I know what you’re thinking….well, no I don’t actually,… but I think it would be a pretty good guess that at the mention of mindfulness, people conjure up visions of robes, shaved heads, incense and chanting.
Yes, mindfulness has been practised in Eastern traditions for generations, but now there is an abundance of new scientific evidence that suggests that the practice of mindfulness has a really important part to play in health, mental health, relationships and focus at school and work. Psychologists and researchers have been working on ways we can apply mindful techniques to help people deal better with the troubles in their lives. Some of the research is even indicating significant changes in the brains of those who regularly practice mindfulness.
We live in an era of fast information and sadly, with that speed and efficiency comes more ways that information can be altered of changed. Internet advertising, pop ups and sidebar activities, fake news – there is plenty that we need to watch for in this space. With more and more information coming to children via the internet, including homework that requires researching topics online, how can we help kids detect what might be genuine information and facts from advertisers, opinion pieces and “fake” news?
I.T. savvy adults can of course install and use up to date security software, but I also think it’s a great idea to skill kids up with a radar so that they can detect what might be dodgy online. It can all get a bit muddy in the internet puddle. How can we help kids to avoid the murky bits?
For preschoolers and early school years
All of the fanciest qualifications in the world won’t help a client if you cannot develop a working relationship with them so that you can deliver what it is they really need from you.
How can we spend so much of our ever-diminishing sense of available time looking at what people are eating for breakfast? Why do so many people want to know which cake best represents their life? What is it about the internet that gets to us? When you consider that amount of time you lose when you are on the internet, it is not hard to imagine how some people might fall completely for its Pokemon-hunting, stock-trading and hilarious-cat-video charms.
In short, researchers are starting to believe that it’s novelty that keeps us clicking. Scientists believe that humans have an important primitive drive to seek out new things – new foods, new people and new adventures. Our dopamine-fueled reward circuit in our brain affects much of what we do. Primitively, it would drive us to seek out food, bonding, and mates for reproduction. These drives are especially strong in teenagers and young adults. New or novel foods and new possible mates are healthier for our species. The internet provides many more novel experiences than any previous generation of humans have been exposed to in a lifetime and so appeals to out primitive brains very effectively. We just seem driven to keep clicking through all the internet has to offer.
Your client has had some difficult times and likely not a lot of success.
Wouldn’t it be handy if you could go and get some confidence in a jar?
I don’t think confidence is available in jar form as yet. I’m also not entirely sure that confidence necessarily comes from a “certificate of participation, either, but I can see where people are coming from when they try this. I think they just need to think a little more about the concept and perhaps understand the psychological science behind it so that they can modify the “Certificate of Participation” scheme they plan so that it actually assists in building confidence.
You can walk into just about any community welfare of counselling space and see images of the Stage of Change model hung proudly on the walls – sometimes in multiple languages or in indigenous art in an attempt to make it more responsive to those who might be stuck. You probably know it off by heart – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance. But sometimes the Stages of Change model just doesn’t seem to be working for you. It’s not enough. Indeed, sometimes, it’s just a reminder of how stuck you feel with a client.
What secrets do you keep about yourself? What are you ashamed about?
Shame is the feeling that arises when we think about ourselves as being “bad”, or “wrong”, or “broken”. Shame is a negative evaluation of the self – different from guilt which is a negative evaluation of our actions or behaviour. Guilt is where we wish we hadn’t done something. Shame is much more about an attack on our “selves” rather than a regret about our behaviour. Shame is much more closely linked to being self-critical.
For a long time now we have known that people need people.
In the 1930’s, Harry Harlow conducted studies with baby rhesus monkeys. He made surrogate monkey mothers out of wire and wood and some he covered with cloth. The babies had a preference for the soft covered monkeys, even if the wire monkeys held the bottle of food. The babies clung to the cloth mother. Babies raised with just a wire mother had troubles with digesting their food and frequently suffered diarrhoea. Baby monkeys were braver in the presence of a surrogate and would huddle in fear without them. Harlow concluded that contact comfort was essential to the development of psychological and physical health and lack of contact can be psychologically distressing.