News Blog

Nearly all Misery Arises from Losing Control

Contrary to popular belief, if I were to say what single issue not only causes, but keeps misery alive for decades longer than necessary, it is that of giving ourselves permission to mentally lose control.  Over and over in my work as a clinical psychologist at the Smart Therapy Centre I see people who are giving themselves permission to lose control.  We give that permission when we mentally abdicate responsibility, take drugs, drink excessively, eat excessively, become full of rage, collapse, smoke, engage in self-harm, become helpless and passive,  ruminate endlessly on depressive mentations or give ourselves over to sheer,…

All drugged-up and nowhere to go

In my work at the Smart Therapy Centre over the past 25 years I have often seen the alarming results of medication on people’s capacity to recover from distress.  In my experience, this distress could almost always have been resolved in a matter of days or weeks with intelligent, targeted intervention. Instead many people unwittingly get caught in the revolving door of the psychiatric system where they are usually medicated.  Sadly, medication tends to take the frontal brain off-line and in so doing removes much of what makes us attentive, rational, imaginative, empathic and socially sensitive beings.  Moreover, medication tends…

Loneliness – How to Survive It

One of the most common problems I see in my clinical work at the Smart Therapy Centre is loneliness.  Every day, men and women struggle with lack of connection, alienation and desperate feelings of despair. Yet, most people think that they (as individuals) are the problem – that there is something wrong with them for being lonely and that everyone else out in the wider world is happy and engaged. But nothing could be further from the truth.  Loneliness is a problem associated with wealthy, first world countries where it is experienced in epidemic proportions.  This is mainly because advanced…

Build A Smart Not Domestic Brain

In my clinical work I often see women who are incredibly bored and angry about their domestic lives.  They cook, clean, wash, ferry the kids, plan and organise all aspects of the home. Meanwhile, these women say that their male partners ‘get it easy’ off at work all day barely having to ever consider any domestic challenges. One very stressed 26-year-old woman even said that she makes her partner ring her 20 minutes before he will arrive home so she can have dinner on the table, exactly on time for him.  Needless to say, he earns nearly all of the…

Reduce bullying by raising a capable child

Children are great learners and what they learn has a profound effect upon their trajectory in later life.  Doing jobs around the house helps make children both capable in their own personal activities of daily living, while also teaching them the importance of cooperation and contributing to the overall running of the household. For example, by standing on a chair, children can learn how to wash dishes, make their own breakfast, cook simple meals and wash their own laundry and do their own ironing.  Without the chair, they can feed pets, navigate digital devices, mop floors, clean cars, mow lawns,…

Flat-lining Emotions

Frequently when people have come from traumatic backgrounds, they have quite sensibly trained their brains to be hyper-alert to threat. The problem is that when these people become adults, the threats that they faced in childhood are no longer present, and yet their over-sensitised brains are still ‘reading’ threat everywhere.  This results in lots of unnecessary stress, hyped-up emotion and exhaustion. I’ve noticed in my over 25 years of clinical work at the Smart Therapy Centre that people in this situation simply think it is ‘normal’ to be so labile in their emotional responses.  And it is true that this…

It’s not you, it’s the sugar!

So often people come to the Smart Therapy Centre saying they cannot stop ‘comfort’ eating and they need to see a psychologist to help them work out why they overeat.  They often think there is something mentally wrong with them compared with other people. But, in my more than 30 years of clinical experience, I would say that it is usually just that they are having too much sugar! Therefore, the first question I ask these people is what quantities they eat of sugar and other complex carbohydrates like white rice, bread or pasta (that get broken down quickly into…

Raise a smart child not a boy or girl

So often in my 25 years of work at the Smart Therapy Centre I have heard parents tell me slightly different versions of the same story about their children.  It goes like this: our girl and boy children were different from the start – she liked dressing up, drawing and reading whereas he just wanted to be outside playing rough and tumble with a ball – yet we raised them ‘exactly the same’. Despite what people ‘believe’ they do, we know from decades of research that people do not raise their girls and boys the same.  Far from it.  Here…

The Importance of Raising Strong Girls

In my clinical psychology work at the Smart Therapy Centre over the past 25 years I have found that girls fare much better in so many ways if they continue to play vigorous sport and are discouraged from quitting (typically) at puberty. Sport allows girls to feel capable, coordinated and strong in their bodies and teaches them the importance of motivation and perseverance.  It teaches them to push through tough times and to get up and keep going even if it hurts. I’m not just talking here about the gains in physical attributes but also the psychological attributes like mental…

Unhappiness is a learning opportunity

Most people who seek therapy are unhappy in one way or another. As they say to me, ‘I just want to be happy’. In turn, many therapists adopt the view that everyone is entitled to be happy and take steps to remove unhappy feelings. Doctors do this through the prescription of drugs, which flatten affect. Psychologists prop up clients’ self-esteem, reassuring them that they are okay. I don’t agree with this approach. I see unhappiness as a fantastic learning opportunity. In propping up the self-esteem of their clients, therapists can inadvertently rob them of an opportunity to reflect upon their…

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