This Blog Has Moved…

July 13, 2013 at 5:02 am | Posted in communication | Leave a comment

Please come and follow the blog in it’s new home: http://reachforthesky.com.au/posts/

November 19, 2012 at 12:08 am | Posted in communication | Leave a comment

Have you ever thought about NOT having to be strong?

Living Without My Twin Sister

“We tell people they are “strong” when we are uncomfortable with their pain and would prefer that they shut up and not bother us with it. To say “but you are strong” is telling someone “I don’t think you should feel that way,” and it’s not a compliment. I don’t think that strength means being invulnerable, or pretending that you are. The belief that silence and stoicism are inherently good qualities is how you end up dressed up like a bat punching criminals in an alley – it’s not a good road to emotional health.
Be sad. Be angry. Let your heart break – in the diner, on someone’s futon, in the park, on the way to the zoo, at brunch, over drinks, in the therapist’s office, on the bus – Wherever it breaks, let it break all the way open, let it run out and down and spread out…

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September 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Posted in communication | Leave a comment

Living Without My Twin Sister

Given that, according to studies, 1 in 4 have experienced losing a baby or child it is very likely you are going to encounter the situation of being with a friend who has lost theirs.

In my personal experience I noticed that many of the people who met me and my story had no idea how to handle it, either they avoided the topic or were speechless. Some of my friends are still speechless after more than a year. I do understand this. After my training in grief and loss and with years of working with clients with experiences that included the loss of a child I didn’t really know how to appropriately react even though I apparently did help those clients. Nothing prepared me fully for my personal experience.

Untimely or sudden death, as that of a child, an accident or suicide, leaves people speechless because ‘it shouldn’t happen’…

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Relationship Wisdom – Skillfully Disagreeing With Your Partner

March 27, 2012 at 2:36 am | Posted in communication, love/relationship/marriage | Leave a comment
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Let’s face it: disagreements are a natural component of every relationship. If you are one of those people saying: ‘I just don’t want to argue’ you have to get real. You can work on your style of how you handle disagreement or arguments but rarely (never) will you live in an intimate relationship without any of it.

How well are you at disagreeing with your partner?

Differences are the norm

You might have entered into your relationship looking for someone who is similar to you. Even though you might have a lot of overlap of values, beliefs and life views there are also the differences, which, if you were able to filter them out in the beginning they will become more obvious once the relationship has progressed past it’s initial honeymoon stage. Don’t fool yourself – they have been there all along, you just skillfully, with the help of your hormones, managed to avoid them.

How to deal with them?

There are naturally people who are more easy-going and accepting of differences. Some because they want to do everything possible to please their partner, others because they are not so tightly attached to their own opinions and find it easier to accept another point of view.

The closer however a value is to your core, the more you will be willing to defend it. Think about what is most important to you in life and now imagine someone close to you asking you to change this or saying that this is not right. This will stir up some kind of self-defense in most people.

So wherever you are on the scale, there will come a point where you might want to or have to disagree with your partner. Here are a couple of important points to remember:

1. It is ok to disagree.

Disagreement does not mean that you don’t love the other person, it simply means that you have a different point of view.

2. Acceptance is required.

If you are truly dedicated to your partner, you will need to practice accepting their differences, no matter how big or small they are. Depending on the topic, this might be most challenging and in some cases it might not be possible if the situation at hand is below your bottom line. That’s when you have to seriously rethink your relationship.

3. Communicate acceptance.

One of the most skillful and helpful components of disagreeing with your partner is if you communicate what you understand and accept. This will make your partner feel heard and most probably less defensive.

4. Continue discussion.

Disagreement, when not too heated with emotions, needs to be discussed. If you notice that you get too agitated, ask for a time out and discuss it at a later point in time. Masters of relationship show that they are able to continue talking about points of differences without needing to agree.

5. Find compromises.

For some disagreements you can simply allow them to be, others might need compromises. Remember that a compromise is not always in the middle. For example if one partner wants a child and the other doesn’t you cannot find a middle path.

6. Better to be right or happy?

In some cases you need to think hard about the importance of your position. Is it worth defending yourself?

In the end ask yourself whether the issue is worth more than your relationship harmony or whether you are able to let the problem go. Sometimes arguments do not have the origin in the relationship but in our history, our childhood or our own state of mind.

Video Call

March 12, 2012 at 10:39 am | Posted in communication | Leave a comment
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Nowadays with the technology available it is possible to have your counsellor come to your home – via Video Call. There are multiple ways to do this but I found, for the time being, Skype and Face Time two very useful ways to do this.

Skype: Image
Skype has been around for some time and the teething problems hopefully have been solved. Skype offers the ability to talk face-to-face for free using video calls. All you need is a computer with camera, microphone and speakers – most computers come with these features. Then you have to download the skype program onto your computer and know the person’s Skype user name to connect with them.

You can use Skype on your computer, mobile or even on your TV. Read more here.

 

Face Time:Image
In comparison to Skype, Face Time is a Mac only program or application. It offers video calling from your iPhone 4, iPad 2, new iPod touch and any other Mac computer. This allows you to make that call from anywhere where you have access to a wireless network.

Face Time uses mobile phone numbers or email addresses and it can, on the computer, access your address book.

Face Time from phone to phone works only if both parties are on a wireless and it’s free of charge! Read more here.

 

So what are you waiting for?

If you’re wondering whether this is really working, here is a testimonial of a client who tried both face-to-face and video sessions:

Having had counselling with Nathalie now for nearly four years, the last 18 months we have used Skype rather than in her home. For me, Skype has actually unlocked more growth and openness in our sessions. I feel comfortable, safe and relaxed in my own home environment, which in my experience allows me to sink into how I’m feeling far more easily. There is also an intimacy that I can’t quite explain, when someone is watching and holding a space for you from a distance. It allows the room and freedom to really explore, knowing that you don’t have to ‘pull it all together’ before you leave. Julie

 

If you have any question please feel free to ask by leaving a comment.

It’s 4 weeks today

September 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Posted in communication, grief/loss | 2 Comments

Love - Hope - Passion

4 weeks ago I gave birth. I wonder where I was in all this time in between. It seems that my body was moving through the e-motions and yet my memory is lacking. What just happened to me and my life? Nothing seems to be simple anymore. In some moments nothing makes sense.

I find it hard to find words when talking. Writing seems to be just slow enough so that the words can come into my consciousness but speaking seems far too fast for where I am. I also find it challenging to do the most simple tasks, like adding some data in a spreadsheet on the computer, and have to ask people for help where it was me that supported people before.

I sometimes look at myself like an actor in a serie that I identify strongly with, waiting for the series to stop – it just never does. It’s as if it’s my life that I’m acting in. It’s one of those ‘Private Practice’ or ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ shows which I enjoyed so much before. Only now it has taken an odd twist of reality…

To the outside world I might look and act ‘normal’ but there is absolutely nothing normal inside. One moment I cry, one moment I laugh and I don’t even always know why.

I realize how I shock or trigger certain people as I share what’s been happening, how I feel, what I think etc. I had people in my contact list, which I informed about the birth and the celebration who simply sent an email back saying ‘Not interested. Take me off your distribution list.’ I guess I will never know what reverberated in those people when reading my news and many people simply don’t know how to react appropriately – probably even I didn’t know really how to truly be with someone experiencing this before my own experience took me on this journey.

I have now gone back to shops and restaurants where they knew about me expecting twins. As I turn up with a single baby the say ‘where is the other one?’ and once I told them the conversation seems to freeze and die off after ‘oh I’m sorry’. It just takes people’s breath away. A lady in the post office, once I started crying, said ‘you need help’ which was spot on.

So here I am, a counsellor by trade, needing help. Let me tell you we do need help once in a while and not just with something drastic like this. The social worker at the hospital, the midwives, nurses and doctors all were partly my counselling support network and I did not stop talking about what had happened to me and how I feel. These people were trained listeners and many counsellors and coaches could learn a lot from them. I spoke to the other women in the intensive care, I spoke to anyone who listened. Next week I’m starting a bereavement group at the hospital.

And I will continue being authentic with my process. There is nothing you need to do when you are with me and I’m crying – simple be there. No words are needed – just presence. Can you bear the silence as you are sitting with me in tears?

Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and their use in the Workplace

August 16, 2011 at 5:32 am | Posted in communication, love/relationship/marriage, self development/motivation | Leave a comment
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How are you showing your love?

My friend and colleague Cath Lawrence from Kandula just wrote a great post on exactly this topic: Applying the 5 languages of love in the workplace.

This reminded me of the multifaceted usability of Gary Chapman’s approach. If you want to read more about the different love languages, you can find plenty of my articles about it here (click here). His approach on teaching us how different people show love and how different people feel the love that you’re intending to show them has been an integral part of counselling couples, families and children to understand themselves and each other better.  When I’ve worked with this model with couples I have many times that they come back reporting how it not only improves their relationship with each other but also taught them something about how to relate to their work colleagues, employees, friends, children etc.

Personal Benefit

I also found that Continue Reading Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and their use in the Workplace…

Personal Development – Inviting Self-Listening

August 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Posted in communication, self development/motivation | Leave a comment
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Have you listened to yourself lately?

Have you been listening to your self lately? What are you saying to yourself or out loud and are you paying attention? With everything we say, we share something about our selves. Self-listening is a key to self-knowing and self-development.

Inner talk

Your thoughts run faster than your ability to speak. If you were trying to speak everything you think you would find you struggle, as you just cannot keep up. Thoughts run automatically – day in, day out, without ever stopping. Once you start paying attention to your inner talk you might find some disturbing or unwanted thoughts running through your mind. Usually the more you wish them to stop, the more persistent they become. Continue Reading Personal Development – Inviting Self-Listening…

Relationship Wisdom – 10 Tips On Becoming Master Of Relationships

April 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Posted in communication, love/relationship/marriage | 2 Comments
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The following article is a collection of observation that I’ve collected in my counseling practice working with clients. These findings are not based on scientific research but show practical experiences of relationships that worked better as an effect of one or multiple of these tips.

Are you relating well?

Tip #1: Show gratitude

Sounds simple but ask yourself: How often do you show or express gratitude for the things your partner does, says or simply is? The little mundane things that you do for each other on a daily basis mean a lot more if the other affirms them.

Tip #2: Share daily

Couples that make it a practice to have a daily sharing time, where they stop all other activities and simply talk to each other, show longevity in their relationship.

Tip #3: Respect Continue Reading Relationship Wisdom – 10 Tips On Becoming Master Of Relationships…

Amazing Energy!

March 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Posted in communication, inspiration/humour | Leave a comment
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I’m just amazed at the amount of energy and positivity comes out of a group of people working towards a joint outcome. I wish this would happen more often in the world…

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