counselling psychotherapy

depression

How can watching movies help us to heal and grow? [Video]

Movie reelsHow can watching movies help us to heal and grow? [Video]

I’ve been to the cinema twice this week and watched two incredibly moving and powerful films,

August: Osage County, with themes of  abuse, addiction, co-dependency, disappointment, family, hate, regret, love and hope

and

the Disney animation, Frozen, with themes of hidden and frozen, painful feelings, depression, perfectionism, suppressed potential, letting go of the false self, becoming real, female empowerment, relationships and love.

It got me to reflecting about how movies can help us to find deeper meaning in life, as well as being a valuable tool on our journeys towards healing and growth. Much like with dreams, myths and fairy tales – working with the symbolism of movies can provide access to parts of the psyche that are inaccessible through our conscious thinking.

“Cinema therapy can be a powerful catalyst for healing and growth for anybody who is open to learning how movies affect us and to watching certain films with conscious awareness. Cinema therapy allows us to use the effect of imagery, plot, music, etc. in films on our psyche for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and natural change….Like music, poetry, stories, myths, jokes, fables, or dreams, cinema therapy allows us to gain awareness of our deeper layers of consciousness to help us move toward new perspectives or behaviour as well as healing and integration of the total self.” (http://www.cinematherapy.com/)

CinemaTherapy suggests that by watching movies consciously, we can:
  • decrease stress hormones through laughter
  • identify, regulate and heal emotions through cathartic crying
  • explore our reactions to the characters and how they relate to those parts of ourselves that we like and dislike
  • create a sense of healthy distance from our problems
  • develop objectivity
  • gain new insights and behaviours
  • connect with images and symbols and find their meaning
  • understand ourselves at a deeper level of consciousness
  • find a sense of positivity and hope
  • improve communication
  • enhance well-being and
  • become more mindful
In therapy

Get to know yourself on a deeper level and try taking a movie that you have connected with to your therapy session. Explore the main themes, the music, the characters, the context, the shooting locations, the symbols etc. Tapping into the creative mind can be particularly useful when you are feeling stuck.

Check out my Movie Therapy board on Pinterest.

Let It Go from Disney’s FROZEN as performed by Idina Menzel | Official Disney HD

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

PHOTO CREDIT: CANSTOCK

About Jodie

Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches.

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

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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).

Therapy Rocks! Depression is helped by various talk therapies

depressionTherapy Rocks! Depression is helped by various talk therapies

Research by Jürgen Barth from the University of Bern in Switzerland, has shown that various forms of talk therapy, are all beneficial when it comes to healing from depression.

The study involved reviewing 198 published studies and had 15,000 patients receiving one of ‘seven different types of psychotherapeutic intervention: interpersonal psychotherapy, behavioural activation, cognitive behavioural therapy, problem solving therapy, psychodynamic therapy, social skills training and supportive counselling.’

Alongside the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy, the study concludes that not one type or style of psychotherapeutic treatment is better than another. This is great news for those who want a non-drug related treatment and who are thinking of entering into counselling or psychotherapy as a way of healing their symptoms. It also means a greater level of choice when choosing a counsellor or psychotherapist and preferred therapeutic discipline.

If you are suffering with depression and are looking for a counsellor or psychotherapist in your area, check out the PACFA register or Australia Counselling.

For a list of depression resources, check out my page on pinterest.

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

About Jodie

Sydney counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches.

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.

10 Self-Help, Psychology and Parenting Books for Mothers

Mothers day books (600x366)10 Self-Help, Psychology and Parenting Books for Mothers

The transition from daughter through maiden, lover to mother can be overwhelming for many new mothers – myself included!

Regardless of how well we know ourselves and how much of our own ‘stuff’ we have worked through, entering motherhood can stir up a whole lot more: sleep deprivation and exhaustion, post-infertility, post-natal or post-adoption depression and anxiety, fear of not being a good enough mother, parenting like our own parents even though we swore we never would, comparison with other mums, fears about our children’s development, getting caught in keeping up with the Jones’, lack of ‘me’ time and a complete change of lifestyle. These are just a handful of the concerns that come to mind.

Here are some books that I use with clients in therapy and that I have personally found useful as I journeyed towards motherhood, as a new mum and adoptive mother of two toddlers.

My Mother My Self: The Daughter’s Search for Identity

By Nancy Friday

‘The greatest gift a mother can give remains unquestioning love planted deep in the first year of life, so deep that the tiny child grown to womanhood is never held back by the fear of losing that love, no matter what her own choice in love, sexuality, or work may be (Goodreads).’

My Mother My Self, is an oldie but a goodie. This classic women’s psychology book is a great read for any woman who has had a difficult relationship with her own mother or for those struggling to separate and individuate from mother. It provides a deeper understanding of mother-daughter relationships, acceptance of mother, how to let go of searching for the perfect mother and why we so often become our own mother. Ultimately, this book teaches us how to heal and love who we are.

Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing your Inner Child

By John Bradshaw

‘We first see the world through the eyes of a little child, and that “inner child” remains with us throughout our lives, no matter how outwardly “grown-up” and powerful we become. If our vulnerable child was hurt, abandoned, shamed, or neglected, that child’s pain, grief, and anger live on within us. Bradshaw believes that ‘this neglected, wounded inner child of the past is the major source of human misery (John Bradshaw).’

Homecoming is a valuable tool for healing the child within and revealing the true self; the part of us that may have had to go into hiding due to growing up in an addicted or physically, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually absent, abusive or neglectful home environment.  Growing up in such circumstances can often result in a sense of low self-worth and feeling ‘not good enough’. When it comes to parenting our own children, regardless of good intentions to do it differently, unless made conscious, these dynamics can result in unfavourable consequences for our own children. This book helps us to build a strong sense of self, a deeper level of intimacy and connection and tools for dealing with concerns such as relationships, parenting issues, addiction, anxiety and depression. John Bradshaw’s work, like many others within the psychotherapy field, is now being validated through extensive attachment research and neuroscience.

Sex, Love and the Dangers of Intimacy

By Helena Lovendal and Nick Duffell

Everyday issues related to parenting can take the spark out of even the healthiest of relationships. In Sex, Love & the Dangers of Intimacy, Psychosynthesis couples’ psychotherapists Helena Lovendal and Nick Duffell, write about relationships as a spiritual path (me, you and the spirit of the relationship). They suggest that many couples feel that conflict is the sign of a problem arising in a relationship. However, they teach us a way of appreciating conflict as a means for reaching a deeper level of intimacy, how to transform potentially difficult situations into opportunities, self-knowledge and a more authentic partnership.

Depression as a Spiritual Journey

By Stephanie Sorrell

Depression as a Spiritual Journey offers a holistic model, as opposed to the medical approach which currently dominates the field of depression. Sorrell, a sufferer herself, takes a well balanced view and writes poetically about suffering and depression as a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. She shows us that it is possible to find value, meaning and purpose out of our depressive symptoms and suffering. This book is great for anyone who has suffered with depression, including depression brought about through infertility, post natal or post adoption depression.

Attachment Focused Parenting: Effective Strategies to Care for Children

By Daniel Hughes

Attachment security and affect regulation have long been buzzwords in therapy circles but many of these ideas—so integral to successful therapeutic work with kids and adolescents—have yet to be effectively translated to parenting practice itself. Moreover, as neuroscience reveals how the human brain is designed to work in good relationships, and how such relationships are central to healthy human development, the practical implications for the parent-child attachment relationship become even more apparent (Google Books).’

At the heart of our relational, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being, is our ability to form secure, healthy and balanced attachment relationships. Attachment Focused Parenting is a must for any parent. By focusing on the attachment relationship first and foremost, it will help to deepen the parent-child bond, which in turn, helps to alleviate and manage behavioural issues in a healthier way. This book is essential reading for foster and adoptive parents.

First Steps in Parenting the Child Who Hurts

By Caroline Archer

First Steps in Parenting the Child Who Hurts is a valuable resource for foster and adoptive mothers. It offers sensitive and practical guidance through the process of separation, loss and trauma in early childhood. Caroline Archer is an adoptive parent so she speaks from experience. This book provides good, practical advice and encouragement for foster or adoptive parents. It explores issues such as bringing the child home, childhood development, what to do when things don’t appear right, the effects of trauma on the child and how to handle these difficulties.

Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain

By Sue Gerhardt

‘Gerhardt, has bravely gone where most in recent years have feared to tread. She takes the hard language of neuroscience and uses it to prove the soft stuff of attachment theory. Picking up your crying baby or ignoring it may be a matter of parental choice, but the effects will be etched on your baby’s brain for years to come. Putting your one-year-old in a nursery or leaving them with a child minder may turn out to be a more momentous decision than you thought (Rebecca Adams, Guardian Book Review).’

Sue Gerhardt is a psychotherapist in private practice; she is a leading specialist in mothers and babies. Why Love Matters is evidence based and provides an eye opening view of the baby’s brain, psyche and how these develop in relation to separation, bonding and attachment. Gerhardt links early childhood attachment and development with childhood and adult issues such as anxiety, depression, addictions and so forth. This book is a valuable resource for making conscious choices regarding the care and well-being of our children.

Read more about Why Love Matters.

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

By Sarah Napthali

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children is the perfect read for practising self-care and learning to parent 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.

What to Expect: The Toddler Years

What to Expect: The Toddler Years is a valuable, practical, lifesaving resource. The format is easy for dipping in and out of the content list. What To Expect covers hundreds of pointers on self-esteem, emotional, physical, psychological and social development, discipline, eccentric behaviours and making time for self-care.

The Velveteen Rabbit and The Velveteen Principles Gift Box

By Margery Williams & By Toni Raiten-D’Antonio

This delightful gift box is a wonderful resource for mother and child, a great baby shower or Mother’s Day gift and a valuable tool for inner work.

‘Margery Williams’ classic The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a stuffed rabbit who finds himself looked down on by the other toys. With the help of the Skin Horse, he learns that real is not about how you are made, but your relationship with others. The Velveteen Rabbit’s journey from loneliness to love has inspired generations of children and adults.’ (Amazon).

‘The Velveteen Principles is fast becoming a classic of its own. This comforting, inspiring book draws twelve lessons from Margery Williams’s story to show how each of us can become more Real about our values, our goals, our loves and our lives. And most importantly in a world that is often superficial and stressful, its simple wisdom points the way to rediscovering our own true selves.’ (Amazon).

References

Abrams, Rebecca, 2004, Minding the baby, Retrieved from The Guardian Online

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. Jodie is also the adoptive mother of two toddlers.

 

 

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.

 

Eating Disorders and Body Image: Psychosynthesis Disidentification Meditation (Body, Feelings, Mind)

Eating Disorders and Body Image: Psychosynthesis Disidentification Meditation (Body, Feelings, Mind)

This meditation was devised by Roberto Assagioli and is in his book, Psychosynthesis (1969). It is now widely used in mindfulness based therapies including ACT: Acceptance Committment Therapy. It should take about 20 minutes. This meditation is useful for fostering and observing, authentic self and helps to move away from being overly identified with body, feelings or mind and thoughts.

Put your body in a comfortable and relaxed position, and slowly take a few deep breaths. Then make the following affirmation, slowly and thoughtfully:

I have a body and l am not my body. My body may find itself in different conditions of health or sickness, it may be rested or tired, but that has nothing to do with my self, my real I. I value my body as my precious instrument of experience and of action in the outer world, but it is only an instrument. I treat it well, I seek to keep it in good health, but it is not myself. I have a body and I am not my body.

I have feelings and I am not my feelings. My feelings are diverse, changing, sometimes contradictory. They may swing from love to hatred, from calm to anger, from joy to sorrow, and yet my essence—my true nature—does not change. ‘I’ remain. Though a wave of feeling may temporarily submerge me, I know that it will pass in time; therefore I am not this feeling. Since I can observe and understand my feelings, and then gradually learn to direct, utilize, and integrate them harmoniously, it is clear that they are not my self. I have feelings and I am not my feelings.

I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts. My mind is a valuable tool of discovery and expression, but it is not the essence of my being. Its contents are constantly changing as it embraces new ideas, knowledge, and experience. Sometimes my mind refuses to obey me. Therefore, it cannot be me, my self. I have a mind and thoughts and I am not my mind and my thoughts.

Who am I then if I am not my body, feelings or mind  I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will. This is the permanent factor in the ever-varying flow of my personal life. It is that which gives me a sense of being, of permanence, of inner balance. I affirm my identity with this centre and realize its permanency and its energy. I realize that from this centre of true identity I can learn to observe, direct, and harmonize all of my psychological processes including my body, feelings and mind. I choose to achieve a constant awareness of this fact in the midst of my everyday life, and to use it to help me and give increasing meaning and direction to my life.

As a shorter version

I have a body and I am not my body

I have feelings and I am not my feelings

I have a mind and I am not my mind

I am a centre of pure awareness, love and will.

NB: Some psychosynthesis practitioners prefer to use ‘more than’ instead of ‘not’. I use both. If you are a Psychosynthesis practitioner, feel free to comment below regarding ‘more than’ or ‘not’.

Self Reflection

Which aspect were you most identified with?

Is there one part that you barely know?

How could you build a better relationship with these 3 aspects?

What was it like to realize that you are a centre of pure awareness, love and will…and not in fact your body, your feelings or your mind/thoughts?

This is a powerful exercise. You may want to find a psychotherapist experienced in this kind of meditation to help you work through an over identification with the various parts of who you are.

Alternative meditations

You can change this to suit any area of your life that you wish to separate and disidentify from.

For example:

I have a mother and I am not my mother

I have work and I am not my work

I have an eating disorder and I am not my eating disorder

I have things and I am not my things

I have a victim subpersonality and I am not my victim subpersonality

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

About Jodie

Jodie Gale MA Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy, Dip Therapeutic Counselling, CMPanzA, CMCAPA has a wealth of personal and professional 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.

Therapy Rocks! National Psychotherapy Day

Therapy Rocks TurquoiseTherapy Rocks! National Psychotherapy Day

Welcome to my new series, ‘Therapy Rocks!’ For over 10 years, I have had the privilege of witnessing people from all walks of life become more authentic, grow and transform their lives. In conjunction with my personal experience of therapy, there is an ever increasing base of evidence highlighting the benefits of short and long – term counselling and psychotherapy. These specific disciplines are effective and can provide long lasting change for a wide range of experiences such as anxiety, depression and many other emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns. Despite this, recent research suggests that most people are less inclined to spend money and time on their psychological well-being as they are on other areas of their lives. It often takes a life-threatening health scare, a rock bottom or major life crisis before seeking and committing to therapy.  Yet many of these experiences can be avoided by seeking help sooner rather than later.

Today, September 25, is National Psychotherapy Day in the United States. The National Psychotherapy Day is sponsored by Goodtherapy.org and was created by a non-profit organisation called the Psychotherapy Foundation.

Founder of the National Psychotherapy Day, Clinical psychologist Ryan Howes suggests that there are several problems that psychotherapy has:

– Stigma remains for those who seek therapy.

– The media presents a distorted view of therapy and therapists.

– Psychotherapy has no unified, active promotional campaign.

– Low-income counselling options are sparse, underfunded, and overwhelmed.

– People aren’t aware of therapy’s proven, lasting effectiveness.

Over the coming months I will be writing about some of the above topics and hope to shed some light on all things therapy. Who knows…by this time next year, we may even have our own National Psychotherapy Day.

In the meantime – wear turquoise and check out some ways that you can be a part of National Psychotherapy Day: http://nationalpsychotherapyday.com/ and on facebook .

Other blogs from National Psychotherapy Day 2012: http://www.nationalpsychotherapyday.com/blog.php

Therapy Rocks!

This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.

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.

 

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