Friday, 25 October 2013

BF2013: Mental Health Awareness - Part Two...

Yesterday I shared the Yerkes-Dodson Law that I learnt about at a Mental Health Awareness session at work. Today I share about various mental health strategies used by psychologists, counsellors, etc.

Please don’t be shy about learning about these strategies as they can be utilised without visiting a psychologist or counsellor, although it is advised that you see your doctor if you are suffering from anxiety and/or depression that you feel has reach critical level. Your doctor will be able to refer you onto the appropriate specialist for treatment.

The strategies the presenter discussed include:

Alice Morgan from the Dulwich Centre describes Narrative Therapy as seeking “to be a respectful, non-blaming approach to counselling and community work, which centres [on] people as the experts in their own lives. It views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.”

Ms Morgan goes onto write that there “are various principles which inform narrative ways of working, but in my opinion, two are particularly significant: always maintaining a stance of curiosity, and always asking questions to which you genuinely do not know the answers.”

Peggy Gold, MS from Good writes that, “At the core of Narrative Therapy is the belief that the problem is separate and distinctly apart from the person. A problem does not define a person. A problem is something that a person has, not something that a person is.”

An example of narrative therapy would be when a therapist allows a client to verbalize their problems and then re-phrases the narrative in a disconnected way. For instance, if a client believes suffers with depression and feels like a failure, a narrative therapist may offer the suggestion that rather than being a failure, the client had succeeded in living with depression.”

Awesome Therapy –

Melanie Rudd from Stanford University led a group of scientists to explore the Therapy of Awe, aka Awesome Therapy. The Australian newspaper published an article on the topic in 2012, which explains the therapy to readers.

A jaw-dropping moment really can make time appear to stand still - or at least slow down, new research suggests. Regular ``awesome'' experiences may also improve our mental health and make us nicer people, claim psychologists. The findings raise the prospect of ``awe therapy'' to overcome the stressful effects of fast-paced modern life. Awe is the emotion felt when encountering something so vast and overwhelming i t alters one's mental perspective. Examples might include experiencing a breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon, taking in the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights, or becoming lost in a dazzling display of stars on a clear, dark night.”

Kendra Cherry from writes how “Positive psychology is one of the newest branches of psychology to emerge. This particular area of psychology focuses on human prospering. While many other branches of psychology tend to focus on dysfunction and abnormal behavior, positive psychology is centered on helping people become happier.”

The Black Dog Institute describes how Positive psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology that shifts the focus from what is clinically wrong, to the promotion of wellbeing and the creation of a satisfying life filled with meaning, pleasure, engagement, positive relationships and accomplishment. Gable and Haidt (2005) defined positive psychology as “the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups, and institutions”.

Positive psychology is not about putting on a happy face all the time. Life can be hard and disappointments and challenges are inevitable. However, scientific research has shown that there are some strategies and skills that allow people to navigate the challenges of life more effectively and enjoy life despite the upsets.”

Kendra Cherry at writes that “Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.”

It is defined as, "the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions" (1990).

Emotional Intelligence involves Perceiving Emotions, Reasoning with Emotions, Understanding Emotions and Managing Emotions. It basically is about not only being able to express and control our own emotions, but also to understand, interpret and respond to the emotions of others.

The best defense for mental health is knowledge. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can about YOU and your condition. And, as I mentioned above, it is advised that you see your doctor if you are suffering from anxiety and/or depression that you feel has reach critical level. Your doctor will be able to refer you onto the appropriate specialist for treatment.

Your life is precious. Love it, nurture it, and live it to the fullest.

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