counselling psychotherapy

Addiction

WATCH: 3 Netflix Documentaries Reveal the Harmful Truth About Pornography

©kentoh – Can Stock Photo Inc.

In 2016, The Gottman Institute, who provide a researched based approach to strengthening relationships, published An Open Letter On Porn.  Having worked with women in counselling and psychotherapy for over 17 years, I have witnessed firsthand the negative effects on a) women who work in the sex and porn industry b) women who excessively use porn c) women who are in relationships with partners who are addicted to porn and d) young women who are growing up in an over sexualised and pornified culture.

I was deeply shocked and saddened by some of the comments on the Gottman post, as well as in further discussions with counsellors and psychotherapists regarding the normalisation and promotion of porn.

Addictions, eating disorder and post traumatic stress specialist, Bernadette Devine from Therapy Harley Street in London writes, “there are moves afoot to normalise porn and make those who argue otherwise feel a bit behind the times.”

Yes, some types of porn are known as ethical, female friendly and or feminist.

Unfortunately, this is not the kind that within 60 seconds of searching online, the average person stumbles across. Mostly, it is amateur and hard core.

Porn use has reached global, epidemic proportions and the harmful effects are widely documented.  In Growing Up in a Pornified Culture, Dr Gail Dines says that our children are growing up hyper sexualised; and in particular, girls are either not seen at all, or seen for their fuckability. Martin Daubney from Porn on the Brain describes it as a world of male domination and female humiliation. Divine describes the effects as a trauma to the soul, “…psychospiritually, degrading a person by objectifying and or humiliating them is a soul trauma wound from which recovery is a difficult journey. No one escapes the damage, those in the camera sites, nor those watching, plus there is the ripple effect on families and society”.

In my research, I came across these 3 eye opening documentaries on Netflix.

As a woman, a wife, a mother (to a boy and a girl), and a psychotherapist – having watched these series – I have no doubts whatsoever that porn harms. When we view that which is readily available online – we are participating in an abusive, harmful and unethical industry.

Watching these series was incredibly painful as they touch on the following issues + some: depression, trauma, low self-worth, narcissistic wounding and the longing to be seen, addiction as a way of numbing out, porn as a way of financing addiction,  objectification and not being treated like a human being, seeking fame and money, sex trafficking, and emotional, mental, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse and trauma.

Watch! I’d love to hear your thoughts…

I Am Jane Doe

Image credit: Netflix

I have included I am Jane Doe as “there are nearly 2 million women and girls who are sex slaves at any one time”, and sex trafficking and porn are inextricably linked.

I am Jane Doe (2017) is a documentary about the legal battle regarding the adult classified sections in Backpage.com. Several women whose daughters were exploited on the website file a lawsuit in order to hold the owners responsible for publishing third-party sex ads. I am Jane Doe is a gut-wrenching human story and looks at the social and legal issues that affects every community in America. If you are 18+ the official trailer is available on YouTube.

Hot Girls Wanted

Image credit: Netflix

Produced by Rashida Jones, Hot Girls Wanted is, “a cinema vérité look at the disturbing exploitative world of amateur porn.”(LA Times). This documentary shines the light on the thriving amateur entertainment industry through the experiences of five young women in the business. If you are 18+ the official trailer is available on YouTube.

After Porn Ends

Image credit: Netflix

After Porn Ends, is a documentary that examines the lives and careers of some of the biggest names in the history of the adult entertainment industry; but what happens to them after they leave the business and try to live the average lives that millions of others enjoy? Can they really live a normal life? If you are 18+ the official trailer is available on YouTube.

Need Help?

If you are struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this blog post – find a psychotherapist in your area who understands and can work at depth with the underlying concerns that you are struggling with.

About Jodieas-seen-in-december-16-pink

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly, Allambie Heights and Frenchs Forest on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

10 Tips for Healthy iPad Use for Kids and Their Parents

10 Tips for Healthy iPad Use for Kids and Their Parents

This article is in the Northern Beaches Family Living Magazine (February, 2016).

It is also part of my Children and iDevices 5 part series. Part of this series has been picked up by Cambridge University and will be published there soon.

FamilyLivingiPad2

FamilyLivingiPad3

With the arrival of millions of iPads and other screen based devices in Christmas stockings all over the globe and reports of children as young as four struggling with iPad addiction – here are my top attachment focused parenting tips for healthy iPad use.

10 Tips for Healthy iPad Use for Kids and Their Parents

1.Focus on connection   

The attachment relationship between you and your child is the foundation for all future relationships. Connection builds inner security and a healthy sense of self – the best preventative medicine for addiction there is!

  • Make time for connection with your child as soon as you arrive home – there is nothing more deflating and damaging to a child’s sense of self than parents checking out online as soon as they walk in the door
  • Use the iPad to build relationship by using apps together, rather than using the iPad as a babysitter
  • Sally Hunt – clinical psychologist, 123 parenting coach and mother of two – recommends lots of parental involvement including looking at the internet and apps together and taking time to answer any questions your child may have. This not only enhances connection but it also develops the child’s research skills. She also recommends playing the games together – just for fun.
2.Healthy boundaries create healthy relationships

Boundaries help and guide your child; it is therefore essential you can own your parental authority, set clear boundaries and formulate a family home use plan

  • Be clear regarding expectations and consequences
  • Be consistent as this helps your child feel safe and secure and inturn builds inner security
  • As your child grows, make time and space for connection, wondering and negotiation around boundaries and privileges
  • Set boundaries from a loving place based on values, meaning and purpose 
3.Moderate screen time

iPads do not provide the full range of healthy and sensory experiences a child needs to thrive – so first and foremost – encourage lots of physical, creative and sensory play. Limit use to:

  • Under two: iPad use is not recommended by paediatricians
  • Under five: iPad use is healthiest when limited and in connection with a parent
  • School aged: iPad use should be negotiated according to age and maturity. Many professionals recommend no more than 30 minutes on a school day and 30 minutes to 1 hour on the weekend

NB: Many Silicon Valley giants (including Steve Jobs) set strict rules around iPad use so you aren’t alone in setting boundaries!

4.Bedrooms are screen-free zones

Keep children safe and healthy by having a screen-free bedroom policy:

  • Cyber bullying, pornography and inappropriate sharing are easier to manage if iPad use takes place in shared family spaces
  • Turn off screens 1-2 hours before bed, as light and stimulation disrupt circadian rhythms and inhibit good sleep hygiene
  • Bed-time routine is for relaxation and connection so cuddle up with your child and a favourite book
5.iPads for dinner? No thanks!

The Pew Internet American Life Project  found families with multiple communication devices were less likely to eat dinner together. Screen free, family meals are consistently correlated with positive outcomes: better grades, a sunnier outlook on life and significantly fewer problems with addiction and eating disorders (Maushart 2010):

  • The dinner table is a great place to connect as a family and for your child to learn social skills
  • Using devices to entertain, distract or calm behaviour either at home or at a restaurant dinner table provides short-term gain for long-term pain = anti-social skills!
  • Help your child to practice mindfulness by paying attention to relationships and people, the view and the delicious food
6.Keeping your child safe

It is easy to feel anxious about your child using devices (I know I do!):

  • Focus on building communication, emotional intelligence and understanding so your child feels safe to talk with you
  • Wonder with your child about the positive and negative implications of iPad use
  • Have a designated shared area for use and create a charger station where all family members leave their devices at night
  • Set parental controls, delete unnecessary apps and  set limits with the family sharing system
7.Choose apps that serve your child’s wellbeing

Some of our family favourites are audio books, educational apps recommended by the school and children’s meditations which teach mindfulness, help regulate emotions and build connection with your child’s internal resources:

  • Encourage your child to make healthy app choices based on self-care and self-respect
  • Avoid apps that are unhealthy, addictive or cause distress
8.Model healthy iPad use

How you use your iPad or other device will provide a model for how your child uses it:

  • Put your phone down – wherever you are – and direct your attention to your child. Again, there is nothing more deflating and damaging to a child’s sense of self than a disconnected, absent parent (the result can be narcissistic wounding, which is common in adults with addiction!)
  • Drive mindfully and value lives by keeping your car device free. If you cannot drive from A to B without checking your screen, it is time to check in with an addiction specialist!
9.Have a screen free day

Take a weekly time-out from technology and spend time connecting as a family.

10.Take a complete digital detox

Next holiday, leave your iPad and other devices at home – relax and connect with your environment, yourself, and your family. Try sharing stories and playing board games. Take your digital camera – shoot now and share later!

About Jodie

asseeninmaster2 (600x124)

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Eating Psychology Specialist + Transformational Life-Coach, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Body Image Awareness Week

body awareness weekBody Image Awareness Week

In our size 0 and diet obsessed culture, feeling shame about our body is no longer only the domain of those suffering with an eating disorder. Increasingly it has become the norm for both women and men to be over identified with their body and uncomfortable in their own skin.

Join me every day this week as I share my favourite quotes, images, blogs and organisations in support of The Butterfly Foundation and their Body Image Awareness Week.

 

Body Image Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about disordered eating and provides an opportunity to celebrate our bodies – unique, diverse, strong and beautiful! (The Butterfly Foundation).

Sunday

Head on over to Join The Revolution and make positive body image your focus  – spread the word far and wide! Join together with others to challenge how we should look, feel and think about our bodies!’ (The Butterfly Foundation).

Monday

Loving my body is a radical step towards health in a sick society.

loving my body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday

‘We are dominated by everything with which our self becomes identified. We can direct and utilize everything from which we dis-identify ourselves.’ (Roberto Assagioli, 1969).

Check out the full version of Roberto Assagioli’s Body Feelings Mind Mindfulness Meditation.

I have a body (800x596)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday

Check out Anita Johnston’s Light of the Moon Café online retreat

 

Thursday

Let’s shift the focus from weight to health at every size!

HAES book“Health at Every Size: The New Peace Movement

We’re losing the war on obesity. Fighting fat has not made the fat go away. However, extensive “collateral damage” has resulted: Food and body preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, weight cycling, weight discrimination, poor health. . . . Few of us are at peace with our bodies, whether because we’re fat or because we fear becoming fat. It’s time to withdraw the troops. There is a compassionate alternative to the war—Health at Every Size—which has proven to be much more successful at health improvement—and without the unwanted side effects. 1, 2 The scientific research consistently shows that common assumptions underlying the war on obesity just don’t stand up to the evidence.” Linda Bacon (HAES).

1.Bacon, L., et al., Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2005. 105: p. 929-36.

2. Provencher, V., et al., Health-at-every-size and eating behaviors: 1- year follow-up results of a size acceptance intervention. J Am Diet Assoc, 2009. 109(11): p. 1854-61.

Friday

If only they knew they had such sweet bodies.

sweet bodies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

We are beautiful image via Pinterest.

Loving my body image via Balancing States of Mind.

Linda Bacon. Health at Every Size: The New Peace Movement.

If only they know they had such sweet bodies image via Pinterest

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

About Jodie

Sydney counsellor, life-coach & psychotherapist Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. She has a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. Her experience includes a Master’s thesis on eating disorders titled ‘Call off the Search: Eating Disorders a Symptom of Psychospiritual Crisis’, (you can read an excerpt here), post graduate training in addiction and ‘women’s business’, work experience in the ‘Eating Disorder Unit’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Eating Disorders Foundation (now part of The Butterfly Foundation) and Women’s Health NSW. She is an ‘approved service provider’ for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

 

Part Four: Children and iDevices. iAddiction & The Winter of Our Disconnect

winter of our disconnect

This post is part of my Children and iDevices 5 part series.

The Winter of Our Disconnect

Worried about her three totally wired teenagers – how they used their time, their space, their minds and with fears for their social, intellectual and spiritual development – single mother, Susan Maushart (PhD Media Ecology, author, social commentator & ABC Radio program maker) made a choice to pull the plug on technology for 6 months. She detailed their experiences in her book, The Winter of Our Disconnect,  which has been described as, ‘smart, funny, important, informative and a must read for the digital generation.’

Maushart wasn’t just worried for her children; she found herself warding off loneliness by sleeping with her iPhone and her homesickness for New York by living in two places at once (but present to neither Perth or NY). She is transparent regarding her family’s dependency issues, identity struggles (my iPhone/my self) and how the more they ‘connected’ as individuals to their iPod playlist, social media and screen based devices in their bedrooms, the more disconnected they had all become from self, others and life in general.

Throughout her book, Maushart discusses the cultural implications of a disconnected society. She also raises concerns in relation to helicopter, absent and narcissistic parenting. When she spoke of the family’s 6 month ‘experiment’ to friends, she continuously came up against, ‘are you sure you want to do this to the kids?’; likening internet, iDevices and screen time as a new ‘need’ wedged between Maslow’s basic and love needs.

Staying connected is one thing, excessive use is another…

Like Susan Maushart, I love technology, social media and of course my iPad!

But…in the many years that I have worked as a counsellor and psychotherapist in the field of addictions, there has been a dramatic increase over the last few years in internet, iDevice and touchscreen based addictions.

Addiction of any kind is complex. There are multiple influences, causes and concerns to consider. Some of these include biographical, psychological, social, neurobiological and spiritual concerns. Whilst it is imperative to consider addiction from a holistic perspective, the primary issues underlying dependency and addiction problems are about relationship and connection; with self and other. Increasingly this is being backed up through a plethora of research in the field of early attachment relationships and neuroscience. When our will is trapped in maintaining cycles of dependency and addiction, our primary relationship is with the substance or process; in this case, our iPad, iPhone, or other screen based trapping.

iAddiction has become one the most socially acceptable problems of our time. We fear being ‘left behind’ or ‘left out’ and are bombarded with rationalisations and justifications such as, ‘get over it, it is a part of life’. Cocaine, binge drinking and playing the pokies are also a part of life but that doesn’t mean they are recommended practice, healthy or good for our overall wellbeing (Maushart 2010).

Other concerns associated with iAddiction highlighted in The Winter of Our Disconnect include an escalation in anger, anxiety, co-dependency, comparison, depression, disconnectedness, impatience, intolerance, low self-worth, obsessive compulsive behaviours, narcissism, an inability to relate, rude manners, risk taking and dangerous behaviours such as sexting, texting and driving, as well as a myriad of sleep issues. Subsequently, some of the issues related to sleep bankruptcy are anxiety, depression, hostility, attention deficits, a greater risk of drug and alcohol use, headaches, fatigue, stomach and back aches (Maushart 2010).

The Winter of Our Disconnect shines the light on numerous sources of research regarding the impact of excessive screen time. The Pew Internet American Life Project found that families with multiple communication devices were less likely to eat dinner together. Family meals are consistently correlated with positive outcomes for children; those who eat family meals 5-7 times a week get better grades, have a sunnier outlook on life and have significantly fewer problems with drugs, alcohol, nicotine and eating disorders. This research was across all socioeconomic spheres (Maushart 2010).

Disconnect in order to reconnect

From the first night of the experiment, Maushart noticed a change in the way her family communicated with each other. Here are some of the other benefits they experienced as a family once disconnected from media in the home (they were allowed to log on at school and at the library):

  • The children became more focused and their attention span, concentration and reading skills increased. They also became more logical in their thinking and were able to hold more complex levels of conversation.
  • The whole family experienced less frustration throughout the experiment.
  • They became more present to their surrounding natural environment.
  • The children were tired, not wired at night. They all began to sleep longer and reported a better quality of sleep.
  • They felt more connected listening to the same music on the radio (previously everyone was in their own world using iPods). This taught the whole family tolerance of others, expanded their horizons and levels of consciousness.
  • They all experienced a relief from their media devices even though they were expecting the 6 months to be hell.
  • The family felt more connected through playing board games. They encouraged bonding, and deeper relationships.
  • The children learnt more hobbies and spent time fostering new skills such as musical instruments, making clothes and cooking.
  • The family connected with a sense of humour as they spent time reminiscing about stories from their past.
  • The children became more socially responsible, for example, the children turned up on time rather than texting last minute lateness and cancellations.
  • They became more creative. Maushart credits this to not using technology to stimulate, numb or distract themselves out of boredom. Rather, boredom was the impetus for the start of the creative process.
  • Overall, they had a renewed sense of life energy/agency and will.

The ten (ok, eleven) commandments of screen hygiene

Maushart asks us to consider, ‘How are we fostering digital dependency and unhealthy use in our relationships, family and home life?’ She recommends the following (pp. 283):

  • Thou shalt not fear boredom
  • Thou shalt not multi-task
  • Thou shalt not WILF (‘What was I looking for?’ A term used to describe the free association of ending up elsewhere, hours later when google searching for something else)
  • Thou shalt not text and drive
  • Thou shalt keep the Sabbath a screen-free day
  • Thou shalt keep the bedroom a media free zone
  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s upgrade
  • Thou shalt set thy accounts to private
  • Thou shalt bring no dinner to thy media
  • Thou shalt love real life, with all thy heart and all thy soul

If you are struggling with iAddiction, consider trying the above guidelines for healthy screen use as well as seeking support from a registered psychotherapist in your area to work through the underlying issues.

About Jodie

As Seen In Banner Profile (600x79)

Sydney Soul-Centred Life-Coach, Counsellor and Psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives.

She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

Addiction Recovery: The Starting Point for Recovery is Hope, Not Abstinence

damian-280x280Guest blog by Damian Grainer, UK Addiction Specialist, Therapeutic Counsellor, Coach, Trainer and the Founder & Director of Emerging Horizons.

Addiction recovery: the starting point for recovery is hope, not abstinence

“You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow.” Thich Nhat Hanh.

For me the starting point for recovery is hope, not abstinence. I see it as my job, and that of any counsellor or psychotherapist, to hold hope for the individual seeking recovery, until it can be fully internalised and experienced by the individual, whose current perception of themselves is often one of failure, helplessness and shame. Hope can be nurtured by exposure to success – people who have done it themselves and where recovery is visable.

Psychosynthesis psychology has a wonderful concept known as bifocal vision. Bifocal vision involves seeing both the being – with emerging purpose and immense potential – and also the person as they present in the here and now, with their current struggles and difficulties.

When working with any addiction it is always worth noting:

  • Everyone can recover
  • Not everyone will recover (but the majority do overtime)
  • We don’t know who will recover
  • So…give everyone a chance to recover

Far too often, I find practitioners who have set “glass ceilings” for their clients, often citing the client’s complexities of need or lack of motivation as the reasons why they cannot progress any further. If there is no hope, there is no motivation. If there is no vision, no purpose and no meaning, then sustained motivation is unlikely. There is growing evidence of the significant impact that the therapist’s own expectations have on efficacy of interventions and this is particularly so in addictions.

“If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” Goethe.

Recovery capital in addiction recovery

A concept that has gained great ground over the last few years is that of ‘recovery capital’; a term used to describe the collection of personal, social and community resources that are available to individuals to help start and sustain recovery journeys. It is a way of looking at the strengths and assets that individuals have. For example:

I get up in the morning because I have to, I have a vested interest in my work and my family – this is part of my capital. Relationships and community ties are some of the things that help me to manage and adapt to adversity and the unexpected.

If the individual suffering with addiction had no resources, no social buy in, why would they give up the one thing that in the short term comforts them and provides them with some purpose or connection?

Positive psychology and the 5 ways to well-being

 “If what we focus on is magnified by our attention, we want to be sure we are magnifying something worthy.” Sue Annis Hammond.

Whilst it is important to acknowledge someone’s suffering with attention and compassion – of equal, if not greater importance, is to recognise their qualities, strengths and their gifts to the world. This is especially pertinent when the individual is highly self-critical, may lack confidence or is trying to find evidence to confirm their self-limiting view of themselves and the world.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) was commissioned to develop a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal wellbeing. The NEF completed a large scale analysis of research on wellbeing, with a particular focus on ‘Positive Psychology’. Having come up with a list of the key common findings, they were tasked with reducing these down to a simple and workable message that would support people to adopt behaviours that promote wellbeing, in a similar way that the public health message of ‘5 a day’ aims to encourage healthier eating.

5 ways to wellbeing (800x558)

This work led to the development of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.

What has been interesting is how quickly this has been adopted by the growing recovery movement in the UK; both mental health & addictions. Last week I was training a recovery coach, who self-managed his own recovery, exclusively using the 5TWB, monitoring his life around these 5 core behaviours.

 

 

The importance of relationship, connection and belonging

Holt Lundstad et al (2010) showed that having supportive relationships was a bigger predictor in decreasing mortality than giving up smoking. The importance of authentic relationships (quantity and quality) is essential to wellbeing. It is especially important for individuals addressing an addiction where their social needs and identity may be intimately linked to the culture of addiction they have lived in – with its rituals, beliefs, roles and relational networks.

Connecting or being connected works on a multiplicity of levels and is both intra (within) and interpersonal (between).  For the person suffering with addiction, it is about building or utilising existing networks of support, be that through family, friends, peers, mutual aid groups, the wider recovery community, community groups and associations. It is also about overcoming the possible barriers to relationship and connection: shame, stigma, attachment difficulties, limiting core beliefs, issues of trust, pride and social competence.

For the counsellor and psychotherapist, ‘connect’, is as much about how they connect to the client as to how they are connected in their own lives. I believe that the more connected we are, the more likely we are to create the conditions where the client is empowered or supported to establish new and/or rebuild existing connections that support them in their chosen life journey.

Having a sense of autonomy is also important in overcoming addiction. Paradoxically the greater our sense of belonging, the greater our sense of autonomy is likely to be. Because connection is so important, I would suggest that a more proactive approach to working with the client’s network of support is called for. Examples of this would include incorporating social behaviour network therapy and/or systemic therapy as standard practice in addiction treatment along with interpersonal effectiveness skills.

Spirituality and mindfulness are essential to well-being and addiction recovery

“…the ability to be aware of your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and actions – in the present moment – without judging or criticising yourself and your experience.”  Jon Kabat-Zinn.

From a holistic perspective, it goes without saying that diet and physical activity play a key part in wellbeing and addiction recovery. For me, the application of mindfulness based psychologies and teaching to support the maintenance of recovery, resilience and wellbeing is also key and should now be the norm and a definite in any credible relapse prevention program.

My beutiful world worksheet (758x637)

 

In addition to mindfulness training, a willingness and ability to appreciate beauty and experience moments of awe – which often connect us to a deeper sense of who we are – also supports and enriches the recovery process.

Finally, it is worth noting the significance of reframing recovery as a “learning process”  with opportunities to gain mastery over new skills, do what is important and experience greater autonomy with plenty of opportunities to give back and engage in altruistic activities.

 

About Damian

Damian Grainer (MA. Dip. Couns) is trained in psychosynthesis psychology, therapeutic counselling, life and performance coaching, substance misuse, management and engineering. He has worked across a range of substance misuse and mental health services; spanning areas such as engagement, medical and non-medical community treatment and residential rehabilitation. With particular expertise in change management and leadership, Damian has a strong track record in the implementation and turnaround of large, recovery orientated, integrated substance misuse services and treatment systems. He has special interests in group work, mutual aid, conflict resolution, mindfulness based practices to support healing and wellbeing and community development and regeneration. Damian is passionate about helping others to connect with their values, meaning and purpose and translating this into action.

The team at Emerging Horizons offer cutting edge recovery solutions underpinned by a vigorous commitment to supporting the development of world-class recovery support services in the UK. They have delivered training to some of the largest voluntary sector provider agencies in the UK as well HM Prison Services, Probation Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts.

Connect with Emerging Horizons on Facebook for the latest in addiction and well-being news.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. She has a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. Jodie is the author of Addiction: A Psychospiritual Perspective, featured in CAPA Quarterly. She has post graduate training in addiction and ‘women’s business’. She is an ‘approved service provider’ for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating addiction recovery and eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

 

Learn How to Eat Mindfully with Geneen Roth’s Raisin, Chip & Chocolate Exercise [Video]

Geneen Roth Raisin Chip Chocolate (800x800)Learn How to Eat Mindfully with Geneen Roth’s Raisin, Chip & Chocolate Exercise [Video]

One of my favourite mentors in the field of food, weight and body image issues is Geneen Roth, author of Breaking Free From Emotional Eating, When Food is Love, Feeding the Hungry Heart, When You Eat at the Refrigerator Pull Up a Chair, Women, Food & God and Lost & Found.

In my private practice as a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist, I have worked with 100s of women from all walks of life; many of them have suffered with food, dieting, weight and body image issues. Alongside therapy, I often recommend this Raisin, Chip & Chocolate exercise to learn how to eat mindfully by Geneen Roth featured on Oprah.com.

 

The Raisin, Chip & Chocolate Exercise is a useful tool if you are:

  • Using food to soothe, punish or distract yourself
  • Bingeing or overeating
  • Depriving yourself of a wide range of foods or food groups
  • Missing what you eat
  • Questioning whether you even like the food that you are eating
  • Wondering how the food you are eating is affecting you
  • Labelling foods as good or bad
  • Associating memories with certain foods
  • Suffering with disordered eating/an eating disorder

The Raisin, Chip & Chocolate Exercise can help you to eat mindfully and develop:

  • The mindfulness skill of ‘noticing’
  • Presence to what and how you are eating
  • How to eat without distractions
  • Emotional satisfaction by the eating experience

Before you start you will need:

  • 2 raisins
  • One corn/tortilla chip
  • 1 wrapped chocolate

Psychological safety

As with any psychological exercise /visualisation, this exercise can evoke strong feelings. Please make sure you seek appropriate support if you are suffering with disordered eating/ an eating disorder.

Let me help you Transform Your Relationship With Food, Body & Soul™. Book your sessions here!

About Jodie

Jodie is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. She has a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge in the field of addiction and eating disorders. Her experience includes a Master’s thesis on eating disorders titled ‘Call off the Search: Eating Disorders a Symptom of Psychospiritual Crisis’, (you can read an excerpt here), post graduate training in addiction and ‘women’s business’, work experience in the ‘Eating Disorder Unit’ at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Eating Disorders Foundation (now part of The Butterfly Foundation) and Women’s Health NSW. She is an ‘approved service provider’ for South Pacific Private Addiction and Mood Disorder Treatment Centre and works in private practice, treating eating disorders as well as other women’s issues in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

How to create a sacred space for meditation

sacred space website (593x600)How to create a sacred space for meditation

In the midst of the busyness of life, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by an excessive amount of information and too much stuff.

Even though we are spending more time supposedly ‘connecting’, in fact, many of us feel more disconnected from our authentic, true and spiritual selves than ever before.

For some of us, there is an inability to be with ourselves without something or someone to constantly distract or entertain us. For others, the life energy increasingly becomes immobilized by concerns such as codependency and relationship issues, weight and eating problems, addictions, anxiety, fatigue, depression and major health crises.

The Self calls us to wake up to its presence in mysterious ways. It may call us to awaken to our true nature through the aforementioned life crises. Alternatively, we may have a peak experience which calls us to awaken to a new way of living and being. Both ends of the spectrum can shine the light on our growing sense of disconnection and unease.

One way that we can heal our suffering is by reconnecting and becoming present to what is. It is tempting to get busy booking expensive holidays or spiritual retreats in the hope that we can slow down and be. How often though do we return home with the post holiday blues and feel as though we need another holiday?

By creating a sacred space, we can retreat close by on a daily basis, even ground our retreat and spiritual experiences from far away places. Ultimately we are able to create a space whereby we can connect with our own sacredness and the Divine within.

What is a sacred space?

A sacred space is a place to:

  • Get grounded
  • Set our intentions
  • Relieve stress
  • Recharge our batteries
  • Practise self-care
  • Affirm our worth
  • Claim our space
  • Be present to ourselves
  • Dedicate to our purpose
  • Find ourselves again and again
  • Bring new energy into our lives
  • Connect with our deeper essence
  • Meditate and practise mindfulness
  • Practise yoga
  • Honour and uplift our spirit
  • Dialogue with our higher, deeper, Spiritual Self
  • Worship God or Spirit

Preparing for the creation of a sacred space

Spend time journaling, in prayer, meditation or reflection before and during the creation of the sacred space. Here are some possible reflections:

  • Would I like my space to be inside or outside?
  • What colours and textures call me?
  • Is my sacred space private or are others allowed in my space?
  • What boundaries do I need to negotiate with others regarding my time and space?
  • Do I need to schedule some ‘me time’?
  • What other needs do I have?
  • What are my intentions for this space?
  • What is the purpose of my space?
  • What makes my heart and soul sing?
  • What does sacred mean to me?

Where to create a sacred space

A sacred space might be a quiet spot in the garden or a homemade area with or without an altar. For example:

  • A quiet and peaceful corner
  • A spot in the garden
  • A room in the house
  • A quiet nook
  • A window seat
  • A kitchen table
  • A special chair
  • A giant floor cushion
  • A bathtub/bathroom
  • A place on the land
  • A church, temple or other place of worship

Some elements and ideas for bringing a sacred space into being

There is no need to rush out and buy expensive mats, buddhas or other artifacts. Many of the elements in my sacred space I have collected over time at women’s retreats and workshops. Creating a sacred space is about listening to that quiet voice inside. The following elements are often found in a sacred space:

  • Alter
  • Plants and flowers
  • Rocks and crystals
  • Windchimes
  • Candles and incense
  • Goddess and daily meditation cards
  • Books that awaken and nourish the soul
  • Beautiful bath and skin products
  • Water
  • White sage
  • Delicious fruits
  • Statues and figurines
  • Art and craft supplies
  • Journal
  • Rugs, cushions and throws
  • Photos and images of sacred places
  • Sand tray
  • Music
  • Singing bowl
  • Worry dolls
  • Guided meditations and visualizations
  • Evokative word cards for reflective meditation
  • A small suitcase for a portable sacred space

Quiet time nook (448x600)Sacred space for children

For those who have children, consider creating a space where they can play quietly, read or listen to audio books/music. Creating a quiet time or reading nook is a great idea for little ones. Keep loud toys in a designated play area and soft toys, books, puzzles, dolls’ house, audio books, guided meditations and visualizations near the quiet time nook. Children who learn mindfulness and meditation skills at an early age have higher self-esteem, a better attention span and live healthier and happier lives.

Benefits of a sacred space

We don’t need to spend hours in our sacred space to experience the benefits. Even a few minutes of quiet time can help us to build a more balanced relationship with our body, feelings, mind, sexuality and spirituality. Practising mindfulness and meditation in a sacred space can have the following benefits:

  • Reduce stress
  • Enhance emotional intelligence
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Develop compassion and kindness towards self and others
  • Manage painful thoughts and feelings
  • Live a balanced and conscious life
  • Experience more peacefulness and calm
  • Reconnect with our true selves, others and our environment
  • Gain a greater sense of clarity, focus and concentration

Check out my Pinterest page for more inspiration and beautiful images of other sacred spaces.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

Top 10 Self-Help Books for Women

top 10 books for women (600x600)Top 10 Self-Help Books for Women

As a therapeutic counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist specialising in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being – there are many books that I recommend over and over again. Many are listed in my bookstore and on my Pinterest page but here are my top 10 recommendations to help women find change as well as adding depth and meaning to their lives.

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brené Brown

Having taken part in The Gifts of Imperfection Art Journaling Course with Brené Brown – this is my new favourite go-to book for women. Her research focuses on shame, vulnerability, authenticity and belonging. If you have a relentless inner perfectionist and never quite feel enough – this book is for you! You will come away chanting, ‘I’m imperfect and I’m enough. Brené is a wonderful storyteller and that makes this an easy read.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

by Dr Christinane Northrup

“By the wisdom of the body I mean that we must learn to trust that the symptoms in the body are often the only way that the soul can get our attention.”

This is the ultimate bible for women’s health. It covers topics such as the body, menstruation, infertility, motherhood, menopause, sexuality, intuition, wisdom and self-nourishment. Dr Northrup takes a holistic approach towards healing physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns.

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This deep, soulful and inner life enhancing book has been described as ‘vitamins for the soul’, ‘a gift of profound insight’, ‘fertile and life-giving’, ‘a bible for women interested in doing deep work’.

Jungian analyst, Dr Estés uses intercultural myths, dream symbols, fairy tales and stories, to help women reconnect with the fierce, wild woman and instinctual self within.

Women Who Love Too much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change

by Robin Norwood

Along with ‘Codependent No More’ by Melody Beattie, this is one of my most recommended books to women who suffer with a fear of abandonment, controlling behaviours, co-dependency, love addiction and relationship problems such as choosing unavailable or abusive men.

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

by Geneen Roth

Geneen Roth suggests that food, diet and weight related issues are an attempt to fix something that has never been broken. We are already good and whole; our journey is to awaken to our goodness and wholeness.   She writes,

“It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels…We don’t want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes. We want to come home to ourselves.”

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children

by Sarah Napthali

Along with ‘Attachment Focused Parenting’ by Daniel Hughes – this book is my bible for parenting in a calm and peaceful way. Napthali applies Buddhist teachings such as mindfulness, presence, acceptance and compassion to the everyday challenges and stresses of raising children. Rather than focusing on the child’s behaviour, this book focuses on the inner self of the mother.

Breaking the Spell: The Key to Recovering Self-Esteem

by Rachel Clyne

‘What matters is that we stop hating ourselves; when we do so what has to replace it is Love!’

At the heart of addiction, food related issues, depression and other modern day concerns – working to increase self-esteem and self-worth is always at the core of the healing process.  Psychosynthesis psychotherapist Rachel Clyne gives very practical suggestions in each chapter for developing a healthier and more loving sense of self.

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

by Dr Christopher K. Germer

This is one of the best books out there for healing a toxic, harsh, punitive and critical inner voice. With practical mindfulness techniques for living in the present moment, this book teaches us how to nourish the spirit, reconnect and show kindness, compassion and empathy towards ourselves. Germer shows us that through self-compassion, we can heal pain and suffering.

Depression as a Spiritual Journey

by Stephanie Sorrell

This book is rigorously researched and takes a well-balanced view. Psychosynthesis practitioner Stephanie Sorrell explores indepth – the medical, psychological and spiritual aspects of depression. She writes poetically about suffering and depression as a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. Sorrell shows us that it is possible to find value, meaning and purpose out of our suffering.

Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

by Thomas Moore

This life affirming and soothing read illustrates how to add spirituality, depth, and meaning to modern-day life by nurturing the soul. Moore uses myths, stories and dreams to help us understand everyday concerns such as depression, anxiety, death, low self-worth, envy and narcissistic wounding.

Man’s search for meaning

by Dr Viktor E. Frankl

‘If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”

This moving book was named one of the 10 most influential books in America. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl spent time in four Nazi death camps. He survived his pregnant wife, parents and brother. Man’s search for meaning is based on Frankl’s own life experience as well as those he worked with in private practice. His ultimate message is that we cannot avoid all suffering in life but we can choose how we respond to it and ultimately, we can find meaning and purpose in it.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

 

Part three: Children and iDevices. The effects of iDevice use, little brains and neuroscience

iPad for kids (600x600)This post is part of my Children and iDevices 5 part series.

The effects of iDevice use, little brains and neuroscience.

Touch screen devices – and before them TV and video games – have been of great interest to paediatric neuroscientists and researchers for many years.

One of the justifications for allowing early iDevice use is that children will learn their ABCs and 123s faster than their less fortunate counterparts. In ‘What to Expect the Toddler Years’, Eisnsberg, Murkoff and Hathaway write, ‘While children who have had some number experience before school may enjoy a temporary edge, studies show they don’t retain it, as other students quickly catch up’. So… while early use is linked with some temporary benefits, there is also a cost…and one that far out ways the advantages.

iDevice and internet use has been linked with disrupted sleep, inability to focus, lack of creativity, forgetfulness, impatience, narcissism, loneliness, depression, anxiety, addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder and autism.

In ‘iPad mini will be bad for your kids’, Kit Eaton from the New York Times writes, “Inactivity associated with TV and computer watching is connected with developmental issues, mobility issues, and health issues to do with diet, diabetes, and other issues. There are also psychological concerns related to depression, disengagement, poor social skills, and damage to a child’s ability to empathize.”

Kevin Donnelly states in ‘Educating your child… it’s not rocket science!’, ‘The danger is that too much time on computer games, watching screens and surfing the net damages the way we process information and the way we think. Unlike printed texts that require you to focus on the words, concentrate, read carefully and sit quietly, TV and computer screens are full of colourful graphics, ever changing images, sounds and lots of movement.”

Many parents are noticing that their children enter a trance like state, commonly known as a ‘flow experience’ in the world of psychology. This often happens when children watch TV, play video games or become engrossed in their favourite toys. Technology guru, Ben Worthen suggests that when playing with toys such as Lego, it is the child who makes the choice to end playing, however, with touch-screen apps, the game decides when the child will end. It becomes increasingly difficult for children to stop playing because of the dopamine reward in the brain that they experience.

Dopamine is the chemical associated with pleasure. Many of the apps aimed at children, including the ‘educational’ ones, are designed to stimulate dopamine releases. These encourage children to keep playing by offering rewards or exciting visuals at unpredictable times (Worthen, 2012) . Philip Newton, neuroscience lecturer at Swansea University, describes dopamine as a ‘neurotransmitter, one of those chemicals that are responsible for transmitting signals inbetween the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain. Very few neurons actually make dopamine.’ Altered levels of dopamine can cause a range of symptoms and issues. Some of these are known to be Parkinson’s disease, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), psychosis and schizophrenia. Dopamine is also linked with addiction. Tony Dokoubil, in ‘Is the web driving us mad?’ writes, ‘Dopamine also plays a role in addiction, because it is part of the brain’s system of motivation. Some drugs stimulate its production, leading to increased levels and a corresponding high. When the drug exits the system, it leaves behind a sense of depression and a slowdown, which can only be remedied by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter again. The brain quickly learns to seek out drugs that will stimulate production, leading to addiction’.

Comparable to children’s physical, emotional, social and psychological development, the early years of neurological brain development are formative. Why then, would we introduce them at a young age to using something that could potentially have long lasting effects and consequences on their health and well-being?

If we want our children to grow healthy brains and have a solid sense of all round physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being, their little brains need their primary relationships to be with human beings – not with iPads, iPods & iPhones!

Coming soon: Part Four: The winter of our disconnect.

Coming soon: Part Five: Top tips for healthy iDevice use

References

Donnelly, Kevin, (2013 to be released), Educating Your Child … it’s not rocket science! Connorcour cited in Digital age is dumbing down our children. The Australian. Retrieved from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/digital-age-is-dumbing-down-our-children/story-e6frgd0x-1226436959981

Dokoupil. Tony, (2012), Is the Web Driving Us Mad? The Daily Beast. Retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/08/is-the-internet-making-us-crazy-what-the-new-research-says.html

Eaton, Kit, (2012), iPad mini will be bad for your kids, Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3002200/ipad-mini-will-be-bad-your-kids-discuss

Einsberg, Arlene, Murkoff, Heidi and Hathaway, Sandee, B.S.N, (1995), What to expect: The toddler years, HarperCollins, Australia

Worthen, Ben, 2012, What Happens When Toddlers Zone Out With an iPad. Retrived from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304363104577391813961853988.html

About Jodie

As Seen In Banner Profile (600x79)

Sydney Soul-Centred Life-Coach, Counsellor and Psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives.

She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

Part Two: Children and iDevices. From cradle to grave and iPads and education

Part two: Children and iDevices: iPads, iPhones and iPods. From cradle to grave and iPads and education.

This post is part of my Children and iDevices 5 part series. In part one, I shared about our toddler’s scary outburst when I tried to remove my iPad. It seems he is not alone. In the many articles I have researched regarding iPad use and children, I came across parent after parent complaining about extreme reactions when trying to remove an iDevice from their children’s teeny, tiny hands.

Jonathan Anker in ‘Your iPad is not your baby sitter’ suggests that kids are being ‘seduced by beautiful little screens’, are ‘gadget addicted zombies’ with iPads containing ‘scratch marks on the back from the deep, frantic clinging’ of tiny fingernails.

There are also plenty of articles arguing that our children ‘must have’ an iDevice. Perhaps the most common fear – and one that hooks in to our own narcissism – is that our kids will get left behind and will not be as successful as others if they don’t have one.

Some of the other reasons given that our children ‘must have’ an iDevice include,

everything is stored on the tablet so kids can save time by not walking back and forward to their lockers

and

it is easier to swipe the screen than it is to turn the page of a book  (seriously?)

So… who is convincing us that our children ‘must have’ one?

From cradle to grave

In the alarming, Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood (full video below) we are shown how children are now targeted like objects from birth to participate in the $700 billion a year child/parent consumer industry. It highlights how marketers are relentless in catching their prey. They draw on psychologists, ethnologists and experts in neuroscience to get kids while they are young to keep them for life, ‘from cradle to grave!’

Clayton Browne from Demand Media writes,

‘In marketing and advertising, the term refers to the practice of specifically marketing to children with the hope that they will become loyal consumers of that company’s products for life….The concept of cradle-to-grave branding really came into its own in the 1980s and ’90s. Industry veteran marketing consultant James McNeal, author of the book “Kids as Consumers: a Handbook of Marketing to Children” reports that while ideas about cradle-to-grave branding were generally ignored for many years, they have become the norm in the 21st-century marketing business. He points out that the only way to increase customers is to switch them from other brands or “grow” them from birth, and in our society, it is actually easier to grow customers from birth than switch them.’

Dr. Susan Linn, Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School confirms, ‘This generation of children is marketed to as never before. Kids are being marketed to through brand licensing, through product placement, marketing in schools, through stealth marketing, through viral marketing. There’s DVDs, there’s video games, there’s the internet, there are iPods, there are cell phones. There are so many more ways of reaching children so that there is a brand in front of a child’s face every moment of every day.’

With iDevices a growing part of children’s culture, there are plenty of companies now targeting children with child specific apps and add on extras such as remote control helicopters. Former scientist Kit Eaton writes that the iPad mini ‘comes with the same ‘must have vibe’ as other Apple products.’  The iPad mini, at a more cost effective price and being more portable for tiny hands, will no doubt be a huge seller for children.

However, just because something is pitched as ‘educational’ and ‘interactive’ and being sold as, ‘every child must have one’ – it doesn’t mean they should!

iPads and education

Like many parents, we were momentarily persuaded by, ‘if we don’t let them use an iDevice, they will get left behind’. When we gave in against better judgment, and let our two toddlers use our touch screen phone and iPad, like many parents, it was for reading interactive stories and for using apps such as Leaning ABCs and 123s.

Anker warns us that learning with an iDevice is not the same as when children use books to learn. When we read books, we are usually sitting together, interacting and building a relationship with one another. As we sit, spend time, see, hear and learn with our children, it sends them a core message fundamental to building their sense of self-worth, ‘you are important to me – you are worth my time’. Yes, kids may learn slightly faster using an iDevice, but at what cost? One potential outcome is that we raise a whole heap of computer savvy kids who are unable to relate and interact in a healthy and meaningful way in the real world. Anker goes on to say,

‘Education-focused apps like these — which are abundant — are pretty harmless on their own. But that misses the point. They function as gateway drugs to the device itself. Once you introduce a kid to the thrill-a-minute gadget universe, they’ll want to stay there. You’ll see them again just in time for the middle school dance.’

Professor of Psychology, Nancy Darling, Ph.D., who has authored more than 50 scientific papers and has studied adolescents and their social relationships for 25 years writes,

‘There’s nothing wrong with a young child spending a bit of time with an app. But I’ve seen nothing from a developmental perspective that makes me believe that the physical skills required to use it or the cognitive skills gained by manipulating it are likely to provide a richer developmental experience than the real world. If an iPad app is easy enough for a toddler to manoeuvre, I doubt it will take a novice 5 year old very long to master it. And a 5 year old who has a lot of experience in the real world may bring more to that iPad than one who has been using it since birth.’

In Educating Your Child … it’s not rocket science!, Kevin Donnelly notes that many schools are starting to introduce the compulsory use of iDevices and are marketing themselves as being at the cutting edge of new technology. Just recently, St Andrew’s Cathedral School in central Sydney, informed parents that it would require all students in years 7 to 10 to own an iPad from next year.

In Matt Ritchel’s New York Times article, ‘Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say’, English educator Hope Molina-Porter who teaches accelerated students, has noted a marked decline in the depth and analysis of written work. Many teachers are adjusting lessons because of the decline in students’ attention span. Teachers are also  concerned about what they call ‘the “Wikipedia problem,” in which students have grown so accustomed to getting quick answers with a few keystrokes that they are more likely to give up when an easy answer eludes them. It is reported that those most affected, were children who were allowed unfettered access to television, phones, iPads and video games.’

But what about our parental fears that our children will be left behind? In ‘Computers ok? Not in Silicon Valley’ (the epicentre of the tech economy) – CEOs, chief technology officers, and other employees of Silicon Valley giants such as Ebay, Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlard –Packard, all send their children to Wardolf schools (video below). This style of schooling subscribes to a ‘teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks’. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans. Alan Eagle, who holds a computer science degree and works in consecutive communications at Google agrees and says,

‘I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school…The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic – that’s ridiculous.’ Eagle goes on to say that learning computer skills is ‘like learning to use toothpaste…at Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids can’t figure it out when they get older.’

Wardolf schools are the equivalent to Steiner schools in Australia where the Cape Byron Steiner School, Australia have the following philosophy:

‘The whole emphasis of the Primary school years is about nurturing the doing, feeling and thinking of the child through imaginative story, artistic endeavour, music, dance and drama, as well as providing the necessary academic skills that they will need to progress in their further education. The opportunity to be and to interact cooperatively with peers is particularly important at this stage in the child’s life. This is enhanced by the strong relationships developed with the teacher and with peers. The computer and its screen do not offer the same sort of human interactive opportunities. The development of fine motor skills is an important aspect of the child’s growth and the many forms of craft offered in our curriculum ensure the necessary nimbleness that translates later into academic achievement. This compares somewhat differently with the quite limited and repetitive movements a computer allows. This is not to negate the obvious usefulness of computers. Our students are introduced at a later stage in their school life to this intricate and intriguing medium. As Steiner suggested in all areas of education, we encourage students to have a working understanding of computers so that technology becomes the useful servant rather than our unconscious master.’

This last statement is particularly important for our children’s ongoing emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.

References

Anker, Jonathan, (2012), Your iPad is not a babysitter! HLNTV Online. Retrieved from http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/09/21/your-ipad-not-babysitter-our-mobile-society

Browne, Clayton, Demand Media, What Does “Cradle to Grave” Mean in Advertising? Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/cradle-grave-mean-advertising-23834.html

Darling, Nancy, (2012), Why the Real World Is Better for Kids Than an iPad. Psychology Today.  Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thinking-about-kids/201204/why-the-real-world-is-better-kids-ipad?page=2

Donnelly, Kevin, (2013 to be released), Educating Your Child … it’s not rocket science! Connorcour cited in Digital age is dumbing down our children. The Australian.  Retrieved from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/digital-age-is-dumbing-down-our-children/story-e6frgd0x-1226436959981

Dokoupil. Tony, (2012),  Is the Web Driving Us Mad? The Daily Beast. Retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/08/is-the-internet-making-us-crazy-what-the-new-research-says.html

Eaton, Kit, (2012), iPad mini will be bad for your kids, Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3002200/ipad-mini-will-be-bad-your-kids-discuss

Feneley rick, (2012), It’s a touchy subject, but passing the HSC takes one tablet. Sydney Moraning Herald Digital Life. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/tablets/its-a-touchy-subject-but-passing-the-hsc-takes-one-tablet-20121011-27fru.html#ixzz2ICIEtQu0

McCormick, Lyn and Dunham, Catherine. (2007), FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Rudolf Steiner Education. Retrieved from http://www.capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au/flex/faq_frequently_asked_questions_about_rudolf_steiner_education/91/1

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, (2004), Young children develop in an environment of relationships. Working Paper No. 1. Retrieved from http://www.developingchild.net

Newton, Phillip (2009), What is dopamine?The neurotransmitter’s role in the brain and behavior. Psychology Today online Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mouse-man/200904/what-is-dopamine

Ritchel, Matt, (2012), Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/education/technology-is-changing-how-students-learn-teachers-say.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Ritchel, Matt, (2011), Computers OK? Not in Silicone Valley, Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/computers/computers-ok-not-in-silicon-valley-20111106-1n1qc.html#ixzz2HkpYi5OA

About Jodie

As Seen In Banner Profile (600x79)

Sydney Soul-Centred Life-Coach, Counsellor and Psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives.

She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

Let your light shine and live the life you have always dreamed of! Contact me now to book your first appointment.