Knowing When to Get Help

December 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Posted in health, self development/motivation | Leave a comment
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Can you help me?

As a counsellor, coach or other therapist we are not exempt from needing help. We all do face life issues that we cannot easily deal with ourselves and need an outside expert to support us. Even though we work in the field of supporting people it does not mean we can easily fix all our own problems.

Like any doctor who at times needs to see a colleague, so do counsellors. But when is it the right time? This is the exact same question that you will be asking yourself, before calling and making an appointment with a counsellor. Let me share you my experience in making the decision to make the call.

With the recent challenges I experienced with the passing of one of my twins two days after she was born I was facing the hardest times I ever had to go through in my life. The grief on one side and the joy of new motherhood on the other side, including the sleep deprivation and learning how to be a parent put me under big strain, emotionally, mentally and physically. Even though I was coping most of the times, there were times when I was not. In the good times I would think ‘it is fine, I’m able to do this on my own’ but in the tough times I really wasn’t all that fine – understandable under the circumstances.

There came the time that the tough times were too frequent and unsustainable over time. My life normally was built on the base of good times with sprinkles of challenges and annoyances. The life that I was living now however was the opposite; it was as if tough times were the undercurrent of my life.

If you were to compare your ‘normal life’ with how you are now, how different is it? Can you really live with how it is now? Is it just an exception or is it a trend? Answering these questions made me seek help.

I do not expect the person I am seeing to solve my problems or fix my issues. Some of the things that I am dealing with cannot be solved ever. That is not the point of seeing someone. She helps me deal with the challenges I am facing, she supports me in gaining a different perspective and think about upcoming potential pitfalls before I fall in again. And the most important benefit I get from the sessions is that she normalizes my situation, my emotions, and my reactions. She makes me feel normal, where I am an expert in being hard on myself. She does not make my life easy but she definitely helps to ease and softens my tough side or challenges my judgmental side.

All in all I would say that if you are asking yourself the question whether it is time to ask for help, do it. If you were in victim mentality, you probably would not ask the question anyway…

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…

Self Knowledge – Differentiating Intuition From Conditioning

August 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Posted in inspiration/humour, self development/motivation, spirituality | Leave a comment
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Part of anyone’s personal development will be getting to know yourself and learning to tap into your intuition. At the beginning of that endeavor this can be a not so easy challenge to sort out “what really is intuition and what is all the other ‘crap'”?

Intuition versus Conditioning


To shed a bit more light on what’s driving you we need to understand conditioning. The way you are today, the way you think and behave is the result of your conditioning, your upbringing and your education. The sentences you heard from you parents, all well meant and intended, will have left a mark on your unconscious mind. Some of those statements have become guiding principles, like the policies of a company that are stored somewhere in the archive cupboard.

Years later, in present time, you are still running your ship with guiding principles and policies that might have been useful at an earlier time, but are outdated now. The crux of the situation is that they don’t update themselves, they quietly influence your everyday thinking, emoting and behaving. It’s time to clear out that archive cupboard and throw out those not really useful beliefs!

How to find limiting beliefs or guiding principles? Continue Reading Self Knowledge – Differentiating Intuition From Conditioning…

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…

Your Spiritual Journey

August 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Posted in inspiration/humour, self development/motivation, spirituality | Leave a comment
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Overcoming our limitations

The Spiritual Journey (the path of self discovery, self knowledge and self improvement) is a marathon, not a sprint, and there will be big challenges on the journey. The challenges will not all be ones that we are capable of meeting on the first occasion. If we cannot rise to the challenge, then we will regress in our ability, and may need to start again.

Do you have the courage to start again and again?

Personal Development – You Are Always Making The Right Decision

July 31, 2011 at 6:32 am | Posted in self development/motivation | Leave a comment
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It is so easy to say ‘I should not have done that’ or ‘I made the wrong decision’. What if, in fact, you are always making the right decision at any given time? Can you accept and do you want to accept this statement? Let’s look at why this is the case.

If I stay right here, I won't make the wrong decision.

How we make decisions

Generally speaking we all make decisions on a daily basis. From what we are going to eat for breakfast to which way we walk or drive to work to any other little things in life, which you might not consciously be aware of. Unconsciously you are weighing up the different options and then choose the best one available. Usually this happens in a split second and we move on to the next decision.

When decisions are hard to make Continue Reading Personal Development – You Are Always Making The Right Decision…

Self Knowledge

July 27, 2011 at 9:43 am | Posted in inspiration/humour, self development/motivation, spirituality | Leave a comment
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The great thing about self-knowledge is that once you have it, you have it.

So what do you already know?

Self Knowledge – Ideal Self And Real Self

April 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Posted in self development/motivation | Leave a comment
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Are you often disappointed with yourself? Are you noticing thoughts like ‘I shouldn’t be doing or thinking this’? Are you being hard on yourself for not reaching your goals? The reason might be that there are big gaps between your ideal self-image and your real self.

Ideal Self versus Real Self

Getting to know your Ideal Self

Consciously or unconsciously we all walk around with an idealized image of ourselves. Setting goals might be the more obvious and conscious ones. Being unhappy about our body shape, size or weight might go more unconsciously.

To get familiarized with the Ideal Self that you have created, start by listening and paying attention to your thoughts and words. It might come concealed in statements like ‘I’m not as quick writing this report as I should be’ or ‘Wow, this guy is really self-assured’. Often expectations we set ourselves might be tied up with things we aspire to or admire in others, or, on the contrary, things we envy or ‘apparently’ disregard in others. Continue Reading Self Knowledge – Ideal Self And Real Self…

Depression – Is My Child Depressed?

March 17, 2011 at 7:52 am | Posted in grief/loss, health, self development/motivation | Leave a comment
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This might come as a surprise to some of you but children can experience depression as well as adolescents and adults. For some children it is not ‘just a phase they are going through’ and these parents need to know what to look for.

Is my Child depressed?


It is interesting to note that there wasn’t even an official diagnosis for childhood depression until 1980, even though there was significant research into depression in children in the 1950s. A young pediatrician called Leon Cytryn was researching the frequency of sadness and withdrawal he observed in boys admitted to hospital for surgery. He discovered that almost half of them had symptoms, which would have been associated with adult depression.

Sadness versus depression

To clarify here it is important to note that sadness can be a healthy and normal response when the child is upset, for example when their grandfather has just died or their pet has run away. If this sadness however is observed as a continuous state in the child’s day-to-day experience then we need to look at the potential for childhood depression.

Seeing the signs Continue Reading Depression – Is My Child Depressed?…

Negative Self-Talk – Suggestions On Reframing Your Negative Thoughts

January 15, 2011 at 11:49 am | Posted in self development/motivation | 1 Comment
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Let’s face it – we all do it from time to time: calling ourselves names like ‘I’m an idiot’ or ‘silly me’. Changing your negative self-talk is not just a simple cure but a continuous change of habits. Here are some suggestions on what else you could say to yourself.

Where is your self-respect?

Don't believe everything you hear yourself think...

We all make silly mistakes, that’s not the issue. The problems start when we examine our own reaction to ourselves. Many people are really harsh with themselves, cursing themselves in a way they would never talk to anyone else they respect.

Changing the way you talk to yourself

When thinking about changing your thoughts, one technique has helped many of my clients to get out of their righteous minds: Think about a child that you have an emotional attachment to, maybe it is your 5 year old niece or your 3 year old grandson. Think about what you would say to him or her, if something comparable just happened.

Here are some example or reframes:

Inner self-talk: You are an idiot!

Reframe: Don’t worry, it’s ok. Let’s be careful next time.
Ok darling, you are a bright girl (or boy), you just need to slow down and keep practicing.

Inner self-talk: You are so clumsy! Continue Reading Negative Self-Talk – Suggestions On Reframing Your Negative Thoughts…

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