Category Archives: Anxiety Disorder

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













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.

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)?

Simple Breathing Relaxation 简单呼吸放松

Here is a 5-minute recording of tension release breathing, just follow the instruction (breath in – hold your breath & notice the tension – breath out and release the tension). Hold your breath for as long as you are comfortable, and try to exhale slowly and gently. You can do this anytime anywhere, with eyes open or close.

5 mins breathing relaxation - Recording

这是个简单的五分钟紧张释放呼吸录音,只需要跟着指示(吸气 – 屏气并注意肌肉紧绷感 – 呼气)。只要不造成不适,屏气时间尽可能长;而呼气的时候尽可能缓慢轻柔。在任何时候任何地方都可以做,不闭眼也可以。

五分钟呼吸放松 – 录音

焦虑(Anxiety) VS 担忧 (Worry)


担忧或许可以算是焦虑的一种,尤其比如说你对生活中任何大小事情都有忧虑,那你可能是“广泛性焦虑障碍” (Generalised Anxiety Disorder, GAD),如果你特别担心自己的健康有些什么状况,不断在网络搜寻关于健康相关的资讯,不断进行不必要的体检,那你可能是”健康焦虑“(Health anxiety),等等。


  • 担忧更多时候发生在头脑里(以文字/语言的形式),焦虑则更多时候发生在身体里(心率上升、冒汗等);虽然焦虑也可以以认知的方式(包含文字/语言、意象/画面)呈现,但一般都会带来躯体的症状。
  • 担忧的事物一般更具体一些,焦虑的事物更含糊(或广泛)。
  • 担忧比较可能(但不一定)带来问题解决,焦虑则比较不会。
  • 担忧带来的是比较轻微的情绪困扰,焦虑可以使人无法正常生活和工作等。
  • 担忧的原因一般比较实际和具体。
  • 担忧一般持续的时候比较短,焦虑却可以长时间不断地存在着。
  • 担忧属于正常的心理现象,焦虑则往往需要心理或药物的治疗。


寻求关注 & 社交网站

记得大学时,在读到关于厌食症的时候,列在课本中的其中一个厌食症的原因是“寻求关注” (attention seeking)。当时候的第一个反应是,谁那么可怜,把自己弄这那样,就为了要别人的注意,要父母的照顾,要家人的陪伴(就算只是带她去看看医生而已)。毕业后的几年职业生涯中,我发现自己开始发现、并理解缺乏关注,正是引致很多心理问题的根源之一。


而缺乏归属感(sense of belonging),缺乏存在感的人,需要特别寻求别人的关注,可惜的是,我们给予任何一个人的注意力,似乎是与生俱来的,就像你看见一间餐厅,里头空无一人,其隔壁是个座无虚席的餐厅,你本能地会愿意走进隔壁这间… 我们给予别人的注意力,很多时候也是这样的,令人喜欢的人,越是令人喜欢,缺乏朋友的人,越是交不上新朋友。





所以这些寂寞、不快乐、缺乏归属感的人,可以是危险的,可能造成伤害或犯罪。当然这也包括美国的大规模射击(mass shooting)。网络的出现,让缺乏归属感的人可以轻易地、快速地获得成千上万、甚至全世界的关注。或许我们应该停止“奖励”这些犯罪行为,因为他们要的,正是大家的关注(行为强化理论来说,这就是奖励)。


不是在事故发生后,才去关注他们,这往往只强化了他们的不正常行为。而是在平时,放下手机、截断网络,面对面坐下,坦诚地交谈、关心彼此。或许这个文明病的处方,就是每天一小时,和你重视的人,get offline(离线)一起相处!