By Janice Killey
In an Australian Bureau of Statistics report recently released 63.4% of Australians in 11/12 were found to be overweight or obese.This is leading to doctors treating more patients with Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and joint issues including knee, back and feet problems from carrying extra weight.
Weight loss programs and procedures have never been more popular with gastric banding surgery reported to have the highest rate of success. The problem is gastric banding is too costly for most people and like any surgical procedure it comes with the chance of complications and pain.
Clinical Hypnotherapists have been using hypnosis to help people with weight loss and other health issues for many years. About six years ago a British Clinical Hypnotherapist Sheila Graham was one of the pioneers in this type of therapy.
Surgical Gastric Banding inserts a lap band into the patients body to reduce the size of the stomach so you eat less because your feel fuller quicker when you eat. Through the work of people like Sheila Graham, Virtual Gastric Banding was developed to achieve similar weight loss outcomes through a series of hypnosis sessions. So gastric banding became “virtual” – through hypnosis the mind thinks you thin. Clients believe the stomach has shrunk again making them feel fuller quicker.
Graham then worked with a local GP in England in a controlled situation with patients using the VGB technique and claimed a 95% weight loss success rate. Over the last 5 years Virtual Gastric Banding technique through hypnosis has been adopted more and more throughout the world and Australia.
Psychologists use a variety of therapies to help people change behaviour. Yes they counsel people who are dealing with depression, stress or anxiety, relationship, family and work related issues but they also work with people who want to deal with addictions, or other issues that may be holding them back from enjoying a happier life.
Routinely in psychology practices, counsellors treat clients with weight problems. CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is one therapy employed to help clients change their behaviour including eating habits. Success is mixed due to, other factors including stress, anxiety, and depression, the client’s commitment to weight loss, social factors, brain chemistry, genetic makeup and lifestyle.
In a study made in 1996 in which hypnosis was combined with a cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) it was found that people who used both treatments lost more weight than people that only used CBT. The two-fold benefit includes:
- reinforcing improvements in alimentary habits
- changing behaviour in the short and longer term
The procedure consists of a session of hypnosis followed by sessions of re-hypnosis. During the hypnosis session the brain is ordered to believe the stomach is smaller than it really is and the following sessions are used to reinforce improvements in alimentary habits. As a consequence, the ingestion of food is limited in a virtual way, which produces as a result loss of weight. After the process, some reinforcements are made via psychological treatment for the management of anxiety.
Ten good reasons to think yourself thinner through Virtual Gastric Banding
- no invasive surgery
- safe, pain free
- cost effective
- ideal for people who have pre diabetes, diabetes 2, high blood pressure joint issues
- you physically eat smaller amounts
- you safely and easily lose weight naturally
- you become more fit and active
- most people experience positive changes from the very first session
Janice Killey is the principal psychologist at Life Resolutions Kogarah and Leichhardt practices in New South Wales. She is a Registered Psychologist and member at the Australian Psychological Society. For over 10 years Janice has been counselling in specialty areas including child and adolescent issues, couple counselling, post-natal depression, parenting issues, anxiety, depression, anger management, drug and alcohol and other addictions and mindfulness. Five years ago Janice qualified as a Clinical Hypnotherapist through the prestigious Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists (ASCH) and since has learnt and uses the Virtual Gastric Banding technique.
The following post is by Michelle Morris, Principal Psychologist and Family Therapist at Life Resolutions Caroline Springs
It is common and normal for two parents to have different ideas, opinions, values, and priorities. Part of being successful in a relationship with another person is being able to use appropriate communication skills so that ideas and opinions can be expressed and received with respect and differences of opinion can be worked out using healthy conflict resolution strategies.
If parents do not communicate respectfully with each other and do not have a good strategy for resolving conflicts, the result is chronic, unresolved conflict between the parents. There is an ongoing hostile emotional tone between the parents that continues to erupt over time and in the same patterns.
Conflict never seems to get resolved. The same patterns of angry confrontations are repeated over and over again with only temporary or often no resolution or changes taking place between the parents.
This harmful conflict can range on a continuum from yelling, criticizing, blaming, put-downs, mocking, sarcasm and ignoring at one end of the spectrum, through intimidation and threats of harm, to actual physical violence such as throwing or destroying things, or grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting, kicking, or any other form of physical assault at the other end of the spectrum.
Chronic parental conflict can take place not only in intact families but also in families where parents have separated or divorced, or have never been married or lived together.
Parental conflict is very destructive for children psychologically when they witness their parents’ continuing, unresolved, hostile conflicts.
Research indicates that children are resilient and highly adaptive in general and can usually cope with and adapt to difficult situations such as separation and divorce. However emotionally bitter, long-lasting, ongoing conflict between parents can be severely damaging.
The longer parental conflict continues and the greater the tension between the parents, the greater the likelihood that psychological difficulties will result for children such as emotional and behaviour problems, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, low self-esteem, school problems and a number of other difficulties.
Chronic parental conflict creates a climate of tension, chaos, disruption and unpredictability in the family environment that is meant to be safe and secure and comfortable to grow up in. Children feel anxious, frightened, and helpless. They may worry about their own safety and their parents’ safety even if there has been no actual or threatened violence.
Children’s imaginations are powerful and they may imagine harm coming to themselves or to one of their family members. If parents are still together there is also worry about divorce and the family being split up.
Children worry that they have to take sides in the conflict. They generally want to please both parents but this becomes impossible and creates stress for children. Children become caught in the middle. Or they may align with one parent against the other, which can be very destructive and unhealthy for all family members.
Children need to know a bit about what is going on between their mother and father when there is parental conflict. You need to be honest with your child in a brief and reassuring manner.
However you should avoid long explanations or emotional details of the conflict. A brief explanation that parents are having problems getting along with each other or agreeing on things, and that there is some effort being made about working things out or getting help is all that is necessary.
It is important also to reassure your child that you will always love him or her.
Children tend to be egocentric and if not told about what is happening in concrete terms, your child may imagine that the conflict is all about him or her and may take the blame for the conflict.
Make sure your child knows that the conflict and arguments are not his or her fault. If your child believes that the fighting is about him or her, it will cause huge amounts of stress.
Children find it easy to complain about and criticize their own parent, but find it very difficult to hear criticism of their parent coming from someone else, even if it is from the other parent.
Children identify with both parents and should not have to feel guilty about loving each parent. Children may experience, either consciously or unconsciously, a parent saying negative things about the other parent as a personal attack because it is a put-down of that aspect of themselves that identifies with the other parent. This has the effect of diminishing a child’s self-esteem, not to mention the danger of weakening parent-child relationships.
Differences in parents and parenting styles are normal and children will have their own unique experiences with each parent. By respecting their own differences, parents teach their children an important lesson on empathy and respecting individual differences in others.
Be cautious when talking to others about the other parent and make sure you withhold critical comments about the other parent when children are present or even in the vicinity. Remember that children can overhear conversations extremely well even if they are out of sight. Phone conversations are especially important to be careful with.
Your child should not be encouraged to take sides or to empathize with you against the other parent.
When there is conflict between parents, a child may feel like he or she has to align with one parent to gain approval from that parent. However, this comes at the expense of feeling guilty for abandoning or rejecting the other parent. It also unbalances a healthy family structure when one parent and child are aligned together against the other parent.
The danger in the long run would be to turn your child against the other parent.
Children often believe they are responsible for the fighting that goes on between their parents. This is especially true if children hear arguments related to different parenting styles, school issues, or financial issues related to them. This guilt from feeling responsible for their parents’ conflict causes much emotional distress for children.
It is important to protect and shield your child from being exposed to conflicts between you and your child’s other parent.
Chronic parental conflict can cause a great deal of stress and can have a negative impact on your own mental health.
Some parents may even try to cope by using alcohol or drugs excessively. Emotional stress from chronic parental conflict will also affect your parenting skills and your child may act out causing even more stress for you. One of the most important things you can do in this situation is to look after yourself, both physically and mentally. Individual counselling is beneficial as a means of emotional support for you during this difficult time.
Family mediators can help in situations where parents are unable to work things out themselves. The involvement of lawyers may be necessary, however lawyers usually work from an adversarial approach that can create more tension rather than cooperation between parents.
Play therapy may be appropriate to support children who have been exposed to chronic, ongoing parental conflict.
Chronic conflict between parents is known to be detrimental to children and can impair normal development. Children who have been exposed to chronic parental conflict will benefit from having a counsellor trained to work with families to help them come to terms with these painful memories.
The euthanasia debate has reignited with Tasmania’s State Parliament due to debate new legislation in favour of euthanasia later this year.
If passed, the new laws will make Tasmania the first state in Australia to give advanced terminally ill patients the opportunity to take their own lives.
However the move has divided the community with Greens advocates denouncing those attempting to block the voluntary euthanasia laws while Tasmanian President of the Australian Medical Association calls the push “support for capital punishment.”
The NSW Greens say people whose religious views are blocking voluntary euthanasia laws are making the lives of vulnerable people even more wretched and should butt out.
“It’s time they recognised they are in the minority and got out of the way,” Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said.
The latest Greens campaign features a video of Loredana Alessio-Mulhall, who is in the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis and wants law reform so she can die at a time of her choosing.
“She represents a growing movement of people who are experiencing first-hand how cruel our laws can be,” Ms Faehrmann said in a statement.
“Loredana is given every assistance to live an increasingly undignified life, yet society is turning its back on her when all she is asking for is the right to die with dignity.”
Ms Faehrmann said Ms Alessio-Mulhall could not take her own life because she had lost the use of her limbs.
And if a loved one assists her to die they could be tried for manslaughter or murder.
“There could not be a more stark example of how unjust and senseless the law is in this area,” she said.
“It’s time those people with strong religious views who are blocking the passage of voluntary euthanasia laws recognise their views are making some very vulnerable people’s lives even more wretched.”
However, the Australian Medical Association’s John Davis says doctors are vehemently against the plan.
“I’m not sure that the majority of doctors, if in fact any doctors, would want to euthanase people, and that’s not being taken into account,” he said.
“The Premier and the leader of the Greens have been so contemptuous, they’ve not even consulted the profession.”
“Being really blunt, this is legislation for state-sanctioned murder and the last one of those in Australia was in 1964.”
State and federal parliaments have refused at least four attempts to legalise euthanasia in recent years.
What do you think, are you in favour of euthanasia or against…?
An alarming one quarter of people caring for a family member with dementia have contemplated committing suicide, an Australian study shows.
Researchers from Griffith University found among 120 carers recruited for a pilot study from online carer discussion boards in Australia and the US, 26% had thought about suicide more than once in the previous 12 months.
Of those, half had never told anyone they were contemplating committing suicide, and a third were classified as likely to attempt suicide in the future.
“It is clear that some family carers are already contemplating suicide and, as such, health professionals and community care providers must work to identify and support these carers now,” the authors said.
“In fact, given that the majority of family carers of people with dementia are aged over 55 and that up to 75% of people over 50 who die by suicide have never made a previous attempt, this should be considered a matter of some urgency.”
The study showed the carers with suicidal ideation reported more behavioural and psychological symptoms in the person with dementia, and stronger reactions to those symptoms, than carers who were not suicidal.
They also had lower levels of optimism, were less satisfied with the social support they were receiving and had higher levels of burden, anxiety, depression and dysfunctional coping strategies than those who had not contemplated committing suicide.
However, the researchers’ modelling suggested depression was the only variable significantly correlated with carers contemplating suicide.
In Australia, the majority of community-dwelling people with dementia are cared for by a family member.
Twenty-five per cent of these carers provide 40 hours of care or more a week and one-third of that group continue caring at that level for five years or more, according to the authors.
The study findings suggested “an alarming number” of carers contemplate suicide and further research was needed, they said.
Int J Geriatr Psych 2013; online March 4
TOP-TIER executives are ignoring or denying the mental illness of their staff, the head of Australia’s biggest mental health charity says. Mental illness costs the economy more than $6.5 billion every year, but the executive director of SANE Australia, Jack Heath, said too many company heads were not serious about addressing it. ”People in the boardrooms of major Australian companies, who are often a bit older, are more reluctant to acknowledge mental health as an issue that needs to be addressed,” he said. ”We’ve got a growing awareness – but it’s coming from the bottom up, with lower-level employees and middle managers discriminating against the mentally unwell less.” A SANE survey of more than 500 workers found 95 per cent felt their employers were uneducated about mental illness and needed training to manage its effects. Advertisement
Most said no support had been provided to them when they were mentally unwell. Executives needed to recognise the effects of mental illness, Mr Heath said, and provide the funding to train staff in addressing mental health. ”A couple of very high-profile corporate executives have in the past week told me how they didn’t think mental health was an issue and had a very dismissive view of mental illness,” Mr Heath said. ”One of them went through depression and it was only then that he understood how debilitating it could be.” SANE has introduced a program called Mindful Employer, which teaches mid-level staff how to address the mental health of workers. ”What we need now is for the upper echelons of business to get on board with the program,” Mr Heath said. A lawyer for a high-profile company, who did want to be named, said he suffered a breakdown and was hospitalised after failing to get support from his employer. His company distributed tips suggesting staff ”go for a swim in the ocean” or ”go home and cook a meal with your family” to de-stress, he said. ”Apparently the irony of recommending such fun and whimsy to a group of employees who are effectively required to remain at the office upwards of 14 hours a day, months on end, was lost on human resources,” he said. The lawyer called on companies to introduce programs that provided staff with meaningful help.
by Janice Killey
There’s been much discussion in the media lately about the emerging problem of internet addiction. Whether it’s gaming, gambling, pornography, staying connected socially or seeking information, Internet Use Disorder or IUD is now a recognised addiction which is growing rapidly and affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.
A person with IUD will experience preoccupation with the internet or internet gaming, withdrawal symptoms when the substance (internet) is no longer available, the need to spend more and more time on the internet to achieve the same high, loss of other interests, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and use of the internet to escape feeling depressed or anxious.
Recent studies have found that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) may be one effective method to treat IUD. This form of psychotherapy teaches people how to replace the damaging thought and behaviour patterns that plague them with healthier, more productive ones.
When people with internet addiction were taught how to apply CBT to their internet use problems, they reported improved well being and less of the offending behaviour, internet use.
Do you, a friend, or someone in your family have an Internet addiction? Symptoms can include:
• Failed attempts to control behaviour
• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities
• Neglecting friends and family
• Neglecting sleep to stay online
• Being dishonest with others
• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behaviour
• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
• Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities
Like any addiction, if Internet Use Disorder is having a detrimental affect on your life, relationships, health and wellbeing, seek professional help.
Janice Killey is the principal psychologist at Life Resolutions Kogarah and Leichhardt practices in New South Wales. She and her experienced team of psychologists use a variety of proven therapies including CBT to treat Internet Use Disorder. Other counselling areas include; child and adolescent issues, couple counselling, post-natal depression, parenting issues, anxiety, depression, anger management, drug and alcohol and other addictions.
by Janice Killey
Sibling rivalry is when brothers and sisters fight, although they can be the best of friends. Children will compete for everything from toys to attention. At different stages of development, their differing needs can significantly affect how they relate to one another.
It’s normal for children to have disagreements and conflict. People have different needs, wants and ways of doing things – this is what makes them unique.
However, in some families the conflict between brothers and sisters is so severe that it disrupts daily functioning, or affects kids emotionally or psychologically in negative ways. In those cases, it’s wise to get help from a mental health professional like a psychologist.
Problems can arise with how children choose to handle their conflicts. Whenever possible, don’t get involved. Step in only if there’s a danger of physical harm. If you do intervene, try to make it a win-win situation where each child gains something.
Sibling rivalry can occur due to competition for Mum’s attention and her highest regard. This can depend on the age of the kids, but check that you’re spending enough time individually with each child, and make sure there is enough positive reinforcement coming through.
Psychologists use a piggy bank metaphor to get people thinking about putting positive ‘deposits’ in their own and other’s piggy banks.
In the sibling rivalry example I would be encouraging each child to write down or state several ‘piggy bank’ deposits they have noticed with their sibling (e.g that person doing /saying something nice to them, looking nice that day, sharing etc) each day.
It’s normal for children to have the same interests as their siblings which may cause conflict and disagreements. Here are some tips for managing conflict:
- Establish fair rules for acceptable behaviour and ensure that they are clear
- Keep these rules to a minimum
- Involve children in making the rules, if possible
- Form agreements with children rather than imposing your will on them
- Explain why the rules are important
A positive way of viewing sibling rivalry from a parental point of view is to consider that sibling interaction offers you an insight into how your children cope when pushed to the limit, or when they are under extreme pressure.
Sibling interactions offer parents the opportunity to help their children learn the social and emotional management skills they need. Parents can use these fights to help children learn to manage their strong emotions and to learn more effective conflict resolution skills.
Janice Killey is the principal psychologist at Life Resolutions Kogarah and Leichhardt practices in New South Wales. She has over a decade’s experience in specialty areas including child and adolescent issues, couple counselling, post-natal depression, parenting issues, anxiety, depression, anger management, drug and alcohol and other addictions, mindfulness and hypnosis.