Category Archives: Blog

Breathing in the stars

Breathing in the stars

Stars in the night sky - breathing in the stars, breathing out stress - a breathing technique by Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

Breathing in the stars and breathing out stress

A few years ago, one of my clients told me how he had adapted one of the breathing techniques I had given him. I loved it so much I immediately told everyone who came through my door. I had forgotten it until I saw this photo of the night sky.

It’s a lovely technique to calm your nervous system at night time. All you have to do is:

  1. Lie down on your back in your back yard (or your balcony, or gaze out of the window if it’s too cold).
  2. Make sure you are really comfortable.  That sense of comfort is what is going to let your nervous system know that you are OK to relax.  So use cushions, rugs, pillows, blankets.  Whatever you need to make a nest.
  3. Let your body sink down into your nest.  Yield to gravity.
  4. Allow your eyes to gaze up at the night sky.  
  5. Bring your awareness to your breath.
  6. Inhale the stars.
  7. Exhale any negativity, stress or tension.
  8. Repeat.

Thank you R 😉

For more breathing, movement and rest techniques, hop on over to the Resources page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Breathing in the stars was last modified: April 13th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Calming 4-7-8 breath

How to do the calming 4-7-8 breath technique

The calming 4-7-8 breath technique is an easy way to calm yourself down when you are feeling stressed out. The long, slow exhale is what calms your nervous system and takes you down into that lovely ‘rest and digest’ (parasympathetic) state. And it’s super easy….

Neon sign saying "and breathe" in front of green foliage.  Learn how to calm your nervous system with the 4-7-8 breath technique with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane.
Photo by Valeriia Bugaiova on Unsplash

How to do the calming 4-7-8 breath technique

  1. Make sure you are seated comfortably.
  2. Inhale for a count of 4.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  4. Exhale for a count of 8. 
  5. Repeat several times.
  6. Check-in with your body.  What physical sensations are you aware of? Do you feel different to before?

You can choose any numbers you like, as long as the holding and exhale are longer than the inhale. So for example, you may like to start off with 4-5-7.

For more breathing, movement and rest techniques, hop on over to the Resources page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Calming 4-7-8 breath was last modified: April 13th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Square breathing

Square breathing to calm the mind

Square breathing is one of the simplest breathing techniques I know to calm your nervous system, which will calm your mind and your body.  And the beauty of it is that you can do it literally anywhere!

Square window looking out over the city scape.  Learn the technique of 'Square breathing' with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

How to do square breathing

  1. Visualize the four sides of a square in your mind’s eye.   Or find a square shape in front of you. e.g. the window of the bus.
  2. Inhale as your mind travels along the first side of the square.  You may want to count slowly up to 5 of 6.  It can be any number, as long as you are focusing on slowing your breath down.
  3. Hold your breath as you travel along the next side. Again counting to 5 or 6.
  4. Exhale as you travel along the third side. Counting to 5 or 6 slowly.
  5. Hold your breath as you travel along the final side counting to 5 or 6 slowly.
  6. Start again.
  7. Do 3 or 4 sets.  Or as many as you feel like.
  8. Check-in with your body.  What physical sensations are you aware of?  Do you feel calmer than before? 

For more breathing, movement and rest techniques, hop on over to the Resources page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Square breathing was last modified: April 13th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Online therapy sessions

How to prepare for online therapy sessions with me

The benefits of online therapy sessions

The beauty of online therapy sessions is that you can be as far away from me as Tasmania, but still feel like you are just down the road.  And in times like these, the added bonus is that you can be as infectious as you like but not transmit the illness through the phone line. 

It’s also really convenient if you have limited time as it saves the drive time. And you don’t even have to leave your living room if you’re someone who doesn’t like to leave the house.

30 years of research show that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. If you are worried about the technology, give me a call and I’ll talk you through it.

During mentally testing times, keeping up your regular therapy sessions online is going to help.  We can talk about your fears, your anxiety and how isolation is impacting you. We can do breathing exercises and movement to help down-regulate your nervous system, shake off the tension and help you feel a lot more grounded and connected.

Laptop and trees - how to prepare for online therapy with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

I’ve been offering clients the option of online therapy sessions for several years.  I also see my own therapist online because she lives in New York, so I’m really used to this medium.

Here are the few short steps you need to do to prepare for online therapy with me:

Book an appointment

Image of online diary showing how to book an online therapy session with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

Book an appointment using my online diary.  Select “Online” and then select the date and time that suits you.   

You can also call/sms me on 0450 22 00 59 if prefer me to do it for you.

Download Zoom or Skype to your computer/laptop/tablet/phone

Zoom and Skype are free video conferencing software. Skype is a Microsoft product. Zoom works on both Microsoft and Apple.

You can download FREE versions of Skype and Zoom.  You just need to create an account.

For a computer go to either:  Zoom sign-up or Skype.

For a smartphone, you can find them both at the Google PlayStore or the Apple App Store.

The larger the screen the better

We can have a session using your phone if you don’t have access to a laptop/computer.  But the bigger the screen, the better you will be able to see me. 

If you’re using a phone, make sure you have books/shelves/window ledge or something you can lean it up against so you can have your hands free.

Tell me your Skype ID or the email you have used to sign up to Zoom

My Skype ID is:  sarah.tuckett.ipod  (don’t ask….. I set it up 10 years ago in a technophobic moment). I will send you a ‘Skype friend request’ prior to our meeting so that we are connected. 

For Zoom, please tell me the email address you want me to send your email invite to. I have the paid version of Zoom so that I can schedule our video calls in advance and send you an invite. It also means that I can hold multi-party calls with up to 100 participants.

At the time of your online therapy session

For Skype,  I will ‘call’ you at the appointment time.

For Zoom, I will send you an email invite prior to the session with the meeting link on it.  Click on the link to open up the ‘meeting’.   Type in the password and you’ll be let into the meeting.

The link will come through in the email with info like this. Click on the link I have highlighted below in purple font, and it will open up in Zoom meetings:

Find a quiet space

Make sure you are in a quiet space where you will not be interrupted.  The aim is to find a safe, confidential space for you to talk, just as if you were in my studio.  For that reason, make sure someone else is looking after the kids/pets and you will not be interrupted.  (Personal note. I find that cats are total drama queens as soon as you start a call and start wandering in front of the camera.)

Make sure there is space for you to stand up and lie down on the floor so that we can do breathwork and movement without you stubbing your toe or tripping over something. For this reason, sitting in your car is not ideal.

Bedrooms and living rooms are great.

Technical Issues

Help button on computer - if you need help setting up technology for your online therapy session with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

Make sure you have the volume up on your computer speakers.

Plugin your computer/phone so that it doesn’t shut off halfway through.

Ensure you check the microphone is working on your computer.  If you have trouble with this, use the headphones that are usually supplied with your smart phone (they usually have a microphone on them).

If technology fails us, then I will call you using my mobile and we can talk it through on the phone.

So that’s it. If you have any questions give me a call on 0450 22 00 59. I look forward to supporting you online during these tricky times.

Sarah x (virtual handshake/hug/elbow bump!)

One final request – please wear trousers! 😉

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Online therapy sessions was last modified: April 25th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Deep sleep reduces anxiety

Deep Sleep Reduces Anxiety Levels

When we have anxiety often one of the first things to suffer is our sleep.  It may be difficult for us to drop off to sleep: we ruminate, toss and turn.  Or maybe you have no problem dropping off, but wake suddenly at 3 am with an anxious thought and are then unable to return to sleep. However, the good news is that if we can improve your sleep quality, deep sleep reduces anxiety levels.

Woman sleeping deeply - deep sleep reduces anxiety, says Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Gregory Pappas on Unsplash

The not-so-good news

Research from UC Berkeley in the USA shows that one sleepless night can increase our anxiety levels up to a whopping 30%. 

The good news

They also found that deep sleep reduces our anxiety.  

Something as simple as getting better quality sleep could help reduce your anxiety levels. How awesome is that!

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Eti Ben Simon, postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley.

So when do we get deep sleep?

In each sleep cycle there are several phases to sleep (see the image below) and we go through these cycles approximately four times in an eight-hour period.  However, we only have two cycles of this deep sleep (stage 4) which has this anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) effect.

How do I get more deep sleep to reduce anxiety?

Try this simple Evening Mind Clearance technique as you lie in bed (3 mins)

There are 3 simple steps to this Evening Mind Clearance technique created by Siimon Reynolds. So as you lie down in bed preparing for sleep, we’ll use the power of positive thinking to reduce anxiety:

  1. Create a list in your head of things that you are grateful for.
  2. Forgive anyone who’s annoyed you today (or before).
  3. Visualise tomorrow going really well. Really picture your day ahead going swimmingly and having a great time. (I’m usually asleep before I get to this point, so my big tip is to turn the reading light off before you start this!)

Avoid alcohol to get more deep sleep

“Booo” I hear you say.  Sadly, although it might make you feel more relaxed initially, that glass of Rosé is a depressant and a sedative.  Sedation is not the same as sleep.  Alcohol lessens both REM and deep sleep.  Which means less of that protective anxiety-alleviating effect.

Avoid caffeine after 1pm

It’s a stimulant.  Preferably we want our body and mind to calm down in the afternoon and evening. 

Have a regular routine

Get up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends.

Give your body time to wind down in the evening. Favour gentle exercise and stretching in the evening. Avoid vigorous exercise before you need to go to sleep.

Keep your bedroom cool

Keep your bedroom cool. (Easier said than done in a Queensland summer.  TIP – wrap a freezer block in a towel if your ceiling fan isn’t cutting the mustard. )

Dim the lighting and reduce blue light exposure

Keep your lighting dim in the evenings to promote natural circadian rhythms. Especially avoid fluorescent lights because they inhibit the release of melatonin (which makes you want to sleep).

Avoid blue light from technology at least 2 hours before you go to sleep. The blue light affects the release of melatonin. Read more about blue light and sleep here.

And here are 12 more suggestions for calming your mind before you go to sleep.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20-minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively, call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Deep sleep reduces anxiety was last modified: January 15th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Why I get you to move and breathe in your session

Why I get you to move and breathe in your session: the neuroscience

Have you ever wondered why I invite you to move or breathe deeply in your session?  Have you questioned how it makes you feel better?  With my training in both body psychotherapy and dance-movement therapy (as well as the more conventional talking therapies), it makes perfect sense to me.  However, a new client said to me the other day “I thought I’d try something a bit woo woo” which made me chuckle inside.  So in order to dispel the woo woo “I’m going to have to science the sh** out of this” as Matt Damon’s character said in the Martian.  Read on to find out the neuroscience behind why I get you to move and breathe in your session:

Your brain experiences the world through your body

You experience the world around you via your body. Sound, images, sensations, smells via your sensory organs. Is it a threat? Or is it an opportunity?

When you feel anxiety or depression you feel physical symptoms in your body as well as thoughts and emotions.  Your body is responding to something in your environment, whether it is actually there in front of you, or just being thought about.  

For example, with anxiety you may feel a racing heart, the pressure in the centre of your chest, dizziness, and maybe even a separation from the rest of your body.  With depression you may feel a total lack of energy in your body and a desire to withdraw.

There is no separation between mind and body

Historically Western medicine has followed the philosophy that diseases of the mind are separate to diseases of the body.  This all started with French philosopher René Descarts in the mid 1600’s.  Eastern medicine takes a very different view and thankfully, 400 years later, we are now coming around to a more integrated view of the body and mind.  

What affects your body affects your mind.  And your thoughts and emotions affect how you hold your body. There is no separation between dis-ease of the mind and dis-ease of the body.

Your body remembers (not just your brain)

Photo of the back of a tattoo'd woman - we store our memories in our body as well as our mind - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Jake Davies on Unsplash

What we normally think of as memory (images, facts, figures) is what scientist call our ‘explicit memory’ and is dependent on written or oral language.  But there is another kind of memory, the implicit memory which is unconscious. For example, remembering how to ride a bike (you don’t consciously get on and thinking to yourself, I put my right foot here and my left foot here and push… you just get on and do it automatically). 

Both the explicit and implicit memory are intricately linked to our sensory nervous system. How you stand, what you are touching, what you can smell, hear or see.  So by changing how you stand and what you are doing with your body we might invoke old memories to surface from your subconscious.

Your somatic nervous system and the soft tissues of your body are like a storehouse of the history of your life.

We are creatures of habit and what we do every day becomes our reality

Your body ‘braces’ in preparation for a perceived threat and that over time this bracing becomes habitual.  Unconscious muscular contraction occurs over time and becomes a habitual, adaptive pattern in the body, leading to altered posture and movement. 

Young man in collapsed, depressed posture

By bringing awareness to posture and creating a movement that differs from the habitual patterns, we can help bring to consciousness any unconscious beliefs and withheld feelings, and start to lessen the contraction of your muscles.

Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

To change your mind we need to move your body

To understand WHY you feel like you do we’ll be using the newest part of your brain (in evolutionary terms), the prefrontal cortex.  We’ll talk and use mindfulness techniques.

But to make a CHANGE we need to engage both your mid-brain, the limbic system (which controls instinct and the basic emotions (pleasure, anger, fear) and drives (hunger, caring, sex, dominance), plus your brain stem (movement, breathing, touch).

We recalibrate your nervous system from the bottom up. To do that we use movement, breathing, music, vocal and physical expression. 

Image of the triune brain - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

Top-down regulation involves strengthening the capacity of the watchtower (medial prefrontal cortex) to monitor your body’s sensations.  Mindfulness meditation and yoga can help with this.  Bottom-up regulation involves recalibrating the autonomic nervous system, (which as we have seen, originates in the brain stem).  We can access the ANS through breath, movement or touch.”  Bessel van der Kolk in ‘The Body Keeps the Score’.

Emotions are ‘felt’ in the body

It’s not just anxiety or depression that are felt in the body. All emotions are felt in the body. Scientists Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari Hietanen at Aalto University in Finland have mapped where people feel emotions in their body:

Image showing where emotions are located in the body - results of research from Aalto University in Finland

Each emotion has a physical expression in the body

Did you know that each emotion has a posture or a gesture?  Neurologist Antonio Damasio explains that each emotion has specific movements in the body:

  • Externally visible movements e.g. in your body or facial muscles
  • Internal movements of organs e.g. your heart racing
  • Molecules in your body e.g. adrenalin released

Your body reacts to triggers in its environment unconsciously based on past experience, genes, and cultural factors.

We can use different postures or gestures to help you feel different emotions

Happy ladies holding hands in a field of flowers
Photo by Tuấn Trương on Unsplash

If you’re feeling confused about what you are feeling, we can check into your body posture or gestures to help you understand.

But we can also change what you are feeling by altering your posture or movement. (Read the science behind this here).

Think of how you would hold your body if you were angry.  You might stand and shake your fists, screwing up your face.   Do you think it is possible to feel joy whilst you are in that posture?  Try it!  

What about if you stood with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, hands-on-hips, chest puffed out – the wonder woman/power posture.  Could you feel week and powerless in that stance?

Check out this 30-second video of Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy explaining why standing in wonder woman pose for 2 minutes could change the way you feel:

Neuroscience tells us that by moving differently we can explore different emotions

Exploration and practice of new and unfamiliar motor patterns can help the client to experience new unaccustomed feelings.”  Tal Shafir “Using Movement to Regulate Emotion: Neurophysiological findings and their application in Psychotherapy”, Frontiers in Psychology 2016.

Just by changing your movement out of the habitual, it will allow previously withheld information to surface from your implicit or explicit memory. 

Movement helps you to explore your inner reality. We find the authenticity of ourselves through movement: a sense of moving ourselves and being moved by the unconscious. 

By increasing the range of movement in your body we increase the range of psychological or emotional possibilities in your life.

So there you have it….

I’ve explained the neuroscience behind why I get you to move and breathe in your session, but we’re all unique beings and there’s a lot we still don’t know or understand about the body and the mind.  So maybe there’s a bit of woo woo in there anyway!

If you would like to learn more about the science behind what I do, I would suggest these books as a starter:

If you are interested in delving deeper into this I would recommend:

The Body Remembers” by Babette Rothschild   

The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk M.D   

Healing Trauma: a pioneering program for restoring the wisdom of your body” by Peter Levine PhD  

 

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Why I get you to move and breathe in your session was last modified: October 28th, 2019 by Sarah Tuckett

How to build emotional resilience

How to build emotional resilience and bolster self-esteem

Do you make an effort to look after your emotional resilience? Do you stand up for what you need?  Or do you prioritize your physical health, work or other people’s needs instead? Neuroscience tells us that emotional wounds such as failure, criticism, and loneliness cause us pain in the same way as physical wounds because the same parts of our brain light up.  So why do we look after our teeth better than our psychological health?  What can we do to bolster our self-esteem and build emotional resilience?

Woman floating in mid air against yellow painted background - learn how to build emotional resilience with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

1. Do something about loneliness

Social isolation is one of the biggest predictors of depression. Loneliness even affects our physical health (blood pressure, cardiovascular health, life expectancy and more). (Find out more here..)

Loneliness is not exclusive to the singletons out there. You can be equally lonely in a marriage or a family.  Loneliness is subjective and depends on how disconnected you feel from your environment.

Just reach out to someone” you might say, but loneliness is tricky emotion.  Loneliness distorts our perception of our relationships, making us afraid to reach out because we believe that the people around us don’t care about us.

So what can you do to fortify your emotional resilience?  Think of a time when you felt really connected to someone/people and then contact those people.  It will take courage and vulnerability to do so, but it might just disconfirm your thoughts that those people don’t care about you.  

Increasing the amount of contact you have with other humans is also going to help. In December 2015, I left my corporate job working in a buzzing office of 1000 people to start my private psychotherapy practice working from home.  I remember a colleague had warned me how she had become depressed in her first year of private practice, but I arrogantly thought “that won’t happen to me.”  But it did.  The social isolation of working from home impacted my self-esteem and my mood.  Initially I felt guilty for taking time out of the working day to join exercises classes or catch up for a coffee with mates, but I quickly realised how vital those activities and social contact were to my emotional wellbeing.  Now I have a regular schedule of yoga, Pilates, and social events that bolster my emotional resilience.

Here are some other tips for overcoming loneliness.

 

2. Flip the way you view failure

Dropped ice-cream.  Learn how to deal with failures and build emotional resilience with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Thomas Edison famously said: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.

If he had given in to negative beliefs around failure, I would be sat here typing this in the dark.

When we fail, we usually fall back into a default pattern of thinking “oh well that just shows I’m not good enough… I should probably never try that again”.  One big failure could be enough to stop us trying that thing ever again. 

Like loneliness, failure distorts our perceptions and triggers our negative beliefs. We can spiral into a failure tornado of negative thoughts. So how do we stop this familiar pattern?

Remember how your mum kissing your grazed knee better made you feel better when you were young?  One way to break the hold of the failure belief tornado is to reach out and connect with a trusted friend or family member.  Someone you value and care about. Someone who is going to listen to you, show you empathy and compassion, and help you soothe that wounded part of you. 

Being heard or seen in your time need, feeling compassion and connection from another human being can help downgrade your tornado of negativity into a minor shower.  Trust me, it works. I fail all the time, quite publicly sometimes.  And it hurts.  However, talking to my favorite people stops me from drowning in shame and re-builds my emotional resilience.   

3. Change your filter for criticism

Proud young woman sticking out her chin - Learn how to deal with criticism and build emotional resilience with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy North Brisbane
Photo by Peter Sjo on Unsplash

Talking of shame, does criticism flood you with shame? Does it make you curl up into a ball and want to hide away from the world?  One negative voice can drown out 100 positive comments.  But do you ever stop to consider who the person is that is criticizing you?  Do you even value their opinion?  Are they even out there on the same playing field as you?  The internet has made it easy for people to criticize and even bully others, without even showing their face.  But do those negative voices belong to people you care about or respect?  Are they even putting themselves out there, showing up and doing what you’re doing? 

I’m a BIG fan of Brene Brown.  One of my favorite quotes is: “.. if you are not in the arena, and also getting your ass kicked, I am not interested in your feedback”.  

YES!  I bolster my self-esteem and emotional resilience by filtering out the noise, and only listening to criticism from my favorite people/tribe/squad, and those I respect. It takes practice and it still really stings, but I’m getting better at filtering out those that do not matter. And as with failure, I reach out to my nearest and dearest for compassion and connection and it helps lessen the sting.

4. Stand up for your needs

neon sign of human emotions on black background - learn how to stand up for your needs and build emotional resilience with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Alexis Fauve on Unsplash

How many times have your prioritized work over a social catchup or exercise class?  Do you skimp on sleep in order to look after others?  Has your list of dreams and needs become buried under a mountain of chores and other people’s desires? 

There are so many reasons why we might do this, most likely due to patterning in our childhood.  Perhaps we got the message that good girls/boys look after other people first.  Maybe there is the thought that we need to prioritize other people’s needs first so that they like us. So that we don’t get rejected or abandoned.  However, subjugating our own needs in deference to others is only going to make us resentful and maybe even ill, and dent our emotional resilience.

So what can you do?  Think about what you need in order to feel fulfilled, connected, have self-esteem and build emotional resilience.  Talk to a professional about why you feel unable to express those needs.  They will help you look into your beliefs and patterns of behaviour.  You never know, you may end up getting what you ask for!

Upcoming workshop – 14 September 2019 in Brisbane

If you want to look into your own beliefs and patterns around needs, join me for an experiential workshop on Saturday 14 September 2019 in Kelvin Grove, Inner North Brisbane.  Click here for more info or contact Sarah on 0450 22 00 59 or info@sarahtuckett.com.au.

Sarah

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

Read more about how body psychotherapy can help you go deeper and achieve more effective results from your therapy.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How to build emotional resilience was last modified: August 14th, 2019 by Sarah Tuckett

How many therapy sessions will I need?

How many therapy sessions will I need?

Most of my new clients ask me: “How many therapy sessions will I need?”  To which I usually reply:  “Somewhere between a few and many”.  It depends on whether you align with the ‘illness’ or ‘wellness’ model of therapy.  Hopefully, this article will answer your question:

Old wooden bridge through forest - Your therapy journey with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

It depends on your goals for therapy

Do you want help or support getting over one particular issue in your life, e.g. the break up a relationship, or perhaps to alleviate some unpleasant symptoms?  This is like going to see a doctor about an illness.  In this scenario, I would recommend just as many sessions as you need until you start to feel more stabilized or until your symptoms are reduced.  

But if you follow the ‘wellness’ model then your therapy is more like going to the gym. It is an ongoing work in progress. You go to therapy to work through things as they arise, develop deeper connections with those you care about, and generally improve your quality of life. 

We can look deeper into your core beliefs, the patterns of your relationships and your past. All of which unconsciously affects your life in the present day. 

It depends on how deeply you want to learn about yourself and the way you inhabit this world

Do you just want to put on an emotional band-aid? Or do you want to examine the wound, carefully treating it so that it will heal and cause less pain in your life?   Not everyone is ready to do this.  It takes courage, time and insight.  If you want to learn about the most fascinating subject on the planet  – yourself – then give me a call.

Negative thoughts, unhelpful beliefs, self-sabotaging patterns – these are all things that we can look into in long-term work.  But it’s not a quick fix. 

If you have grown into a way of ‘being’ or a pattern of behaving during the 20/30/40/50 years that you’ve been on this planet, then it’s unlikely we’ll be able to eradicate that in the click of my fingers. 

As it took time to create those patterns of thinking, so will it take time to undo them, learning new neural pathways, trying out new ways of behaving.

Some clients stay in treatment for six months, some for a few years because they find they get so much out of it.

I created the following image to help you understand how might feel after a certain amount of sessions.  The risk is that if you stop too soon, then you may lapse back into familiar (unhelpful) patterns when the next trigger occurs.  (But you can always come back and see me and work on your ‘stuff’ again.)

An illustration of the therapy journey - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

How frequently do I need therapy sessions? Weekly? Fortnightly?

I like to suggest that all new clients come to see me weekly for a few sessions, just so we can make some headway.  Especially so if they are in a crisis.   In the beginning, it’s all about getting to know each other so that I know and understand you, and you know and trust me and it helps if we keep some momentum going.   

After that initial phase, I prefer clients to attend fortnightly so that we continue to make progress.  You are learning a new skill, just like learning a new sport or musical instrument, so keeping a regular session is key to your progression.  If you would like to reserve the same time slot each week or fortnight please let me know and I can book it for you. But this depends on your personal circumstances. 

It depends on your personal circumstances

How many therapy sessions you have also depends on your circumstances:  your availability, your finances, your personal situation.

Sometimes people take a break and come back to me later when they have more time and money, or if they have another issue crop up that they need help with.  I’m always happy to see a familiar face return and hear what they’ve been up to.

How do I know when it’s time to end therapy?

When you think you’ve achieved all you wanted, tell me about it in your session and we can discuss a closure session so that you walk away feeling empowered and good about yourself.  (The opposite of how you would feel if you just walked away).

I’ve written a blog all about this very subject “How to end therapy well” (2 min read).

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How many therapy sessions will I need? was last modified: October 7th, 2019 by Sarah Tuckett

How to End Therapy Well

How to end therapy well

There will come a time when you know you want to end therapy.  Perhaps you want to pause for financial reasons.  Maybe you want to try something different.  But hopefully it is because we have helped you with the issue you came in with, you’re feeling better and we have given you some tools to go on with.  Either way, you’re faced with ending therapy. But how to bring it up with me?  Here’s my guide on how to end therapy well:

Time to end - how to end therapy well - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

Firstly, tell me you want to end therapy

Tell me your reasons why you want to end therapy

Firstly, tell me straight out that you think you want to end therapy and why.  You can be honest with me.  I want to know if we didn’t achieve your goals and you’re feeling frustrated, that way we can do something about it.   I also want to know if we DID achieve your goals and you are feeling much better about yourself – let’s celebrate that!

Give yourself time to work through any difficult feelings

Sometimes people want to end therapy when difficult feelings start coming up.  This is often a turning point for people. A chance to break free of negative patterns that have no longer been serving you, but you need a little helping hand to get through this.  So tell me what is going on for you and let me help you through this.

An opportunity to try out a different way of behaving with no risk

Depending on your prior experiences in relationships ending, and your attachment style, this may be challenging for you.  You may have feelings of anxiety come up, perhaps a worry of disappointing me or letting me down.  Perhaps you’d rather just ghost me and disappear into the ether, but that can bring up feelings of guilt and shame, and you don’t get to speak your piece.  However, I am not your friend/family member/partner – I am your therapist and this is a therapeutic contract. You get to try out a different way of relating to someone, in a neutral environment with no risk.

So let’s talk about a way to end therapy well so that both parties can walk away with clarity and feeling positive about the situation.

Decide on a potential end date and plan a closure session

Plan a closure session

Let’s plan a session (or maybe two depending on how long we have been working together). You get the chance to explore why you are leaving and feel good about leaving.  You get a chance to speak up for yourself.

An opportunity to bring up any negative feelings

If you have negative feelings towards either me or the therapy we have been doing, you get the chance to air those feelings and be really heard.  If you are not happy, I want to know.  How many times outside of therapy do you get the chance to bring forward negative feelings to the other party in such an empowered way?

Review your progress and celebrate your growth

Equally, we can talk about the progress you have made, how your life has been positively affected and how you feel you have changed.  Sometimes people appreciate the growth so much that they decide to stay or come back.  We may have given you tools to reduce your initial issue, but are there other things you want to work on?

How this benefits you

An opportunity for healthy closure

Most relationships often end with a rupture of some kind. Something has gone badly wrong and either one or both parties decide to withdraw.  Sometimes both parties will be aware, but other times it will be a one-sided breakup with one party unaware of what they have done wrong. This is painful and can cause significant emotional distress.

(If you are reading this and you want to talk about relationship issues – have a look at how I might be able to help you)

Learning an empowered, positive way to end a relationship

This is your chance to change that pattern, getting closure.  Taking the opportunity to end therapy well, leaving you feeling positive and empowered.  This may be your first experience of a healthy closure.  A clean, healthy goodbye.  Learning a skill that you can then take out into your other relationships when needed.

Leave feeling good about yourself

So don’t be afraid to tell me that you want to end therapy.  This could be a positive experience for you if you get to end therapy well.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Movie ending screen in old retro cinema, view from audience - learning how to end therapy well - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
How to End Therapy Well was last modified: May 9th, 2019 by Sarah Tuckett

The Impact of Music on the Nervous System and Mental Health

The Impact of Music on the Nervous System

Sounds can either delight or irritate the nervous system, which in turn has an impact on how we feel, think and behave. Last Thursday a car parked in my street had the alarm going off every 5 minutes from 10am until they picked the car up after work. By the end of the day I was grumpy and frazzled.  The constant blare of car horn had bored into my nervous system, setting me on edge (a sympathetic nervous system response).  This unpleasant experience led me to search Google scholar for articles on the impact of music on the nervous system.

The impact of music on your nervous system - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by Vlad Deep on Unsplash

The Impact of Music on Anxiety and Depression

Heaps of research has been done on the impact of music on anxiety and depression:

A 2017 study by S Aalbers and colleagues found that music therapy reduces anxiety and depression. 

In a 2014 review of 63 scientific studies, Fancourt and co. found that not only did listening to music decrease the blood pressure, levels of cortisol and stress in your body, but it had a GREATER EFFECT than anti-anxiety medication and relaxation techniques. 

Let’s think about that for a minute.  Listening to your choice of relaxing music is more effective than medication!  All you have to do is listen…   Pass me the earphones STAT!

How does music do this?  Apparently listening to the music you love releases Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter that impacts our thinking, feeling and behaviour. See the research here…

  

listening to the music you love releases Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter that impacts our thinking, feeling and behaviour. -Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

But it’s not just about feeling good emotionally.  The impact of sound on your nervous system impacts other systems in your body.

The Impact of Music on Your Body

  • Music was found to have had an anti-inflammatory effect on the body (which is a risk for numerous diseases and conditions). See the research here..
  • It had a beneficial effect on anxiety, blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, sleep and pain in people with Coronary Heart Disease. See the research here..
  • And it had beneficial effects on anxiety, fatigue, pain and quality of life for people with cancer. See the research here..
Relaxing the nervous system - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

So choose the sounds you listen to carefully….. Think about the impact of music on the nervous system.

  • Feeling stressed or anxious?  Put on your favorite music and see if it makes an impact.
  • If you work in a stressful environment, why not use noise-cancelling earphones?
  • What sound do you use as your alarm?  A friend of mine listens to the sublime, silky sounds of “Samba da Bencao” by Bebel Gilberto.  Imagine waking up to that instead of a beep.  How chilled would the start of your day be?

I use music to either quieten or arouse the nervous system in my movement therapy classes and workshops. If you are interested in finding out more, hop on over to my Movement Therapy Page.

If you would like to ask me what Counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

BOOK ONLINE

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The Impact of Music on the Nervous System and Mental Health was last modified: May 9th, 2019 by Sarah Tuckett