- Refocusing Skills: Notice that you’re distracted and refocus back to the present moments. Most of the traditional mindful breathing mindfulness exercises will help developing this refocusing skills. You can try the Benson’s method here.
- Observing Worries: If you happen to be in a private setting, try observing your thoughts. You can try leaves on the stream or the mind-train, being the observer of your experience and thought, realise that you have choice and control to not react. It requires some practice, and usually only possible to do it in private, not like when you’re in a social situation)
- Rapid Unhooking Skills (noticing, naming, refocusing) notice and name them “that’s my mind worrying” “that’s I’m not good enough story” “that’s something bad will happen story”, then refocus back to what you are doing.
- Acceptance of Physical Sensations: Quite often we are pulled to focus on thinking, worrying, being in our head, in order to run away from unwanted feelings and sensations in the body. Notice that you’re pulled into your head, then check feelings/sensations (e.g. sweaty palm, heavy chest, upset stomach, racing heart, numb fingers) in your body then try to allow those sensations.
- Use it as a trigger to reconnect with your values: if you’re worrying about your health, then obviously your health is important to you, decide how you want to treat your body, decide the behaviour to improve that, take actions, rather than just thinking about it over and over again.
- Reminder to practice Self-Compassions: life is difficult, a lot of challenges, obstacles and loss, acknowledge that it’s not easy and be there for myself, soothing yourself.
- Cue to start Problem Solving: Worry = fruitless problem solving. If it’s an important topic and a solvable matter, how about finding a time to sit down and properly solve it?
- 这不只是即时文字通讯，而是透过视频通话（我要看到你）。我早就听说过一些病人尝试通过电子邮件或即时文字通讯进行在线心理治疗，但通常效果不太好（尤其是问题相对严重的话）。反正我原本就为我的所有患者提供免费whatsapp / wechat支持。
所以是的，如果你在寻找线上心理治疗，或想讨论更好的想法，请联系 017-2757813 或 email@example.com。你也可以在这里留言。
I’ve been asked about this quite often in the past few months, and have done it a bit due to clients moving overseas and wanting to continue with her booster sessions. I have always had clients coming all the way from different parts of Johor, and a few from Sabah and Sarawak, just to see me (or sometimes with the psychiatrist drs in my clinic). These are people who have to spend time and costs travelling regularly. I understand it’s not always possible due to all sorts of constraints and logistic issues for many others.
So in this post today, I’d just like to make my opinions about it clearer.
- I’m happy to do psychotherapy online, ideally over Skype. I’ve done online lectures over Wechat as well.
- There is a clear preliminary: I’d like to see you at least once (ideally twice) in person first, for the assessment and hopefully some initial intervention. This is important for me as a therapist, to properly assess my clients and decide what’s best for them together.
- It’s not just instant messaging, I’d want to be able to see you live. I’ve long heard of others trying online psychotherapy that runs through emailing or instant messaging, but no, it doesn’t usually end well. And I offer free instant messaging (whatsapp/wechat) supports to all my patients and clients anyway.
So yes, if you’re interested, or have better ideas, do be in touch on 017-2757813 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave a comment below.
P.S. I’ll also be starting my practice and service in Johor Bahru or Batu Pahat from later this year (2019).
I generally try to avoid using the word “acceptance” in my everyday clinical work. I found that people can become resistant when I say “accept it”, normally when I follow it with “allow it to be, let it be, without struggling”, they immediately get it, or at least become more “accepting” to the idea of acceptance.
Acceptance is not wanting or liking. You accept how things are going for you, doesn’t mean you like or want things that way. I accept that my cat has to be put down due to lymphoma, doesn’t mean I like or want him to be put down. I accept the sadness that comes with the loss, doesn’t mean I like or want to be sad.
Acceptance is also not tolerating. They are very different, do you want people to accept you, or tolerate you?
Acceptance is more about allowing things to be that way, accommodating it without struggling (so much) with it. Normally it applies to things that you can’t change directly (external events which you have no control on, e.g. your cat has lymphoma; but also includes your internal thoughts and emotions, which you can’t simply chuck away like a piece of paper, e.g. sadness, fear, anxiety, thought of “I’m not good enough”).
Why does my mind keep thinking negatively?
Why is my mind always looking for problems and threats?
Why is my mind always warning me when I’m trying to step out of comfort zones, and making me worry a lot?
Why is my brain always predicting the worst?
Why am I always thinking about the painful memories?
Why am I so scared of rejection and not fitting in?
Why is my mind always comparing myself to others?
Why do I never feel enough or contented with what I already have, and wanting more more more?
Watch this cute animation by Dr Russ Harris that might answer your questions, from evolutionary terms:
Did you realise that what your mind does is completely normal and natural? It’s just trying to keep you safe!
Most researchers in the field agree that there are differences between fear and anxiety. Here are some of the key ones.
- Generally seen as a response to danger here and now.
- E.g. the dog is right in front of me, I’m scared.
- Orientation: Here and now
- Higher sympathetic arousal, higher level of fight or flight.
- Generally seen as a response to a predicted/anticipated threat.
- E.g. no actual dog here, but at the corner there might be a dog.
- The degree of sympathetic arousal is lower
Of course nobody likes feeling fear or anxiety, we all don’t want to have them. However, both fear and anxiety are not dangerous. They are completely normal and everyone experiences them.
Think about this: Are there times in your life where fear and/or anxiety have been useful/helpful in some ways? Where fear and/or anxiety saved you? Protected you? Motivated you?