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Recent blog posts
Quarantine in Children, what can we all do to mitigate the impact in the small ones?

In these difficult times, when the situation forces us to be isolated and stay at home; Children may feel like the most vulnerable in the family since many fail to assimilate the current state of day to day life in which their entire environment, routine and habits are affected. Their activities, sleep schedule, their games, hobbies, friends, neighbors, or schoolmates, every regular aspect of their life changed dramatically.

For parents it can be a difficult situation to cope with and it is very important to have the tools and techniques that help to cope with these circumstances, hence, the importance of being aware of the various methods to best deal with these family challenges.

Covid-19 and Anxiety

Ines, initially I didn’t feel too anxious about the coronavirus and the quarantine, but I’m finding that as time goes on, and with no end in sight, my anxiety level are rising. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with the fear surrounding the current situation?

Over the last few days, as a result of the current situation regarding Covid-19, we have all been exposed to alarming information from a variety of sources. Feeling a bit afraid is, therefore, to be expected. However, we should ask ourselves: When does fear become excessive and unhelpful?

Fear and worry are natural human reactions in situations of danger or risk. They are necessary in order to successfully manage the physical and mental challenges presented by a dangerous environment. Fear allows us to better handle obstacles and problems; it prepares our bodies to deal with possible threats, and our minds to consider different future scenarios and potential solutions and strategies. From an evolutionary standpoint the role of fear is to improve our odds of survival. 

Tagged in: anxiety covid-19 fear worry
Why Do Therapy Online?

https://www.sinews-online.com

We are living in digital times. We send a Whatsapp message when we want to let someone know how our day has gone, after a long day we flop and the sofa and play Candy Crush on an iPad, we stay in touch using video chat to talk to far away friends and family, we write our to-do list on our phone and we google “how to (fill in the blank)”.

Despite technology being a part of our everyday, when we think of online therapy it can seem a little strange or unusual. Having been a Clinical Psychologist for a number of years now and being accustomed to seeing patients in-person, I also had my own doubts initially: Is online therapy useful? Does it work? Is it as effective as in-person therapy? Science has this to say:

A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders stated that online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) is “effective, acceptable and practical”. The study found that online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is as effective as in-person therapy for disorders related to depression and anxiety (panic disorder, social anxiety, general anxiety etc) Journal of Anxiety Disorders

An interview with a Specialist in Family Therapy

How long have you been seeing families at Sinews?

 

I have been seeing families in therapy at Sinews since I joined the team in 2017. This is an element of my practice that I really enjoy as, unlike working one-on-one, working with the whole family paints a fuller picture of the some of the problems or history that has been faced. It allows the psychologist to “zoom out”, see the wider picture and access an abundance of information which is harder to get at through individual therapy.   

 

What sort of problems are addressed in family therapy?

 

Family therapy can help address any number of issues, but it’s main focus is on difficulties in the dynamics between the family members. Family therapy can be most helpful when poor or little communication between family members results in conflict within the family, something which can cause much distress. Family therapy can be a great tool in helping to manage situations involving mental health diagnoses, substance abuse or addictions, behavioural problems or academic difficulties in children, a death or illness in the family, caring for a family member with special needs or an impending divorce or separation, especially when there are children involved. 

What exactly does the School Counsellor do?  Can my child receive therapy at school?

In the school context, there can be a wide variety of difficulties and challenges. Schools are, by nature, a very dynamic and complex environment. Students at the same school can have a wide variety of very differing needs, and it is of the upmost importance to provide them with the specific support they require

There are many terms to describe the process of helping an individual overcome challenges and maximise growth, such as counselling, coaching or psychotherapy. The professional who is best placed to provide these services, such as counsellor, coach or psychotherapist, varies depending on the goals to be achieved, the approach or model used or the context in which they work.

Counsellor and Psychologist are the terms that are most often used broadly and interchangeably, and although both provide support and encourage healthy development and mental health, they take different approaches to achieving these goals. It's important to make this distinction to provide clarity and recognise the differences in the roles.

Experiencing a Support Group for Survivors of Sexual Abuse: Light in the Dark

“Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.”

 

During the last year I´ve had the privilege of leading the first support group for survivors of sexual trauma at Sinews. It was an intense and enriching experience that deeply touched me and I will try to share a little bit of the magical experience with you through this article. I will not only use my own words but also those of some of the participants who sent me their own written accounts of how they experienced the group. I hope that those reading this article will get a feel for what we shared every Tuesday evening.

 

To start off, I think it would be helpful to really understand what sexual abuse or trauma is, this way we can understand to whom this group is directed. Sexual abuse refers to a sexual act forced upon a woman, man or child without their consent, it is an act of violence that the perpetrator uses against someone they perceive as weaker than them with the goal of obtaining pleasure by controlling and humiliating the victim. 

 

Relevant data on sexual violence from the National Sexual Violence Resource Centre in the U.S.A shows that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their life. The number of men who suffer sexual aggressions increases to 1 in 16 when talking about the student population. Furthermore, 1 in 10 women has been raped by an intimate partner and 8 out of 10 victims knew the person that sexually assaulted them.

 

This statistical information is relevant for two main reasons: 1. It reveals that sexual abuse isn´t something exceptional that happens to an unfortunate few, in reality it is a social problem that occurs with frighteningly high frequency. 2. It serves to debunk some of the myths that we tell ourselves about sexual abuse and sexual aggression. 

Quality Time with Kids at Christmas

With the arrival of the Christmas Holidays, our family routine changes, both in content and in rhythm. We have a short break from set routines, never-ending school hours, homework, extracurricular activities and everything that we associate with school-time fades into the background. Giving way to a period of rest (both physical and mental), to relaxation and enjoyment and to the opportunity to spend some quality time together. Our job as parents does not come to a halt during the holidays but with this change in activities and in pace, new opportunities arise to educate our children. The holidays provide us with the opportunity to partake in fun activities with our children that during the rest of the year we are otherwise unable to enjoy. 

Depression After a Cardiac Event

 

Interviewer: How can we improve quality of life in these patients?

 

Dr. Alberto: The most important thing would be to treat depression, as it has been established that depression more accurately predicts quality of life than other factors, such as lifestyle or other comorbidities. However, treatments that reduce depressive symptoms do not necessarily result in improved quality of life. Psychotherapy might be more effective as it directly targets general well-being. A recent meta-analysis by Hofmann et al concluded that both psycho-pharmacological treatment and cognitive behavioural treatment improved quality of life in depressed patients. Specific interventions should include enhancing socialisation (as isolation is a risk factor), treatment adherence and self-care. 

 

Interviewer: You mentioned before that there are specific measures to combat depression in patients who have suffered a cardiac event?

 

Dr. Alberto: Fortunately, most hospitals now have cardiac rehabilitation programs, which are a crucial element in the recovery of these patients. They form an essential component of the comprehensive management of cardiac patients, largely to reduce the detrimental emotional, psycho-social, and physical consequences of cardiac events. 

Happy Holidays! Is it all about the presents?

Holidays, snow, decorated trees, family gatherings… and presents of course! It’s one of the loveliest times of the year, a picture many of us are familiar with. 

 

We devote weeks to preparing, carefully planning the perfect, age-appropriate, intellectually stimulating, exciting, surprising, you-name-it gifts for our children. Unfortunately, the novelty soon wears off the best of presents, and all too quickly, with so many others to play with, many are forgotten. 

 

So, how many toys should we really be giving our children? 

Experts hesitate to put a number on the amount of toys children should have, however it is generally agreed that fewer toys are better than too many. 

Seven ways to encourage reluctant readers

Children learn to read at different rates and ages. But for some of them, this process is particularly slow and steady. Most of the time, this could be due to a lack of motivation. When this happens, kids are less likely to put the time and effort to improve it, which, unfortunately, leads to a cycle of poor reading skills and more frustration. And of course, less love for reading.

How to alleviate PMS with nutrition

Bloating, terrible cramps, irritability, moodiness, strong cravings, fatigue, headaches or depression - these are only a few of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (i.e. PMS) that up to 75% of women experience every month at the end of their menstrual cycle.

But if you belong to the majority of women with these pesky symptoms, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way… Indeed, PMS symptoms can be alleviated- voire eliminated altogether. In today’s article, I’ll share with you why PMS arises in your body and how you can ease any uncomfortable symptoms via a few lifestyle and dietary habit changes, which you can start implementing right away.

Academic Support Services

Sinews Academic support service or study coach, what is it exactly?

For many children and adolescents acquiring academic skills can be challenging. After a long day at school it may be hard for them to settle down to do homework or study for an exam and even more so if they cannot figure out where to start, if it takes considerable time and effort, or if they do not feel motivated. Moreover, for many parents who lack time, trying to help their children can be stressful and this may give rise to family arguments. To ensure that learning is not affecting the relationship between parent and child, a possible solution is for a professional to carry out support sessions at home or at school to help students improve their study skills, which will also benefit the situation at home.

First day at school

With the arrival of September, the time comes for children to return to school. Seasoned veterans of the back-to-school routine already know what awaits them after the summer. For some however, the experience is completely new, while others have observed older siblings wishing they could pass through the doors of knowledge, enjoying the same experiences as brothers or sisters. When it comes to teenagers, some start with a little less motivation, and others with a little bit more enthusiasm, but they are veterans with the first day of classes, they have been doing this for at least nine years, so they know perfectly well how it works.

¿Qué es y para qué sirven las sesiones de “Study Coach” con universitarios?

Muchos estudiantes experimentan un cambio drástico a la hora de tener que enfrentarse a los estudios cuando ingresan en la Universidad. De repente, parece que es necesario ser totalmente autónomo y capaz a la hora de organizarse, tomar apuntes, seleccionar la información más importante, o ser capaz asimilar gran cantidad de información en poco tiempo.

A esto se unen otros factores asociados a la época universitaria como la elección de la carrera o la especialización, la combinación de obligaciones y ocio, etc. por lo que, se puede llegar a experimentar cierta tensión en esta etapa debido a que estas cuestiones pueden suponer una fuente de estrés importante. A todo esto, puede venir asociado el fracaso académico en algunos casos o sacar adelante los estudios en otros, pero con una gran carga emocional.

How to pack and unpack your emotional baggage when you are abroad - How to prepare yourself emotionally when going abroad.

Summer is the time to stop and disconnect from our routines, to take time to do what we want and reconnect with the people we love. For me it is also a time of reflection, of seeking inspiration in books, films, trips; to recharge batteries and get back on track with everything that is important. During the frantic pace of the work year it is easy to lose sight of our values and purposes. If you are also going to live abroad to study or work now is a good moment to think about how you are going to take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

 

This year with the purpose of being more present with myself, without distractions, I walked the Way of St James during my holidays. In my opinion, preparing and starting the Way looks like the steps you have to take to live abroad. Before leaving it is good to pause and think what personal sense this time has for you. Then, while you are trying to adjust, identify what feelings you have and finally, take care of yourself emotionally according to what you are feeling: are you mentally exhausted? Do you feel alone? 

 

First pause, take your time to think and disconnect from the routine. Traveling, and just by changing the environment can give you the ideal scenario to reflect: How have I felt this year? Have I carried out projects connected to my values and purposes? How do I feel about the changes I will experience in my life soon: moving out of the country, studying abroad, etc.? How am I preparing for my move to a new country?

 

When should I seek professional help?

Throughout our lifetime we live different experiences that change the way we behave; they change our routines and the way we conduct ourselves. This is especially true of negative experiences. Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship, moving to another country or changing a job, or simply losing interest in the things we liked before without any apparent reason. All these situations affect us in different ways, and they can be accompanied by feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety etc. When we do suffer one of these events, we need time to adjust and find ways of coping with those negative feelings. We also need to develop new routines and ways of doing the things we’ve done automatically until now, which takes time and energy. Sometimes it takes a long period of time before we develop these new routines, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, we’re left with the bad feelings for a long time and nothing seems to take it away or help. Once it becomes unbearable, either to us or to the people that are closest to us, and it starts affecting our daily life to the point where we are having difficulty functioning, we may need to seek psychological help.

Family Legacies and Expectations

It is completely understandable that we frequently tend to make choices for our children, interfering with their desires and decision-making. We apply what we consider to be more beneficial for them, all with the good intentions that characterize parenting. However, sometimes it is necessary to stop for a moment and reflect on these momentary interferences with our children and ask ourselves the following question: How much of me and my personal history am I depositing in my son / daughter? This is the question that we will examine in the following article. We live in an era in which the values of acceptance, validation and tolerance towards those we consider different prevails. However, many may have difficulty putting these values of acceptance and validation into practice, resulting in potential reoccurring conflicts within the family. This can result in a feeling of inadequacy in those parents who feel that, despite applying guidelines that they consider to be appropriate and beneficial, observe a deepening in the distance between themselves and their children. There are a multitude of elements that are open for consideration within this topic and so we will focus on the issue of: family legacies and expectations to be fulfilled.

How to encourage autonomy in my child

A fundamental part of growing for children is to achieve full autonomy. This encourages their sense of responsibility, self-confidence, willpower and self-discipline. Autonomy is the ability to adhere to norms without external influence. When children can decide which rules will guide their behaviour, they are able to do what they think should be done. Moreover, children must develop their moral conscience and reasoning to promote, not only their autonomy, but also their freedom, willpower and self-esteem.

Coaching for the first step in your career development: college / university

It is increasingly common for executives to spend vast amounts of money on mapping out future development. There is no doubt about the importance of thinking aloud, discussing all possible paths, and taking some distance from the situation in order to make a decision according to one’s values and life mission. Companies have taken this on-board in recent years and have started including coaching services as a way to provide employees with this safe space for professional development.

¿Qué es el conflicto entre iguales?

El conflicto entre iguales se refiere al desacuerdo mutuo o a la hostilidad entre grupos de iguales. Se caracteriza por suceder entre iguales con una situación de poder igual o similar dentro del grupo social (amigos). Ocurre ocasionalmente, no es planificado y no implica violencia ni resulta en un daño serio. Los perpetradores en los conflictos no buscan poder ni atención. Sin embargo, el conflicto puede escalar a violencia o agresión física o verbal.

¿Cuál es el papel que juega el conflicto entre iguales en el desarrollo de niños y adolescentes?

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