour difficulties, strained family relationships (including parent-child or sibling), and difficulties concentrating and engaging in school work.
What does therapy involve?
Examples of what therapy can involve: A six-year-old boy is getting in trouble for hitting peers at school and his sibling at home. A psychologist may assess what is happening prior to and after these outbursts, to identify any triggers and reinforcements which are maintaining this behaviour. The boy will also learn about his emotions, what causes them, and what he can do to reduce them. A focus on strategies will include the boy learning and practicing what to do when something has upset him, as well as parents and teachers supporting and reinforcing this. A 14-year-old girl is having trouble keeping friends and is feeling down about this. Initially, the psychologist will help her to explore what is happening in her interactions with others. Any gaps in social insight can be addressed. To help with her low mood, she can learn how to identify her thoughts and how this can affect her mood and actions. We might then explore and practice ways to think in more helpful ways. Aspects of mindfulness may also be helpful.] Psychological therapy involves talking in order to understand what is happening for the individual (and why) as well as learning and practicing new skills to help. With younger children, much of this is done through play and guidance offered to parents. Psychologists do not prescribe medications. Evidence-based therapies are used including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and others best suited to the presenting difficulties and age. For children with autism, approaches are tailored to their individual thinking style and understanding of the world.
How might my child benefit from therapy with a Psychologist?
The goals set and achieved are individual to the child and progress towards them depends on many factors. Children and teens can benefit from therapy in various ways including:
learning to understand their emotions and how these drive their actions,
learning and practicing ways to manage emotions when they arise,
considering the thoughts and intentions of others in social situations,
building and maintaining friendships,
parents and teachers being guided with how to best understand and support them,
having academic teaching tailored to their unique learning style,
Increasing independence with daily living skills.