Do you have some bad habits, like nail-biting, hair-pulling, crossing legs, digging nose, thumb sucking etc?
During the year-end school holiday last year I saw a young boy who’s in primary school. The parents said he had so many habits that he can’t control himself with, including sucking his thumb, enlarging his nostrils, clenching his jaw, etc. Most of them are to do with facial muscles. He’s quite intelligent and performing well academically. However, he was warned and punished many times in class and during assembly due to his bad habits. So the parents decided to take him for professional help. His motivation to change wasn’t high initially, but it soon became clear that working on these bad habits are beneficial to him. Towards the end of the session, I also found that he has bruxism (teeth grinding), just like his mother. And the father thought that it’s in the genes.
We met for four sessions over three weeks, focusing mainly on habit reversal and muscle relaxation. Three months later when I checked with the father again, over 90% of his habits has disappeared, it’s no longer a problem. I’d have started hypnotherapy if he didn’t respond so well.
So, any bad habits, including thumb-sucking, nail-biting, smoking or over eating, and also teeth grinding while one’s sleeping can be target with basic habit reversal techniques plus muscle tension awareness in general. What’s important is actually the motivation, “are you willing to work on your problem?”
I came across Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in 2011 and fell in love with it almost immediately. Since then I have been practicing it on myself, then subsequently learning it from books, and started to incorporate it into my daily clinical practices.
Now I’ve also completed the course with Russ Harris. I’m wondering if there’s any ACT therapists in Malaysia out there, and if yes, please get in touch (my email: email@example.com, my mobile 017-2757813) and let’s form a Malaysian ACT community together!
- It stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, pronounced as “act” (one word)
- It’s a type of psychotherapy, not a long-term treatment
- 3rd wave of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
- It focuses on 6 processes, which can be combined into these:
- Being present
- Opening up
- Doing what matters
- As of late 2018, there are over 250 RCTs (randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of research) published in peer-reviewed journals, that show the effectiveness of ACT with many disorders, such as depression, anxiety, stress, OCD, chronic pain and psychosis.
Yes, since my post written in 2017, I’ve finally managed to organise the first meet-up for Support Group for Anxiety and related problems. It went really well and we were all very pleased to meet each other and made this happened together, despite our levels of anxiety! We will continue to meet monthly and welcome new members.
Meet-ups for Depression and other problems will follow soon…
If you’re interested, please fill in the google form here:
A few criteria to fulfill:
- You’ve been assessed or diagnosed with the problem you specified by a mental health professional (be it a psychiatrist or psychologist or GP or…).
- You’re attending and participating in this willingly, not being forced by others.
- You are able to arrange your own transport and pay for your expenses.
- You are able to pay a small fees for administrative/materials purpose.
- You demonstrate the ability to treat others non-judgmentally and with respect, and maintain confidentiality.
- In between our monthly meet-ups, we stay connected in Whatsapp group, however, you will only be able to join the group after first showing up in the meet-up.
To read more about it, please check out my previous post:
Support Groups in KL/Klang
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.
They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms –
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
- Victor E. Frankl
This is a quote from the book “Man’s search for meaning”, a book written by Viktor Frankl published in 1964, the author recorded his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
Just to, perhaps remind all of us that, even in the most difficult and challenging situation, there’s still one thing that we all possess – the freedom to choose. We might not be able to leave the situation, but we can choose how we’re reacting to the situation, how we are treating ourselves and those around us. And nobody can take this away from us.