How is your Psychological Health?

The above are some statements measuring level of emotional distress. They can serve as a guideline that something might start to go wrong in life.

It is a difficult time for almost everyone, whether it is the economy globally, crime rates in the country, personal financial issues or major life events, or day to day stress from work, family, relationships etc. We might not be able to change all these challenging situations, but we are able to change our perceptions to them, and improve our coping abilities and psychological resilience.

I am a psychologist specialised in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I am also trained in Problem Solving Therapy and Hypnotherapy. I help people to pick up the role of therapist for their own problems.

Feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me via hello@huibee.com or 017-2757813.

Mindfulness VS Meditation

“What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?”

One of the questions I was asked a few times, and this answer below is based on my practice and understanding.

There are two types of meditation, broadly speaking. One is with focused attention. So for example, when you focus on your breathing, a word, a prayer, the candle light, you let go of anything that comes into your attention, and keep redirecting your attention to the thing that you are focusing on. (One example of this type of meditation here).

Another type of meditation, is with widen attention (awareness). It’s like you are in a stadium when no game is being played. You watch the whole space. You watch your whole experience, like an observer, or like a third party, non-judging, and not reacting. You allow things to come and go.

This second type of meditation, is a mindfulness practice! The definition(s) of mindfulness generally includes being present, being aware, non-judgemental, and acceptance (not overly reactive). When you practice Leaves on the Stream, you are mindful of what’s going on in your mind. You can of course generalise this to your daily life, and be mindful of where you are, what you do, what you think/feel etc.

You can practice mindfulness anytime anywhere. Eating, drinking, working, typing, driving, exercising, walking mindfully (i.e. staying present, being aware of what you do, and being accepting). You can’t do all that while you meditate though.

Some people might meditate while they walk, run or swim. This can be with either first (focused, narrow attention) OR second type of meditation (broaden attention). With first, you might be saying “one, two, one, two, one, two…” in your mind, or noticing your breathing in and out. With second, you will be observing your whole experience, how your muscle move, what you see, hear, sense, how you feel etc.

I’d say both are meditation, but only the second one is being mindful. I hope I’ve made it clear?! Feel free to share your views!

Stuttering and Stammering

It gets quite uncommon nowadays to meet people who stutter. I used to see it a lot more on TV, and it’s not much presented nowadays. I wonder if people no longer suffer from this problem, or they just don’t get out there and socialise much (so we hardly get to meet them and talk to them). (It also seems that most children grow out of it anyway).

Till few months ago I received an email from a lady in her 20s. She said it was depression that she needs help for. At first, based on what she wrote, I was thinking she might be quite socially anxious. And towards the end, she casually mentioned that she also had stammering issues.

I, also, quite casually replied to her that if she’s keen, I can help her with her stammering issues, on top of her depression. Undeniably I was quite “eager” inside, I was thinking I finally might meet one whom I can put what I learnt into practice.

That was few months ago. Now she almost, no longer stutters. She told me sometimes she will still do it, deliberately, just because she was quite used to it (due to some techniques that I coached her to try), now it’s all under her control, she can do it or not based on her will (just like everyone of us?). She is a lot more confident than when I first saw her, a lot more socially active too. It wasn’t quite “depression”, hence her previous treatments (mainly medication) didn’t help her much.

I don’t think people generally seek help from psychologist for stuttering and stammering issues, but yes, psychotherapy will help, hypnotherapy too. So yes, please get in touch if you happen to be one or know someone who might need this probably-life-changing therapy.

 

Extra knowledge: Stuttering VS Stammering

Stuttering refers to the repetition of words or syllabus when one is speaking, while stammering is when one is unable to make out the sound while speaking.

#口吃 #结巴 #治疗 #催眠 #心理治疗

寻求安全行为

有一个部落相信,为了让太阳升起,部落里的每个人,每晚必须建立一个篝火,并围绕着它跳舞直到天亮。由于这种信念,部落每天花费大量时间收集木材并为夜晚篝火做准备(Wells,1997)。他们筋疲力尽。这种仪式已经占据了他们的生命,但他们无法阻止这一点,因为他们必须为整个世界确保第二天早上太阳再次升起。

寻求安全行为是一个人为了阻止恐惧灾难的事情发生所做的事情。但安全行为实际上使恐惧更加强烈,特别是以长远来说,人们没有机会发现其实灾难无论如何都不会发生。克服焦虑的过程,就包括有信心地放弃这些行为同时容忍焦虑。

一些临床病例

小艾伦认为,如果他打羽毛球,那他当晚就会失眠。所以他完全停止了他曾经最喜爱的羽毛球运动。

林女士患有惊恐发作和广场恐怖症,所以她在网上购物,不惜一切代价避开购物中心和拥挤的地方。现在她几乎没有太恐慌,但她的生活是如此有限,甚至已经许久没有和闺蜜见面聊天吃饭。

郭先生有社交焦虑。他尽可能避免社交互动和社交场合。即使他和别人说话,他也会避免眼神交流并保持简短的谈话。人们发现他无趣,冷漠和怪异。


所以,回到部落日出仪式。部落民族要怎么发现仪式是否真的让太阳升起?

小艾伦要怎么知道打羽毛球是否真的导致失眠?

林女士如何知道人群是否导致她的惊恐发作?她怎么能过更充实的生活?

郭先生如何知道避免社交互动和目光接触是否有助于解决他的问题?

(你可能会注意到,为了缓解他们在短时间内的焦虑,他们都已付出长远的巨大代价。“短期收益,长期痛苦”)


当我们“触摸木头”(touch wood)或在进入酒店房间之前做敲门之类的东西时,这些迷信似乎是我们人类的一部分。对于许多患有强迫症和焦虑症的人来说,识别他们的安全寻求行为非常重要,并且围绕它进行一些心理教育以使他们愿意放弃它们,或者测试放弃它们(行为实验)。

更重要的是,有些时候我们的治疗师会教他们某些应对技巧(例如腹式呼吸),并最终被用作寻求安全的行为 — “只要我专注于我的呼吸,我就不会惊恐发作并且不会在商场里晕倒。”因此,这些行为背后的意图(信念)很重要。你为什么这么做?它是一种应对(应对策略)的方式,以便您可以继续购物,或者你用它来预防您认为可能发生的灾难(安全寻求)?

This is a Chinese translated version of the post Safety Seeking Behaviour.

Stop it!!

A (very short) “counselling session” by the American stand up comedian and actor Bob Newhart. Do watch it!

I came across this video while learning thought stopping techniques. Seriously, sometimes I think this is simply and exactly what some people need.

Notice the thought and stop the thought, accept whatever you are feeling, focus on the present, use your sensation, pay attention to the external environment (as opposed to the internal), and do what you want to do!

Remember, only present exists! Everything else is only in your mind.

Also remember, you can’t stop the thoughts from popping up, but you can decide how you react to them!

介紹書:<親愛的,其實那不是愛>

這本書是蠻久以前在大眾書局買下的,一直放著沒看。到那天決定翻一翻,覺得其實也還蠻不錯的,適合一些處於不健康關係裏頭的人,學習如何識別和認清自己處於怎樣的關係,如何面對、一步一步走出所謂的偽愛關係,給自己療傷。

sunxuanhui

生活中不難發現處於這種關係的人(並不只是一種,作者蘇絢慧理出十二種),有時候因為孩子、有時候因為已付出的青春、有時候因為年紀、有時候因為家人或外界的看法等,而讓自己呆在不只是不快樂,而是甚至已經在一點一點腐蝕自己生命的關係裏……

如果心裡真的有許多的疑問和不確定,不妨看看這本書,又或許看完了,反而更確認自己現有的關係了呢!

Safety Seeking Behaviour

(This is my 200th post!! Well done, Hui Bee!! It’s been 4 years writing here.)

There is a tribe who believe that to make the sun rise, they have to build a bonfire each night and dance around it till dawn. Because of this belief, the tribe spends most of their time collecting wood and preparing for the night (Wells, 1997). They are exhausted. This ritual has taken over their lives, but they can’t stop this as they are obliged to make sure the sun rise again for the world the next morning.

A safety seeking behaviour is something a person does to stop a feared catastrophe from happening. But safety behaviours actually make the fear stronger especially in long-term by preventing the person from discovering that the disaster is not going to happen anyway. Overcoming anxiety involves having the confidence to tolerate that anxiety whilst dropping these behaviours.

Some clinical cases

Little Alan believes that if he plays badminton, he will not sleep at night. So he has completely stopped playing badminton that he used to enjoy.

Ms Stephy has panic attacks and agoraphobia, so she shops online, and avoids shopping malls and crowded places at all cost. Now she barely gets too panic, but her life is so limited.

Mr Patrick has social anxiety. He avoids social interactions and social situations whenever possible. Even when he speaks to others, he avoids eye contacts and keeps the conversation minimal. People find him uninteresting, aloof and weird.


So, back to the tribe sunrise ceremony. How would they discover that whether or not the ritual really makes the sun rises?

How would Little Alan know whether playing badminton really lead to insomnia?

How would Ms Stephy know whether the crowds lead to her panic attacks? How can she live a more fulfilling life?

How would Mr Patrick knows whether avoiding social interaction and eye contact help with his problems?

(You might notice that they all pay huge cost in long-term in order to ease their anxiety in short term. “Short term gain, long term pain”)


It seems that this is part of us human, when we do things like “touch wood” or knocking the door before entering the hotel room. For many with OCD and anxiety disorders, it is highly important to identify their safety seeking behaviour, and do some psychoeducation around it to make them willing to drop them, or test dropping them (behavioural experiment).

More importantly, there are also times when we therapists teach them certain coping skills (e.g. abdominal breathing), and it ends up being used as safety seeking behaviour “as long as I focus on my breathing, I will not get panic attack and faint here in the mall.” So, the intention (beliefs) behind these behaviours is important. Why do you do this? Is it as a way to cope (coping strategies), so that you can continue shopping, or is it as a way to avoid a disaster you think might happen (safety seeking)?