Category Archives: What to expect from therapy

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

Book an appointment using my online diary.  Select the “Online” option 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! 😉

Schedule Appointment

 

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: July 10th, 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 for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

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: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

The difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy

The difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy

I get asked “What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?” by most new clients.  To a therapist there are technical differences but to you the customer, not a lot. It’s a case of ‘same same but different’. The difference between counselling and psychotherapy lies in your goals, the length of time you want to spend on your therapy, the types of tasks you want to undertake, and how deep you want to take your process.

Two wooden figures high-fiving each other  - learn the difference between counselling and psychotherapy with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

Definition of Counselling

According to the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) the definition of counselling is:

“a safe and confidential* collaboration between qualified counsellors and clients to promote mental health and wellbeing, enhance self-understanding, and resolve identified concerns. Clients are active participants in the counselling process at every stage.”

I usually think of counselling as a shorter-term process (say 6-10 sessions) when a client has just one issue they are looking for help with e.g. a relationship breakdown. However, they are not wanting to look deeper than that.

Definition of Psychotherapy

PACFA define psychotherapy as:

“the comprehensive and intentional engagement between therapist and client for the healing, growth or transformation of emotional, physical, relationship, existential and behavioural issues, or of chronic suffering, through well-founded relational processes. The aim of psychotherapy is to support increased awareness and choice, and facilitate the development, maturation, efficacy and well-being of a client.

Psychotherapy involves what is known and what may not be known in personal functioning, usually referred to as “conscious and unconscious factors”. Through a holistic perspective it encompasses the mental, emotional, behavioural, relational, existential and spiritual health of a human being.”

So that shows you that we’re taking the process deeper, looking at:

  • Your patterns of behaviour (e.g. panic attacks or how you in self-sabotage relationships);
  • Your beliefs and thought processes;
  • How historical events in your life may have an impact on your behaviour now;
  • How you behave and feel in relationship with others;
  • Looking at the root causes of problems (and how you may have participated in them).

It takes time for these issues to form in you. So it will take time for us to link experiences together and form new patterns. So somewhere between 6 sessions and many.

This is personal development and personal transformation.

So what does that actually mean for you as the client?

When therapy works well, the client and the therapist take time to talk about the client’s goals, the kind of things they want (and don’t want) to do in therapy, what they want to look at, and the time they want to devote to their personal development.  

So let’s talk.  You and me.  What can I help you with?  What is troubling you?  How are you suffering?   

Would you like to do some movement and breathing in your therapy so that you feel? Or just talk and think your way around things?   

How long do you want to devote to your personal development?  6 sessions?  A year?   

And how will we know when therapy has worked for you?  How can we measure the benefits and progress?  What would we see you doing in your life that you are not doing now?  

I hope this explained the difference between counselling and psychotherapy.  If you have questions feel free to contact me on 0450 22 00 59.

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 for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

<Schedule Appointment

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.

The difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy was last modified: July 10th, 2020 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 for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

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: July 10th, 2020 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 for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

Schedule Appointment

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: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

A problem shared

A problem shared (internet dating horror stories)

“A problem shared is a problem halved” goes the old English saying.  I heartily agree with that one.  This is not just because I’m a psychotherapist and I know that just talking to someone about your problems can be enough to help you feel better; but because I’ve had my own personal experience of this recently. 

I have entered the world of internet dating.  (Shudder).  I was finding it overwhelming, demoralizing and down right depressing.  However, I found that sharing the stories of outrageous untruths and appalling coffee dates with my own therapist has helped me cope better with it.  My resilience has increased and I’m hanging in there.   Talking to someone can really help you carry on through tough times.   So I’m going to share them with you too.   A problem shared…..

A problem shared - talk through your problems with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy North Brisbane

A few of my friends have met their partners online.  So I know in theory that it can work really well.  It’s just I’m having such a vile time of it because apparently in the online dating world it’s perfectly normal to be a complete liar pants and not even blink when you’re caught out.  

I’m hoping to meet someone who shares my core values and blah blah you know the drill.  But it turns out the gentlemen are not entirely honest in their profiles and it’s beginning to feel like a futile endeavour. 

Every unwanted advance from a Sexagenarian bikie without a basic command of English grammar or high school certificate, makes my self-confidence erode even further.  “Is this all I’m worth?” a snide little voice inside me says.  What exactly do they think we have in common?  A shared passion for Ballet?

A problem shared - talk about your problems with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe 4017 + A problem shared - talking about your problems with a counsellor can help you feel better - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane 

 

I went on a date last month with a gentleman to a rather nice bar in James St.  During the date he asked: “Would you mind if I just went outside and bummed a cigarette off someone, I’m trying to quit at the moment”. 

I was confused not just because I wouldn’t normally agree to go out with a smoker – it’s one of my deal breakers – but because as he walked away I could see that he had a full packet of cigs in his trouser pocket.  Liar liar, pants literally on fire.  

A problem shared - share your woes in confidence with a qualified counsellor - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe North Brisbane

Last week I went out for a delicious Turkish meal with a not-so-delicious gentleman.  His profile said he was 46 and the photographs seemed to tally.  However, in person he seemed substantially older that the photos. 

I like to give people leeway on the first date – nerves and all that – but when he started talking about his grandchildren and his recent colonoscopy I realised that he was probably nearer 66 than 46. 

As he relayed the intimate details of his rectal procedure over stuffed vine leaves, I plotted an elaborate plan to flee.  (I didn’t though… I’m too polite, and the humus was amazing).  But seriously, who talks about a colonoscopy on a first date?  People let’s keep the conversation away from your ‘date’ on a date!

At times this whole endeavour feels frustrating and futile.  However, sharing the tales of hilariously awful dates with my therapist makes it seem more a comedy than a drama, and I have the energy to persist and wade through the pond life.  Her support gets me through. 

And I think that’s what it’s about.  Reaching out for help when you need it so that you can keep going, even when the going gets tough.   

So if you’re having a tough time with online dating, or anything else for that matter, give me a call and share your woes.   As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Sarah

P.S. People please stop lying on your dating profile.  We’re going to find out when we meet you in person.  So just cut it out smoky pants. 😉

Please give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

I offer confidential counselling and body psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time.  There is no need for you to suffer dreadful dates in silence.  Speak to me and get some support.

If you’re feeling unsure, or want 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.

 

 

 

A problem shared was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

It’s time to speak up

It’s time to speak up

A friend of mine created the excellent campaign “It’s ok to say” (if you don’t feel ok).  It’s about letting people know that you have anxiety and/or depression so that you’re not going through this alone.  But with the news of women in Hollywood speaking up against Harvey Weinstein, it got me thinking about other matters we don’t speak up about: bullying, unwanted attention, loneliness, abuse or things that scare us.   It’s time to speak up and get some help. 

There is so much we don’t say.  And so many reasons why we don’t.  Fear that we won’t be believed. Second-guessing ourselves (‘maybe I did something to create that situation …?’)  Fear of rejection, isolation, loosing our job, or being ostracized.  But people it’s time to tell someone.  It’s time to speak up when something’s not ok.   

 

It's time to speak up - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe North Brisbane

I once had to speak up at work about a man who had showered me with unwanted attention on my morning commute in London.  And I’m so glad I did, because it short-circuited his campaign of lecherous advances.

For days I had unsuccessfully tried to avoid this guy on the little shuttle train from Clapham Junction to Olympia. He worked on the floor above me for a different company, but I saw him every morning on that commuter train and the walk to the office.  

He seemed oblivious of my increasingly not-so subtle body language:  putting up the Metro newspaper in-front of my face to physically block him out, wearing earphones and avoiding eye contact.  At night-time I had to walk for 30 minutes across Clapham Common on my own and I was terrified he would follow me across the dark, empty parkland.  I had even stopped going out at lunch on my own in case he was waiting for me. Yet I told no one.

It's time to speak up - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

He finally got the message on the day that I waited until he had gotten onto the train and then ran along the platform and ducked into another carriage.   When I got to work there was a barrage of emails from him to my work account starting with the words “Never have I been so offended….”

Until then I hadn’t told a soul.  Not my friends, not my flatmates, not my co-workers.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps because I wasn’t sure I wasn’t making a mountain out of a molehill.  I remember also feeling embarrassment and shame.  Surely I should be a big girl and fix this by myself.   

Don't stay silent - it's time to speak up.  Get help from Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

One of my male co-workers must have seen my face because he asked me what was going on.  I explained and showed him the email.  He asked if he could reply on my behalf.  I said yes.  Before I knew it he had typed “F…  Off” and pressed send.  I was petrified of the repercussions.  What would this man do now that I had been so direct?   Nothing it turned out, because he was a creep who shriveled the moment I stood up to him.

With my colleague’s encouragement, I told our HR person.  They talked to his HR person and started an inquiry.  Within 24 hours they found out that he had harassed every female in his firm with the exception of the PA to the CEO.  And he was newly married (poor woman).  A’hole. 

No one had spoken up before.  It took my complaint for them to come out of the woodwork and talk to each other.   He ended up being fired from his job and we were free to catch the train in peace. 

It's time to speak up. No need to suffer in silence. Get help.  Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

We’re all terrified of being rejected, harassed, laughed at even.  But if you speak up, there’s a chance you can help yourself and maybe others.   So speak to someone. Tell someone if you’re not ok.  Tell your friend, a family member or a work colleague.  Or find someone neutral and non-judgmental like a counsellor.  Just make sure you speak up.

 

Sarah x

If you would like to speak up to me give me a call  on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

I offer confidential counselling and body psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time, whether that’s because of a situation (relationship issues, bullying, abuse, isolation) or because of a mental health issue like anxiety or depressionThere is no need for you to suffer in silence.  Speak up and get some help.

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what anxiety 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.

 

 

It’s time to speak up was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

How counselling can help you avoid family court

How counselling can help you avoid family court – from a Brisbane Family Lawyer

Guest blog by Jennifer Hetherington of Hetherington Family Law

Jennifer Hetherington of Hetherington Family Law, Brisbane

Tonight I saw a post in a Facebook group of which I am a member along the lines of the following: “Has anyone been successful with marriage counselling? We’re not thinking divorce, just looking for something to help us get through the repetitive, cyclical, blame game, same arguments over the years that never get resolved and fester until the next time one of us gets angry. I don’t want to end my marriage, I’m trying to save it.”

Over the 20 odd years that I have been practising as a specialist family lawyer, I have encountered many clients who have never been to counselling. I always ask clients whether or not they had counselling for their relationship issues, but sadly, the answer is often no. This is something I’ve never been able to understand. If your marriage is on the verge on the breakdown and going to counselling to deal with your relationship issues gave you an opportunity to save it, why would you not try counselling?

How counselling can help you avoid family court - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling

It’s actually a legal requirement for family lawyers to recommend separating parties attend counselling. However, by the time they come to see us, the damage is often done. On more occasions than I can remember, I have had female clients come to me and when I’ve asked them the question about counselling, their response has been along the lines of, “My husband refused to go.” The other response has been to the tune of, “He said that I was the one who need counselling, not him or us.”  

But the post I saw on Facebook tonight was not about counselling at the end of relationship. It was about a woman saying, “Hey, no marriage is perfect. We have our ups and downs just like anyone else but there’s a recurring theme here with some relationship issues and I’d really just like to deal with it so that we can move past it and just get on with things.”

This, of course, is the kind of thing that the Americans do. Anyone who’s seen an ongoing programme like Sex in the City (now I am showing my age) knows that every second person in New York City has a ‘therapist’. It is about dealing with problems in our lives and relationship issues as they arise, not waiting for a wound to fester.  If your spouse won’t go to counselling with you, them why would you not go to counselling on your own?    It’s not a sign a weakness or that there is something wrong with you. It’s about getting strategies to deal with relationship issues, how you might raise those with your partner in a constructive way and what to do if those issues are not resolved. Going to a counsellor does not make you ‘mentally ill’. Rather, it makes you someone who has insight into your own functioning and has a desire to be the best possible person, parent and partner you can be.

How counselling can help you avoid family court - get help with relationship issues with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling

If you do separate, then counselling is just as important and is something I encourage for all my family law clients.   Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences you can have.  Everyone goes through a cycle of grief.  Some handle it better than others.  The ones I have seen handle it best, are the ones who go to counselling.   They have an outlet to talk about what is going on and an unbiased ear.   Family and friends are well-meaning during a divorce, but they can’t give you the independent perspective that a counsellor can.

Those who love you may also grow tired of hearing about your heartbreak or the issues you are having with your ex.   Why not preserve those relationships as positive, to help you move forward, and save the angst for counselling?

One of the dangers that arises is where separated parents find themselves headed to the Family Court.   The relationship between them has become so toxic that they cannot talk to each other.  Invariably, there is underlying emotion driving this.

Family law clients who have been deeply hurt or betrayed – for example, if there has been an affair can be so consumed by anger, jealousy and pain, that they are blinded by it.   They cannot see past those emotions and create a relationship with the other parent that sees them headed straight towards the Family Court.   Those clients who work in counselling to get through those emotions and move forward, are most likely to avoid the Family Court. 

Similarly, family law clients dealing with a narcissistic or high conflict ex, can benefit from counselling to obtain strategies on how to deal with that person.  

You do not have to ‘go it alone’ if you are having relationship issues.  Ending a long term relationship is a big step and counselling can only assist with the decision making process.  

If you are separated, then counselling can offer valuable insight and assistance, and help you avoid the Family Court.

 

Jennifer Hetherington is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with over 20 years experience.  She heads Hetherington Family Law a Brisbane family law firm focusing on keeping clients out of court, their motto being ‘Conflict is not inevitable’. 

Jennifer is Winner of the Sole Practitioner of the Year in the 2017 Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards 

Avoid going to court - see Hetherington Family Law

 

 

If you would like to see Sarah for counselling for relationship issues, please book online  or call her on 0450 22 00 59.

I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session for new clients.  You can also book this online.

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 counselling can help you avoid family court was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

Exercise as therapy for your mind and body

Exercise as therapy for your mind

We know that exercise make us healthier.  It has the benefit of lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of diabetes.  But it’s so easy to NOT do it, right?  Especially as it’s getting so cold and the sofa is so comfy.  But there is a much more important reason for exercising than fitting into those skinny jeans.  Exercise is literally medicine for your mental health.   So why not think of exercise as therapy for your mind.

Exercise for mental wellness at Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling

Exercise boosts your mood, releases those feel-good endorphins and improves your cognitive performance (see this article by JC Miller and Z Krizan for the science).  It also helps you to replace lost energy, or let go of excess tension from your body.

 

Movement therapy for you mind as well as your body

I like to think of exercise as ‘movement therapy for your mental wellbeing’.

 

How do you know what kind of exercise your body needs? First you need to tap into what feels good for YOUR body and your MIND.  Try out different things.  You’re unique so find out what YOU like doing exercise-wise and what your soul needs. There’s no point forcing yourself to go to the gym if it bores the living shizz out of you. 

 

Here are some suggestions for exercise as therapy for your mind:

 

Depression

If you’re feeling depressed it’s likely you’re in a low energy state.  What would be good here is to build up more energy in your body by moving it and by taking big breaths.  Trouble is, when you’re feeling depressed and your motivation is rock bottom, it’s hard to actually get off the sofa. Why not call a friend and get them to take you there?   

The people at Psychology Today wrote a good article about how to exercise when you’re really low.  They advocate just trying little 5 minute bites and building up from there. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/back-the-brink/201311/how-exercise-when-depressed

 

Here are some ideas for depression-busting exercise:

 

Walk 

Walking as movement therapy - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy

The most accessible exercise for those us with functioning lower limbs.   Even if it’s just 5 minutes.  You’ll get your circulation going, you’ll breathe in some fresh air and maybe even get some Vitamin D.  And many more benefits besides these.  

I advocate going with a friend, because not only will it give you some social interaction, they’ll also help you keep going when you really just want to hide away in your nest.   

 

Breathe deeply 

Get yourself to a gentle yoga class – Yin Yoga would be perfect.  Don’t let your ego take over – listen to your body – stay away from the more strenuous classes like Vinyasa until you’ve got more energy in your system. 

The breathing techniques (pranayama) from Yoga are also fantastic for getting more energy into your lungs.  You’re literally pumping yourself up with energy from the inside.

Yin yoga

 

 

Bust out your inner Carmen Miranda/Antonio Banderas

Latin dancing is great for alleviating symptoms of depression

My top pick for depression is Latin dancing.  You’re out there mingling with other people instead of sinking into your aloneness and you‘re getting exercise without having to resort to lycra.  You don’t have to go there with a partner or friends.  The majority of people go on their own and you may even make new friends.

You also don’t have to be already a  dancer.  Everyone starts as a beginner.  Some with two left feet. And there’s no prerequisite to be skinny.  Some of my favorite dance partners are more on the cuddly side. 

Dancing is so good for you the Victorian Government has written about the benefits:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/dance-health-benefits

 

Have a dance break instead of a chocolate break

Those clever peeps at No Lights No Lycra have created a free app called Dance Break.  Once a day it will randomly take over your phone and sends you a song to dance to in the middle of the office/school/street.  Go to http://dancebreak.com.au/  Or download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Dance break

 

Anxiety

When you’re anxious you’re in a state of  fear. That constant rumination (going over thoughts in your head again and again) causes the release of noradrenaline and cortisol into your system. Being in a constantly hyped up state is bad news for your poor over-worked adrenal glands and the cocktail of emergency hormones isn’t too crash hot for the rest of your body either (they’re meant for emergency use, not every day).    Additionally, constantly  being in a fight or flight state chews up a lot of energy.  

You need to ground yourself in the present.  Anything that slows you down and reconnects you with your body and the present time is worth a go. 

Try Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or Chi Gung.   Restorative yoga is perfect for the over-stressed nervous system.  Again the breathing techniques will bring more energy to your body and replace that depleted energy store.   

Restorative yoga - perfect for reducing anxiety

 

Stressed out?

I advocate doing something to release the pent up tension in your body – especially an activity where you get to use your breath and voice to help release that tension.  Try boxing or martial arts.  Make a racket and unleash the tiger!

Try Martial Arts to release pent up tension and stress - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy

 

But then on the flipside, you also need to calm your nervous system. So once again, walking, yoga, pilates.  Anything that calms you. Massage is fantastic. Laze in a float tank even! Or lie on your back and gaze up at the stars. Whatever it takes to calm you down. 

 

So whatever you do, do something that appeals to you.  Keep trying new things until you find what works for you and make it your personal exercise as therapy for your mind. 

 

 

I hope you found this article helpful.  Please share it.

Sarah

 

Exercise as therapy for your mind and body was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett

What stops you from asking for help?

My closest friends are currently dealing with depression, work stress, relationship issues, anxiety and the terminal illness of a family member.  But they don’t ask for help.  Not one of them is seeing a therapist for their emotional distress.  They soldier on alone.  Why?  Because the stigma of mental illness still lingers like a bad smell in an elevator.  So I thought it was time to blow some of the myths about therapy wide open in the hope that it will encourage more of you to try therapy. 

Hands reaching out to help

My friend Mark Pacitti writes an excellent blog called Dancing with the Black Dog.  The other day he posed a question to his 10,000 followers: “What’s stopping you from talking to a psychologist?”  His own reason had been the stigma of mental illness: “I remember the first time I was referred to a psychologist for my anxiety and depression. It felt like from that moment on, I was being marked for life; that I’d forever live under a dark shadow, known as the guy with something wrong with him who went to see a shrink.”  Thankfully he did get help and now he is helping eradicate the stigma of mental illness.  Have a look at his most recent campaign “It’s OK to say if you don’t feel OK”.

So what are you own reasons for not getting help for anxiety, depression or stress?  After all, I’m just an ordinary 45-year old woman, sitting on comfy chairs in my therapy room, waiting to help you.  There are thousands of mental health professionals like me across Australia who would love to help you.   So what’s stopping you from getting help?

 

Let’s look at some of the reasons people hold off on getting help:

 

1. I’m not crazy 

You don’t have to be ‘crazy’ to see a therapist (I’ve covered this in another blog – have a look).   My clients are normal people like you and me – they’re just doing something  about their depression, anxiety, stress, relationship troubles.  Some of them are just at a crossroads and they don’t know where to turn.  Some of them are facing a life change.    What’s common amongst my clients is that they are all taking a proactive stance on their emotional and psychological health.  They are practicing self-care. 

Crazy old lady

2. Fear of being ‘found out’ and judged ‘mentally ill’.

Do you tell your work colleagues every time you go to get a bikini wax?  Do you tell your parents every time you go on a Tinder date?  I sure as hell don’t!  You don’t have to tell anyone you’re seeing a therapist if you don’t want to.   How are they ever going to find out?  Your therapist is ethically bound to maintain confidentiality.  They will only break confidentiality if you pose a danger to yourself or to others.   This means your friends and family do not need to know you’re in therapy unless you want them to.  So potentially the only person judging you is you.   (And by the way, fear of being judged is a great thing to work on with your therapist.  What would it be like if you could just be yourself without worrying what everyone else thought?)

Most therapists take care to preserve your anonymity.  I mostly work from home and I don’t have a sign on my gate.  So to someone in my street it would just look like I’ve got a friend dropping by for coffee.  I live in a small town on the outskirts of Brisbane and I often see my clients out and about as I walk by the sea or do my shopping at Woollies.  I just smile at them as I would any passer-by.  If they want to stop and chat that’s up to them, but if not I just keep walking.  Your therapist is not going to ‘blow your cover’.  They’re not going to come up to you in public and say “hey I was thinking about that total a’hole brother of yours… oh this is your brother, so nice to meet you.. I really must dash off now….”

3. Not wanting to ask for help.

Some people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. That they weren’t competent somehow.  That it means that they were failing.  But answer me this….  Would you try and cut your hair yourself?  Would you extract your own tooth? No you’d go to a hairdresser or a dentist (preferably the teeth thing is done at the dentist – they’re not usually very good at hair).  You see a professional for the maintenance of your body, so why not go to a professional for emotional and psychological maintenance? 

Ask for help

 

4. I don’t want to rehash the past…

A lot of people think that therapy is just about talking about the past.  And yes, some of it is.   But it’s also about the present.  My favorite psychology author (yes I do have one, I’m a total nerd), the amazing Psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom, talks about working with the “here and now”.  I work with what’s going on in client’s life right now:  their interpersonal problems including their therapeutic relationship with me, because that is a reflection of their relationships outside the microcosm of the therapy room.   You heal in therapy because of the therapeutic bond that you form with your therapist.  You try out behaviours with your therapist and get it reflected back to you.  You get to see what works and what doesn’t, how other people might perceive you.  All in a safe, non-judgemental space.  And this brings me onto my last point…

5. I tried it once but I didn’t like the therapist

There are so many different kinds of mental health professionals out there.  Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, social workers, support workers.   You have to find the person that’s right for you.   I say ‘person’ because you need to find the human that you click with, because it’s the therapeutic relationship that’s going to help you heal.  We’re all human – you don’t like everyone at work or at school, so don’t expect to like every single therapist you encounter.   If you don’t like the therapist, say thank you and move on.   Next! Don’t give up until you find your person.  

I go to see my personal therapist every fortnight.  As a therapist myself it is extremely important that I’ve cleared out all my sh*t so that I don’t impose it on any of my clients.  I LOVE going to see my therapist – sometimes it’s the highlight of my fortnight.  She’s not my friend, she’s my therapist.  She empathises when I bitch and whinge about my life.  She patiently listens while I excitedly rattle off all the cool things that have happened.   She laughs at the crazy stuff that happens.  She points out my blind spots.  She helps me work through difficult emotions like sadness, anger and jealousy.  She helps me heal myself.   And I value every single hour I spend in her therapy room. 

 

So do yourself a favour, an act of self-care, pick up that phone and ask for help.  That person may turn out to be one of the most valuable people in your life.

Sarah

0450 22 00 59
info@sarahtuckett.com.au

What stops you from asking for help? was last modified: July 10th, 2020 by Sarah Tuckett