Tame Your Mind – Tips for Senior School Students

Hi, Rocky Biasi here from humanconnections.com.au. I want to talk to you today in this video about a topic that I like to call, tame your mind, and specifically I want to send this message out to all of our senior students doing their HSC, but not just here in New South Wales, in Victoria, in Australia here doing the VCE, or any senior student in Australia or overseas. Especially during this period of history where we’re going through the COVID-19 period of history that we’re living through. This can be a really, quite a stressful time in regular times, let alone in these strange times. So I think it’s really important to be able to tame your mind, because I really believe this is one of the most important skills that you can learn as a human being. What’s the point in actually having physical health, money, fame, all of the things that the world says that you should have to be happy, and yet you’re not mentally fit and healthy?

This is part of my life’s passion that I’ve been on for the last 20 odd years. And I’m eternally grateful that I’ve learned the skill to tame my mind because sometimes our minds are not our friend. This is a quote that I absolutely loved by my good friend and mentor, Dr. David Lake, who says, “Sometimes your mind is not your friend.” And he says, “Is your mind your master, or is it your servant? Is it serving you, or is it not?” And oftentimes you’ll know it’s not serving you when it’s giving you stories that are running you down. That you’re not good enough. So on and so forth. Typically, what I’ve come to see in the work that I’ve done with students and with clients in my private practice over the last 20 odd years, is that psychological suffering, emotional upset, usually comes because we’ve got these stories in our minds that are on a particular timeline of the past or the future.

And I say the past is memory and the future is imagination. The only thing that you can know for sure is real is now. That’s it. That’s capital R reality. That’s how I refer it to. People sometimes get a little bit upset when I talk like this, because they feel like I’m minimizing, maybe past memories that were beautiful. We had this beautiful memory with our family, that was real. And I go, “Sure, it was real,” or even traumatic experiences. “We had a traumatic,” and they feel like I’m minimizing that. “We had this terrible traumatic experience, and you’re minimizing that. You’re saying it’s not real.”

Let me try to explain a little bit more about what I mean. And I teach with stories. So I want to use the story that I use in my Accidental Counselor workshops. Three days before my 18th birthday, I’m now 55, so it was many decades ago. Three days before my 18th birthday, my dad, who was only 49 at the time, younger than what I am right now, passed away suddenly of a heart attack. Now, why am I telling you this story? I’m telling you this story because it illustrates what I want to teach in this video very powerfully.

First of all, the point that, if I had my brother and my sisters with me, who all witnessed what happened that morning, if we were right here in front of this camera talking about what happened, we would give you varying accounts of what happened that day. So then the question is, well, which one was real? Well, of course, all of them were real, because they were real for us. That’s what happens. We go back, we look at the past, through our own filters. We recollect, we remember, we reminisce. And so through our filters, we can have varying accounts. The details can vary slightly. It doesn’t mean that what happened didn’t happen. It just means that we have varying accounts. And that may be what happened back then, or yesterday, or last week or three decades ago or whatever, wasn’t quite the way we’re seeing it right now.

The past is memory. The future is imagination. That morning, when my father passed away, he knocked on my bedroom door and he said to me, “Do you want a lift down to the station for work?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “Well, jump in the shower,” because there was seven of us with one bathroom in that home. And he said, “Well, hurry up, jump in the shower and I’ll bring you to work.” I didn’t get to the shower. Neither one of us went to work that day because he passed away 15 minutes later, shockingly, suddenly.

Both of us thought we were going to work that day and neither one of us went to work. The future is imagination. The only thing that’s real is now. Your mind doesn’t serve you when you’re in the past and in the future, thinking about upsetting things. Future, what if? What’s going to happen? Will they like me? Will I fail? The past, bringing back upsetting trauma, upsetting from the past and bringing it in the present. And as I said, people sometimes get upset, but that happened to me. And I say, “Yes, happened, not happening.”

And so we’re not minimizing what happened, but let’s be clear. It’s not happening. But if you start thinking about it and focusing on it, then you will release cortisol, which is a stress hormone that will flood through your body, and your mind doesn’t understand what’s real and what’s imagined, because you are visualizing what happened in the past. It feels like it’s happening now. And you go into what we call this fight flight response.

So this is what we mean by the mind as master or servant. I wanted to share with you an article that I saw recently, this was just a week ago, it was on the 23rd of May. COVID-19 worries and study stress for HSC students, but there are signs of resilience. Well, this is really great. And you can see here, the student was actually talking about, I felt really anxious thinking, “Am I going to get a bad mark? When are we going to go back to school?” These are future focused thoughts.

Here’s another one. My mind was constantly asking questions that I couldn’t answer. Yes. So talk about taming our mind and the mind as master or servant. Let’s be clear about something. Every time you’re asked a question or you ask yourself a question, as you just saw there, your mind literally pulls you in that direction. Just do this for me. I’m going to ask you an absolutely random question. An absolutely random question right now. What are the colors of the walls in your bedroom?

Completely random. Engage in that question and see what happens with your mind. What are the colors of the walls in your bedroom? Now, if you engage with that question, your mind is going and visualizing and picturing the colors of the walls in your bedroom. It’s that simple. It’s that quick. It’s that powerful. That’s why asking questions that your mind can’t answer, means that your mind right now is your master. It’s not your servant. If you’re going to go back into the past and think about really beautiful memories, awesome. It’s serving you. If you’re going to think about the future and how you’re organizing your study and what you’re going to do, the human mind is amazing. And when it serves the human and human beings and humanity, look at the remarkable things humans have been able to achieve, but it’s not always serving us.

Sometimes it’s lording it over us. It’s our master. And we need to be able to tame that and adjust that. So I’m going to give you some strategies to help you do that right now. First of all, let’s have a look at this idea of identity beliefs. This is the story that you tell yourself about yourself. Look at what Ziglar says. He says that you can’t perform consistently in a manner which is inconsistent with how you see yourself. How do you see yourself? The strongest need in the human personality, Cialdini says, is to remain consistent with how we’ve defined ourselves.

So one of the big things that I see with young people in school right now is this whole idea of failure. So they think, “I can’t fail.” Sometimes I even hear stories like, “Well, if I don’t try and I fail, well, at least I know that I failed because I didn’t try.” Huh? Who is it that you’re actually kidding right now? Who do you think you’re fooling right now? You might be able to get away with that once, but there’s a cognitive dissonance in your mind is going to go, “Hey, let’s get real,” right? Because that’s not going to work for you. And unfortunately, one of the problems that I see with this whole idea of failure is that we get really upset about it.

In fact, here’s the problem that I see with failure. We identify with that. So if we get a bad mark or if we get a bad result, then we think, “So I failed this,” or, “I wasn’t good enough in this result, I’m not good enough,” or, “I’m a failure.” I mean, come on folks. Your results are not who you are. You are much bigger and much greater than the money you earn, the house you have, the car you drive, the job you’ve got. The results that you get in your exams. You’re much bigger and greater than that, don’t have such a limiting view of that.

Here’s the problem with attaching your identity with all of those things that I just mentioned, all of those things will go, right? They’re material things that come and go. Money, health, fame, fortune, results in exams, whatever. They come and go. So you want to hold onto character much more than those fleeting things. Identity beliefs are a real problem, because if you’ve got this belief that I’m not good enough, or I’m going to fail, or I’m a failure or any version of this, well, then it’s going to fuel these stories in your head that I was talking about, that are either serving you or not.

Well, if you’ve got a terrible or negative identity belief, obviously these thoughts are not going to be serving you. The belief may be, “I’m not good enough. Who would want to be with me? Who would want to be my friend,” or, “I’m not smart enough.” These types of beliefs are going to fuel what we call your self-talk, your thoughts, your perceptions about yourself and the world. Then they’re going to drive your emotional state. And then, and it’s going to make you feel upset and anxious and agitated. Then you act out and then you’ve got actions and behavior that often… That reinforce the negative underlying belief. So it becomes a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to give you some strategies to end this video about how maybe you can manage this.

First of all, when you’ve got identity beliefs that are not serving you, you need to just ask yourself, “Is that true?” Now, is it true, not does it feel true, right? Is it true? I don’t really care whether you say yes or no, because even if you do say, “Yes, I’m a failure,” I go, “Really? You believe that?” “Yes.” Okay. I then will ask you what’s that like when you really think about that? And what people tell me is it’s terrible. I hate it. It makes me feel upset. I can’t think straight. I can’t do what I need to do. So it sounds like that when you’ve got this thought, it’s really creating a whole bunch of pain for you. Then I do this little framework here where I say, “Well, look, let’s just pretend for a second that you’ve got a 24 hour respite, you’ve got a break, a holiday from this thought that’s creating all this pain. You’re going to have to use your imagination. You’re going to have to pretend.”

And I say to people, “Are you up for that?” Usually they say, “Yeah,” very hesitant. Confused. Yes. And then I ask them the miracle question. And I say, “So how would you be different during those 24 hours when this thought, this belief, is not bothering you?” And typically people will respond with, “I’d be feeling happier. I’d be much more relaxed.” And so then you can ask them, “Well, what would you be doing differently during those 24 hours?” And then you get behavior, the positive behavior, the behavior that’s actually going to move them in the direction that they want to go. Then you can ask yourself or ask the person, “When will you try some of those behaviors?” So you don’t have to change the underlying belief. You just want to go through this process, identify the positive behaviors and emotions, and then start doing those, regardless of whether you think it’s true or not, just do the positive behaviors, have the positive emotions and look at what changes.

I want to share with you a couple of other techniques, breath work and breathing is really important to be able to manage your emotional state. And typically I say you’ve got to relax your body before you can start thinking your way out of a problem. Otherwise, if you’re in that fight flight state, your mind is not thinking straight. It actually blocks out the higher parts of the brain, like the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex that’s responsible for logic and reasoning.

So when you’re really worked up and stressed and agitated, try to relax the body before you start going into thinking thoughts, and changing that around. So breathing is critical part of managing stress, and you can check the website here, Headspace website, headspace.com, you’ll see the URL up here. It’s also in the slides, and there’s a whole range of different breathing techniques, including the box breathing technique.

So I want to just share that with you right now. First of all, just being conscious of your breath, how the body expands in the inhale, and how it softens in the exhale. Just be conscious, just pay attention to your breathing. That’s the very first simple thing about around breath work. There’s lots of different breathing techniques as you’ll see when you go to this URL. The other one is very simple. One where you can actually breathe in through your nose twice and then out through your mouth. Breathe in through your nose twice and then out through your mouth. And then this box breathing technique, which I think is really excellent. You’ll see this here. It’s really helpful. You go at that Headspace website, really helpful for extreme stress where you can practice the following process.

The box breathing technique is you inhale for the count of four, you hold your breath for the count of four and then exhale for the count of four and wait at the very end of the exhale for the count of four and repeat. This has actually been shown to calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system slowing down the breath allows CO2 to build up in the blood, which stimulates the response of the vagus nerve to produce feelings of calmness throughout the body. So there’s a few techniques and tips there to help you relax during this time.

Finally, the last one is one that is one of my favorites, which is a tapping technique. So this is where you get two fingers, and you can just tap on different pressure points as you see on the screen here, just different pressure points. You need to do this typically for five to 10 minutes. You’ve just noticed there that I’m just taking a deep breath voluntarily, just because every time I do the tapping, that’s what happens. It really helps me relax. You see the finger points on the outside of the finger at the base of the finger nail. So stimulating, you can use one hand on one side of the face. You can use two hands. Stimulating these pressure points, you can actually just rub the pressure points. You can just put pressure on them, but I find that tapping works the best. Now, there’s another deep breath. We’d normally teach the tapping technique in a half day presentation. So I know that that was very, very quick, but there’s lots of more information on the web, including our website, humanconnections.com.au about the tapping technique.

So I hope that this video around taming your mind has been helpful and useful as you’re going through your schooling this year.

 

Anxiety Lives In The Past and Future [5/5]

Mark: All right, Rocky, I guess my last question is probably the most difficult question I’m going to ask you about the time here. So we don’t know how long this will last and I’d love you to share some of your ideas about the past, the present, and the future. Because obviously I’m thinking to myself, these strategies sound great, and I think for a couple of weeks, I can be super excited about working from home and I can really reframe that in a positive way. I can do the breathing, I can do the tapping when I feel a bit anxious. But what about if this lasts for six months? How do I handle that situation?

 

Rocky: Well, Mark, I’m hoping it doesn’t go six months, but in my mind I’ve said, “Okay. If this goes on for six months, how am I going to be able to do deal with it?” Okay, let’s look at time, for a start. And I want to talk to our young people and to our students right now. So I go to schools, we speak to students all the time and I know that this year I was at a school before. We have all these lockdowns about a month or so ago. And I say to them … So we’re in New South Wales, so here we have the HSC which is the final year of schooling in year 12. “How do you feel about the HSC?” And overwhelmingly, it’s negative. “It’s negative. It’s stressful. It’s this, it’s that.” And so I want to say to all the senior students, especially, all of those fears and worries that you had two months ago and three months ago, how are they going now? A lot of the things that we think about and then we worry about, often don’t ever happen.

And here’s the thing. Now, you know better than me,  about what’s the latest update with the HSC or with the final year of schooling. Is it going to go ahead, is it not going to go ahead? Even if they say it is going to go ahead, I’m sorry. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I just want to say, I don’t think you can say that with a hundred percent certainty or it might go ahead in a different way. Now, you and I, Mark, we’re really great fans of the NRL. Now, we don’t know whether the NRL season is going to kick back up again and start again. We don’t know that. We don’t know whether there’s going to be a modified competition. We don’t know any of that.

So all of those players and coaches, if they’re right now freaking out, stressing out, going, “Are we going to play this year? Is there going to be a modified competition?” It’s a waste of energy. So if you are a student or a teacher and you’re thinking, “What’s going to happen? What’s going to happen with our senior years,” or whatever. I just want to say to you, you’re not thinking right, right now. You’re not thinking straight. I’m sorry. I’m just going to say it. And when you think like that, it’s just going to make you feel bad.

And my great friend and mentor, Dr. David Lake, says, “Sometimes your is not your best friend.” We’re very rarely focused on the present moment, the now. And we’re often dragged into the past or into the future. Now with this Corona virus thing, it’s probably more the future, isn’t it? Like what’s going to happen and how things going to work out? And I know I get caught up in that, too, but as soon as you realize that, the only answer to what’s going to happen in the future is, “I don’t know.” That’s it, that’s the only answer because nobody knows with certainty, with a hundred percent certainty. We’ve got estimates and guesstimates and all that, but no one knows for sure.

So this is a really great opportunity. Because I know people like me talk about, “Be in the moment, be present, focus on …” and it can be a little bit of an eye roll sometimes. People just go, “Yeah, whatever.” Well, now I just want to say to people, you’ve got no choice. You do, but if you don’t focus on the present moment and you get focusing on the future, I’m sorry, but you’re putting your mental health, your physical health at risk. And then you’re going to be part of this contagion thing. This falls back into what’s going on in our homes, Mark. Then we’re feeling bad. And someone says something to us and we snap back and conflict arises much more quickly because we’re not managing our state. Right? And we’re getting triggered really easily.

And so this is a perfect time to be able to get your mind back under control and manage it. Every time you start thinking about the future and I get it, it’s human. We all do it. I do it. I’m not saying you can stop thinking about the future. You are going to think about the future. But if you’re thinking about the future and it’s upsetting, if you’re thinking about like, “Oh, I had to cancel a holiday and I can’t wait for next year when I can go,” well, okay. That’s cool if you’re imagining a pleasant holiday next year. Your mind is serving you. But when your mind is not serving you and you’re in the future and you’re freaking out about what’s going to happen and no one knows what’s going to happen, your only choice you’ve got is to be here, now.

And I don’t want to be too vague about this. I’m just going to be really crystal clear. Focus on what’s required now. So Mark, I want to just share with you a little process that I went through when I had my own wobbly a couple of weeks ago. I’m taking the dog for a walk and I’m thinking stuff and I’m talking to myself because we’ve always got this mental conversation going on. Right? We’ve got all these thoughts. We’re talking to ourselves all the time. Right? And I was feeling really tightness in my chest. I haven’t felt like this in years. And I was like, “Whoa.” And then I was aware of what I was thinking. And so it was like, “Oh, we’re going to go broke. We’re not going to have this. We’re not going to … The impact is go …” And then I just went, “Is that true?” And I went, “No, that’s not true.” And what I realized was that’s an exaggeration.

So if you’re catching yourself with exaggerating thoughts or catastrophizing thoughts – or here’s another one that David Lake talks about, black and white thinking. Black and white thinking is going to cripple you in a crisis, especially in a crisis. Because it’s never black and white. It’s always both end. So it could be, “I’m really worried about this. There’s a part of me that’s really worried about this.” But it’s also true that there could be a part of you that’s not so worried about this or is less worried about this. So when you’re caught in exaggerated thinking, catastrophizing thinking, black and white thinking, either or thinking, you’ve got this fixed, rigid thinking that’s going to trap you and keep you stuck.

The first thing was, “I’m having these thoughts. Is that true? No, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Hmm. Okay.” Well, what if it was true, by the way? Your parent might’ve lost a job or there’s financial pressure at home. Right?

There’s things that are true, you know? And so what if it is true? Regardless, whether it’s true or not, here’s the next thing. What’s that like? Whether it’s true or not, what’s that like? Well, if it’s not true and you’re thinking about something bad, it feels bad. And if it is true, you feel bad. So the feeling is same whether you were imagining it or whether it’s real.

So I’m feeling bad about this. And that’s where we come back to what we talked about earlier, Marc, the breathing and the tapping. Now I know how people think about this. They just go, “You know, Rocky, thank you. But how is breathing and tapping going to help with my financial situation?” And here’s what I’m going to say to that, when you’re worked up and stressed and you’re not thinking straight, how’s that helping you with your financial situation? So my argument is, if we can manage our upsetting emotions, if we can reduce the intensity of that, it’s going to help us think a little bit differently. It’s going to help us think more creatively. It’s going to help us maybe come up with ideas that we haven’t thought about before. And so that’s why it’s critical to get your emotional and mental state under control.

So it was like, “Is that true? What’s that like?” And I was like, “It’s terrible.” And then I did some tapping. I felt better. And then I asked myself, “Is there something that I can do about this now?” And it was like, “No, now I’m actually walking the dog.” And in a way that is doing something about it, if you know what I mean? So do something that brings good energy into your system. if you can walk the dog around the house or around the block or something, if that’s possible, do it. So what can I do right now? And then another question was, “Can I do anything about the situation, like the job loss or the financial stress? Or can I do anything about this now?” If it’s a no, well then another concept that David Lake shared with me was, let it go. He calls it, allowing.

It’s like, “I can’t do anything about it now, so external circumstances remain the same, but what am I going to do? I’m actually going to focus on something that’s going to make me feel better.” And that could be sitting down and watching a great movie on Netflix. It could be taking the dog for a walk. It could be listening to some music. It could be picking up the phone and ringing someone that you’re great friends with. Whatever it is, that’s going to actually make you feel better because right now I can’t do anything about these external circumstances.

So this is critical too. A lot of the times we’re focusing on stuff that we can’t control. And this is another classic case where we can’t control a lot of what’s going on in the world right now. And so the only alternative we have is to control what we can control, to manage what we can manage, and that’s what’s going on with us and what’s going on right now. And if we don’t do that, then we start losing our minds, thinking, “I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to think that. But I can’t do anything about it now.” But then my mind keeps ruminating about something that I can’t do anything about right now. So you see the futility of that and how it drains our energy. So, “I just can’t do anything about this now, not yet, but there’s things that I can do when I get home. I can do this and I can do that. Okay, cool. So I can’t do it now. I’m just going to walk the dog right now.” So I was walking the dog and feeling really bad and then I started walking the dog feeling much better and much more at peace.

 

Mark: And it gets back to presence and being present in that moment. And I gathered, too, when you talked about setting up a schedule, if you’ve got a schedule and you’re doing something like watching Netflix, then you’re watching Netflix and that’s all you’re doing. Because I know, personally, sometimes I do something that I quite enjoy, but in the back of my mind, I really have those and that’s not really helpful. Like you said, it’s not allowing me to enjoy actually watching the show that I want to watch. So some really good advice there because you’re right. Some of these situations are not going to solve themselves, but the person in control of their mind, I think we’ve seen some amazing examples of people being really creative in terms of ways to change their business really quickly and under pressure.

And I know, obviously, from an educational point of view, I’ve seen teachers this week switch from face to face teaching to online teaching in a matter of moments. We have technology that is offering us something else. I know even for yourself, Rocky, you’re really adjusting your business to this online presence. And it shows people, in the right frame of mind, that’s when they’re at their best. And that’s when they’ve got the opportunity to find the solution that they’re looking for.

 

Rocky: I’ll probably leave you with this last thought, Mark, and it’s this. I’m a really big believer in this, as you know, and I’m really passionate about it. I’ll just say, I’m sorry, all bets are off if you’re not managing your state. Your mental state, your emotional state. Everything starts from there.

If your mental state and emotional state is completely deteriorating and you’re just surrounding yourself with negativity and fears and upset, like I said, it’s okay to be feeling that way. Step one. Step two is, “How long do I want to feel that way?” That’s the other thing. And if we don’t do anything about that, if we don’t do anything about feeling better, doing anything we can to feel better and manage our state, well, then we can’t do anything about any of the other challenges that we might be facing right now. So it has to start with that. It’s like building a building. It’s going to start with the foundation, and I really believe that’s the foundation. If we haven’t got that straightened out, well, then we can’t straighten anything else out.

 

Mark:  Rocky, it’s been great to talk to you. And I’ll probably impress upon people that there’s probably a Rocky for everyone somewhere. You’re a great person for me to talk to and I love the things that you share, but we really need to connect with those people that have got really specific strategies. Because we’re going to experience those moments and we need to find our way back out. And some of the strategies you’ve shared today will allow us to find that way. Thanks so much, Rocky, for always illuminating some ideas that I think can make a real difference.

 

Rocky: No, I appreciate that, Mark. They were helpful to me and I’m hoping they’re helpful for other people. So thanks for doing this with me.

 

Related Links:

Part 1:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/your-emotions-are-friendly-messengers/

Part 2:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/managing-your-emotional-state/

Part 3:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/reframing-responding-to-what-is-3-5/

Part 4:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/the-freedom-that-comes-with-routine-4-5/

The Freedom That Comes With Routine [4/5]

Mark: But my next question is obviously, about the organization of your day. A lot of students are now at home, and we were just talking before we started off air there, just about this idiosyncratic work, where we’re not necessarily asking students to stick to the time table that they had at school. With our teachers at work or at home, they’ve got a myriad of jobs to do, that they need to get to their students at a certain point. What advice would you give about even just understanding what you should do with your day? You’ve got this certain amount of hours and what do you do with all those hours and how do you get your job done still, when you might just want to watch Netflix all day.

 

Rocky: This is super important. And I’ve got a 15 year old and we spoke about this, but thankfully she’s a little bit motivated. So she came up with this herself and it’s definitely something that I would recommend. When you would go to school as a student, you had a timetable and it was a very structured routine. And when you’re at home, that can go out the window. And I can tell you that, I work from home as a business person, and it’s important to have structure or otherwise, things just get away from you. And I would actually say that it’s important to try to get up. I think one of the worst things that can happen right now, is that you go, “Oh, I don’t have to go to school.” So you stay up later and then you get up later. And I think that would be one of the worst things that you can do.

Now, here’s the big problem right now, Mark. Human beings are creatures of habit, so whether we know it or not, we’ve got a whole bunch of habits, good and not so good. And all of those habits have been completely upended and torn apart. So if you were someone who would go to the gym, or who would play sport or who would do whatever, that’s now all stopped. So it’s super important that you don’t fill that space with just sitting and binge watching Netflix. Now, I just want to say to you, I binge watch Netflix too. So cool, binge watch Netflix, but there should be a certain time that you do that. You might say, “From this time to that time, I’m going to sit down and I’m going to do three hours of Netflix.” Great, but you’ve scheduled that.

And I think you’ve got to have a schedule. So I would say to all of the people who are working from home right now, student and non-student, come up with a bit of a timetable, come up with a structure of what you’re going to do. The people who are working from home, you could be sending emails at nine or 10 o’clock at night, because you’ve been not doing that much throughout the day. Does that make sense?

So it’s really important to have a time and place for all of this, so then you can just switch off and say… Otherwise, where’s work and where’s home? Where’s work and where’s relax? Because, now it’s all one space. So go into a particular space to work, have certain times where you do that. And then when you don’t, get out of that space and relax and do whatever you want to do.

 

Mark: Rocky, you just reminded me, I’m going to share a little story of a really good friend of mine, Tony  Lopez. He is the creator of a comic strip called Insanity Streak. And he’s published in the Daily Telegraph every day and the Sunday Telegraph’s. Essentially a fairly famous guy, right?

But his job is to work each day from home, creating a comic strip and drawing it and getting it ready to send off to different publications. So when he initially did this job, he said to me, he goes, “I’d just get out of bed. I wouldn’t get changed. I’d sit in my room. I’d watch stuff.” He said, “I found it really difficult.” This is extreme, but obviously things were going okay for him. He built an office in his backyard. And then he said to me, he goes, “Once the office was built and ready.” And he goes, “I got up every morning, I changed, I walked to work. It was about 12 steps, but I still took those 12 steps.” And he goes, “It was a total game changer for me, to feel like I went somewhere and went to a space that was work and then walk back and I was home.”

So I love what you said about – it just reminded me of what you said about separation. We need to be pretty considerate of creating whatever schedule works for us. But then we need to have some separation between, where our work life ends or our school day ends. And our leisure time begins, because you’re right, we could find ourselves doing nothing during the day and then about nine o’clock going, “Wow, I’m so far behind.” And then, like you said, we’re not going to sleep on time and everything starts to unravel.

 

Rocky: Exactly right. That’s exactly right. Yeah.

 

Related Links:

Part 1:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/your-emotions-are-friendly-messengers/

Part 2:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/managing-your-emotional-state/

Part 3:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/reframing-responding-to-what-is-3-5/

Reframing: Responding To What Is [3/5]

Mark O’Connor: So Rocky, when you say that, I’m going to throw one at you, and then I’m going to ask you a question after it. So I’m going to basically contradict myself. So one of the other strategies that we’ve worked on that I think is really important right now is reframing. And we could look at this, and it’s so ironic that people, often when they’re working really hard, want to just stay at home and just do nothing and relax. And now obviously when they’re not allowed to go out there, inside, they’re caged, they feel totally overwhelmed about being inside and not being able to go outside. So the reframe really has to be, what can we do that is going to be advantageous as a consequence of this particular situation we’re in? And we have the option to do the things that we weren’t able to do when we’re able to move around freely.

So things like reading a book, learning a new hobby, YouTubing how to juggle or how to play a guitar or whatever it may be. We’ve got these absolutely enormous opportunities that we’ve never had before, because we’re going to be at home. We can connect with our family in a far deeper level than we have before, obviously maintaining the two meter distance, but we’ve got an opportunity that has never presented itself before. So the reframing, I think, is going to be adding into your two strategies about how long do you want to be like this? Well, here’s an opportunity. Let’s be positive about what we can get out of this situation. But this is my question where I contradict myself. So we’ve got this opportunity to connect with our family, but we’ve also got this great opportunity to have bigger conflict with our family than we’ve ever had before.

And I know from personal experience that some of the doubts or the uncertainty or the lack of clarity about what we can and cannot do is causing some conflict within families about how to handle the situation. Are we going to work? Are we’re going out for dinner, or are we going over to a friend’s place? What is okay to do and what isn’t okay? Obviously we get some information and some advice from the government, but because of that lack of clarity, it’s causing conflict. Conflict can arise out of a lot of different situations. So my question to you, Rocky, is, reframing is great. I can spend more time with my family. But what about when we start to get a bit cooped up, we get a bit frustrated, and that descends into some conflict in our households. What do we do?

 

Rocky: It’s challenging Mark, and it’s hard for me to just give this flat out advice because it’s different in different families. But I guess what I would say is the way I would reframe things is I would actually encourage students and teachers or whoever’s listening to this to start this practice of identifying three good things that happened today, because that changes our focus and that reframes things immediately for us. So we have a game, the card game, Mark, where we call it On The Plus Side. So it’s like, “this sucks, I’m stuck at home, I’m stuck with people I don’t want to be with.” So we acknowledged what is. Then we say, “On the plus side…” Just doing that, “on the plus side,” and then go and look on the plus side. And what can you find? And I’ve come to see, Mark, that there’s always a plus side if we look for it. Always.

But when we’re focused on negativity and conflict and upset, just can’t see it  because you’re surrounded by that all the time. So the questions we ask ourselves will direct our mental focus. It’s like having a spotlight. “Well, where do you want to be putting that spotlight?” I say, “I hate this. I’m arguing with my parents,” or whatever’s going on. It is what it is, acknowledge it. We’re not sticking our head in the sand. We’re not saying it’s not happening. It is happening. It’s not good. On the plus side… And go and find that. What’s the plus side? And the plus side is different for all sorts of different people.

I can tell you personally, I did this myself, Mark, and I actually went… So on the plus side, I’m actually at home because my job was traveling a lot. So I’m actually spending some more time at home. For me, spending time with my family is a positive. It’s not a negative. So that was a plus side. And the other thing is, I’ve wanted to be creative and create content and do things like you and I are doing right now and putting it out into the world, and I was always too busy to do it. So that’s a plus side. I can be more creative and do things like that. So your job and your responsibility is to find a plus side in these terrible times. But they’re not terrible all of the time.

Mark: So again, Rocky, it sort of comes back to what we were talking about. The reframing is a real choice. It’s a real opportunity to look at things from a positive mindset. And I know you’re a big proponent of the weeks’ work and it is a good opportunity to really buy into that and go, “What is going well? What’s going right?” Because focusing in on what’s going wrong, is, like you said, important to validate, but not important to sit in and dwell upon.

Rocky: Right. Because then we’re participating in spreading that.

 

Part 1:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/your-emotions-are-friendly-messengers/

Part 2:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/managing-your-emotional-state/

Managing Your Emotional State [2/5]

 

The second thing I would say is, okay, so you’re not feeling great and you’re acknowledging it. How long do you want to feel that way? There are things that we can do that can make you feel better. So if you’re feeling really worked up and overwhelmed, you can be with the emotion, you can acknowledge it. That’s the first thing. The second thing is, that I would say to you, that there are some strategies that you can do. I really like, Mark, a breathing technique called the four, seven, eight breathing technique. Have you ever heard of that one before?

Mark: No, I haven’t. Yeah. No, it’s strange that you want to mention that.

Rocky: Yeah. I really like this one and it’s super simple. It’s just about putting your tongue to the roof of your mouth, behind your two front teeth, and then you breathe in for four, you hold for seven and then you breathe out for eight with this whooshing sound.

It does look weird. But if you do that three times and then just go back to your regular breath, I absolutely promise you, you’ll just be like … It’s going to help you a lot before you go to bed, you’re going to have a much better night’s sleep and sleep is critical right now. Sleep is the absolute foundation for all of our mental health and wellbeing. I can tell you, Mark, that I track my sleep and it hasn’t been as good as it has been in the last two weeks.

I use this thing called this WHOOP Strap. They actually track millions of people around the world and they sent this report through showing the same, that people’s sleep all across the world has taken a hit. If you’re not tracking it, you’re probably more than likely not sleeping that great during this time. If you’re not sleeping well, all bets are off. Everything I say here is not going to work that well because sleep is the most important part of what we do in regards to mental health and wellbeing.

But going back to the breathing technique, let’s just do one round. Breathe in for four, hold for seven, out for eight. I’m not going to talk through it because I can’t talk and do it at the same time, but I’m just going to do one round, right?

 

Mark: When you say breathing for four, you’re talking about four seconds?

 

Rocky: To the count of four. Then breathe out for seven, two, three, four, five, six, seven. You hold for seven and then you breathe out for eight. Breathe in for the count of four, hold for the count of seven, breathe out for the count of eight. You do that three times through, your body will feel really relaxed.

Here’s the really other interesting concept. Nothing in the world has changed. We still got shutdowns, we still got this, we still got that, this virus is still big in the news, but you’re feeling different. You’re not so tense. You’re not so anxious. Your body’s more relaxed. That’s where the power comes in because in these times… So the first tip is acknowledge how you’re feeling. The second thing is, how long do you want to feel that way?

The other technique is the tapping technique. If you do this, I’m sorry, I’m taking this whole thing serious, wash your hands before you do it. I know people would be thinking, “Oh, come on,” but I’m taking it serious and I wash my hands. If you’re tapping, tapping on pressure points like this, again, another really strange technique, can relax the body.

My great friends, Steve Wells and Dr. David Lake, who pioneered a lot of this in Australia, their website is eftdownunder.com and they’ve got lots of resources there around this tapping technique. Or you can Google tapping technique or simple energy techniques and you’ll see lots of videos on YouTube that go through these pressure points. You can also do the fingers on the outside of the finger at the base of the fingernail.

When we’re feeling worked up and overwhelmed, the first thing is it’s okay to be feeling that way. Acknowledge that. The second thing is how long do you want to feel that way? Because we have a responsibility, I’ve been talking about this way before we heard about coronavirus.

There’s this concept of emotional contagion. If you are immersing in negativity and you’re always consuming and using – what’s this and what’s going on and on, now, sure, you’ve got to know what’s going on and I dived right into it in the early stages. But then you’ve got to pull back because if you’re focusing on that stuff 24/7, you’re not going to be feeling good and we have a responsibility. We don’t want to participate in this psychological pneumonia and I say, when you’re surrounded by negativity, it’s just like a virus. You’d catch that.

By the way, not just negativity, positivity. When you’re around positive people, you know what? You walk away feeling much better.

So we catch that. So we have a responsibility to manage our own state. I really believe that that’s important.

 

View Part 1 of the series here:

https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/your-emotions-are-friendly-messengers/

Your Emotions Are Friendly Messengers [1/5]

 

Hi everyone. It’s Rocky Biasi here and I’m joined by Mark O’Connor, who is a teacher at Emmaus Catholic College. And we’ve been really good friends, we went to university to do our education degree together, and we’ve been talking quite a lot in these quite uncertain and unprecedented times about how we can best support students and maybe even teachers themselves through this time. And so thanks for being on Mark and thanks for doing the job of interviewer, but you’ve got a whole bunch of expertise too. So I’d love for you to jump in here too. And hopefully what we can talk about can be of help to some people in the school community.

 

Mark: I’ll chime in with a few thoughts, but I’m genuinely interested to get your perspective and your experience and this wealth of knowledge that you have about how to reframe certain situations. Because obviously I can see some real anxiety in society at the moment, like you said, whether it be from teachers or whether it be from students.

So mate, I’ll kick you off with this obvious one, first of all. It’s overwhelming. There’s a lot going on in the world at the moment. And this coronavirus is causing some pretty mass hysteria, and obviously there’s different levels of that hysteria. What’s your number one go-to best piece of advice for people when they’re getting in that overwhelmed state, and they’re starting to worry about things that essentially they can’t control?

 

Rocky: Okay. Really good question, Mark. And I’ve put together seven tips, and I’m not going to give you all seven right now, but I want to see if I can give you a few. The first thing is it’s okay to be feeling the way you’re feeling. I know that I’ve had my own moments. You and I spoke about it when this first crashed, and the ramifications that had on me, and then I’m thinking the ramifications on others in the society. And yeah, I’ve had my moments, to say the least. And I think to be honest with you, if you’re living through these unprecedented times, it’s quite normal to be worked up and anxious and stressed and worried about what’s going on and what the future holds. So I guess the first thing I’m going to say is it’s okay to be feeling the way you’re feeling.

And here’s the other thing I know, Mark, and it’s this. If you start pushing those feelings down, if you don’t acknowledge them, if you don’t validate those emotions, they actually get stronger. So if you push them away, if you try to ignore them, the emotions are actually intensifying. And one of the things that I like to say is treat your emotions the way you would treat someone that you were listening to.

So, you and I, Mark, we do some work around Accidental Counselor and we’ve spoken about this in the past. And I say, look, if you’re listening to someone, if you’re going to be a really good listener, you would acknowledge what they’re saying. You’d validate what they’re saying, and you would even normalize it. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing right now. If you’re feeling worked up, it’s okay. It’s normal, right? And you can’t make yourself bad for feeling bad, right? That’s just going to make it worse.

So acknowledge how you’re feeling, number one, is key. Sit with the emotion, allow yourself to feel it, right? We’re so frightened by emotions that we push them away. We try to suppress them. We’ll distract ourselves with all this other stuff. And what tends to happen is because we’re not listening, the emotion intensifies and it becomes stronger and stronger.

And so when we acknowledge and validate our own emotions, I like to think of our emotions and our feelings like friendly messengers. And if you’re not listening to them, well, then they’re going, “Hey, you’re not listening.” So they get louder and stronger, right? And so if you acknowledge them and listen to them, just the very act of being present and just going, “Oh, I’m feeling this stress in my back,” or “There’s this tightness in my chest.” Just that act alone, bringing that presence and that awareness to that, is amazing, because it tends to reduce the intensity of it, just that. So that would be the first tip.

 

Vicarious Trauma: Self-Care for Mental Health Workers

The need for mental health care services and counsellors across Australia is growing at an astoundingly fast rate, with 22,159 mental health professionals reported in the latest figures from 2017. 4.3 million people received mental health-related prescriptions in that year alone, and this is an influx that doesn’t look set to abate anytime soon.

As this sector continues to grow at such a fast rate, one thing becomes evident; mental health concerns and the need for self-care among mental health workers is on a steady incline. Distressing cases and their emotional implications on carers shake not their ability to help people who have experienced trauma, but also the helpers mental health. This is a serious issue that’s coming more and more to the fore and, only by recognising the signs of vicarious trauma in mental health workers do we stand any chance at managing it.

Thankfully, most cases of vicarious trauma subside within a few weeks, but that’s too long to wait if you’re suffering. Instead, taking action as soon as symptoms arise is your best chance at managing your wellbeing and offering the best possible care to patients at all times. 

 

What will cause me to be vicariously traumatised?

Many in the mental health industry are vaguely aware of vicarious trauma without knowing exactly what can make them feel this way. Ultimately, as with any trauma, this is a personal experience, but most cases arise when mental health workers talk to patients after witnessing or being involved in traumatic events of some kind. The high levels of emotion and confusion that can arise from such conversations have the power to either trigger past trauma for workers themselves, or otherwise impact everyday functioning.

 

How will I know if I’m vicariously traumatised?

Spotting the symptoms of vicarious trauma fast is essential for full recovery in the shortest time. While each individual will experience vicarious trauma differently, some of the most common signs that you’re experiencing problems include – 

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Excessive thoughts about a traumatic work event
  • Mood swings/emotional exhaustion
  • Increased need to withdraw
  • Loss of pleasure in things that once brought you joy
  • Avoidance of work situations
  • Increased usage of alcohol/caffeine etc.
  • Notable decreases in work performance
  • And more

 

What can I do if I feel this way?

Taking action is, by far, the most fundamental thing you can do if you notice yourself feeling this way after work trauma. Luckily, there’s plenty of action for you to take in cases like these, especially when you seek the help of support organisations like VTT, Sane, and Mind

VTT’s website, in particular, provides useful suggestions for yourself, your co-workers/supervisors, and your family members in cases where vicarious trauma does make itself known. In general terms, some tips that could help you to cope with these unwanted feelings include – 

  • Debriefing with colleagues
  • Embarking on flexible working
  • Sharing concerns with a loved one
  • Seeking professional help from organisations like those mentioned
  • Finding healthy outlets for the feelings that vicarious trauma causes
  • Accepting your emotions and learning to work through them

Dealing with the Stress and Anxiety of Coronavirus

 

These are truly uncertain and unprecedented times. Our world has changed and the way we live has changed. It would be impossible to not feel unsure, anxious and afraid. I know I’ve had my moments to say the least. 

I wanted to share some things that have helped me deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with COVID-19 and the multiplier effect it has not just on our physical or financial health but also our mental health and wellbeing. I hope some of these ideas help you also.

1. It’s okay to be feeling the way you’re feeling!

  • Acknowledge and validate how you’re feeling.
  • Pushing your feelings away or feeling bad for feeling bad makes them stronger.
  • A good listener acknowledges and validates what they hear from the speaker. Do the same – I like to think of our emotions as messengers and when we listen to them they tend to reduce in intensity, frequency and duration.

2. The Question is how long do you want to feel that way?

In other words there are things you can do that can help you calm and relax a little more. There are things you can do that can make you feel a little better. Focus on the things you can control because there is way too much we can’t control in this Coronavirus climate. We need to be cautious that our anxiety isn’t playing into a psychological phenomena. 

When you’re surrounded by people who are scared, frightened, and desperate there is a tendency to be negatively affected with those same thoughts and feelings. This is known as EMOTIONAL CONTAGION.

Just like the spread of a virus, we can ‘catch feelings’. Emotions, both positive and negative, actually spread like viruses, whether or not we intend for them to.

Here are 2 practical strategies to help manage stress and anxiety.

 

3. Try 4-7-8 Breathing

Breathing can be a powerful tool to manage anxiety and any overwhelming emotions.  A simple place to start is with 4-7-8, a five-step breathing exercise that is easy and effective. The exercise can be done anytime, anywhere, and can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and induce sleep. Here’s how it works:

  1. Start by putting the tip of your tongue to the top of your mouth just behind your two front teeth.  
  2. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds. 
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven seconds. 
  4. Breathe out through your mouth for a count of eight seconds. Try to make a “whooshing” sound as you do this. 
  5. Start again immediately. Breathe in for a count of four and continue through the cycle 4-5 times before returning to your normal breath for the most benefit. 

 

4. Tapping

This technique I want to share with you is tapping. Check out eftdownunder.com where my good friend Steve Wells along with David Lake have lots of resources on tapping. There are many ways to do this including Steve’s intention tapping. In the video on this page I’ll show you some of the pressure points to do tapping because simply tapping on pressure points continuously creates a relaxation effect and it desensitises emotion. The way I like to think about the tapping is that the emotion moves through you rather than being stuck in your body. So let’s do 3 rounds of tapping. 

 

5. The mind is not always your friend. 

“What’s wrong with right now—unless you think about it?” (Bob Adamson) My good friend and mentor Dr David Lake says .

If you pay attention you’ll notice that your thinking can be unhelpful when it’s fixed and stuck rather than open and adaptable. I can often find myself thinking thoughts that are an exaggeration of the reality or perhaps catastrophizing. 

David say’s, There is a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ in everything. A mixture of good and bad, especially in a crisis. Things are neither black nor white. Avoid that kind of thinking where it seems you must ‘vote’! You don’t need to (it’s always both things, in balance).

Part of me is really worried and part of me isn’t; this is a balance you can change—by having a plan.

I also like his comments about…allowing.

Allowing (external) things to be difficult because often external circumstances are out of our control— focus on doing what you can, without excess upset. Don’t struggle with the facts. It is what it is. Ask questions to help you focus on what you can do.

Can I take any common-sense measures? 

What’s one small thing I can do, that can make a difference (fill in the blank) today.

Keep on doing the life-affirming things you have decided on (even if today is the only thing you can be sure of).

 

6. Psychological Impacts of Quarantine 

It’s SUPER IMPORTANT  to maintain strong social connections during isolation.

We need to be more proactive and reach out to people … and in doing so, it’s likely to help others who might not want to bother you, or who might have mental health problems of their own.

Maintaining good physical health during quarantine or isolation is also key to keeping mentally well.

It’s easy when you’re in the middle of a crisis to let your standard routines or health habits go downhill.

We know physical and mental health are quite closely linked, and so this is a time you probably need to pay additional attention to unhelpful behaviours.

A great idea to connect with friends is to organise a virtual “happy hour”. Log on together and have a glass of wine or coffee virtually.

 

7. Some tips to looking after your mental health in home isolation:

  • Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation
  • Remember that your effort is helping others in the community
  • Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, or phone
  • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing
  • Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods
  • Try to maintain physical activity
  • For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, and taking regular breaks
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing

Tip 7 sourced from Beyoneblue.

 

 

 

 

The Solution Talk Guide™

The Solution Talk Guide™ is part of The Accidental Counsellor Training.

It will help you:

– Connect and establish rapport quickly with the person you are working with.

– Create and environment trust and safety.

– Facilitate new perspective that lead to new positive behaviours and can give returns in all areas of personal life.

Desired Outcome Questions

1. What difference would you like this session to make for you?

2. What would your closest friend hope be different for you as a result of us meeting?

3. What do you wish would be different as a result of you being here?

4. If you did know?

5. If I asked the person in your life who knows you best what do you think they’d say?

6. What do you imagine?

7. If I had asked you this question when you did know, what would you have said?

8. If I had asked you that question when you were at your most hopeful and motivated, what would you have said?

Related Blog Post: https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/setting-goals/

 

Resource Talk Questions

1. What do you do for fun?

2. How did you become good at that?

3. What has it taken to stay good at that?

4. What would the closest person to you say is their favorite thing about you?

5. How do you show the people in your life that you care about them?

6. What has improved since we last spoke?

7. How did you do that?

8. When did you first notice that things were improving?

Related Blog Post: https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/solutions-focused-formula-exception-questions/

 

Coping with the Problem

1. What would you like to experience instead of the problem?

2. When has the problem diminished or become less intense?

3. What was different about you while the problem was gone or less intense?

4. How did they notice the problem had gone away or become less intense

5. What difference did the problem going away or becoming less intense make in that person’s life?

Related Blog Post: https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/solutions-focused-formula-exception-questions/

 

Preferred Future Description Questions

1. Suppose you went to sleep one night and a miracle happened that made things better, what is the first thing you would notice?

2. If you woke up tomorrow and your best hopes had become a reality, what would you first notice?

3. What else?

4. What would you do next?

5. What would you notice next?

6. Would you consider this a good thing?

7. What difference would that make?

8. Would that please you?

9. How would those close to you notice you were pleased?

Related Blog Post: https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/miracle-question/

 

Scaling Questions

1. On a scale of zero to 10, with 10 representing your desired outcome has been realised and zero is the opposite, where are you today?

2. What puts you at that number?

3. How do you know you’re not at zero?

4. What have you done to prevent the situation from going down on the scale?

5. If you moved one point on the scale towards the realisation of your desired outcome, what is the first thing you would notice?

6. What have you done to get yourself to the number you are currently at?

7. Who has noticed you progressing up the scale?

8. What would you notice as clues that you were progressing?

Related Blog Post: https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/assessing-desire-for-change/

 

Follow Up Questions

1. What’s been better since our last session?

2. How’d you do that?

3. What skills did you draw upon to make those changes since our last session?

4. What’s been better since we last met?

5. What role did you play in things getting better since we last met?

6. What role did others play?

7. What are your best hopes for this session?

8. What does that progress do to your thoughts about the future?

Related Blog Post: https://humanconnections.com.au/blog/solutions-focused-formula-overview/

Top 10 Mental Health and Wellbeing Tips

The following tips are “right” for me after many years of trying different strategies. The quality of your mental health is a reflection of the wellbeing and self-care habits you have.

Right Sleep

Sleep is the MOST important mental health habit you can build. It’s the foundation upon which all of the other mental health tips are built upon. Aim for 8+ hours! It has an enormous impact on our physical and mental health.

To help you get the best sleep:

  • Turn off digital objects and electronic screens at least 1 hour before you go to bed.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep try turning down the lights 30 minutes before you go into bed.
  • Remember that caffeine in soft drinks coffee or tea can keep some people up at night.
  • Create a night-time routine so you have good sleep consistency. This helps you experience quality sleep. Check out the sleep cycle app to help you wake up when you are coming out of your deep sleep.

Right Morning Routine

The way you start the day sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Experiment with different morning routines until you find the combination that works best for you.

Try some of these morning habits:

  • Exercising
  • Eating well
  • Having a good mindset to the day
  • Being mindful

Right Exercise

Most of us know the many physical benefits of exercise: weight control, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes, and increased energy, just to name a few. There is no shortage of mental benefits of exercise also.

Here are some to think about:

  • Help for depression and anxiety
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Better sleep
  • Brain boost

Right Eating

I’ve really experimented with Right Eating! What I’ve learned is that what’s right for one may not be right for another. Having said that “eating clean” has helped me enormously.

The fundamentals of eating clean encourage you to consume:

  • More whole foods such as fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lean proteins
  • Whole grains and healthy fats
  • Limit highly processed snack foods, sweets and other packaged foods.

 

Right Mindset

Similar to healthy food, be mindful of what you consume mentally. 

  • Create space in the morning to be intentional with your thinking
  • Try to avoid work and negative news related information
  • Focus on inspirational and uplifting content
  • Create an attitude of appreciation and gratitude
  • Foster a growth rather than fixed mindset.

Right Focus 

Where focus goes energy flows. Focus and put your attention on:

  • What you want rather than what you don’t want
  • Connect what you want with why you want it
  • What’s the most important thing for you this day, week, month, year.
  • Ask yourself one small thing that would make a big difference to ….

Right Mindfulness

If you pay attention to the “voice in your head” you will notice, we are constantly thinking and focusing our attention on the past and future.

That’s perfectly fine when we are using the human mind to serve us and humanity.

The problem occurs when we believe the negative stories in our minds about ourselves, others and the world.

Bringing your attention to the “Now” or present moment helps reduce the constant mental stories we tell ourselves about the past and the future. Then all that is left, is to deal with a situation or accept what is. Problems worries and fears by definition require the past and future. Have you noticed how often your future fears and worries don’t occur!

Five Ways Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health

  1. Mindfulness is good for our hearts
  2. Mindfulness may decrease cognitive decline from aging or Alzheimer’s
  3. Mindfulness may improve your immune response
  4. Mindfulness may reduce cell aging
  5. Mindfulness may help reduce psychological pain

Right Relationships 

We are the average of the 5 closest people around us. Relationships can either drain you or fill you with negative or positive energy. Identify and make space in your life for your positive circle of influence.

 

Right Work

You may need to start with work you are not passionate about. Have a focus on work you eventually want to do. Work you care about, that you’re passionate about and enjoy doesn’t become work that becomes a chore and obligation.

 

Right Money Principles

Spend less than what you earn. Build savings so you have a backstop for emergencies and feeling of security. Spend your money on experiences that create lasting memories rather than material things that pass quickly.

 

The Myth of Multitasking – And How It Impacts Your Mental Health And Wellbeing

Many people believe that women are excellent at multitasking, while men don’t do as well. However, the truth is that no one is really that good at multitasking, regardless of gender. In fact, not only are we not built for multitasking, but you could be doing yourself more harm than good by spending your time trying to do multiple things at once. Our brains aren’t really  built for multitasking, and trying to multitask can have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Let’s take a look at what exactly multitasking is, and how it could be affecting you, as well as how you can improve the way that you work by ditching multitasking.

 

The Three Types of Multitasking

There are plenty of simple tasks that we can do at the same time. It’s not difficult to talk and walk simultaneously, or to watch TV while you’re eating. However, when it comes to more complex tasks, humans aren’t designed to be able to handle doing several things at once. According to Dr David Meyer from the University of Michigan “as long as you’re performing complicated tasks that require the same parts of the brain, and you need to devote all that capacity for these tasks, there just aren’t going to be resources available to add anything more.”

Trying to do two complicated tasks at once is just one type of multitasking. There are actually two other types of multitasking that many of us attempt to do, but which we’re not designed for.

The three types of multitasking are:

  • Multitasking – trying to do more than one task at the same time
  • Switching costs – switching back and forth between tasks
  • Attention residue – performing several tasks in rapid succession

Each type of multitasking can affect the way that you are able to work, and prevent you from doing your best work. If you’re spending your time trying to multitask, it’s likely that you’re not doing any of the tasks particularly well. In addition, you could be causing damage to your brain and your mental health by multitasking.

 

The Impact Multitasking Has on Your Brain

Multitasking can have a number of effects on your brain. In fact, some studies have shown that being a multitasker could permanently alter the structure of your brain. One study from the University of Sussex in the UK showed that people who spend a lot of time multitasking using media devices (such as smartphones and TV) had reductions in the grey matter of their brains.

Multitasking could also have an impact on your short-term memory, and your long-term memory. A 2011 study found that multitasking affects your ability to retain memory while working on a task, while a 2016 study showed the same, and also identified an affect on long-term memory.

Increased distractibility is another possible consequence of multitasking. A study showed that multitasking made people more likely to exhibit behavioral distractibility. This could be because it causes the person to lose the ability to tell between an important distraction and an unimportant one.

 

How Multitasking Affects Your Mental Health

In addition to affecting cognitive function and the brain’s structure, multitasking could affect your brain in another way. Mental health problems can increase with multitasking, including increased anxiety, chronic stress and depression. Multitasking takes up all of your brain’s energy, which neuroscientists say can cause you to be less focused and become more anxious.

Increased stress is another risk of multitasking. A study of students showed that those who multitasked more experienced increased stress levels. Another study linked multitasking to higher levels of depression and social anxiety. Multitasking is mentally taxing, demanding all of your brain’s energy. This leaves you with less energy to deal with everyday situations and to manage your emotions. Many people know what it’s like to feel more emotional when they’re tired. Regular multitasking can lead to your feeling drained of energy all the time.

 

Switching Costs

Switching costs are the consequences of frequently switching between tasks. You can’t do two complex tasks at once, which means that when you’re multitasking, what you’re really doing is bouncing back and forth between different tasks. Although you can quickly switch your focus from one task to another, it takes a lot of your brain’s energy to do so. Many people think that it’s a faster way to get their work done, but the opposite is actually true. Rapidly switching back and forth between tasks means that you will take longer to get your work done.

 

How Single-tasking Is Superior

If you really want to make the most of the time that you have available at work, it’s single-tasking that you should be doing. Working on one task at a time is the best way to use your brain’s energy, particularly if you group like tasks together. Working on a single tasks means less stress, cutting out the energy required to switch back and forth between tasks. It’s better for staying focused, helping you to concentrate on what you’re doing and turn down other tasks and distractions that aren’t currently a priority. It can even help you to think more creatively, forcing you to find creative ways to use the resources that you have.

 

Quit Multitasking and Do More

Giving up multitasking can be hard. When you’re using to switching between multiple tasks, you can do it automatically, making it difficult to stop. The first step you should take if you want to start working on single tasks is to create a work schedule. Allocate your time to different tasks so you know when to focus on what. You can start by focusing yourself for short periods of 15 to 20 minutes to get used to it. Block out distractions from email by only reviewing them at set times, instead of whenever an email arrives in your inbox. If there are websites that you know distract you, such as social media sites, block them using a browser extension to prevent them from tempting you. Make sure to take breaks too, but don’t take them for too long.

Multitasking isn’t the answer if you want to work smartly. Focus on one task at a time to improve your mental health, wellbeing and productivity.

The Power of Sleep

Life would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to sleep.

Just imagine what you could do with all of the time you spend in bed. The potential is limitless, and a lot of people already push the amount of time they spend awake to make the most of it.

Of course, though, you wouldn’t be able to live a very healthy lifestyle without this crucial element. Instead, you would be tired all the time, would struggle to concentrate, and would eventually find yourself in an early grave.

But why exactly does your body work this way?

To give you an insight into the power of sleep, this article will be exploring this part of your life. A luxury for some, getting enough sleep is an excellent way to improve your lifestyle, though it’s easy to ignore this part of life when you have a lot on your plate.

 

What Happens When You Have A Sleepless Lifestyle?

You’ve probably experienced this many times before; you can’t get yourself off to sleep until the sun is rising, but you have far too much to do to stay in bed.

Today is going to be a difficult one.

As you roll yourself out of bed, willing yourself to get on with the day, one of the first things you’ll notice is the way your body feels. Your limbs will be heavy, balancing will be a challenge, and you will face an almost overwhelming urge to flop back into a state of slumber.

Thankfully, these physical effects will wear down a little throughout the morning, and you will slowly regain your ability to handle normal life. At least on a physical level.

Of course, though, you will still have to use your mind to study or go to work. This is one of the biggest issues which comes when you don’t sleep; your mind won’t have had a chance to rest properly.

This can make it extremely difficult to concentrate, keep up with fast lectures or conversations, and will often leave people in a bad mood. Some people use coffee and energy drinks to try and overcome this, but this attempt is a feeble one. Your mind simply won’t be able to function correctly when you haven’t slept enough.

As the years go by, living without enough sleep will have an impact on your overall health. Failing to get the sleep you need will have a negative effect on your lifespan, with those who sleep the most often living far longer than those who don’t get enough time in bed.

Behind The Scenes: What’s Happening To Your Body

In reality, most people have a good idea of what they will feel like when they don’t get enough sleep. This doesn’t mean that they understand why they feel like this, though, and this is crucial when you’re trying to improve this side of your life.

It’s hard to know what to do right when you don’t know what’s going wrong.

Your Mind: Your mind is very delicate. It doesn’t take much to throw it out of whack, and a lot of people don’t realise quite how much sleep can influence this. You won’t be able to concentrate properly, as your mind won’t have had a chance to reset and handle the memories you made the day before. Concentration will slip, as your mind will cluttered and filled with information which it hasn’t had a chance to sort. A lack of sleep is now recognised as one of the leading contributors in the increase of mental health issues.

This will all have an effect on your studies and work, making it crucial that you get enough sleep each and every night. If you let this go on for a long time, things will get even worse, with conditions like dementia being recognised to have causal links with a lack of sleep throughout someone’s life.

Your Body: Like your mind, your body is also very complicated, and will be heavily influenced by the changes your lifestyle thrusts upon it. Poor sleep has been connected with obesity in a lot of different studies, as your digestive system relaxes when you sleep, and it needs this opportunity to process the food you eat properly.

Alongside this, though, there are some far more serious issues which sleeplessness can cause for your body. It will impact your cardiovascular system, making you more likely to suffer with heart disease and heart attacks. You could also increase the chances that you will have to deal with diabetes, infertility, and cancer, as not getting enough sleep can also be linked to these conditions.

Ultimately, living without the sleep you need will lower your lifespan, while also making you feel bad all the time.

 

Using Science For The Perfect Sleep

It’s not always easy to make sure that you have enough time to sleep. This should be kept to a minimum, though, and most people should be working hard to get as much sleep as they possibly can each week. You can use science to help you with this.

There are four stages to sleep; light, REM, deep, and wake. Understanding these can make it much easier to ensure that you’re always getting quality sleep, while also giving you an opportunity to wake yourself up at exactly the right time.

Let’s take a look.

Light: The light sleep stage bridges the gap between being awake and entering a deep sleep. During this stage, you will be able to wake up very easily, and it will make sense to avoid interruptions to your sleep during this stage. Some scientists believe that people go through this to ensure that they can wake up to threats.

REM: REM stands for rapid eye movement, and this occurs as your body shuts down for the night. The muscles which control your eyes are some of the only ones which function during this time, hence the movement which is often seen. You need the REM stage of sleep to give your mind a chance to soak up memories and cement the skills which you’ve picked up through the day. This stage is essential for students.

Deep: The deep sleep stage is one of the most important. Muscles repair and grow during this time, and your body will produce 95% of its growth hormones when you’re in a deep sleep. If you wake up during this stage, you’re likely to feel very tired.

Wake: This stage of sleep happens throughout the other stages, with most people waking up as many as 20 times each night. You’re not conscious of this, and it usually comes at the end of a sleep cycle.

A healthy adult will go through three to five cycles of these stages each night. Waking up at the right point can make you feel far more rested than waking up during the wrong stages, and it’s always worth spending the time to figure out how many cycles you have time to go through.

Alongside this, you can also think about other ways to improve your sleep. Eating the right food, taking part in enough exercise, and working to make sure that you’re not stressed will all contribute to healthy sleep.

Sleep is crucial to your work, studies, and general wellbeing. This makes it well worth putting time into it, even if you feel like you get enough of the stuff. Just about everyone has what it takes to improve their sleep.

Thoughts on Critical Incidents and Trauma in the School Context

Critical Incidents and Trauma

If you work at a school, you need to prepare yourself for all eventualities and potential circumstances. This includes being prepared for trauma and critical incidents. While we all hope that a disaster or serious accident never happens at the school we work for or attend with our children, being prepared and knowing what to do can make a monumental difference in these moments. With that being said, below, we are going to reveal everything you need to know about critical incidents and trauma.

 

What are critical incidents?

Critical incidents relate to unexpected and extraordinary circumstances that can result in a traumatic reaction. There are a lot of different types of critical incidents that can occur. Examples include the following:

  • Being a witness to an event that has resulted in someone experiencing harm.
  • Assaults; this includes psychological, sexual, or physical assaults.
  • Vehicle accidents.
  • Death (actual or threatened).
  • Wars.
  • Disasters. 

 

What is trauma?

Trauma is a term that is used to describe the physiological, psychological, and emotional residue that is left over due to heightened stress that has occurred because of a challenging event. In regards to critical incidents, trauma relates to how we feel afterwards from a mental health standpoint. There are three different types of trauma, which we will explain below:

  • Simple trauma – Simple trauma is painful and overwhelming. This relates to experiences of events that have the potential to result in serious injury and/or can be life-threatening. They tend to be single incidents. The victim does not experience societal blaming and there tends to be less stigma associated with this type of trauma. There tend to be helpful and supportive community responses. Simple trauma involves the experiences of being in cyclones, earthquakes, bushfires, house fires, and car accidents.
  • Complex trauma – Complex trauma tends to involve violation, violence, and interpersonal threat. It tends to include a number of incidents. There is a sense of shame experienced by the victim and almost always a stigma associated with such incidents. Community responses do not tend to be helpful. The targets of violence tend to be disempowered and blamed. They can feel like they do not have support from others, leading to isolation and often a sense of betrayal. Examples of this type of trauma include experiences with imprisonment, war, rape, domestic violence, bullying, and child abuse.
  • Developmental trauma – Finally, we have developmental trauma. Young people and children are very vulnerable to the impact of trauma because of the immaturity of their brain’s development. Because a child’s brain is so malleable, trauma can be faster to manifest. This means that the damage that is left behind is often deeper. Children can often experience splintered development because of the trauma. If an adult has caused the child harm, they can be even more intensely impacted. This is because children rely so much on the adults that are around them. Developmental trauma can include children who experience high parental conflict in the context of divorce or separation, as well as those who are forced to live with family violence, are abused, and are neglected. 

If someone has experienced a critical incident and they are experiencing trauma, there are a number of different things you can do in order to support yourself and others. This includes…

  • See how your friends are doing. This is especially the case if you have noticed that a friend is withdrawn and seems distant.
  • Encourage your friends to talk about what is bothering them. Do not pressure them to talk or pry for details, though.
  • Acknowledge your friend’s feelings and validate their responses.
  • Encourage your friend to connect with the support that is available to them. This includes family and friends, as well as a counsellor.
  • Try to find a balance. Make sure you stay up-to-date with what is happening yet you also need to make sure you do not become so ingrained in the situation to the point whereby it is the only thing that is going on and is discussed between you and your friend.
  • Encourage your friend to return to their usual routine or to maintain it.
  • Encourage other activities that are relaxing or involve exercising, as they can help. 

 

Have you experienced a traumatic event? 

If you have experienced a traumatic event in your life, there are a number of different strategies that you can use in order to help you with your recovery.

This includes the following…

  • Do not use drugs or alcohol
  • Manage your general stress levels as best as you can. Be aware that your reactions can be more intense during times of the year whereby you are going to be under pressure.
  • Take some time and then start to return to your normal routines slowly but surely.
  • Take time to do things that relax you and that you enjoy. This will enable your body to respond to the changes it needs. For example, direct angry feelings by going to the gym, cry when you need to, and spend time with the people you love.
  • Make sure you have adequate rest by managing your sleep.
  • Talk to someone you trust. You do not have to face this alone. If you do not have a family member or friend you can talk to, turn to a counsellor. 

After a traumatic event, the normal recovery and healing process means that your body needs to come down from a state of heightened arousal. In more basic words, it means that the high levels of energy must come down and internal alarms need to be turned off. Your body needs to re-set itself to a normal state of equilibrium and balance. This is not going to happen overnight. It will usually occur one month after the event. However, this depends on the event and level of trauma too. 

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of critical incidents and trauma. We all hope that this information is something that you will never have to put into practice. However, it is imperative that teachers and school staff members are aware of this.

How to Help and Respond If Your Teen is Depressed

Data suggest that more than 10 percent of adolescents suffer from some kind of major depressive episode between the ages of 12 and 19. For caregivers caught up in the melee, it can be challenging to know what to do, how to identify symptoms, where to find treatment, and how to prevent it from taking over their lives and relationships. 

Recent research suggests that the best thing that caregivers can do is take active steps to attempt to remedy the problem, not just for the sake of their teen’s mental health, but theirs too. 

Signs Your Teen Is Depressed

Prolonged Sadness Or Irritability

Depression and sadness are two different things. But to the outside observer untrained in matters of mental health, it may be difficult to tell the difference. Your child may appear uncharacteristically sad about their lives for a lengthy period (usually more than two weeks), which could indicate depression. Irritability can also arise if the child doesn’t want to interact with the world to the same degree. Depression robs children of their authentic outgoing nature. 

Problems With Sleeping And Eating

Depression can wreak havoc on both sleeping and eating. It can be a challenge for a depressed child to fall into a restful sleep or feel hungry before a meal.

Prolonged Lack Of Energy

A lack of energy or unwillingness to get out of bed (even when there are good reasons for doing so) is a hallmark of depression. Depressed teens often have a lower academic performance at school than their peers. 

Persistent Feelings Of Worthlessness and Hopelessness

Depressed teens may feel that they don’t have agency in the world and that they’ll never feel happy about themselves, their relationships, or their work. In its worst form, feelings of hopelessness can lead to depression and suicide. If you suspect that your child may be suicidal, then seek professional help immediately. 

Steps To Help 

Dealing with depression can be a challenge. For many teens, it can seem like an intractable state of mind – something from which they cannot escape. The job of the caregiver isn’t to “cure” them, but create the conditions that put the teen firmly on the track back to mental health. 

Step 1: Listen With Genuine Curiosity And Compassion

Compassion is where you accept the lashing out of another person, but fundamentally believe that their behavior stems from a place of pain, not evil. A depressed teen may shout and rage, sometimes directly at you. But it’s your job to recognize that this isn’t necessarily a statement about their character, but a reflection of the fact that they are hurting inside. 

The first step is to open up a dialogue with your teen. You want to make them feel as if they can come forward and freely discuss their feelings. Start with simple questions about what is troubling them and how they feel. The goal isn’t to provide advice, but to focus on listening to the problem and offering support. Often that’s all you can do, at least to begin with. 

Step 2: Avoid Reminding Your Teen Of Their Failures

The sense that one has failed in life can breed depression. A teen who believes that he or she is worthless because they lack friends or achievements is at a heightened risk of developing the condition. Paradoxically, depressed teens can withdraw from life and deny themselves the opportunity to form new friendships, romantic relationships, or college aspirations.

Parents and teachers might be tempted to remind teens that they’re missing out on life, but this is risky because it could reinforce their belief that they’re a failure. You don’t want that. Try to find ways to praise your teen for the things that they can do and build a solid base from there. Your teen might not have friends, but he or she is a kind and compassionate person, for instance. 

Step 3: Just Be There

Caregivers often want their teens to open up about how they feel. But forcing this process is not advisable. Teens need space to develop their sense of self and boundaries. The job of the caregiver is to provide a kind of unconditional support, telling their teen that they will be there for them, as and when they’re needed. 

It can be hard for parents to sit on the emotional sidelines while their teen suffers, but it’s essential. Letting go of your own needs encourages your teen to come forward with theirs. 

How To Get Treatment 

The good news is that matters eventually resolve themselves in the majority of cases. However, if you believe that your teen’s depression is deep-seated or having an intolerable impact on their quality of life, then you may want to seek the help and advice of a professional. 

Professional therapists have a theoretical framework in their minds that they use to listen to your teen in a non-judgemental way and find ways to remedy the situation. The nature of your teen’s depression may be challenging to identify, and you may find that without professional help, you go through successive cycles of mental health and depression, seemingly without end. The job of the mental health professional is to find ways to nip depression in the bud before it has long-term development effects. 

How To Look After Yourself 

Managing a teen with depression is an exhausting task for parents. You can’t help but emotionally involve yourself in their suffering. Your teen is still your child, and you feel very strongly that they’re you’re responsibility – that’s entirely natural. 

Coping with a person with depression is, however, a challenge. It can begin to chip away at your own mental health, making you feel worried, anxious, and depressed yourself. As a parent, it’s crucial to recognize that you’re not alone; there are plenty of people who can help you, such as your partner or other family members. You can also seek professional advice if you feel that the situation is affecting you in negative ways or bringing up toxic issues from your past. 

The Impact of Poor Mental Health on School Attendance and Supporting Student Motivation

It’s of little surprise to know that mental health issues have been linked with school absences, particularly during secondary and further education. Having said that there is a worrying trend that primary school K-6 students are increasingly entering these statistics. This eventually leads to a decline in school performance and could cause further developmental issues if the problem issue left unresolved. Knowing how to respond to mental health issues and develop resilience through intrinsic motivation can go a long way in helping reduce school absenteeism.

Increasing Awareness of Mental Health Issues in Schools

Mental health issues can affect anyone at any age, which is why it’s important for teachers and school staff to be even more aware of terms used, the conditions described and also learn how to assist those with mental health needs. This results in more awareness of mental health issues and can actually help in how to respond and refer to appropriate team members inside and outside of school to (if necessary) diagnose a child’s potential health issues.

Often raising the issue of specialised help (particularly with an assessment or to diagnose) creates much resistance. This is to be expected, as parents may react out of fear and the desire to not “label my child”. Teachers and school staff can help parents understand the importance of referral if helping with future strategies and approaches. 

Parent surveys have shown that the first person to identify a child’s mental health problem is actually their teacher or someone within the school faculty. Because of this, it’s vital that we start to inform teachers and make them more aware of the types of things they may see and how to deal with them.

Being able to help students is incredibly important, but teachers cannot do so unless they have more knowledge of how these mental health conditions work, the signs, symptoms and also how to accommodate and respond to a child’s needs if they do have a mental health condition.
This is why the Accidental Counsellor Training is so important.

Intrinsic Motivation In Students

To help manage mental health issues and develop resilience is obviously very important in helping decrease school absence. An increasingly popular method of helping students stay motivated in order to increase their attendance, performance and focus is to use intrinsic motivation. This is a concept that focuses on naturally building up a student’s motivation by offering them four valuable options; choice, challenge, collaboration and control.

Many teachers are still working under the assumption that they must direct their students and control each aspect of the learning process. However, this forced method offers no feedback from the students and it restricts them from making decisions on their own, drastically lowering their motivation. The alternative is to focus on intrinsic motivation which allows a student to make choices for themselves so they feel motivated, not forced, to learn.

There are four principles to intrinsic motivation;

  • Choice – Offering students more choice in their lessons and homework means that they are more invested into their decisions. Instead of being told what to read or study for homework, the focus shifts on letting them decide and make their own choices. This means that’ll be more interested in the subject material they chose and it leverages student autonomy, meaning the students work harder and are mentally stimulated while the teacher has to do less micromanagement of each student.
  • Challenge – The principle of challenge is to remind teachers that students are often smarter than they seem. In order to truly test their capabilities and push what they can achieve, it’s necessary to challenge them. Not only does this allow the teacher to gauge their students’ progress but it also gives them a way to measure their own progress too. We see this often in “gamification” a concept that is taken from the world of onlnie gaming!
  • Collaboration – Collaboration helps students learn to communicate and work together on tasks. Discussions will help students reach conclusions on their own and combining their abilities and knowledge will help them overcome more difficult challenges, stimulating their minds and training them for when they become a part of the future workforce.
  • Control – Control focuses on training students to ask questions so that they can reach conclusions using past experiences or by sharing knowledge with other students through collaboration. By teaching students to take more control of their own studies, it gives them the ability to be more critical of their own work and self motivate themselves to find solutions to problems.

How Self-Compassion Supports Academic Motivation and Emotional Wellness 

Self-criticism can be a way to motivate oneself. It’s often described as the voice in our head that helps to remind us of the actions we’ve taken and the potential consequences we could face. However, self-criticism can often go too far, resulting in fear, anxiety or even depression depending on the results of said consequences. In fact, some students may focus too much on perfectionism and this can lead to serious motivational issues.

This is where self-compassion can help to balance the criticism so that a student does not descend into fears and anxiety which can override their academic motivation. Thankfully, self-compassion can be taught by parents and educators, even if it’s discouraged by our culture. It’s important to differentiate self-compassion with self-pity or even arrogance. It should focus on understanding one’s shortcomings and flaws and being supportive of oneself as one would support other people. Teaching a child to treat others well is easy; it’s teaching themselves to give them the same compassion that is difficult.


Reducing the Mental Health Crisis in Schools

Mental health is still something that people don’t like to address. But for those who are suffering from poor mental health, it’s clear that something needs to be done to help them. The mental health crisis in schools is rising, with 10-20% of children and adolescents experiencing mental disorders; with half of those beginning at age 14. Varying by the child and their personal experiences, the help you are giving them will depend on the concerns they are facing.

The increase in the crisis may be due to a number of factors. Firstly, a 21st Century concern of many adults is the exposure that their children are having to social media. Scrolling through social media applications can be an extremely damaging pastime for many reasons. One recurring theme is the number of articles, images and videos portraying what people should look like in order to be beautiful. This pressure on children and adolescents into young adult around body image can lead to eating disorders, issues with social interaction and depression through issues such as cyberbullying.

Social media isn’t the only reason that the mental health crisis faced by children is increasing, however. Other factors, such as a traumatic event (for example, losing a loved one) or even financial hardship or domestic violence and neglect can cause our young people (as it would those of all ages) to act out of their emotional pain and distress.

When 13 Reasons Why was released in 2017, many children and adolescents tuned in to watch. The plot of the Netflix television series was extremely dark (about a young girl who commits suicide and leaves a series of tapes to those who caused her to kill herself) and has been targeted as the reason why the suicide rates amongst youths have risen. Suicidal thoughts and self-harm are often associated with poor mental health. And when children start thinking this way, whether it be because of a trauma in the family or because of the pressures they feel in daily life, helping school staff address mental health in schools is essential.

When it comes for children to go to school, these issues can be heightened by the pressure of homework, exams, etc. Bottling up these emotions are undeniably damaging, therefore, teachers and school staff can act as a point of contact or “Accidental Counsellor”.  Clearly a member of school staff providing emotional support to a young person who is distressed is not providing clinical counsellor or therapy. Nonetheless, knowing and understanding basic counselling skills such as listening and responding with empathy, solution focused language patterns and others is extremely useful in these situations.

If a child comes to you with an issue or you recognise that they are not themselves, the first thing you could do is simply ask if they are ok. Sometimes their non verbal communication clearly communicates that they are upset – asking them “what they need most or what would be most helpful – right now” is a useful question.

You aren’t a counsellor or a mental health expert (although you may feel like an accidental counsellor), listening to what they have to say is a basic human response to people seeking support. Everyone needs help from time to time, and the pressure they feel may be overwhelming and isolating. Having a trusted person who provides space to listen to the person’s pain is often the most powerful thing we can do.

There are a number of strategies implemented worldwide to reduce the mental health crisis in schools. From reducing classroom stress by taking off the pressure of deadlines, to working with the children’s parents, there are simple ways to ensure that your students feel less stressed. Tools such as the PAX Good Behaviour Game (it uses an array of strategies to assist students in learning and discovering self-management skills, whilst you implement a productive yet relaxed environment for them to learn in) or the Raising Healthy Children Program (that aims to create positive youth development by reducing the chance of them taking drugs, delinquency and failing in school) can be utilised.

Early prevention is extremely valuable when it comes to mental health. And health education has become a primary concern of many schools. Detecting the signs of mental illness in children can initially seem difficult, but ensuring that it is tackled before it’s too late is undeniably important. Children spend so much of their lives at school, therefore they need to know that the staff care about them.

Another way of engaging students is by offering more creative subjects or activities throughout your lessons. Making a subject interesting not only helps with the thought process and productivity but can prove to be helpful when it comes to exam time. Memory games, quizzes and other fun activities will make the information stick and lessen the pressure they feel to memorise it. These types of activities will also help with social interaction, getting everyone involved and making the learning environment a more enjoyable place for them.

Setting up clubs and societies is also a great way of helping the students thrive emotionally. Giving them much-needed space and enriching their time at school, they can focus on what they are passionate about whilst still completing their education.  

The mental health crisis in schools will inevitably continue to rise if we don’t help to reduce it. It is easy enough to not think about how the children are feeling in school and to think that mental health issues are only faced by adults. But in the present day due to a number of factors such as social media and the pressure put on them (whether it be because of deadlines, friendship and relationships including with parents), many children are falling into depression, having suicidal thoughts and developing mental health issues. For teachers and school staff, are often called to perform many roles including “counsellor or coach, parent, teacher etc,. No-one expects them to be fully-trained in mental health or to know all of the answers. However, if there is only one step they can take to help to improve the crisis when in the learning environment (e.g. talking to the students, implementing advisory programs or introducing creative activities in class), it is one worth taking for the sake of the children who are suffering.

Setting Boundaries An Assessment Model

In the wellbeing module of the Accidental Counsellor Training, we talked about several things like positive psychology, about being positive in the present, well-being factors, and positive habits on how to rewire your brain. What I actually want to talk about is setting boundaries.

I have a four part framework for you. The first thing that we need to do is we need to make an assessment of where the person’s at. We’re not doing a clinical therapy assessment, but we do need to assess – What’s going on? How do we refer? Is this something that I deal with myself or is it something that I can work with also?

wellbeing_model

Lets just pretend someone you’re dealing with is someone who is highly stressed or anxious. When they come in, he or she might say, “You know I’m really stressed and I’m really anxious.” Your response would be, “Okay help me understand. You’re stressed and anxious but ONE of a scale of ONE to TEN is, “it’s not bothering you as much?”, “You’re coping, okay.” TEN, is stressed and anxious, and you’re not okay. “It’s really really hard, you’re not coping at all. Help me understand better give me a number of where you are at.” If they give you a high number 7, 8, 9,10, that tells you immediately that this is really a difficult situation for them. You want to ask how long this has been going on for?

That’s a very important distinction to make because when we find out how intense the problem is, and we start working with the person and supporting them, we need to see that there’s improvement.

one_-_ten

If there’s an 8 on that scale, we need to see quickly within the next week  or two  that they are going from 8 to a 6, they are actually going backwards. That there is a reduction  an improvement. They’re coping better. This is what I like doing, I like asking questions about the intensity. “How difficult is it for you?” Then I want to say to them, “When this stress and this anxiety comes about, how long does that last, the duration?”, “Does it last for ten minutes, for an hour, for half a day?”, “How frequent does it occur?”, “Does it happen daily?”, “Does it happen once a month?”.

These are really good indicators about the severity of the problem. It gives you some good information about whether you should be referring immediately or it might be something that you’re comfortable dealing with.

Transformation Through Connecting To Pain and Suffering

Let’s talk about the Connection theme of the Accidental Counsellor Training.

From weak connection to transformation through connecting to someone’s pain and suffering. What do I mean by this? Well, I believe that transformation does occur through a connection. Much more than fancy, smart questioning techniques. They’re important but I think as we talked about earlier people aren’t going to hold on to the fancy questioning techniques if they feel there is no connection.

connecting_with_pain_&_suffering
Not many of us can admit that we have weak connection but the proofs in the eating as they say or in this case the results, I usually see one of two things. One, you don’t spend time on the person’s pain and upset because you may believe that you need to be positive to get them to be positive.The opposite is more the truth because if the person doesn’t believe you understand or you’re trying to understand where they are coming from, well then they don’t trust that you can be the person that can help.

fear_doubt

The other thing that I see is that connecting to people’s pain and suffering takes its toll on you. As a result, you protect yourself from feeling drained and burned out. You’re racing to fix the problem, or to offer a solution to the problem because then they’re not in pain and that means you don’t have to experience their pain. When that happens we’re ignoring the person’s pain and suffering and this really doesn’t help them.

unresponsive
What happens then, from my experience is they become unresponsive and disengaged. Also, there’s this fear and doubt that you can actually understand their pain. There is resistance to your advice, suggestions, and solutions. There’s disconnection despite your efforts to help.

match,_mirror_&_pace
What we need to do is to match, mirror and pace them. This establishes rapport and responsiveness. We need to match, mirror and pace their verbal and their nonverbal communication. We need to give back to them what they’re giving us. By doing so, they feel heard and understood. This actually creates high trust. The person feels safe and they will actually take steps to make positive changes because transformation actually happens in that connection.

Influence – Getting Solutions Not Giving Solutions

Move from giving solutions to receiving solutions.

As an Accidental Counsellor have you ever wondered why people don’t follow good advice?
It’s remarkable don’t you think?
The more you give someone a solution or suggestion the more they don’t do it.
It’s not you. It’s the strategy you’re using.
There’s lots of research about this. When it comes to “solutions” I prefer talking about the next best step.

counter_productive_help

You want to help the client identify the next best steps. When you  give them the answer rather than ask for a possible next best step, you create an unhealthy dependency on the person providing the answer or solution rather than empowering the person to identify the next best possible action for themselves. Not only that, the client will tend to pushback and resist your advice and suggestions. You also get into this “yes but game” and then they are full of excuses.

effective_help

In order to effectively help, we need to identify the next best step. Effective help is by empowering the client to discover the next best step making them more engaged in creating the change. Then they will be engaged and open to exploring new ideas and new approaches. Instead of the yes but and then the excuse, we get yes and maybe this or that or you get an idea or a possibility from them. When you start doing this you become more clear and more confident as an Accidental Counsellor. You start to connect with and influence the people in your care.

Setting Boundaries Framework

I’ve come to see that there are 4 parts to setting boundaries.

The first thing we need to do is assessment. Make a quick assessment of where they at.

Second, is we need to create a team. Who are the individuals we need to get around the client so they get the best help? And this is one of the biggest learnings I’ve learned in my 20 years as a counsellor.

My good friend, a mentor, Dr. David Lake said to me, “Rocky where’s the army?”

He said to me, “Do you think you can help this child yourself?” and I said “Well you know who else is there? I’m the only counsellor here.” He said to me, “No, that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is where’s the pediatrician? What about the GP and and the like. He said, this is not going to be solved just with you as a counsellor. If the problem is ongoing, what about if it increases in frequency and in duration? These are clear warning signs that we need to get other people around the client so they have the best help.

image
The other problem I see is that sometimes you refer a student and think that it’s all done. That there is nothing else required. However, I still think you have a role to play and that’s the third thing to consider.

You still have a support role and that’s what an accidental counsellor is. They’re seeing an outside psychologist or whatever help they are getting, you could still catch up with them and support them. The mistake is when you become the primary mental health carer to the person in need. Big problems may occur if there is no improvement.  This is why we need the team.

Lastly, it is important to have a contract or a framework on how to work. If you are catching up with the person, consider how long does the meeting go for? Where do you meet? What is it that you discuss? What are off limits? You need to be able to have a framework, a boundary, so that we can operate carefully and productively within our role within a team after making an assessment on whether this is something you should continue. The key question is – are they improving or are they not?

Hints Toward Possible Solutions

Let’s talk about Solution Focused Language Patterns in the Accidental Counsellor Training. There are four of them in the full online Accidental Counsellor Course. In this video  I want to cover the Exception Question- one of the four language patterns. One of my favourites by the way.

Here’s what we do with the Exception Question. The first thing we do is we frame the problem. Then, we identify “Exceptions” to the problem. When is a problem not actually happening or happening less? Remember when we talked about intensity, frequency and duration. So, when is that less intense? When is that less frequent? When does it happen when it doesn’t happened as long?

frame_the_problem(1)

Then we want to find out and explore the difference. What’s actually going on then? This is the typical thing you guys would all notice. What is it? When does it occur? Where does it happen? How does it happen?

People think that getting a lot of detail from the client about the problem helps you find a solution, however I find getting stuck in the detail of the problem unhelpful. More important is to identify the pattern/s of the problem and looking for exceptions to those patterns.

What we want to do is help the client paint a picture of a solution or next best step. To illustrate, if they tell us, “This is the problem. This is when it happens”. Then you’ll ask, when does it not happen? When does it occur less often? When is the less intense or less frequent?

 

how_to_empower_people

What was different about that time when it was less intense or when it didn’t happen? Where were you when this happened?

First identify the pattern of the problem. Then you identify exceptions to those patters. When does it not occur? When does it occur less often, less intense, less frequent? Then thirdly, you want to explore those differences. What was different about the time when it was less intense or when it didn’t happen? Where were you when this happened? Were you by yourself or were there people around? What’s different about when it was not there or not as intense? What else is better about those times?

influence_positive_change

It is also important to do scaling of questions or concerns. Some people would approach you say “I’m really upset about something.” Ask them if they can rate their feeling or concern from 0 to 10. I’ll ask them “Then, where are you?” And they say, “I’m on an 8” or  “I’m a 9”.

And I say, “Okay. Alright, well that’s really high. I can see that this really upsetting you.”

Then I say to them, “Okay, let me ask you this. You’re at a 9, are there times when it’s been an 8 or a 7?” Asking scaling questions enables you to identify exceptions.

The Exception Quesiton is one of 4 Solution Focused Questions we cover in the Online Accidental Counsellor Training

7 Accidental Counsellor Tips Connect and Influence Without Burning Out

An Accidental Counsellor Can Be Any School Staff Not Trained As Counsellors But Often Find Themselves in Counselling Situations By Accident.

The problem I see in schools is the usual approach of helping people is not working well, takes a long time and the problem issue continues without improvement. The reason this is happening is because you are time poor and may rush to give advice and come up with the solution or remedy to alleviate the problem the student is presenting to you. When you rush to tell people what to do, their motivation for doing it lessens. Not only that, you are implying that the person you are helping is not capable of coping or finding an answer for themselves. Below I outline 7 tips and principles that help you connect and influence the person you are supporting without burning out.

 

7 Accidental Counsellor Tips

Connect and Influence Without Burning Out

1

 

  1. It’s all about you.

It's All About YOU!

This is all about you. What state are you in? Your mental and emotional state will influence your approach. You can get triggered easily by some of the things you hear at school. You need to focus on your own wellbeing and be aware if you are stressed or anxious. With awareness you can adjust your state. Otherwise you react unconsciously to the triggers around you and this seeps into your responses.

 

  1. It’s all about them.

It's All About Them

Listen to the person, match, mirror and pace their language, thinking and nonverbal communication. You can’t hope to influence a person if they think, “you don’t get me”. Enter their world, communicate and reflect back to them what you are hearing and seeing. You want to “get the yes” – that is when you respond to what they say, the person speaking says “YES! That’s right”! They feel not only understood but also calm and safe. With this trust established they are more open to be influenced the solution focused language and questions you have for them.

 

        3. Influence.

Influence

Avoiding pain is the number one driver of human behaviour. Followed by gaining pleasure. To influence a person you need to focus on pain. Specifically, what it’s like for them when their behaviour or circumstance occurs. This is about the person telling you rather than you telling the person. Ask, “What’s it like for you when (INSERT PROBLEM) happens?” “Is this something you are sick and tired of?” “Is it something you want to change?” Of course it goes without saying that the focus also needs to be on what THEY can do rather than what OTHER people need to do.

 

  1. Get their why.

Get their why

This is critical. Finding personal reasons for change increases motivation for the change. It’s their reason why that has them “own” the change. The usual approach of telling a student the reasons they need to make a change lowers motivation for the change. You need them to convince you.

“So why do you think this important?” “Why would you want to make this better?”

This is the biggest issue I see in “accidental counsellor conversations” in schools. The staff member outlines all the reasons the student needs to change and the student is a passive bystander not owning or being involved in the change required of them.

 

  1. Paint the picture.

Paint the picture

“Constructing a vision of a solution acts as a catalyst for bringing it about.” This “Solutions Focused” approach is an evidenced based technique that helps you influence the person to achieve what they say they want to achieve. When the person tells you they are:

 

  1. Sick and tired of the same thing (PAIN) and
  2. Tell you WHY they want it to change you help them by getting them to
  3. Paint a picture of the change.

 

Ask the person, “How would you like things to be?” Here you need to ensure that the picture is:

  • Within their control
  • Has specific and concrete behaviours (actions)
  • Is in the “presence of something rather than the absence of something”. For example rather than I won’t be stressed and anxious (won’t be is the absence) I will be more relaxed and having fun (is the presence of something) etc.

 

  1. Focus on one thing

Focus on one thing

When the person paints a picture of how they would like things to be there may be several aspects to it. It’s important that you help them focus on ONE THING.

Say something like, “Wow you have told me several things about how you would like things to be for you.” Then reflect back to them what they have told you and ask them if you have understood correctly. When they say yes, ask them, “So which one of these things you have just told me about do you want to start with”?

 

  1. Follow up

Follow up

When the person tells you where they want to start, congratulate them and ask them WHEN they may start. Then let them know that you will follow up with them to see how they went. This acts as a further support and provides some accountability for them.

Solutions Focused Formula Overview

The Solutions Focused Formula is a 4 question process that helps move people from feeling stuck to creating solutions. In this video I put together the questioning techniques from the previous videos in the series.

The key here is to help the person create a goal, follow the steps below and hit those goals:

Step 1: Determining the Goal or Purpose of the Interview or Conversation

The key here is to help the person create a goal.  This little point in talking about an outcome or solution if we don’t know what that is for.

In the video I use the case study of Jennifer student who approached me when I presented at school as a guest speaker. She told me that she was having problems with the parents.  I then asked, “what problems”? And that is really not the best question although it sounds an obvious or logical question to ask.

The difficulty with asking what problem is that it focuses the person’s attention on the problem and not only that in this case had Jennifer found it very difficult to talk about. What’s much better is the question I asked second and that was, “how would you like things to be with your parents”? That allowed Jennifer to focus on the desired outcome and that is step one.

You can find out more about this first step here.

Step 2: Assess desire or motivation

While it might seem obvious in this case I still asked this question, “why is this important you”?

It’s really useful to take a moment to connect the person’s desire and motivation with the goal they’ve just outlined When you do this you can use a scaling question . For example,  is Zero is not much at all and 10 is a lot how motivated how much do you want this to happen.

Find out more about motivation questions here.

Solutions Focused Formula

Step 3: Exception Questions

In the third step we want to help client access still own strengths and resources.  The way we can do that is by linking the goal with the previous success.

So we we could ask, have you been times when you’ve been able to communicate and connect better with your parents? Tell me about those times, what was different about this time is? Exception questions give hints towards possible next best steps.

Find out more about exception questions here.

Step 4: Miracle Questions

The miracle question helps the client construct a vision of the solution and this acts is a catalyst for bringing it about.

Find out more about the miracle question here.

Don’t forget to leave your name and email and I’ll send you some more information about the four different options for you or your school workplace to access the Accidental Counsellor Training.

Solutions Focused Formula – Exception Questions

Unlock your potential, unleash your strength and hit those goals!

Exception Questions

In this segment, we look at exception questions for the goal that the client has set in the previous question in this Solution Focused Formula. The goal is set, the motivation for the goal has been assessed and the desire to achieve the goal has been established. Now we look at accessing their strengths to achieve their goal.

What we’re looking at here is the WHERE and HOW is this goal already happening?

This is an important step because:

  1. It helps identify for the client that they have some existing strengths and resources they can access to help them achieve their goal.
  2. It also helps identify possible solutions or as I like to say “best next step”?

So what is an exception question?

An exception question has the client focus their strengths and past “wins”. The focus on this area rather than the problems that could arise when reaching for the goal. It gives more attention to the strength of the client rather that the problem itself. Problems are like waves that crash to the shore and retreat to the ocean, very few problems are present all the time. In fact most problems aren’t happening at all or is happening to a lesser degree.

Exception Questions

Helping the client notice these scenarios can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by the problem or challenge and can help identify things that they or others are already doing to help solve the problem or challenge.

Here are examples of questions that you could ask that could elicit exceptions to the problem.

If the client is finding it hard to establish a goal and is focused on the problem you can interrupt the negative focus by asking an exceptional question like this:

Tell me about the times when the problem is less troubling or when it’s not happening at all?

  1. Tell me about the times when you’re coping a little better with the problem?
  2. What’s different about the times when better?
  3. When things are better how do you cope?
  4. Tell me what’s worked in the past even if it’s only for a short time?

Remember to ask the detail, “what else? Tell me more,” so that they can begin to construct a detailed picture of when the problem or challenge not as intense or overwhelming.

So, in the next video we will tackle The Miracle Question.

Don’t forget to leave your name and email and I’ll send you some more information about the four different options for you or your school workplace to access the Accidental Counsellor Training.

Solutions Focused Formula – Miracle Question

Ignore those habits that’s not worth worrying and focus on the things that matter through the use of the Miracle Question.

Rocky Biasi here with video 5 of my new FREE Solutions Focused Formula Online Training.

In this video we look at the Miracle Question. In the previous video we looked at Exception Questions. You might recall this formula includes 4 questions that help people move from being stuck to discovering their own solutions and making their next best step.

So after the client identifies a goal. We help the assess their motivation and desire to achieve their goal, then we look at their strengths. And in this video about the Miracle Question we help them construct a vision of a solution for their best next step.

Helping the client construct a vision of a solution or next best step is critically important because it acts as a catalyst in bringing it about. The reason this works is because it opens the Reticular Activating System in the brain. The in the brain or RAS or as it’s otherwise known by its nickname the “gatekeeper” is what allows us to focus and pay attention to something or to ignore or not notice it.

Miracle Questions

Let’s use the example of Jennifer, you might recall that she wanted to connect and communicate better with her parents.

You can then ask the (MQ): So Jennifer, I want to ask you a different / strange type of question… You’ll need to use your imagination… Imagine that tonight after you do some homework, have dinner and do what you do…you go to bed and during the night there is this miracle…The miracle is that you and your parents are connecting and communicating better.

Now you wake in the morning and have no idea what’s happened because you were asleep… What would be something different – within you…that would tell you that the miracle has taken place. Feel better, talking and smiling at breakfast…What about if you need to talk about something that usually scared you or made you withdraw… With this miracle how would you do things differently….Jennifer paused and said, “maybe I’ll write it down first”…

The MQ is a wonderful way, especially when the person is feeling stuck, to change “channels” and dream and use imagination to look for small steps within the clients control that can help toward their goal.

In the next video I’ll put all of the 4 questions in this Solutions Focused Formula together and show you how they can work with each other.

Solutions Focused Formula – Assessing Desire For Change

In this video blog post we look at question 2 of this 4 question process – assessing motivation and desire to change.

Assessing Desire For Change

In this segment, we look at assessing motivation for the goal the client has set in the previous question in this Solution Focused Formula.  After we establish the goal, now, we look for WHY the goal is important to them.

Not being able to help the client identify this “why” can make you easily miss an important detail – does the client really want to achieve this goal? They may have doubts that they can’t do it or maybe are not that motivated to achieve it for some reason.

Desire for Change web

When you take a little time, even if it may seem obvious, to help connect the client to their goal, it allows the client to access their inner motivation and reasons for making it happen.

This is really important because the research says that finding reasons, including personal reasons, to make the changes we are seeking increases our ability to take action on those goals.

To do this you can ask these questions, and then find a scale:

How much would you like this to change?
What would happen if nothing changes?
Why is achieving this goal important to you?

Take note: The SCALE is important.  A scale that is equal to 0 indicate a low motivation, while a 10 scale indicates absolute motivation.

Here is an example:

If a student says, “I’ll focus more in class”, rather than saying “That’s a great idea…”
It would be much better to ask “Why is that important to you?”
Or you could ask “How ready are you to focus in class?”

And scale that is 0 is not ready at all and 10 means that you’re 100 percent ready.

You see all of these types of questions POINT TO ONE THING – THEIR WHY, THEIR REASON FOR ACTION and this helps them align to their inner motivation and desire and that helps them take ACTION.

In the next video we look at the Exception Questions.

Solutions Focused Formula – Setting Goals

It’s always good to identify the goal of a certain conversation. Sometimes, it’s hard to determine as to what is the goal is for a specific discussion, especially if you find that you have very limited time in determining it. In this segment, we make a structured approach to help “frame” the purpose of the interview or the conversation.

Why should there be a goal?

  1. If you don’t take the time to establish a goal or an outcome, then the conversation or interview wanders with no direction.
  2. Taking the time to establish the purpose and goal of the interview does not only help focus you, but also the client in the same direction.
  3. Taking the time to establish the purpose and goal for the interview allows the client to construct a vision or idea of a possible solution or next best step.

This is the central point of the Solution Focused Approach – getting the client to be clear about what they want and where they want to go.

Setting Goals

Here is a quick example…

This is the story of Jennifer who approached me after a student session she found it difficult to say what was going on but told me that she wanted to communicate better with the parents.

Rather than asking her “What’s the problem”, I asked:

“How would you like your communication to be with your parents”?

This actually allowed her to open up and talk about what she wanted to achieve.

She didn’t have to speak about the problem and it allowed her to contemplate and reflect on how she would like things to be.

From there we could speak about:

Well, if this is what you want… “What do you think can help make this happen”?

This allows her to think about the solution or the next step to solving her problem.  You see, it lets the person think about how to move forward rather than making the person keep talking about the problem, which makes them feel stuck.

To find out which questions would help you set the goal for a person, you can download the template I’ve created by clicking the button below.

Solution Focused Formula Interview Process

Oftentimes, while working with people, the most common issue I hear from them is that they seem to be ‘stuck’, and feel as if they’re not moving forward from the current state they are in.  Because of this, I came up with the Solutions Focused Formula to help people move on from the feeling of being stuck.

The solutions focused formula online training will include four questions that help people move from being stuck to discovering their own strengths and solutions.  My goal in developing this formula is to help accidental counsellors such as yourself to feel more sure and certain about how to help a person in need.  The Solutions Focused Formula provides a certain structure when doing your accidental counselling.

My Accidental Counsellor Training is a solutions focused approach.

Solutions Focused Counselling describes a particular counselling model. This model has a clear focus on the client strengths. It’s a goal – oriented approach with focus on the present and future more so than the past and analysing problems.

solutions-focused approach

The diagram begins with YOU as the solution! Yes that can sound provocative but it has been inspired by my good friend and mentor Dr David Lake who told me that, “I am the medicine”!

You see as an Accidental Counsellor YOU need to be well. This is where the focus on wellbeing for you as an Accidental Counsellor is critical because it allows you to connect to people and to the pain they are expressing to you.

It is then, when you are well and are able to connect to the person’s pain that you can influence them.

This series will look at influence and how we can use FOUR questions that help people to move from being stuck to discovering your own strengths and solutions.

Here is an overview of the 4 questions:

 

  • Goal Setting – establishing the purpose of the conversation
  • Assessing motivation and desire to achieve the goal
  • Looking for exceptions and strengths
  • The Miracle Question.

Follow through the series to understand how the whole Solutions Focused Formula is used to identify and lead a person to the path that can get them from being stuck, to unstuck.

Click here to see the next video on helping the client achieve set their goal for change

Also, to find out how you or your team and staff can access and participate in the Accidental Counsellor Training click here.

How to get out of a rut

There are those times when you find yourself being stuck. You get that overwhelming feeling of being in a “rut”.  It’s never impossible to get out of a rut.  You just need to do something about the situation so you can break free from it.  The best solution that I can give for this is to create lifestyle factors in your life that could help you for when you feel stuck.

Techniques to help you get out of a rut

1. Learn techniques and strategies to help you relax and calm down.

These techniques will help you clear your mind from stresses and worries for when you’re stuck.  Stress actually clouds your mind and your judgment.  This is the reason why you seem to can’t figure out your next step when you’re in that ‘stuck in a rut’ feeling.  Learning ways to help you relax and feel calm will help you clear your mind, so you can focus on figuring out the next best step on how to get out of a rut.

2. Create lifestyle factors in your life.

Creating lifestyle factors in your life is all about creating powerful habits that will affect the way you perceive each day.  You need to be able to program well-being and apply wellness habits in your own life.  Applying this with emotion management strategies will help you be able to roll with the punches, and make you feel relaxed and calm.  These wellness habits and emotion management strategies is a powerful combination that helps people transform their lives from being stuck, into moving and being in flow.

There are a lot of ways to create these good lifestyle factors.  The best thing, especially when you’re in a difficult time period, is to be able to create a powerful morning ritual.  The way you start the day has a massive flowing  effect to the rest of your day.  Starting your day well and positively, is critically important to live well.  Below are two things that you can apply in your morning ritual.

Exercise – There are more benefits of exercise than you think.  Exercise doesn’t only affect your physical well-being; it also helps you with your mental well-being.  It doesn’t even need to be a heavy work out.  Brisk walking can already be enough.  You can have a more pleasant disposition once you’ve given yourself some exercise.  You’ll be able to feel healthy, physically and mentally.

Gratitude Practice – Remember the things that you want to be thankful for on this day.  There are a lot of ways to do gratitude practice.  This period is just a moment of silence where you can do your affirmations and visualizations for the day.  There are many ways to do this.  Usually, people do prayer, meditation and journaling.  Pick the best way for you, and just use it to help you move forward.  This allows for more positive outlook in hard times.

Do This, Don’t Do That – Accidental Counsellor Training

Counselling is a really big responsibility, which is why a lot of worries come from being a counsellor.  Usually, I hear a lot of counsellors voicing out their worries about their method in providing help to other people.  There are these usual ‘doubts’ in the way they handle their clients.  I’ve heard these from people who have attended my Accidental Counsellor Training.  For example:

“Am I really helping them, or am I hurting them?”
“Am I really providing good intervention?”

do_this_dont_do_that_link

I want to really tell you something right now: Be Confident!  I also want you to be much clearer about the principles to focus on and have a sort of framework about what to avoid and what to do.   I needed to come up with a simple ‘do this, don’t do that’.  This is why I’ve designed a template that contains some counselling guidelines you can follow.

Accidental Counselling: 3 Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t: Give Advice
Do: Empower them by creating a space so that they can explore possibilities. Acknowledge, affirm and validate their experience.

What happens when advice is given to a client?  The person will now feel a lot less motivated to act upon this advice.  Researchers say that telling people what to do lowers their motivation for doing it.  What we want to do now, is to connect with them first and create a space so that the client actually comes up with their own ideas and the next best step.  This of course, then, empowers the person and feels like they can they actually get out of their issues and they can cope and manage the problems the face in their life.  You want to empower them and not form a dependency with you as a counsellor or a guru.  When they can discover the answer or the next best step, they own it much more.  The likelihood of them taking action is much much higher.

Don’t: Be in your head
Do: Be in their head!  Create a “space”.  Listen to verbal & non-verbal communication.

Being in your head forces you to think about solutions.  It makes you analyze their situation so you can understand and figure out how you can help them.  Though this might be the case, we’re not actually present and really listening to what’s going with the other person.  You become too preoccupied with what you’re thinking about, rather than simply creating a neutral space.  The purpose is to have this space where you can have no agenda whatsoever in solving these issues.  The only agenda you’re supposed to have is to deeply understand the experience that’s being communicated to you verbally and non-verbally by the client.  This makes you understand these issues better.  Once the client feels like you have understood these issues the same way he or she feels [or maybe understand these issues better than them], the person will be able to allow you to guide them to move on to the next step.

Don’t: Analyze/Focus on the Past
Do: Help the client construct a vision of solution “next step”.

As much as you want to acknowledge that you have understood the problem, the danger with analyzing the past is that it takes your clients to remembering the events and then lingering there, as opposed to moving forward and finding a solution to this problem.  You should be able to help them construct a vision of what the next best step could be for them.  A very simple question you can ask to help you do that would be: “How would you like things to be?”.  This will help the client focus more and elaborate on what is the desired outcome rather than what they don’t want.

If you want to get the template that was presented in this post, just fill out the form below.  You will receive the content in your email.  You will also be included in our list so I can send you news and keep you updated with more resources.

Overwhelm to Clarity: How to Focus on One Thing

Most of the time, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all sorts of different things you need to do.  You can think of so many things that you need to accomplish that you feel like you’re drowning in all of them.  The initial response to this scenario is try to finish tons of things in a short period of time.  This may result to having haphazard work.  If you find yourself in this situation, check out these three tips to find the path from overwhelm to clarity.

3 tips for finding focus and clarity

1. Get up from your chair, and walk.

Give yourself a few minutes away from your desk and try walking around.  Walking around exercises not only your body, but also your mind.  While walking, start thinking about the things that you need to do.  Don’t get too overwhelmed with your thoughts.  There is a purpose.  Just calmly think about the things you need to get done.  Once you feel like you’ve thought about them, you can follow through with the next step.

2. Try writing instead of typing.

Once you’ve sorted out all the things you need to get done in your head, it’s time to take out your pen and your paper.  Don’t sit back down just yet.  It helps to write all these things standing up.  Start listing down the things you need to get done.  Just do a brain dump on that paper.  The good thing about brain dumping is that it frees up your bandwidth.  Your mind will be freed from all those cluttered thoughts, and you can actually focus on the things that you have to get done.

3. Follow a template.

When writing, it also helps to try and organise those writing by using a template.  This helps with the whole ‘overwhelm’ thing.  Having a cluttered list will only overwhelm you even more.  You need to put some structure for those thoughts.  For this article, I will be explaining the parts of the template and what you’ll be writing under those headings.

Area/Category
This part identifies the general category or subjects of your tasks. Think of them as the headings for when you classify your tasks.

[What] tasks:
This part identifies all the tasks that fit under a category. For example, tasks under a category ‘History’ would be the things that you need to get done that are related to the subject ‘History’. This helps you give your thoughts a little bit more organisation.

One thing now:
This part takes away the overwhelm, ultimately. Identify the task that you have the highest priority or urgency. This area of the template requires you to choose one thing to focus on in one category. This means that per category, you should only have one thing to prioritise.

Who: Who is the doer of the task?
Sometimes, there are tasks wherein you get support or help from another person. Identify the doer of the task in this area.

When: When is this gonna happen?
Of course, you need to tell yourself when you need to start working on that specific task. This helps because it makes you have your own concrete schedule for that specific task.

Prioritising and focusing on things actually help you on the long run.  It helps you create a process when you work, and it boosts up the quality of the output, since you tend to avoid doing things on a rush.  Keeping your written template will also help you remember the things you need to do.

The Tapping Technique

Rocky Biasi here with an Accidental Counsellor update where I demonstrate The Tapping Technique.

I’m with my daughter Kaiyen, after a 3-week long road trip where I presented the Accidental counsellor Training in Albury, Canberra, Brisbane and Coffs Harbour. During those workshops I demonstrated the power of use the Tapping Technique for stress and anxiety.

But something happened when we were in Brisbane.

Kaiyen and I went to movie world, and we were lining for the Scooby Ride. We’ve been there several times before but this time was different. When Kaiyen was lining up, she had all these scary anxious thoughts. The interesting thing here is that Kaiyen had been on this ride several times. She even knew what the next manoeuvre would be. Trying to calm her down by using rational or logical thinking like, “you have done this before”, or “we don’t need to go on this ride”, did little to calm her.

tapping points

I started tapping acupressure points on her face and hands. In the beginning she didn’t really feel anything. I did it for a while and she calmed down. Would you believe that when the ride was over, Kaiyen asked me, ‘Dad, can we do it again?’ That’s how much tapping helped.

If you’ve done the training you might recall that the tapping is a great body technique to help people relax and calm down some of that nervous energy.

Kaiyen actually described it in a way I’d never heard her say before – ‘…a shiver went through my body’. The other cool thing is that it didn’t do much when I started the tapping. Sometimes people do notice a big change straight away with the tapping on their pressure points. Oftentimes it actually takes a bit longer.

Click HERE to access 4 videos that show you how to use the Tapping Technique to reduce stress and anxiety.

Accidental Counsellor Skills in Action

A short transcript using some of the skills from the Accidental Counsellor Training (ACT)

Introduction (Part One)

Amy (not real name) is a 19-year-old female who came to counselling at the urging of a friend (who came with her!). The italics indicate the skills from the ACT

R) Hi Amy, I know your not that keen to be here (all laugh) how do you hope this session can be of use to you? (Greeting & goal setting)

A) I don’t know how it would help…I guess I’d be feeling better.

R) If I could wave a magic wand and you were feeling better? What would be different? (Miracle question)

A) I’d have my confidence back. I would feel better about myself.

R) You’d have your confidence back. (Reflective listening) When did you have confidence? (Exception)

A) Up until I was in Year 9 I was confident and happy.

accidental-counsellor-skills-in-action-image

R) You were confident then it went? (Reflective listening)

A) Yeah

R) Where did it go? (Meta question)

A) Comments from my family got to me about being overweight.

R) So on a scale zero being no confidence at all and 10 being full of it! (Laughs) How confident are you now? (Scaling Question)

A) Oh about a 5 or 6

R) Ok so you haven’t lost it all together. How’s that? (Exception)

A) Well, I’ve lost about 30 kilos in the last year.

R) Wow! That’s a massive accomplishment. Congratulations. (Affirming strengths)

A) Thanks

R) What would have to happen for that confidence to get to a 7 or 8? (Strengths question. Creating vision of how things would be…)

A) I would need to lose another 6 kilos

R) So when you lose another 6 kilos you will feel more confident, happy and better about yourself? (reflecting back the goal statement)

A) yes

R) How did you feel good enough about yourself, confident enough to even start losing 30 kilos? (Exception – searching for what she says she wants in her personal history)

A) I didn’t!

R) Really? How could you achieve that feeling bad about yourself and having no confidence? (Matching, reflecting back the implicit communication)

A) Well it wasn’t that bad!

R) What wasn’t that bad? (meta questioning)

A) I guess it got to a point where I had enough and deep down knew I could do it.

R) Ok… so are you telling me that when things are tough you know deep down that you can get through things and achieve big goals? (Matching, reflecting back the implicit communication)

A) Yes, that’s true. I’ve done it a few times.

R) Wow! Tell me about that. How do you do that? (Building on strengths)

A) I guess, sometimes I lose track …and need a reminder (note: did you notice that via the questions she reminded herself!) about how strong I am.

R) Ok that’s great – so you have remembered how strong you are?

A) Yeah

R) Hey…I’m curious – is it just remembering? How do you actually get through tough times and achieve great goals? (Note: I’m persisting in helping her be aware of how she accesses her own resources)

A) I get really determined, and I have to prove it to myself and others. I guess now that I think about it I get angry rather than sad or miserable. No that’s not true, I do get sad, but I get over it – snap out of it I guess and then set my mind to it and it’s almost like I get obsessed by it.

R) Nice! That is what anyone who is very good at something does – get obsessed about how to get better. (Matching, reflective listening, affirming and reframing)

I hope this is of some assistance and reminds you of some of the things we did in the Accidental Counsellor Training.

P.S. the rest of the interview was in this vain – I continued to have her focus on when and how she was able to feel better about herself and more confident and strong.

Finding Exceptions to the Problem

You need many years of practice and the qualification to become an accomplished Counsellor. However, I believe that anyone, regardless of qualifications and training, can become a more effective helper and Accidental Counsellor by learning to apply the basic techniques of Counselling. That’s really what the Accidental Counsellor Training is all about.

The Key part of the Accidental Counsellor Training

The key part of the Accidental Counsellor Training is Solution-focused counselling.

For those of you who have attended the training, you may recall that Solution-focused questions are designed to help people explore their strengths and resources rather than concentrate on their problems or deficits. The questions can help the client identify what their goals or preferred future will look like when they’ve overcome those problems or challenges. It can help the client notice things in their lives that are going well, that they’re doing well or perhaps parts of their goals are already happening.

Finding Exceptions to the Problem

The Key part of Solution-focused counselling

One of the key parts of Solution-focused counselling is helping the client identify exceptions to the problem. You see, very few problems are present all the time. In fact, most problems are only happening occasionally. There are usually a lot of times when the problem is not happening at all or is happening to a lesser degree.

Helping the client notice these times can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by the problem or challenge and can help identify things that they or others are already doing to help solve the problem or challenge. Here are some examples of some questions that you could ask that could elicit exceptions to the problem.

Question 1: Tell me about times when the problem is less troubling or when it’s not happening at all.

 

Question 2: Tell me about the times when you’re coping a little bit better about the problem. Or, what’s different about the times when the problem’s better?

When things are tough, how do you cope?

Tell me what’s worked in the past, even if it’s only for a short time.

Remember to ask for detail, “What else? Tell me more,” so that they can begin to construct a detailed picture of when the problem or challenge is not as intense or overwhelming.

My name’s Rocky Biasi, this is the Accidental Counsellor training. You can find more at accidentalcounsellor.com and I hope that this has been a great refresher for those of you who’ve attended the training. Bye for now.

Autism – “I can”… A Story of Love and Transformation For Parents, Teachers and anyone “On the Spectrum”

After 20 years in personal development and counselling as a client and practitioner, this video represents a deep truth – we are not the labels we give ourselves, we are not the labels other people give us.

I urge teachers, parents and all people who have given themselves a label or been a victim of a label to watch this powerful video by Chris Varney.

As I watched and listened I could Identify all the things I know and teach about human transformation over 2 decades in the Accidental Counsellor Training.

You cannot perform consistently in a manner which is inconsistent with how you see yourself.

Zig Ziglar

The strongest need in the human personality is to remain consistent with how we have defined ourselves.

Robert Cialdini
Negative Belief - Positive Behaviour Process
Negative Belief – Positive Behaviour Process

What Cialdini and Ziglar are speaking about are “Identity Beliefs”. This diagram explains how our Identity Beliefs influence our perception and thinking.

It goes without saying that negative and stressful negative thoughts influence our emotions and behaviour. Often when we “act out” our thinking and emotional state this reinforces the “Identity Belief”.

When we change or help others change how they see themselves everything changes! How did Chris change his identity beliefs?

The true transformation Chris speaks about is LOVE. The love of the people in our family and our environment.

There is a popular phrase that was first spoken by Jim Rohn,

“We become the average of the 5 people we spend most of our time with”.

What struck me the most in this powerful story of LOVE and CONNECTION is the number of times Chris speaks of people who entered his life to support him and see him for who he really is rather than the label of Autistic. Be honest – when you think Autistic, what do you think of first? It would be OK if society recognised people on the spectrum as humans with unique, and extraordinary gifts that this world needs.

From the stories Chris’ mother read to him and the person she was to his grandfather who taught him motor skills in his wheelchair, to the teachers and friends who connected with him, but loved him because they could see him for who he really is NOT the LABEL that was given to him. All this combined to help Chris believe “He could”, rather than “He couldn’t”.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Please share this with everyone you know!

Click here to find out how to manage anxiety and help an awesome school that helps children and families with Autism.

Counselling – Active Listening Skills

As an Accidental Counsellor, are you often wondering whether what you’re saying to the client is the right thing or whether you are headed in the right direction?

I’m recording this at the end of the 1st day of the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo where I’m working with a great group of  School staff.

What is Active listening?

One of the things that I’d like to reflect upon today is this whole concept of being able to do reflective listening or active listening as it may otherwise be known. What we mean by this concept is to be able to pick up what the client is saying and reflect it or mirror it back to them.

How does a speaker know if we listened or understood them?

The whole idea of being able to reflect back and pace the client has a lot to do with that so that the speaker feels heard or understood. They get to hear their inner thoughts out loud reflected back to them and that’s really some of the basic counselling skills that we teach, but we also go a little bit further. Often times, we hear dark, disturbing thoughts and emotions from our clients. As Accidental Counsellors, we can feel quite perturbed or anxious by that. As an example, if someone wants to say to your client,

“I’m hopeless. I’m worthless. Nothing ever works out for me,” we can be tempted to rush in there and to say things like, “You know, you need to believe in yourself. There’s lots of people who think that you are a great person.” And one of the School staff at Dubbo really labeled that perfectly when he said, “It’s false hope or false belief.”

Often times, in my teaching, I say, “We need to be able to enter the conversation in our client’s head.” Let’s not be scared by that. If they say things like, “I’m worthless. I’m no good. Nothing will ever work out. Everyone hates me.” You know, those dark, disturbing thoughts. To be able to say something like this to your client, it must be really difficult for you walking around believing all that stuff about yourself; believing that you’re worthless, believing that you’re no good. Now, people get a little bit worried about this and they think, “Oh no. But if we say that and if we repeat that back, isn’t it going to make things worse for the client?” And I want to say, “No. Look, you’re not saying anything that’s different from what’s already going on in your client’s mind and what they’re already feeling in their body.”

Always Listen First

Being able to reflect that back can be a soothing balm. It can be the antidote to feeling really worked up. Can you imagine someone being able to open up, say to you and reveal to you those deep, dark thoughts? And for you to actually to be able to hear it, understand it and empathize with them around that can be really quite a relief for people. They’re already thinking this often on a daily basis. So, my message to Accidental Counsellors is it’s okay to join those deep, dark thoughts; to be able to go in there and reflect that back and let the client know that you understand

that they’re thinking those deep, dark thoughts. And of course, in our other videos and in the training, we also talk about what I would call the pivot and how to help the client refocus on how they would like life to be. I hope you can look at the other videos I’ve talked about this. My main message for Accidental Counsellors today is…

Your clients are already thinking those things, those deep, dark thoughts. There’s no need to be worried about repeating that back to them. They’re already there.

And, being able to let the speaker know that you understand that those thoughts are there can be quite a relief for them. They finally feel that someone understands that I’ve got these deep, dark thoughts and emotions in my mind and body. Thank you for joining me for this video blog today. To find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training, simply go to accidentalcounsellor.com and I hope to see you at one of the trainings around Australia.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo 2013

I really appreciated you sharing parts of your life with us. The role plays in the Accidental Counsellor Training helped me realise how effective your methods can be.

Andrew Shannon, Dubbo School of Distance Education

The Accidental Counsellor Training offers practical strategies that can underpin effective communication in the school context.

Janelle Dowton, Dubbo School of Distance Education

I find the Accidental Counsellor Training useful because it gave me confidence to approach situations.

Kerrie Chopping, Orange High School

I strongly recommend Rocky to present this Accidental Counsellor Training to the staff – I found it fantastic. I can’t believe what I have
1) confirmed what I am doing is right and
2) what I learned to do in a different and more effective way. Thanks Rocky!

Sharron Lee Bulley, Narromine High School

Thank you Rocky! The Accidental Counsellor Training was definitely a worthwhile course, and wish I could have done it BEFORE I started in my role as Pastoral Care Coordinator. I now have some excellent strategies to take back to my school, to hopefully benefit my students (which is what this is all about!) Will keep in touch and let you know how I go!

Belle Wheaton, St Matthews Catholic School

I liked the reality of the examples. Having a ‘teacher’ background gave the session’s credibility. The Accidental Counsellor Training was a very enjoyable course, well worth attending, worth every cent. Thanks DET for the professional learning funding.

Kim Baker, Kelso High Campus

The Accidental Counsellor workshop has been of great value with practical ideas focussed on people finding their own solutions. Opportunities to practice skills is very useful.

Anne Neville, Anson Street School

The Accidental Counsellor Training reinforced what I am doing already but it is fine-tuning to enhance what I know.

Anonymous

The Accidental Counsellor Training was fantastic. Thank you. I am really looking forward to applying all I have heard and learnt. Wish me and my kids luck.

Barbara Hughes, Parkes High School

The practical component in the Accidental Counsellor Training made it very easy to understand.

Anonymous

The Accidental Counsellor Training made me re-evaluate the power of what we say, how we say things to make positive behaviour change.

Erika Mullholland, Walgett High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training definitely has provided me with a new set of skills to deal with students.

Kali Ratu, Walgett High School

I was highly engaged in the Accidental Counsellor Training the whole time. Only relevant information was provided. I feel like I’m going back to my school with a set of tools, skills, and ideas to research and think about. I am really excited about what I can share with others. I am motivate to use this in the classroom, as girls advisor and in my personal life. Thank you for changing my perspectives and listening skills. Thanks.

Anne Glynn, Forbes High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful and entertaining. Thanks!

Belinda Haigh, Dubbo School of Distance Education

The Accidental Counsellor Training was sheer, bloody brilliance; practical, useful, do-able. I can understand why it works.

Allyn Smith, Dubbo School of Distance Education

The Accidental Counsellor Training was really very helpful. The best training I have done in relation to student welfare in 30 years!

Bernadette Wood, Denison College Bathurst High Campus

Hi Rocky,
I just wanted to let you know that yesterday I had the chance to put the Accidental Counsellor training into practice. I have a student who suffers depression and anxiety and is a school refuser. She hates school, hates teachers and is doing no work. No one has been able to get through to her.

We went to visit her yesterday, 3 teachers; 2 spoke with Mum. I spoke with the students. As soon as we turned up, the student made a point of keeping an almost hostile distance. One word answers. Head down, covering her face. Buried in her mobile phone.

After throwing out a little bait to try and get her to just slightly engage in a conversation I managed to sit next to her and give her the opportunity to talk about herself. I joined her conversation. I didn’t challenge anything she said, but rather agreed that it must be awful to be in her situation. She really started changing her attitude and I think was a bit taken aback that i didn’t challenge her or tell her what to do.

I’ll cut this a bit short.

By the end of the conversation she was making eye contact, telling me her future plans (incredible) what she sees herself doing in her life and said (and this is the incredible bit) “I know I’m going to have to start doing my schoolwork”. That was huge. The only things she’d ever said about school previously was how much she hated it and there was no way she was going to do it. Ever. Full Stop.

It was huge. We aren’t fully there yet, but this is the first and only hopeful and positive step towards re-engaging her in her work.

So thanks. It works.

And I NEVER write testimonials. That’s how impressed I am.

Thanks,

Allyn Smith, Teacher – Music & Entertainment | Year 8 Adviser | Dubbo School of Distance Education

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo.

  • Walgett High School
  • Narromine High School
  • Orange High School
  • Forbes High School
  • Dubbo School of Distance Education
  • Nyngan High School
  • St Matthews Catholic School
  • Kelso High Campus
  • Denison College Bathurst High Campus
  • Anson Street School
  • Parkes High

Accidental Counsellor Training Newcastle – The Power of Silence

I’m here to talk to you about an Accidental Counsellor tip.

I’m filming this tip from the Newcastle venue at the end of Day 1 and we just had the whole group practice in their small groups. They came back and I’ve got some great feedback.

From one teacher, we were talking about silence and how that is an important component when we’re an Accidental counsellor working with people not to continually fill the space. Typically, as Accidental counsellors, we need to ask questions to facilitate and elicit the best solution for the client from them so that we’re not giving the answers and the solutions. I’ve created videos about this and there are other tips. Be sure to check them out here.

The Power of SilenceWe ask questions so the client can reflect and go into their own inner world to come up with their best solutions. Typically, as the Accidental counsellor, we can become quite anxious about solving the problem or fixing it for the client. We don’t allow the client the time, space, and silence to be able to reflect on these questions that we’re asking them. We’ll ask a question, don’t provide the space and fill the space with another question.


One of the teachers here at Newcastle, provided  great feedback for her group,  she told the person that she was in the role of a student and the teacher asked a question. She thought it was a great question and she was thinking about it. She went on to say, “I was just about to answer it.” However, the teacher asked another question and she said, “I just totally lost it and I wasn’t able to focus on that anymore.”

It’s very important to allow people the space to reflect on their own answers and solutions.

I hope that this tip has been a great reminder for those of you here at the Accidental Counsellor Training when you go back and look at the video clip and also for others who have attended the accidental counsellor training. If you are interested in coming to the Accidental Counsellor Training, be sure to go to www.accidentalcounsellor.com or email me at info@humanconnections.com.au to find out one of the dates and venues that we are running the training across Australia.

Thank You!

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Newcastle 2013.

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful because I have had similar training a long time ago and it was good to be reminded!

Sharon Everson, Central Coast Rudolf Steiner School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was absolutely fantastic. I had many “light-bulb” moments. It is great to see and practise effective communication. Thank you.

Loretta Wells, Rutherford Technology High School

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training useful because it gave me a different view and a clear message of what to do and not to do. Can’t wait to try it!

Blair Newham, Rutherford Technology High School

The true empowerment of the Accidental Counsellor 2-day Training was ‘listening’ to the student/issue. Rocky, you allowed me to see that having the answer is not the answer. The course was well-planned and fluid. As a group, there were many different strengths and ideas. A truly worthwhile professional development.

Liz Stokes, All Saints College – St Joseph’s Lochinvar

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very useful. It provided real world examples and a true student-centered approach.

Anonymous

The Accidental Counsellor Training will allow me to use techniques with students, etc.

Paula Couper-shone, Kotara

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training useful because it was relevant and can be implemented immediately.

Anonymous

The Accidental Counsellor Training was 100% useful either by confirmation of current approaches or adding new tools to the toolbox.

Steve Hannon, Maitland Christian School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful because there were lots of tools to add to the toolbox.

Dorota Naszka Ballardie, Floraville Public School

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave lots of practical examples.

Fiona Matthews, Hamilton South Public School

Hi Rocky,
I found the Accidental Counsellor Training extremely helpful. Your techniques and approaches were really valuable. Just some things that I took away from the training:
– Focus on the best outcome for the Student – not what everyone else thinks is best or decides you do with the student.
– Silence is ok – creates space for sharing and opening up.
– Confidence in maintaining professional boundaries and knowing when to refer on.
– Props and imaginative techniques.
-Tapping technique – have used many times now and everyone has reported feeling great.
I have a long way to go in developing my skills – but I feel I am on the right track now.
The other suprising thing is how the techniques have helped me in my personal life. I have been able to help friends and family with their challenges better. The other day I used one of your techniques on my daughter. She is a worryer, has high expectations of herself and doesn’t like to stand out in the crowd. She had given a speech in class where she spoke much faster then the rehearsal. She was ruminating on this. I tried the usual “it doesn’t matter now…you did your best. I am sure you did great”, but she just kept coming back to it throughout the day. I talked to her about the voice in her head going over and over it…..I said how about she took of the imaginary earphones so that she could not hear the voice anymore. She pretended to take them off and smash them to the ground. She walked away smiling with a spring in her step. We heard no more about it. It was very powerful. But it was incredible how easily she understood the concept and went along with the play act.
Thanks and Regards,

Louise Dibbs, Student Welfare Worker

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Newcastle

  • Scone High School
  • Maitland Christian School
  • Central Coast Rudolf Steiner School
  • Biddabah Public School
  • Floraville Public School
  • St James Kotara
  • Hamilton South Public School
  • Hunter River High School
  • Mt View High School
  • All Saints College – St Joseph’s Lochinvar
  • Rutherford Technology HIGH SCHOOL
  • Warners Bay High School

Accidental Counselling Tip – What Creates Change?

I’ve returned home to Sydney from Victoria where I presented the Accidental Counsellor to a wonderful group of school staff in Frankston. One of the cool themes of the Accidental Counsellor Training was based around Solution Focused Brief Therapy which is a strong component in the training.

One of the key principles of Solution Focused Brief Therapy is that we don’t really need to analyse or understand the cores of the problem to try to create change in a behaviour. What’s really more important is to construct a vision of a solution or a future possibility. When we’re working as Accidental Counsellors with our clients, it’s important to have the client experience some of the change and also recognising when the client has already acted differently.


Accidental Counselling Tip There’s a whole range of different questioning techniques, all of them are aimed to do justice and that is to help the client to construct a picture, a vision, a future possibility or a solution, recognising times when they’ve done that and also experiencing those times. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Rather than asking the client, “Why did you do that?”, or “Why did you think you felt that way or did this?” A lot of the times, those sorts of questions bring the focus back to the problem behaviour.



We need to listen empathetically and then help pivot the client to that future possibility.

Here’s an example of a question that would do that; how would you like things to be. Here are the two questions.

“Why did you do that?” which brings the focus into the past and into the old behaviour.

“How would you like things to be?” which would open up the client to consider future possibilities on how they would like to be.

If you think about it, it’s obvious isn’t it? And that is, how can you possibly make any future change if we don’t know what that would be?

Helping the client focus on the future change with a range of different questioning techniques is one of the core principles of Solution Focused Brief Therapy which is what we teach in the Accidental Counsellor Training.

I hope that this has been a great reminder for those of you who were in Frankston with me and for people who have not attended the Accidental Counsellor Training or you’d like to know more, just go to www.accidentalcounsellor.com and you’ll find a lot more about the venues and the training, and I look forward to seeing you at one of those.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Frankston 2013

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

I find the Accidental Counsellor Training useful because it was very informative with excellent framework and application of processes and skills.

Rachel Angel, Erasmus School

Rocky’s style of delivery in the Accidental Counsellor Training was extremely empowering as he explained very sensible and logical approaches to counselling. The booklet provided will be very valuable particularly as a reference back to what we have covered over the two days.

Anonymous

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave me lots of good ideas on communicating with students.

Christos Siamas, Victoria University Secondary College

Loved the practical aspects in the Accidental Counsellor Training

Anonymous

The two days in the Accidental Counsellor Training were spent consolidating, affirming and learning practices to do with relationships, communication and counselling. It was not only professionally rewarding – it was about personal development as well. Thanks.

Mary Moore, Rolling Hills Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training had very practical strategies that I know I’ll use. What a brilliant PD! I’m really excited to put these ideas into practice, very informative and helpful.

Alexandra Saffigna, Mater Christi College

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave me lots of ideas about how to speak to students, validate their experiences and start to move towards solutions.

Dianne Howard, Victoria University Secondary College, Deer Park Campus

Thank you Rocky for giving me the inspiration to continue with my future in the well-being career path. The session in the Accidental Counsellor Training has been realistic and extremely helpful for my future with students, staff and parents. Thank you!

Mary-claire Boudreau, Gleneagles Secondary College

A very rewarding workshop because the material and technique in the Accidental Counsellor Training are practical, manageable and realistic. Thank you!

Susan Smith, Erasmus School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was one of the best PD’s I’ve attended. I always judge whether a PD has engaged me by the number of times I look at my watch. I’m happy to say that I did not look at the time once! The 2 days (including the afternoons) were full of clear, practical and engaging ideas and strategies which I will definitely use when I’m back at school. Can’t wait to see the results!

Maryse Manix, Fountain Gate Primary School

I acquired very useful information in the Accidental Counsellor Training. Now I will be able to help the students better.

Maria Chicas, Maranatha Christian School

Great, useful information. Highly relevant to schools. All teachers (in a well-being role or not) should attend the Accidental Counsellor Training.

Alana Singh, Mordialloc College

This experience in the Accidental Counsellor Training was an eye opener seeing how well some basic ideas can change a perspective.

Carolanne O’Brien, Rosebud Secondary College

I find the Accidental Counsellor Training useful especially the role plays and real examples.

Pauline Rahilly, Xavier College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful because I will be able to assist my students.

George Jolly, Frankston High School

What a wonderful opportunity to be part of a great PD. Thank you Rocky for your wisdom, enthusiasm and guidance in the Accidental Counsellor Training. I look forward to applying this back in the school setting.

Anne Phyland, Bacchus March Primary School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Frankston

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Frankston High School
  • Mater Christi College
  • Hampton Park Secondary College
  • Fountain Gate Primary School
  • Rolling Hills Primary School
  • Gleneagles Primary School
  • Maranatha Christian School
  • Mordialloc College
  • Monterey Secondary College
  • Erasmus School
  • Xavier College
  • Victoria University Secondary College
  • Rosebud Secondary College
  • Melton Christian College
  • Bacchus March Primary

How To Create Positive Habits

It’s not motivation you want, it’s habits. The quality of our lives equals the quality of the habits, routines, or rituals, whatever word you want to use, that we have.


What is a habit?

Let’s have a look at this diagram.

How To Create Positive HabitsWith a habit, you can see that there is a cue, a trigger that tells our brain to go into automatic mode. A cue can be internal – such as a feeling or thought; external – such as a time of day or being around certain people. All these things are cues or triggers. As soon as we are around that environment, context or in that time, then there’s a routine that’s performed. This is the behaviour that leads to the reward.

The routine can be physical – like eating a chocolate. It could be cognitive – you can actually remember a test or emotional – I feel anxious in a Math test.

The second part is the reward. Not surprisingly, the reward can be physical – like a sugar craving, cognitive – gets us interested in something or again emotional – I always feel relaxed in front of the TV. The reward determines if a particular habit loop is worth remembering. When a habit emerges and our brains say,  “Yes, this is worth remembering and has a really cool reward,” it goes into automatic mode. It gets stored in the part of the brain called the “Basal Ganglia.” This can be good or bad.

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in the decision-making because that’s the nature of a habit, it’s automatic.

It stops working so hard and diverts focus to other things or tasks. That’s why rather than fighting the old habit, research is saying that it’s very difficult to change.


Keystone habits

We need to start creating what’s called Keystone habits. These are positive habits – such as eating the right food, exercising, setting good, clear and concise goals; focusing on one task at a time and working on the most important or difficult task when we’re at our most energetic and when our self-control is at its strongest. It’s not about feeling motivated. It’s about setting-up consistent routines that create these positive habits that will just unfold automatically.

In the mornings now, I go for a walk. This has been happening for about 5 years. In the summertime, I go to this little outdoor gym not far from my place and then I come back home and have a swim. It’s a cool routine. I know that when I do this, regardless of wherever I am or whether I’m traveling around Australia presenting my Accidental Counsellor Training, I need to make sure that I’m out and I go for a minimum of  a half-hour walk but usually I do an exercise routine for 50 minutes to an hour. I end much better for the rest of the day.

Often times, I would have people say to me, “I don’t know how you can get motivated to get up, go and do what you do in the mornings; your exercise routine.” I was thinking about this and I thought, “Actually I don’t really feel motivated to go either, but it’s become automatic.” This is what I mean by creating these good habits.


The diagram

Let’s go through this diagram that can help us with a habit that we want to create.

How_to_change_a_habit

We can just right down here what our new habit will be. It might be a new study routine or an exercise routine and let’s begin with the cue.

Step 1: Every habit has a trigger, the cue.

This is what some of the cues are:

  • What time will this habit occur?
  • Where will you be?
  • Who else will be around?
  • What will you hope to have finished?
  • What emotion do you think you’ll be feeling?

You don’t need all of these to create a habit, only one of them is needed to become a cue. The more of these cues you test out, the faster the habit takes hold.

Let’s look at No. 2.

Step 2: The reward.

Now this is really going to be the big thing because if you’re engaging in a routine which is No. 3, the brain would want to know if the reward’s worth doing this routine.

What reward will you give yourself at the end of the behaviour?
As I said, for me was really mostly about how the rest of my day would unfold and how I’d feel about it.

Do you actually enjoy this reward?
If it’s a yes, after a few days ask yourself…

Do you crave this reward when you’re exposed to the cue?

In other words, when it’s that certain time or environment, are you looking forward to the reward that’s coming with the behaviour – whether it’s exercise or study routine?

Look here over at No. 3, the routine. Now we want to put it all together. In this diagram, routine, this is the new behaviour that you want to become a habit. And cue, this is from step 1.

What’s the cue?

What’s the time of day?

Where will you be?

Who will be around?

Will you be listening to music?

The other thing I wanted to mention was when I go for my exercise, I’m listening to podcasts and things that fill my mind with really cool positive things. Here now, I’m exercising which is obviously good for my body, but I’m also exercising my mind.

Once we’ve got the cue in place, we want to have a look at the reward and make sure that we have a really good reward. It might be extrinsic like a little treat, a movie, or some time-off to relax. The reward ultimately will need to be how it makes you feel.

Studies show that the easiest way to implement a new habit is
to write a plan.

Let’s get right down to the bottom here and we want to complete this.
When and here we want to include the cue

I get up in the morning and go for a walk, whatever the exercise or routine is, when I get back home from school, whenever I complete the task, when I get up at whatever time in the morning, or when I get home from school…

Whatever the case may be, we want to get this answer here from the answers we came up with in step 1 when we looked at the cue and the trigger.

I will describe the routine because it provides me with and then outline the reward.

You want to make sure you post this plan where you’ll see it and try it for a week.

Studies say the new behaviour will become automatic and you’ve now programmed a really cool positive habit. This means, you don’t have to rely on how you feel to get things done that don’t make you feel that great because now it’s a habit and it’s automatic.

Professional Development For Teachers

Helping Mentors Understand The Root Causes Of Bullying With Professional Development For Teachers


Children spend a great deal of time in school. And while it is the parents’ duty to form the character of their children, teachers are at a unique position to monitor any unusual problems they see among their pupils. However, more often than not, they are not properly equipped to handle mental and behavioural issues that arise in the schoolyard. This underscores the need for professional development for teachers which will give them the tools and strategies to help parents and their children remedy such issues and allow kids to fully reach their potentials.

Cyberbullying

One of the most common behavioural issues that arises in schools, not only in Australia, but seemingly, the world over, is bullying. Bullying takes a variety of forms, the most recent of which is cyberbullying. And whilst conventional bullying is deplorable, cyberbullying ups the ante because the perpetrator is shrouded by the anonymity provided by the Internet.

For educators, awareness of the root causes of this problem can help them get a better perspective and understanding of the issue of bullying which in turn will allow them to help both the bully and the victim.

Absurd as it may sound, bullying can be a way for the bully to find acceptance into a group. Kids may be egged on by their friends to victimise another kid or other kids gravitate towards the bully, forming a clique, so that they can avoid becoming victims of the bully.

Doing well in school, academically or through extra-curricular activities like sports, gives children a sense of empowerment, and as such, should be encouraged. However, there are those who falter in their schools and find bullying as a means to find empowerment.

Also, there are students who engage in acts of bullying as a means of finding freedom, breaking the rules to establish their autonomy. More often than not, children hear “no” from their parents and other authority figures. Whilst most kids who engage in this type of bullying often do less violent acts, this does not mean that they should be condoned.

In bullying, both the perpetrator and the target are the victims.

The problem is that often, the signs are overlooked simply because teachers and other school staff are ill-equipped to handle such a matter. By finding the right professional development for teachers, they can upgrade their skills and become proactive in the fight against bullying, helping make schools a peaceful haven for learning and development.

Schools often have bullying polices and procedures in place. Often the focus can be on the bully – so that the bullying behaviour is stopped. We also need to place a determined focus on the “victim” of bullying. Unfortunately those who are on the receiving end of bullying behaviour seek to leave that environment and go to new schools only for the bullying to commence again.

Helping school students develop capacity and resilience in dealing with the emotional turmoil of bullying is an important aspect of an integrated response to bullying in schools. Many school staff and teachers attend a professional development called the Accidental Counsellor Training. This teacher professional development training helps school staff to respond to the bully and victim in ways that enhance resilience for all.

Teachers Professional Development – Accidental Counsellor Training

Mentors As Accidental Counsellors – Equipping Them Through Teachers’ Professional Development

In the professional world, employees must learn to separate their personal lives from their work. And while their co-workers and their managers may offer a sympathetic pat on the back, when it comes to performing their assigned tasks, their personal problems should not get in the way. The same cannot be said when it comes to students. While students are enrolled in schools to learn, they are not equipped with the tools to effectively separate their school life from their personal troubles. This may manifest in a marked deviation from their usual performance in school or even behavioural problems.

Although the main task of teachers is to pass on their knowledge to their students, they are at a unique position to notice any personal problems that afflict their students which often manifest themselves in the form of poor academic performance. There is a variety of teachers’ professional development programmes available but very few are designed to help teachers assume the role of accidental counsellors.

Just like adults who are pressured in their professional lives, students also experience a high amount of pressure.

One reason for this is that modern society has become fixated with achievement rather than the learning process.

In turn, some students buckle to the pressure or find themselves lost.

The school is also a unique eco-system, each student with his or her unique trait that will allow him or her to fit in and find acceptance from peers. In an ideal world, such unique traits should be accepted and embraced. However, such is not the case, resulting sometimes in bullying.

There are also students who are transplanted from one home to another. And while adults find that they need some time to adjust to another environment, such is doubly hard for kids who are uprooted from the place they grew up in and transferred to a new place that is alien to them.

Finally, there are children who suffer from mental health problems and disorders which can range from somatic complaints to attention problems to aggressive behaviour. Unfortunately, not every kid who suffers from such gets professional help.

Like it or not, teachers assist parents in upbringing children. With their unique position in the school, they are often the first ones to notice the problems regarding their pupils. Also, they are in such a position that children may find them trustworthy and as such, they turn to them for advice. This makes them accidental counsellors because although they are not trained to do counselling work, they are placed in a position wherein they cannot simply ignore the troubles that ail students. With the right training, teachers and other school personnel can provide a support system that will enable kids to successfully manage whatever it is that troubles them.

Accidental Counsellor Training Mistakes

If you’re an Accidental Counsellor often finding yourself giving people advice and telling them how to fix their problems, watch this video as I discuss the most common mistake Accidental Counsellors make.

The common insight people have when they attend the Accidental Counsellor Training is… “Wow, it’s really hard to get out of the old habit of just giving people advice.”

You might be thinking…

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Isn’t that what an Accidental Counsellor does?”

“Isn’t that what an actual Professional Counsellor does?”

“Why would you go to a Counsellor?”

“Why would you go and speak to someone about your problem?”

Surely, it is to get guidance and advice. However, often times, that’s not the best way to support the client that we’re working with.

Receiving advice and guidance is the common understanding of the counselling process. Here I am in my office where I work in my private practice. I would have some who would walk in and say things like, “Well, I hope you can fix me.” That already begins the one-up power dynamic.  let’s just say the person you’re working with walks away from you feeling better and has made some wonderful changes in their lives that have supported the life that they want, whether it’s at school, work or wherever it is.

The worst thing that could ever happen is that they would credit you for the change. I had clients do this, “You’ve saved our marriage.” It’s really not true. You don’t want the students or clients you’re working with to abdicate their personal power and responsibility, and help put you up in that one-up power position that holds you as the mentor and guru. This is difficult because that’s the common understanding of counsellors. You go to a counsellor and they’ll fix your problem. Even the dictionary says that the counsellor is a person that gives counsel and advice. And yet, research is clearly stating, I’ve seen this over 20 years of counselling work, that the most effective part of counselling therapy is the rapport and the connection that the counsellor or the Accidental counsellor can have with their client. It’s this joining with them.

To be able to let go of your perspective, what you think is right, your moral judgment and to see the world through your client’s eyes, to match them, to provide and to communicate with them an empathetic understanding, can be very difficult. However it does sounds simple.

Accidental Counsellor Training Mistakes

What if the client is talking about things that are abhorent to you that you have little tolerance around. They’re talking about engaging in a lifestyle or whatever the case may be, to be able to see the world and come to an understanding of the other person even though that is very different to how you would see the world, is really a difficult thing. It’s much easier said than done. The concepts of rapport and empathy to mirror back, to match the client as I say, are very easy. What I have noticed at the Accidental Counsellor Training,  after the small group role plays is a common reflection from participants. All of a sudden, people say, “Wow, it’s really hard to get out of that old habit of giving advice.”

 

The problem with advice-giving

What’s the problem with advice-giving? Here’s a case study. Just recently, I was working at a school with a wonderful group of teachers and, of course, all of these concepts made sense and lots of nodding of people’s heads. And yet, when it came time for me to demonstrate some of the concepts that I’m speaking about, we had one


Let me give you one quick example because a lot of this might seem vague. In this situation, the student would say,
“You speak to my mother.” It was a problem with her mother; not enough freedom and her being too domineering. Often times, we might say, “Well that’s a reasonable suggestion or that’s not a bad idea, why not speak to the parent? Let’s see if we can mediate.” Of course, that would be part of a solution. But if you really listen carefully, for instance in this situation with the student, it may not have been the best solution. So I said…teacher come up and take on the role of a 17-year old girl in Year 11. This girl was asking, almost pleading, “What do I do?” I would say things like, “I’m not sure. Let’s talk about this. Maybe together we can work something out.” But I would never want to put myself in that one-up position.

It was a very frustrating and difficult interview where there didn’t seem to be many options or solutions. The more and more I refrain from telling the student what to do, in this case the teacher in the role play, the more and more even the teacher in the role play was able to come up with their best solution. They were able to accept the situation that they were in. They knew that it wouldn’t be too much longer and that they will be able to make a change in the environment that they were living in. But up until now, that was the best thing for them. Now that was very uncomfortable for me and for the people watching because we all wanted for it to be a nicer, happier solution; a happy ending where perhaps their was a resolution to this.

“Well has that happened?”

“Have you ever asked teachers or school counsellors to contact your mother?”

The client said…

“Ah Yes! And it’s just gotten things worse. Mum’s blamed me…”

Instead of racing ahead of the client, we need to work out where they’re at; find out what they’ve already done and not just repeat the old advice that they’ve received that hasn’t worked. If we do they will walk away even more frustrated. We want them to have wins to improve the quality of their life.

The Solution

Our job is to guide them through asking good probing questions and allowing the client to reflect on those questions and come up with their own understanding. This is the fundamental premise of the Accidental Counsellor Training, and that it’s based on Solution Focused Therapy where the critical philosophy is that the client has the answers and the best solutions to the problems in their own context. Our role is to walk with them and journey with them, asking questions, holding the space even during lots of times of anxiety and being uncomfortable. We need to get comfortable with not knowing and uncertainty and with our own anxiety. If we are working super hard in trying to fix a problem, harder than the client, well then whose needs are we responding to?

If we can manage our own anxiety and accept the fact that sometimes this problem is not going to be resolved the way I personally would like it to be resolved. It’s resolved in the best way for the client, through the client’s eyes and context. That allows the client to learn also to be comfortable with uncertainty and doubt, and also have the knowing that they can work through their own issues with guidance and help. Then, they come to their own unique understanding of the solution.

I hope that some of these ideas and concepts resonate with you and are a reminder for those of you who have attended the training. If you are interested in attending an Accidental Counsellor Training, go to www.accidentalcounsellor.com

I look forward to seeing you at one of the trainings around Australia.

Accidental Counsellor Training Sydney – How To Change Negative Thoughts

Early in March this year we presented the very first Accidental Counsellor Training in Sydney for the year 2013. There was a great group of people there that I’ve worked with over the 2 days.

Now, for those of you who attended the training, this is a bit of a refresher and a reminder. As you know, over 2 days, there are many strategies and techniques that we look at. But I want to just talk about one today.

The technique and the strategy I’m referring to is “Negative Thought, Positive Behaviour.”

The aim of this strategy is to interrupt the negative thinking pattern. All too often, as Accidental Counsellors, we would’ve experienced working with people who have negative thoughts and beliefs. When we try to challenge them on that cognitive level, usually we come unstuck. The client will hold on to rigidly their own self-concept and their own belief. What we need to do is we need to interrupt the pattern and one of the ways we talked about doing this in the workshop was by asking people to use their imagination. You’re entitled to have a break, a holiday from this negative thought, you know, and it’s weighing you down as you’re telling me. It’s really affecting you badly. Just imagine, if you were for one day not have that thought bother you and even if it was around, somehow it just didn’t affect you, certainly not as much. How would you be different? For one day, going to school, going to your workplace, being at home with your family if that negative thought and negative belief wasn’t around.I even had students in Year 7 who answered this question beautifully.

“If I wasn’t bothered by that thought I’d be happier. I’d be more confident.”

How to Change Negative Thoughts?

In summary, to create a pattern interruption, we can say to people,

“You’re entitled to have a break from this. I’m just wondering. Use your imagination here, if for one day, this thought wasn’t bothering you as much. How would you be different? What would be different with you in that day?”

Spend a lot of time with that person unpacking with clear detail exactly how they’d be.

I hope this has been a reminder for those of you who have attended the training. And for people who have seen this video and are wondering what the Accidental Counsellor Training is all about. There are some details at the bottom of this video on how you can get in touch with us. Or you could go to accidentalcounsellor.com.

Thank You!

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Sydney 2013

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Workshop was fantastic. I noticed Rocky using techniques discussed generally in the workshop which gave me additional ideas about accessing strategies and how to re-phrase and integrate questioning techniques. The reflections and modelling – especially before role-plays, really allowed me to understand the content and then transfer the ideas and strategies to new situations.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, Jamison High School

I was feeling a little out of my depth with some of the issues that students have been bringing to me. Because of the Accidental Counsellor Training, I feel that I have some strategies and approaches, and feel more confident in dealing with these issues.

Melanie Parsonage, Jamison High School

Absolutely loved the Accidental Counsellor Training. It gives a clear goal for helping students begin learning to cope with their situations.

Kirstie Brass, Orana Steiner School

The Accidental Counsellor Training will be useful for ways to talk to people/children in distress.

Rachel Coleman, Epping Boys High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave me new tactics to be able to use with my Year 7 students.

Anonymous

Counselling is a dynamic but daily challenge. The Accidental Counsellor Training has given me enormous confidence to challenge teachers who demand that I use traditional, authoritarian counselling methods. I now will say “No” and be able to really help Anne B and Anne Ross in their roles. The magic wand – the client focus – the empathy was just brilliant. Positive thought – clients coming up with their own solutions do create change. Before this course, I really thought change was really impossible. Band aid solutions will no longer apply to me as a leader of learning.

Melissa Blackwell, St Andrews College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was most definitely useful. It was an informative, enjoyable and confidence-building training with lots of practical questioning skills and ideas to help our students.

Anonymous

The part in the Accidental Counsellor Training where I find useful is discussing and seeing the technique; having options.

Anonymous

It was an excellent training and practical course. The Accidental Counsellor Training helped me understand a process of listening to a client/student and identify what they are really saying. It gave me a good scaffold to not try to fix students but to let them explore how they can fix their issues.

Michael Sugitha, Wyong High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was extremely useful; practical application of theory.

Jane Watson, Orana Steiner School

I find the Accidental Counsellor Training useful. I feel like I now have some constructive processes when interviewing students.

Kelly Armstrong, Orana Steiner School

The Accidental Counsellor Training is practical; lots of strategies. A lot of the content can be used with personal relationships as well.

Anonymous

The Accidental Counsellor Workshop provided an invaluable opportunity to collaborate and share ideas with other teachers. Rocky’s delivery of the
course and genuine passion for the content are infectious and I am looking forward to practicing my new skills when I return to school. Thanks so much for a remarkable two days.

Simone McKay, The Jannali High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was excellent and has practical techniques for dealing with student issues from the corridor to the meeting room. A valuable course.

Jacqueline Read, Cheltenham Girls High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training has a good balance of input and practical experiences. Words –> Modelling –> Role-play; user-friendly, useful and practical. It sets our boundaries – what is our job/what are our limitations/what should we be working on.

Cathy Smith, St Monica’s

I learnt a huge amount in the Accidental Counsellor Training about sitting down with students and discussing issues. I now have more confidence when a student wants to talk. I feel like I will be able to help them.

Ros Arnold, Chester Hills High School

I find the Accidental Counsellor Training useful because the context and content are applicable to the school environment as well as background to the human psyche.

Anonymous

The Accidental Counsellor Training was great. It has helped me rethink how I speak with students who are struggling.

Glenn Kayes, Epping Boys High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Sydney

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Epping Boys High School
  • Cheltenham Girls High School
  • Westfields Sports High School
  • Jamison High School
  • Sydney Boys High School
  • St Andrews College
  • Springwood High School
  • St Andrew’s Cathedral School
  • Chester Hill High School
  • Mitchell High School
  • St Monica’s
  • Orana Steiner School
  • The Hills Sports High School
  • Sydney Technical High School
  • The Jannali High
  • Wyong High School

Accidental Counsellor Training

Hello, My name is Rocky Biasi and I am the director of Human Connections. I have been a Secondary High School Teacher and Year Coordinator for over 10 years. Also, a School Counsellor and in these days, I’m in private practice.

In 2008, I created the Accidental Counsellor Training. The reason I created this training is because I could see that in my time in schools, as a teacher and as a year coordinator with Counselling training school staff, often found themselves in that Accidental Counsellor role, many times with little training around basic counselling skills. The Accidental Counsellor Training is a Solutions Focused Approach that focuses on client’s strengths and possibilities. The Solution Focused approach believes that the client has the solution to their problem and the role of the counsellor or the Accidental Counsellor is to facilitate and to help the client discover that solution for themselves.


Who should attend the Accidental Counsellor Training?

School staff, Community service workers or anyone who really finds themselves in a counselling role but not trained as counsellors.


Here’s what you will learn when you attend the training:
  • How to direct your questioning so the client identifies their own possible solutions.
  • How to listen effectively to help clients clarify their problems.
  • How to assist them in setting goals and to consider new possibilities.
  • How to focus the client positively towards solutions.
  • How to help clients access their own personal resources to assist them to develop positive action plans.
  • How to help clients challenge their negative self-talk and create positive behaviours.

This is some of the content that we will cover during the training:
  • We look at positive psychology on how  we can help students minimise risk factors and enhance well-being.
  • The first morning we also look at the topic of  boundaries, burn-out and self-care. It’s the relationship between the listener and/or the helper and the client that provides the best impetus and influence for healing and we need to be able to make sure we’re in the right state to be able to do that so looking after ourselves, making sure that we set appropriate limits to our care is crucial.
  • Reflective listening and Meta communication is really just mirroring back to the client what  that they’re saying and also focusing on open-ended type questions all too often because we’re in a rush to help the person we’re working with, we could slip into the role of advice-giver. Often times, it’s just important to hold the space, reflect back to the person what the person is actually saying and the person hears their thoughts out aloud reflected back to them. This can provide the impetus for new perspectives. Here’s a very simple example. Often times, if we would look at the school context you might have someone say, “I can’t do this” or “Nobody likes me.”

A meta-question would be “What is it that you can’t do exactly?” Meta-questions help us discover deeper structure communication rather than the surface structure communication.

We also look at challenging negative identity beliefs: I’m not good enough, no one likes me, I’m not smart enough.

These are the negative identity beliefs and what we do is we help the student through a series of 4 to 5 questions, look at the positive behaviour that occurs when they’re not focused on that negative belief, that negative thought. And then, we help the student take action; identify the positive behaviour and implement some of that positive behaviour.

focus on solution-focused brief therapy.

One of the questions in this therapy is called the “Exception question.” All too often,  lots of time is being spent on focusing on why the student is behaving the way they are, why they’re being picked on, why they’re not paying attention, why they’re not turning up to school. Now, this is counter-productive. The focus here is on the unwanted behaviour. We need to pivot on the desired behaviour.

Solution-focused brief therapy has a fundamental philosophy.

“The meer act of  constructing a vision of a solution acts as a catalyst for bringing it about.”

The aim of our conversations with the people we’re working with is to create some sort of picture or vision of what it is that they’ll be doing that’s desirable. We can use the Exception question as an example here. Rather than focusing on the unwanted behaviour, we could just ask questions like:

“Tell me about the times you haven’t been kicked out.”

“Tell me about the times when you have come to school.”

“What was different then?”


There are 3 processes that we engage to learn the skills during the workshop:

The first part is explanation where I explain what the skill and the theory is. I ask one of the participants to do a very short 5-minute roleplay to demonstrate the skill. The crucial part of the training is when the attendees form small groups of three and roleplay and practise the skill and I come around to provide individual and small group coaching.

To find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training, go to

Accidental Counsellor

Email info@humanconnections.com.au

 or Call 0425 365 294

The Accidental Counsellor Training – A Solution Focused Approach

I love traveling around Australia presenting the Accidental Counsellor Training for many reasons, and here’s two:
Firstly, it’s just terrific meeting all the wonderful teachers and other professionals who attend the training working really, really hard to make a difference for the people in their care. It gives me a chance to catch up with family so I have cousins and relatives in Melbourne. It was great to catch up with them when I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Melbourne.

The Two-day training is structured in these three ways:

Firstly, I stand in front of the group. I present and teach the concept. Then, I demonstrate the concept when I ask one of the attendees to come to the front and we do role play for 5 minutes. They can take on the role of a student, a parent or any client. Everyone who is at the training gets to see me demonstrate what I’ve just talked about. The best part for me is when everyone teams up in groups of three and I come around. I listen in and do small coaching in those groups of three. The people get to practice and experience the skills. That’s the format of the two-day Accidental Counsellor Training.
Solution Focused Accidental CounsellorSolution Focused Accidental CounsellorSolution Focused Accidental Counsellor

Solution Focused Brief Therapy

The major focus of the Accidental Counsellor Training is Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy has a focus on the client’s strengths rather than weaknesses. We look for possibilities because, as we know, creating a vision of the solution acts as a catalyst for bringing it about.

During the training, I provide the attendees with different techniques and questions that can help them work with their client so the client can create this possible vision of where they want to go. Here’s an example of how we do that. We might ask something called the Exception question. The Exception question gives hints towards a possible solution. Rather than analysing why a student may not be doing what they should be doing in a classroom, we ask an Exception question looking for times when they have done what they needed to do in the classroom. As an example, the student might come and say,

“I’m always been picked on by the teacher.”

“I’m being kicked out of class and it’s unfair.”

The student can go on with the complaining and blaming. And often times we can get caught, as teachers, in that Accidental Counsellor role that we have often by saying,

“Well, you must’ve done something…”

“You need to take responsibility for your behavior.”

What’s much better is to say to them,

“Tell me about a time when you did go to that class and it worked really well for you.”

“Tell me a time when you went to that class and it was lots better than what you’re telling me about right now.”

“What did you do on that day?”

“What happened next?”

Asking those types of questions, looking for exceptions gets the student or the client that we’re working with to start constructing a vision of a possible solution. Usually, there’s been exceptions to the problem in the past.

I hope that, that has reminded some of you who have attended the Accidental Counsellor training about the exception question and for those of you who were looking to come, you can find out more:

www.accidentalcounsellor.com

More about the dates, the towns of where we may be visiting and presenting the Accidental Counsellor in 2013.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Melbourne 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

I really enjoyed the Accidental Counsellor Training session as it provided practical strategies, ideas and theories that I could implement and see the value of. It was great to see demonstrations and use role plays to practice each skill. Great friendly atmosphere.

Felicity Stewart, Mordialloc College

Thanks for helping me find clear and positive path in helping our students through the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Sommer Azzopardi, St John Bosco’s School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was fantastic, practical, encouraging.

Heather Pendergast, St Jude’s Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was informative, practical and full of info I will use. Finally I feel like I have some support.

Bianca Gualtieri, Mount Scopus Memorial College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop is relevant for every staff member. Essential for Year Level Coordinators, Student Support Staff.

Colette Brennan, Newcomb Secondary College

I feel better equipped to speak with troubled students, now I have attended the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop. I have learned that the connection is more important than the technique. Really important and valid!

Ben Riley, Werribee Secondary College

As a classroom teacher the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided some fantastic new skills. Definitely not a waste.

Mardi Shepherd, Frankston High School

Accidental Counsellor Training has given me confidence to work with students to challenge their negative thoughts and how to get them to get to think of their own positive solutions. Recommend this training to anyone who works with students/young people.

Robyn Hough, Shepparton High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was great personal development. Would recommend.

Christine Haasz, Marist-Sion College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very useful, with practical skills to use.

Tania Anticev, Clonard College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very useful, it was practical.

Paula Hardy, Clonard College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided good “common sense” strategies and was practical.

Sharyn Uteda, Beaconhills College

Lots of practical information was given at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Carmel Mithen, St Mary of the Angels School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop has made me more confident to work with students.

Trish Herbstreit, CBC, St Kilda

Other Comments

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop has been useful as I have been in a coordinator position for six years and this has given me the tools to continue to develop.

There were sections of the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop (SFBT) that were good. It was good to get others’ perspectives on things.

I have completed a Masters of Ed in Student Wellbeing with counselling skills subjects. This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop has affirmed my studies.

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was relevant, purposeful and achievable.

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Melbourne

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Mordialloc College
  • Werribee Secondary College
  • St Jude’s Primary School
  • Mount Scopus Memorial College
  • St John Bosco’s School
  • Newcomb Secondary College
  • Frankston High School
  • Shepparton High School
  • Marist-Sion College
  • Clonard College
  • CBC, St Kilda
  • Beaconhills College
  • St Mary of the Angels School

Accidental Counsellor Training Parramatta

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Parramatta 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was awareness raising, offered practical assistance and sound methodology. Thanks.

Christine Gibbins, Colo High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a very good overall exercise. Never ever knew about these strategies.

Mona Sidhu, Jamison High School

The importance of learning was a feature of the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop that I found useful.

Shirley Hoogewerf, Greystanes High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided useful information to deal with students in school.

Grace Moodley, Jamison High School

Wow! The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was practical, precise and to the point! I’m prepared!!

David Perfect, Burgmann Anglican School
Other Comments

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop very useful.  Really found the examples used very effective and the overall workshop was great.  Insightful and very practical.

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was invaluable – informative and practical.

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave me help and practical strategies to take back to school.  It was most useful being able to talk through questions or problems around the skills.

I found some new ideas at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

The tapping technique introduced at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a great relaxation technique.  Just may be a different approach or way of dealing with kids.

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a balanced presentation – theory and practice.

I found the Role Plays at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop useful – seeing how to use the technique.

A variety of useful strategies were presented at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Small group work at the Accidental Counsellor Training Parramatta

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Parramatta

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Ravenswood School For Girls
  • Fairvale High School
  • Model Farms High School
  • Greystanes High School
  • Jamison High School
  • Colo High School
  • Oakhill College
  • Bossley Park High
  • Bomaderry High School
  • Burgmann Anglican School

Accidental Counsellor Training Perth

This was the second time we traveled to Perth Western Australia to present the Accidental Counsellor Training. It’s always a fun time as we catch up with friends and family.

Lunch with family on our last day in Perth presenting the Accidental Counsellor Training
Kaiyen loves visiting her cousins and spending time at the farm

Although the Accidental Counsellor Training is the same across Australia. There are always similar and different themes that emerge from the workshops because attendees bring differing views and experience.

A theme I’d like to reflect on is “who wants the change to occur”.

At the Perth training (along with others) teachers and school staff work very hard to. “get a student to turn up to school”, “stop the student from distracting the class or being rude to teachers” etc.

The Accidental Counsellor Training helps school staff connect, build rapport and trust and use targeted strategies to help influence students. It does not provide strategies and techniques that “will make a student do what they need to do”!

Ultimately, the “client” needs to take responsibility for the change required. As school staff supporting students it can be frustrating and disappointing to know what is required but helpless in “bringing about the change”.

I often experience this in my own private practice. A client was referred to me and in our second session I was hoping to suggest a plan that involved several participants and agencies to help this young man with his severe drug, gambling addiction and OCD. He didn’t turn up for the second session!

A critical aspect or the helping role is to manage our own upset and distress during these times.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Perth Western Australia 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

Fantastic training Rocky. I have learnt so much at this Accidental Counsellor Training and can’t wait to apply it. Thank you!

Julie Waller, Hudson Park Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training made me feel confident that I’m doing things well, and it also gave me new ideas to use.

Chanel Fenwick, Corpus Christi College

This Accidental Counsellor Training was definitely worthwhile and has upskilled me.

Rae Witham, Dunsborough Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was helpful as effective questioning to find the source of the problem is difficult and time consuming but so necessary.

Allison Stralow, St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls

The strategies outlined at the Accidental Counsellor Training were great.

Gavin Palmer, Cocos Islands District High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very useful and relevant in a school setting.

Kerrie Montgomery, Chapman Valley Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave me tools to use that I did not previously have.

Adam Przytula, Winthrop Baptist College

Other comments

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was useful as it was applicable to real situations with real students.

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop made logical sense with strategies which are able to be used easily.

Good practical strategies which can be applied in a variety of situations made the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop very useful.

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop useful as it validated what I already do.

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was useful as it gave strategies to deal with students and to give teachers back at school.

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave several useful options for counselling.

I found it useful to discuss and review strategies at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

The Accidental Counsellor Training Workshop was extremely useful.

Small Group Work Accidental Counsellor Training Perth

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Perth

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Kearnan College
  • Melville Shs
  • Tuart Hill Primary School
  • Donnybrook Dhs
  • St Stephens School
  • Kelmscott Senior High School
  • St Andrews Grammar
  • St Hilda’s Anglican School For Girls
  • Hudson Park Primary School
  • Balcatta Shs
  • Kensington Primary School
  • Dunsborough Primary
  • Cocos Islands District High School
  • Corpus Christi College
  • Chapman Valley Primary School
  • Kalamunda Senior High School
  • Takari Primary
  • Mandurah Catholic College
  • Winthrop Baptist College
  • St Norbert College

Accidental Counsellor Training Wollongong 2012

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Wollongong 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was well presented and had a good balance of theory and practical content. The workshop has made me consider my ways of counselling and listening to students and how I can refine it and make it more meaningful for the student.

Donna Markham, Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was fantastic. I’ve learnt many wonderful techniques and now have the confidence to implement them.

Wendy O’Malley, Lake Illawarra High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was great! There are a few new techniques that I will take away and use. It was really great that Rocky pours his passion for the subject into his presentations.

Nicole Gonzalez, Albion Park High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave me new techniques and re-assured me that I am on the right track.

Pheona Cashman, Kiama High School


After this Accidental Counsellor Training course I feel more confident in what I am doing, even in my parenting.
Jacki Harrison, Kiama High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was useful and fun.  One of the best PD’s I’ve done.
Mitchell Comans, Smith’s Hill High School


Rocky, thank you for telling us your stories at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop. I found the workshop useful because you used real experiences.

Jodie Russell, Kiama High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop presented very practical and effective skills.

Sandra Hogan, St John the Evangelist Nowra

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided great theory – able to put into practice during the course. The Accidental Counsellor workshop was very practical. Can incorporate with my existing knowledge/skills.

Rod Zabell, Smith’s Hill High School

Thank you for your very personable manner at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

John Jakimyszyn, St John’s High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Wollongong

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts
  • Lake Illawarra High School
  • Kiama High School
  • Albion Park High School
  • Smith’s Hill High School
  • St John’s High School
  • St John the Evangelist Nowra

Accidental Counsellor Training Adelaide 2012

Here are some of the testimonials from the Accidental Counsellor Training in Adelaide

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

This Accidental Counsellor Training program has allowed me to re-examine best practices in dealing with conflict and other personal issues.

Bill Trewartha, Rostrevor College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop has enabled me to identify some traps I’m falling into while counselling students. I’m looking forward to implementing these techniques and empowering students to move forward and build resilience.

Suzi Pedler, Torrens Valley Christian School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was thought provoking.

Sally Wilson, Findon High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging two days.My brain is on overload however I’m looking forward to putting my new learning into practice! I’ve been really challenged by all of the content and really wish I did this session three years ago when I was thrown into the counselling role. Thanks.

Carol Davey, Hallett Cove R-12 School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was presented with confidence and enthusiasm. The different questioning styles and different ways to direct conversation were most useful.

Glen Malkin, Rostrevor College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was excellent and allowed plenty of group discussion/sharing and practice.
Argie Buesnel, Blackwood High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided excellent worthwhile training for year level managers.
Robin Parsons, Windsor Gardens Vocational College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop taught great practical skills and strategies to use with students and staff, and to help develop my own practice. Excellent.
Alan Peat, Underdale High School

At the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop I learnt to look for the positives in everything. Anonymous

Here’s a letter from Sally Wilson about her experience at the Adelaide Accidental Counsellor Course:
Hi Rocky,
I would like to say that I found your training very useful and have had the opportunity to use some of the skills that I encountered on the day. I was amazed at how empowered I felt when I could pull a strategy out of my hat right away and what’s more felt like I had enabled a student to be in control probably for the first time in a while.

FYI it was the scaling question and using the magic question and then helping them paint a picture to find their own strategy. Such a good course it should be mandatory in teacher training.

Regards Sally Wilson.

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Adelaide

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Rostrevor College
  • Torrens Valley Christian School
  • Hallett Cove R-12 School
  • Blackwood High School
  • Findon High School
  • Windsor Gardens Vocational College
  • Underdale High School

Accidental Counsellor Training Albury 2012

On the 25th and 26th of June 2012 I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Albury. This has been the third year the family and I travel to Albury for the Accidental Counsellor Training.

This year some of the wonderful attendees informed me about a great play area in Albury called Oddies Creek Adventure Playspace.

We all had a great time there after the first day of the training.

Here are some of the testimonials for the Accidental Counsellor Training in Albury

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training was incredibly useful – it gave me a lot of new ideas and resources for dealing with students. I will definitely start to integrate!

Emma Allen, Corowa High School

Love the Accidental Counsellor Training. The group work was excellent, great skills that I would use.

Graham Booth, Murray High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training helped me realise some of the things I do wrong. It’s not me giving strategies but allowing the students to come up with strategies.

Angela Heale, Kyabram P-12 College

The opportunity of role play at the Accidental Counsellor Training gives valuable experience as the accidental counsellor, and the opportunity to observe is beneficial to defining techniques or possibilities.

Sandy Edgar, Murray High School

I thought I knew a lot – I do now thanks to the Accidental Counsellor Training. The workshop gave me the tools to support what I could do to help.

Andrew Barber, Colac Otway Shire

I found this Accidental Counsellor Training course really informative and useful. It has given me some great strategies to try with my students.

Amy Boylan, Junee High School

Great presentation at the Accidental Counsellor Training. Thanks. The techniques have given me some great information on how to assist my students.
Ken Walkinshaw, Corowa High School

Great at the Accidental Counsellor Training to see how to approach things differently and confidently.
Belinda Chambers, St Francis College

The Accidental Counsellor Training will help improve current skills that I have developed and has helped me come up with new strategies.
Angela Hahn, Intereach

The Accidental Counsellor Training was truly enlightening. I will feel more confident when dealing with students and their issues.
Tracey Puntoriero, St Francis College

This Accidental Counsellor Training was probably the most useful and practical inservice that I have been to. Heaps of strategies and ideas that can be used every day. Something all teachers should go through and something I should have done years ago. Can’t wait to start tapping.

Maurice Woodman, Murray High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training worked looked at the positive approach to problem solving rather than the negatives.

Meredith Mackenzie, Corowa High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful outlining different approach to peers, students, parents, carers.

Toni Moore, Barellan Central School

In 2013 we will return to Albury to present the Accidental Counsellor Training on the 24th and 25th of June.

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Albury

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Corowa High School
  • Murray High School
  • Kyabram P-12 College
  • Colac Otway Shire
  • Junee High School
  • St Francis College
  • Intereach
  • Barellan Central School

Accidental Counsellor Training Canberra 2012

As soon as we pack up after the Albury training on the Tuesday afternoon we start the journey to Canberra.

In 2012, I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra on the 28th and 29th of June. I have to say that it is interesting presenting the Accidental Counsellor Training across Australia. I get to meet lots of people and to be honest the different locations and people at the training provide different experiences for me.  Some groups are more quiet than others and some groups ask more questions that others!

The group who attended the Accidental Counsellor Training in 2012 were fantastic!

The whole family loves the Canberra trip. It may be for different reasons. Anna and Kaiyen hit the shops and Kaiyen loves Questacon. I’d have to say that we all like some of the restaurants.

Kaiyen loves visiting Questacon on after the Accidental Counsellor Training Canberra
Visiting Parliament House after the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra

For the past two years the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra has filled very quickly. So for 2013 we have scheduled two Accidental Counsellor Workshops in Canberra. The first date will be on the 27th and 28th of June and the second Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra will be on the 25th and 26th of November.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

Thank you for the suggestions and techniques for dealing with Accidental Counsellor sessions. Some good strategies, particularly with discipline cases.

Jena Shaw, Monaro High School

Really enjoyed the two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training. Will be encouraging our school to line up some training.

Bobbie Dawson, Daramalan College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was a great course – so jam packed with useful information – charismatic, flowing presentation.

Vivian Martin, Canberra Girls’ Grammar School

I really appreciated your calm manner at the Accidental Counsellor Training – nothing was rushed. Plenty of time to cover each topic. You were flexible in your approach and responded to our needs.

Liza Laird, Merici College

Thank you for the two days of training at the Accidental Counsellor Training. I have some practical skills to take away and try, and my interest in the field of psychology is once again fuelled! Now I want to do more! Thanks so much.

Sarahan van Kimmenade, Campbell Primary School

Thank you – I will really try to implement these ideas from the Accidental Counsellor Training.

Colleen Kain, St Mary Mackillop College

This Accidental Counsellor Training course was an excellent workshop that provided a practical and effective ‘solution focused’ way of dealing with student issues. I am looking forward to trying some of these techniques when working with students to make a change to the current situation.

Ben Antoniak, St Mary Mackillop College

I would highly recommend this Accidental Counsellor Training. It provides practical strategies – another way of helping my students (and myself!). Thanks.
Anne Ellis, Canberra Girls’ Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was a fantastic workshop. Great strategies to use when working with students.  Great to have different ways in working with students to uncover issues.
Emma Whiting, Karabar High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very practical and the situations covered were very authentic.
Julie Schofield, Trinity Christian School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Penrith

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Monaro High School
  • Daramalan College
  • Canberra Girls’ Grammar School
  • Merici College
  • Campbell Primary School
  • St Mary Mackillop College
  • Karabar High School
  • Trinity Christian School

Accidental Counsellor Training Queensland 2012

For the past two years I have presented the Accidental Counsellor Training at Logan Diggers around 20 minutes from Brisbane.

As you can imagine we schedule the Brisbane trip to coincide with the NSW school holidays and we enjoy visiting the theme parks.

Here are some photos of us at the theme parks.

    

 

 

When I have presented the Accidental Counselling Workshops in Brisbane during the past two years many attendees ask if I will present this training further north in Queensland. So I’m happy to announce that in 2013 the Accidental Counsellor Training in Queensland will be on the following dates and locations:

  1. Logan Diggers 11th and 12th July
  2. Rockhampton 29th and 30th of August
  3. Caloundra 24th and 25th of October

 

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Queensland 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

I found this Accidental Counsellor Training one of the most useful professional developments I have been on. There is so much of this I will take back to my school.

Anita Ramsay, Coomera Anglican College

‘The Accidental Counsellor’ was engaging and very practical. I feel confident I will be able to work with students in a more supportive and effective manner.

Michelle Davidson, Loreto College

This is one of the most useful PD sessions I have ever experienced. As a Year Level Co-ordinator, I am often an ‘Accidental Counsellor’ but instead of “hoping for the best” I now have a practical “bag of tricks” that I am excited about practising.

Claire Stevens, The Gap High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided practical strategies to use back at school. Great opportunity to practise in a supportive environment.

Katrina Lyon, Coomera Anglican College

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training relevant to my position/duties.

Tiffany Dixon, St Mary’s Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave me a different way of looking at kids and how to deal with them and not force my solutions on them. I could observe Rocky all day.

Robyn Harm, St Joseph’s Primary School

Although challenging, I found this Accidental Counsellor training to be engaging and enjoyable. The workshop gave me new strategies to ask questions without judgement or trying to predict outcome.

Rexina Harding, St Paul’s School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was thoroughly beneficial, enjoyable, knowledgeable and practical. Overall an excellent uplifting two days.

Patricia Trebbin, St Joseph’s College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful with practical strategies backed up with sound research.

Paul Staines, Citipointe Christian College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very helpful. Very engaging, relevant to situations faced at work, dynamic.

Lakshmi Mohan, Clayfield College

The Accidental Counsellor Training helped me construct better meetings with students and parents.

Sharon McHugo, St John’s Anglican College

The Accidental Counsellor Training has provided me with some extra tools and strategies to use with students and parents.

Kelly Allgood, St John’s Anglican College

The group work at the Accidental Counsellor Training gave more opportunity to remember and learn from our own experience how to deal with various scenarios.

Jo Palmer, Emmanuel College

Thank you for facilitating today’s session of the Accidental Counsellor Training in such an interesting and clear manner. I enjoyed how practical the session were and Rocky was so articulate, flexible and his expertise was very helpful.

Helen Heckenberg

I would also like to thank you for the excellent workshop which you provided in Brisbane recently. I have made use of these newly developed skills with my son, my husband and several students at school already. I can honestly say that in the last week, I have used the reflective listening technique everyday, I have asked a scaling question twice and a miracle question once.
In talking to our counsellor, she was very impressed by the array of questioning techniques that are now part of my daily repertoire. I can’t claim to be in control all the time, but it has certainly made a big difference to the way I listen and respond to people’s situations.

Katrina

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Penrith

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  • Anglican College
  • Loreto College
  • The Gap High School
  • St Mary’s Primary School
  • St Joseph’s Primary School
  • St Paul’s School
  • St Joseph’s College
  • Citipointe Christian College
  • Clayfield College
  • St John’s Anglican College
  • Emmanuel College

Accidental Counsellor Training Coffs Harbour 2012

On our way back from the the Brisbane training we ran the Accidental Counsellor Training at Coffs Harbour.

Why run the Accidental Counsellor Training in Coffs Harbour?

  1. Previously the Accidental Counsellor Training was held in Newcastle and Tweed Heads on the North Coast of NSW. Many people requested something in between.
  2. My sister and her husband and two boys live in Sawtell – a short drive to Coffs Harbour

We loved our stay at Sawtell, catching up with family and walking on the beach in the morning before I presented the workshop.

Here is a photo of the beach on my morning walk.

Here are some of the testimonials from the Accidental Counsellor Training in Coffs Harbour

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided great practical strategies – liked the role plays.

Donna Kouwenhoven, Chatham High School

Real solutions to real problems were presented at the Accidental Counsellor Training. Wonderfully presented.

Chris Browne, Coffs Harbour High School

At the Accidental Counsellor Training I learnt better ways to establish empathy and connection with the client through building rapport.

Jacinta Gillespie, South Grafton High School

Thank you for the excellent Accidental Counsellor Training. It has made me think differently. For example, have time for myself so I can help students more effectively.

Anna Carle, South Grafton High School

All the ideas at the Accidental Counsellor Training are highly functional and I don’t feel overwhelmed I just need to readjust my thinking – not easy but not impossible! So thank you very much and I will be helping my colleagues understand what I have learnedover the two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Jo Grady, Clarence Valley Anglican School

This Accidental Counsellor Training will guide my counselling sessions in the future. Thank you.

Lisa Schuler-Glase, Camden Haven High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very useful, inspiring.

Rohan Kallmier, Melville High School

Well done Rocky – this Accidental Counsellor Training course was a good all round workshop. I will be able to use some of this stuff myself.

Roxanne Ruprecht, Camden Haven High School

Through doing this Accidental Counsellor Training course I have changed my way of helping students help themselves. As I knew about students owning solutions but didn’t know how to implement. Role Play strategies gave me the opportunity to practice the skills of the course. Very helpful indeed.

Elizabeth Lloyd-James, Camden Haven High School

An amazing leap into the challenging but possibility-filled reality of incidental counselling. Thanks heaps.

Kempsey Adventist School

Great to learn at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop alternative ways to dealing with issues, rather than just by the textbook and having to follow the rules.

Estelle Foord, Wollumbin High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training presented different ideas, methods, and practical ways of using them.

Greg Moss, Camden Haven High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was great. You can never have enough information / skills to create happier children / parents and teachers in life.

Paula Window, Chillingham Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training contained helpful insights and understanding of helping students and how to approach them with more skills. You’ll find it harder to be an effective year advisor without this Accidental Counsellor Training course.

David Jacobs, Westport High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Penrith

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  • Chatham High School
  • Coffs Harbour High School
  • South Grafton High School
  • Clarence Valley Anglican School
  • Camden Haven High School
  • Melville High School
  • Kempsey Adventist School
  • Wollumbin High School
  • Chillingham Primary School
  • Westport High School

Accidental Counsellor Training St George Leagues 2012

Here are some of the testimonials from the Accidental Counsellor Training at St George Leagues Club

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

Unlike many 2 day courses that leave you questioning whether or not you should have taken time out of work to attend, the 2 day Accidental Counsellor course certainly proved to be an exception to this. Rocky, a charismatic and knowledgeable facilitator, managed to really capture the course attendees with his stories and presentation style.

The structure of the 2 days encompassed a myriad of visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic activities and a steady, but focused pace. As a novice in the world of counselling, I found the course particularly helpful. The balance of theory and practice, the incorporation of a range of activities, and the enthusiasm of the facilitator ensured that the experience was memorable for all the right reasons. Thank you Rocky.

Janine Parkinson, MTC Work Solutions

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very worthwhile. Great strategies relevant to my situations.

Kym Ellis, Kogarah High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was an extremely informative and resourceful course.

Kate Mulligan, Concord High School

Since the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop I feel better advised and confident with strategies to apply for my students.

Angelina Bova, GRC Penshurst

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided helpful information, presented in a personable way and equipped me with skills to deal with delicate situations for which I have no formal qualifications.

Tania Oxley, Randwick Girls High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was the most meaningful professional development I have attended in my six years of teaching.

Fay Prevezanos, Fairvale High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a great teacher training day.

Alex Osborn, Alesco Learning Centre

Since completing the Accidental Counsellor Training I feel more confident in dealing with students as I now know I can help them to deal with their issues.

Hanadi Barsoum, GRC Penshurst

To date, this Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was the most useful course I have taken as a teacher as it is well scaffolded, not overly crammed with statistics and pedagogy that has no real world connection. This was 100% applicable to today’s classroom.
Amanda Hodgson, Sydney Secondary College Balmain Campus

The Accidental Counsellor Training course had practical application of worthwhile and well researched theory.
Karryn Jenkins, Fairvale High School

So glad I attended the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop. It was fantastic!
Paula Stuart, Gymea Technology High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in St George Leagues

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  • Kogarah High School
  • GRC Penshurst
  • Randwick Girls High School
  • Fairvale High School
  • Alesco Learning Centre
  • Concord High School
  • Sydney Secondary College Balmain Campus
  • Gymea Technology High School

Accidental Counsellor Training Victoria 2012

The whole family loves the time when we go to Victoria to present the Accidental Counsellor training because we see family we love and care for.

This year (2012) I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dandenong on the 16th and 17th of April and Geelong on the 19th and 20th of April.

Anna’s birthday was on the 16th so we took the opportunity to go out and have a meal together.

Here are some testimonials from attendees at the Geelong Training

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful. The material has relevance to what I do. Pacing of delivery was great.

Adele Ryan, Ballarat Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training will allow me now to ask the appropriate questions that will invoke a positive reply.

Merilyne Johnson, Warrnambool School

I found the sequencing ways to unpack problems – identify them etc useful at the Accidental Counsellor Training.

John Collins, Preshil School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very useful. Has given me some excellent skills to start practicing and applying.

Victor Toufas, Preshil School

I learnt great skills at the Accidental Counsellor Training that will get used every day. The Accidental Counsellor Training was highly relevant to running a boarding house and will be extremely valuable for every day use.

Lyndal Runge, Ballarat Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was much appreciated. Really useful stuff!

Tony Costa, Christian College Geelong


The Accidental Counsellor Training provided strategies to approach difficult situations. Really enjoyed the workshop.
Jennifer Hassett, Rollins Primary School

Good clear instruction on skills to build student control/focus in the interview/chat situation were provided at the Accidental Counsellor Training.
Lynette Lanman, Warrnambool School

Thanks Rocky, this is one of the most useful and interesting P.D’s that I have done.  I now have some different ideas on how to pose questions to students.
David Stanley, Laverton College P-12

Here are some testimonials from attendees at the Dandenong Training

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

This Accidental Counsellor Training was the most useful inservice I have been on – questioning techniques on how to ask open questions so the parent/student teachers answer their own problems.

Julie Crees, Flinders Christian Community College

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training very useful! It was clear and easy to understand.

Peggy Kruse, Beaconhills College

Thank you. The Accidental Counsellor Training was a great help. Great to implement in my job.

Chris Monos, Aitken College

Thank you. I truly enjoyed these two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training. The strategies, confidence in knowing what to do or say were most useful.

Kaisu Tonkyra, Erasmus School

I found the strategies presented at the Accidental Counsellor Training well suited to a school situation. I would recommend this training to anyone working in the helping professions.

Debbie Nugent, Wooranna Park Primary School
In 2013, we will run the trainings again at Geelong and Frankston

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Victoria

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Ballarat Grammar School
  • Warrnambool School
  • Preshil School
  • Christian College Geelong
  • Rollins Primary School
  • Laverton College P-12
  • Flinders Christian Community College
  • Beaconhills College
  • Erasmus School
  • Wooranna Park Primary School
  • Aitken College

The Accidental Counsellor Training Dubbo 2012

The Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo is always a favourite time for the family. This year we visited the Dubbo Zoo (which is fantastic)! and the Old Dubbo Gaol. My daughter found it a little spooky though.

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Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training was extremely relevant and practical. A very worthwhile course which I will definitely use in the future.

Karen Parkinson, Dubbo Public School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was excellent and thought provoking. Can’t wait to put into practise!

Diane Simpson, Parkes East Public School

I loved the Accidental Counsellor Training. It was very engaging. Learnt lots of new things. Thank you!

Michelle Wallace, Parkes East Public School

This Accidental Counsellor Training gives you a process to follow and how you ask your questions.

William Ward, Walgett Community College High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was fantastic. Best workshop I have attended in a long while that all information was relevant.

Marissa Gibbs, Walgett Community College High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided me with a direction to go when students tell me the unexpected. Thank you.

Leisa Rowlands, Trundle Central School

Rocky talks from experience and relates to participants. The Accidental Counsellor Training was relevant to what is happening in our schools.

Anthony Le Couteur, Kinross Wolaroi School

These two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training have been informative and applicable to the very situations I find myself in when attempting to assist students. I’ve left with ideas that I’m keen to adopt and utilise.

Philip Worrad, Kinross Wolaroi School

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided great use of examples and in depth responses to questions. I felt like I was interested and concentrating the entire time.

Ashleigh Hiskens, Kinross Wolaroi School

I think this Accidental Counsellor Training should be a course that is run as a compulsory training for all teachers. I learnt a great deal. Thanks Rocky, your workshop has definitely given me many ideas to take back to my school.

Liana Leigo, Dubbo School of Distance Education

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo

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  • Dubbo Public School
  • Parkes East Public School
  • Walgett Community College High School
  • Trundle Central School
  • Kinross Wolaroi School
  • Dubbo School of Distance Education

The Accidental Counsellor Training Liverpool – May 2012

The following are a sample of testimonials received during the Accidental Counsellor Training Course in Liverpool in May 2012

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave me so many strategies to help me in my role as year advisor. The role plays were very helpful.

Emily Shumack, Inaburra School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a beneficial introduction to anyone in a welfare role, or even those who want to communicate better with the youth of today. The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop opened up new techniques and possibilities to implement positive changes with my year 7 cohort. The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was one of the best professional development courses I have done in a long time.

Helen Alalikin, Fairvale High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was highly practical with enough theory to “understand” the process. This Accidental Counsellor workshop was an excellent presentation with outstanding content.

Brad Milburn, William Carey Christian School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was excellent and very informative.

Julia Morales, Leumeah High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided reinforcing and supporting sessions that guide the “learner” to improve their confidence with this important area.

Christine Meharg, Mount Carmel High School

New ideas/approaches to dealing with students and the issues they are dealing with were presented at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Kim Foo, Fairvale High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very very useful with lots of practical advice – a totally new way of dealing with kids.

Amy Child, Robert Townson High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave clear steps to find solutions and was definitely worth attending. The Accidental Counsellor workshop gave excellent practical strategies to use that were relevant and wholistic.
Practical and realistic questioning to assist our students to move forward were provided at this Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.
Thank you so much – the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was fantastic! One of the best professional development opportunities I have experienced.

Jonathan Hull, Fairvale High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training Newcastle – May 2012

27 teachers attended the Accidental Counsellor Training in Newcastle on the 21st and 22nd of May 2012.

I always love the reaction teachers have after they role play the skills I present at the Accidental Counsellor Training. Often, it is “WOW! It is much harder than what it looks”. Often, the experiential nature of the training reaffirms what teachers do well and also what they can improve.

Here are some photos and testimonials from the training.

Accidental Counsellor Training Newcastle – May 2012

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Newcastle 2012.

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was an eye-opener in how to establish and deliver approaches.

Helen Michael, Glendale Technology High School

Thank you for the Accidental Counsellor Training course. There are strategies I will certainly try.

Blake Berczelly, Central Coast Grammar School

I feel I have been provided with ‘practical’ strategies from this insightful Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Jodi Clements, Central Coast Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor workshop is a must for those working in welfare with kids. It gives you the tools to move forward positively with kids who are struggling

Anne Reed, Central Coast Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a good learning experience with new techniques learnt.

Glen Power, Narara Valley High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave me skills and strategies to not necessarily fix the student’s problems but to give them the chance to talk about their concerns and how they can cope better with their pain/emotion.

Carla Mackay, Newcastle Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was really enjoyable and useful. I feel empowered as the strategies are very practical and am looking forward to developing the techniques. Also very aware that the Accidental Counsellor workshop strategies are applicable to personal and family relationships – very useful!

Anna Roberts, Newcastle Grammar School

The process of empathising, without judgement, really acknowledging the client’s pain, was extremely beneficial as presented at The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop. The concept of focus on identifying solutions, not fixing the problems was most useful.

Mick Lee, Hunter River High School

The demonstration on how to allow ‘clients’ to work out their problem/solution themselves was a most useful aspect of the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop

Karen Bramble, Hunter River High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very rewarding and informative. I feel challenged but with the confidence to implement some positive changes of approach to my counselling role.

Lindsey McMaster, Central Coast Grammar School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very informative. I’m looking forward to implementing these strategies back at school.

Alison Pope-Moore, Central Coast Grammar School

Thank you so much for a re-energising and challenging few days at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop that will help kids in need.

Lisa Hall, St Catherine’s Catholic College

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very informative. Looking forward to implementing it at school. Thanks for all of the new ideas! The Accidental Counsellor workshop provided the right kind of information I have been after for a long time.

Anonymous

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop is about empowering the client with decision making, through empathetic questioning.

Trudy Quartermain, Belmont High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Newcastle.

  • Glendale Technology High School
  • Central Coast Grammar School
  • Narara Valley High School
  • Newcastle Grammar School
  • Hunter River High School
  • St Catherine’s Catholic College
  • Belmont High School
[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

What if the problem is not the problem?

I was asked to present a workshop on Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) last Sunday to a small group of dedicated “tappers”! Thanks Su-Yin!

I presented the history of energy healing and the development of TFT, to EFT and how Steve Wells and Dr David Lake adapted this amazing tools to create simple energy techniques (SET) and provocative energy technique (PET).

In addition I showed how Byron Katie’s “The Work” a simple 4 question process that questions and challenges our stressful thoughts can be integrated with the new energy psychology tapping methods.

The key and title of the workshop is, “What if the Problem is not the Problem?”

The reason I gave this training this name is because in my own life and in my clinical counselling practice I often see that what is the presenting problem is not really the problem!

OK, what do I mean!

 

Here are some issues:

Fear of Public Speaking, snakes, spiders, panic attacks when driving, being in shopping centers, etc.

It seems that the problem is as stated above. However, it is not public speaking but how public speaking makes us feel, that is the problem!

Isn’t this the “hidden” problem behind all our issues, complaints, gripes, trauma, anxiety , fear, panic etc. etc.

This is where the New Energy Treatments such as EFT and SET are invaluable. The underlying principle is that the cause of all Negative Emotion is a disruption in the body’s energy system. Tapping on different pressure points activated the meridian energy centers in our bodies and assists the energy from the emotion to move through us.

To find out more about this workshop and EFT and SET go to www.humanconnections.com.au or check out these resources.

Connect and Influence without Burning Out
Accidental Counsellor Training