COVID-19 response plan. Commencement of face-to-face appointments at Lifepath Psychology

Over the coming months, Lifepath psychology will be transitioning towards commencing face-to-face appointments for our clients in accordance with Federal and State Government guidelines.

Ongoing Telehealth appointments will be flexible and adapted on a case-by-case basis in line with Medicare’s Telehealth criteria for those clients that may still want to access Telehealth services.

At Lifepath Psychology we are applying strict infection control measures including higher frequency of cleaning and disinfecting our clinic spaces to minimise the risk of virus spread.

Staff at Lifepath Psychology have also completed the Department of Health’s Infection Control Training module.


Attending Lifepath Psychology for your appointment

Lifepath Psychology kindly asks that:

If you are currently experience any respiratory symptoms, fever or cold/flu-like symptoms,

if you have been ill with COVID/Corona Virus 4 weeks prior to your appointment,
OR

been in contact with someone who has, or is suspected of having, Corona virus 4 weeks prior to your appointment,


Please do not attend our practice. Call reception immediately and our staff will arrange a telehealth appointment for you.

We also request, if you have attended our practice for an appointment and become ill with Corona Virus, please notify us immediately so we can follow government protocol regarding infectious disease control measures.


When attending your appointment

We ask that you enter our premises no sooner than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment and observe the 1 person per 4 sq metres rule for indoor proximity. In some instances, this may require clients to wait outside until others vacate the premises.


We have taken extra health and safety precautions at Lifepath Psychology, including the installation of sneeze guards and hand sanitizer station in our reception area.

For the health and wellbeing of our staff and community we ask that you please use the hand sanitizer provided. You will also be asked to use hand sanitizer prior to using the payment terminal.

As part of stricter infection control measures, we will no longer be able to serve hot or cold beverages to clients.

Our front office team will be “contact minimising” when processing paperwork and payments. GP’s will be asked to send referrals and Mental Health Care Plans via encrypted message service HealthLink.

If you have any further queries, please feel free to email or call.

We thank you for your support and patience.

Kind Regards
Lifepath Psychology Team

Lifepath Psychology ‘s COVID-19 Telehealth fees as of 20th April 2020

The Federal Government have made amendments to the Medicare Telehealth provisions during the COVID-19 crisis. They have estimated that telehealth provisions will be accessible until 30 September 2020, with a review to extend.

Currently, Medicare will subsidise Telehealth appointments for clients who have a valid Medicare card, as well as a valid referral and Mental Health Care Plan from their referring GP.

Lifepath Psychology session fees will be determined upon your current circumstance. Fees will be discussed, and written notification sent prior to your appointment.

At Lifepath Psychology, services provided using the Medicare telehealth items will be bulk billed for:
* Aged Commonwealth concession card holders,
* Department of Veteran Affair card holders,
* children under 16 years of age, and
* patients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

For all other clients, bulk billing is at the discretion of the individual psychologist.
Lifepath Psychology session fee structure:
https://lifepathpsychology.com.au/fees-rebates/session-fees/

Vulnerable means a patient at risk of COVID-19, so a person who:
* is required to self-isolate or self-quarantine in accordance with guidance issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee in relation to COVID-19; or
* is at least 70 years old; or
* if the person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and is at least 50 years old; or
* is pregnant; or
* is the parent of a child aged under 12 months; or
* is being treated for a chronic health condition; or
* is immune compromised; or
* meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.

If you have any further queries regarding Medicare subsidised sessions at Lifepath Psychology, please feel free to email our office admin@lifepathpsychology.com.au or call 64960039

Many Thanks
Lifepath Team

COVID-19 Coronavirus Telehealth Services Criteria


Are you eligible for Telehealth services?

Under new Government guidelines, depending upon your circumstances, you may be eligible for psychology sessions via the phone or video link such as FaceTime or Skype. 

If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus (COVID-19) you should call (not visit) your GP or ring:
National Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080.
Western Australian Coronavirus Hotline on: 1800 300 243.

WA Department of Health COVID clinic criteria:
https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/COVID-clinics


Telehealth services are available if you meet the following criteria:


People isolating themselves at home on the advice of a medical practitioner, in accordance with the home isolation guidance issued by the AHPPC.

People who meet the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection after consultation with either the national COVID-19 hotline, state COVID-19 hotlines, registered medical or nursing practitioner or COVID-19 Trained health clinic triage staff.

People aged over 70yrs,

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50

People with chronic health conditions,

People who are immunocompromised,

Parents with babies 12mths and under, And  

People who are pregnant.



COVID-19 clinic locations – 8.00 am to 8.00 pm daily 

Royal Perth Hospital – Ground Floor, Ainslie House, 48 Murray Street, Perth 
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital – C Block, Hospital Avenue, Nedlands 
Fiona Stanley Hospital – Bedbrook Row, north-eastern end of hospital, Murdoch


COVID-19 Clinics Frequently Asked Questions

https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/Corporate/general%20documents/Infectious%20diseases/PDF/Coronavirus/FAQ%20-%20COVID-19%20Clinics.pdf

Lifepath Psychology – Coronavirus protocol


At Lifepath Psychology the health and welfare of our clients, staff and practitioners is of utmost importance to us.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Federal & State Government, Health Regulatory Body and Health Department have advised suitable protocols are followed to minimise the potential exposure to clients.

IMPORTANT – BEFORE BOOKING AN APPOINTMENT

If you have ANY of these symptoms:

Fever,

Cough,

Sore Throat,

Shortness of Breath

AND

Travelled overseas in the last 14 days

Had close contact with someone diagnosed with or suspected of having coronavirus in the last 14 days before getting sick.

Please inform reception staff when making your appointment.


If you become sick prior to your appointment, please immediately call our office on 64960039 so reception can triage your suitability to attend the clinic.



Under new Government guidelines, depending upon your circumstances, you may be eligible for psychology sessions via the phone or video link such as FaceTime or Skype.
Clients that may be eligible are:

  • People in home isolation or quarantine as a result of coronavirus,
  • People aged over 70yrs,
  • People with chronic diseases,
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50,
  • People who are immunocompromised,
  • Pregnant people, and
  • Parents with babies

We thank you for your assistance and support during this time.

Kind Regards
Lifepath Psychology Team


Bullying and your rights

Bullying has long lasting detrimental affects on a person.

The following information provides some insight into what is bullying, your rights, how bullying can affect you, and what to do if you are being bullied at school.

 

Your Rights

You have a right to feel safe and to be treated fairly and respectfully, these are basic human rights.
Bullying or harassment can be a violation of these rights. It is a serious problem with serious mental and physical impacts.

Bullying can affect you at home, school, work, in your social life and in your ability to feel happy, healthy and secure.

It is up to governments, schools, workplaces and individuals (including you) to make sure that every human right is respected.

Some of your rights that could be violated by bullying include: 

  • Your right to be free from mental, emotional and physical violence.  Bullying is a form of violence. You have a right to be in a supportive environment (be that at school, work or online) that is respectful, safe and free from violence.
  • Your right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Bullying can cause physical injuries, depression and other health issues.
  • Your right to survival and development. Bullying can have serious impact on your physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development
  • Your right to work and have a fair and safe workplace. Bullying at work can lead to physical and mental stress and depression. It can stop you being able to do your job well and cause you to need increased days off work.
  • Your right to leisure and play. Bullying that occurs in places you play and socialise such as at school and on social networking sites and can impact on your ability to relax and enjoy different activities
  • Your right to education. Bullying at school can make you feel unsafe and unwelcome. It can impact on your concentration and your mental and physical health. This may affect how well you do at school.
  • Your right to participate and have your voice heard. Bullying can make you feel unsafe and prevent you from expressing your feelings and opinions at school, home, work, and with your friends.  You have the right to express your views, to have your concerns taken seriously and to participate in decisions that directly affect you. 
  • Your right to privacy.  Bullying, in particular cyberbullying can make things that are personal public. You have a right to have your privacy respected by others.

 

What is bullying?

Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless. 

The sort of repeated behaviour that can be considered bullying includes:  

  • Keeping someone out of a group (online or offline)
  • Acting in an unpleasant way near or towards someone
  • Giving nasty looks, making rude gestures, calling names, being rude and impolite, and constantly negative teasing.
  • Spreading rumours or lies, or misrepresenting someone (i.e. using their Facebook account to post messages as if it were them)
  • Mucking about that goes too far
  • Harassing someone based on their race, sex, religion, gender or a disability
  • Intentionally and repeatedly hurting someone physically 
  • Intentionally stalking someone
  • Taking advantage of any power over someone else like a Prefect or a Student Representative.


Bullying can happen anywhere. It can be in schools, at home, at work, in online social spaces, via text messaging or via email. It can be physical, verbal, emotional, and it also includes messages, public statements and behaviour online intended to cause distress or harm (also known as cyberbullying). But no matter what form bullying takes, the results can be the same: severe distress and pain for the person being bullied. 

 

How can bullying affect you?

Bullying affects everyone in different ways. But there are common feelings that come up when you are being bullied. 

How bullying can affect individuals:

  • Feeling guilty like it is your fault
  • Feeling hopeless and stuck like you can’t get out of the situation
  • Feeling alone, like there is no one to help you
  • Feeling like you don’t fit in with the cool group
  • Feeling depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
  • Feeling unsafe and afraid
  • Feeling confused and stressed out wondering what to do and why this is happening to you
  • Feeling ashamed that this is happening to you

 

 

How bullying can affect other people:

Bullying can have a negative impact on everyone – it is not just a problem for victims and bullies. If you see or know of others been bullied you may feel angry, fearful, guilty, and sad.  

You may feel as bad as those who are being bullied.

You may also feel worried that the bullying could happen to you.  

When bullying isn’t stopped or challenged by anyone it can create an environment where bullying is accepted and where everyone feels powerless to stop it.

 

Know your rights

You have a right to feel safe and to be treated fairly and respectfully. Bullying is is a serious problem with serious mental and physical impacts. Bullying can violate many of your human rights including:

  • Your right to be free from mental, emotional and physical violence
  • Your right to education 
  • Your right to a safe work environment 

 

Is bullying illegal?

Bullying can be illegal. It is a crime if someone:

  • Is physically violent to you;
  • Threatens you;
  • Stalks you  (stalking includes following, watching, or contacting you repeatedly in a way that scares you);
  • Damages  or steal your stuff. 

 

 

I’m being bullied at school – what can I do about it?

Bullying is not OK and you don’t have to put up with it. You have the right to feel safe. You may be able to solve the problem by just ignoring the bully. But if you feel threatened, it is important that you tell someone what is happening.  

 

Will telling someone help?

Telling someone that you are being bullied is important. It can make you feel better because you don’t have to deal with the problem on your own. Telling somebody, even just your friends, can make you feel supported. It shares the problem, and allows you to get advice and help to stop the bullying.

 

Who can I tell?

  • Tell your friends – they can help you tell a teacher or your parents or just make you feel better;
  • Tell your parents – tell them who, what, when and where of what’s been happening;
  • Tell your school – we explain more about how to do this below;
  • Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 if you can’t talk to someone face to face. They provide free phone counselling 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  Sometimes there can be a delay in getting through, so we encourage you to keep trying. It’s free from all mobile phones, it doesn’t matter which provider you are with.

 

Telling your school about bullying.

All schools in Western Australia are required to have anti-bullying plans in place to deal with bullying and cyber-bullying.
You can ask your school about their anti-bullying plan (sometimes called Managing Student Behaviour plan) and see what the school is doing to stop bullying from happening. Your school should also make sure that students are not bullied or harassed and that it is a safe place for you to be.

Your school should teach students about bullying and create a climate where it is not attempted or tolerated. It should have a clear procedure for students to report bullying, and provide support for students who have been affected by bullying. If you are being bullied at school or outside school, tell someone about what is happening to you. Someone at your school must quickly respond to the situation.

 

If you’re being bullied at school, you can:

  1. Lodge a formal complaint with your school.
    The school has a legal duty to do something about the bullying if it is happening at school.  If telling someone is not enough to stop the bully’s behaviour, you can make a formal complaint to the school. Ask your parents or someone you trust to help make the complaint with you, especially if you are scared or worried about it.  You can make a complaint by arranging a meeting with your school principal and your parents.
  2. Make a complaint to the Regional or Local Education Office of the Department of Education.
    If the school doesn’t do anything after you make a complaint, you can make a complaint to the Regional or Local Education Office of Department of Education.  You can find your
    local education office here.
    Also check out
    this factsheet on how parents can talk to your school.
  3. Keep details
    It’s a good idea to record as many details as possible about situations in which you are being bullied. When making a complaint you will have to provide detailed information about the incidents and show why you think your school has failed to do to make the bullying stop. 

 

 

Reporting to police.

If someone has or has threatened to physically hurt you or sexually harass you, you can report this to the police. It is illegal for the bully to harass you and if your bully is over 10 years old , they could be charged with a crime.

If you have been threatened or physically harmed, you can report this to the police:

  • If the bully has physically harmed you, the maximum penalty is  5 years in prison;
  • If the bully has made threats to physically harm you, the maximum penalty is 3 years in prison;
  • If the bully has sexually assault you, the maximum penalty is 20 years in prison.

It’s very unlikely that a person under 18 would go to jail for hurting someone, but it is possible.

If your things have been damaged or stolen, you can also report to the police:

  • If the bully took away your things against your will, maximum penalty is 7 years in prison.
  • If the bully demands things from you so that they can take it away, maximum penalty is 7 years in prison.
  • If the bully damages your things, maximum penalty is 10 years in prison.

 

Getting Help

If you have been bullied or witnessed others been bullied and need help contact:

  • Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) is a free and confidential, telephone counselling service for 5 to 25 year olds in Australia. http://www.kidshelp.com.au
  • Lifeline (13 11 14) is a free and confidential service staffed by trained telephone counsellors. http://www.lifeline.org.au
  • If you are being subjected to bullying and feel you are suffering from stress or anxiety, you can access support from a psychologist. They can assist with skills such as coping strategies, calming techniques and resilience building.

 

Source: Human Rights Commission 2018; lawsuff – know your rights

Help over the holiday period

The holiday season can be a stressful period, while intended to be a time of celebration, it can also be a time of sadness or loneliness for some.

You may feel that the holidays don’t meet your expectations, or you may miss people who you cannot be with over the holidays. It is normal to feel down occasionally and for a short period of time. If you feel your depression is more than just a normal short-term period of sadness please seek assistance.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, go immediately to your local emergency room.  

Helplines can provide you with immediate access to support and advice that is confidential, free and anonymous. The following link to our website contains:

  • mental health support lines,

  • kids and youth mental health support lines

  • alcohol and other drug support lines

https://lifepathpsychology.com.au/mental-health-links/

For Emergency:

Mental Health Emergency Response Line …1300 555 788

Mead Center …………………………………………9391 2400

Police …………………………………………………..13 14 44

 Additionally, some of the following strategies may help you manage feelings of sadness over the holidays:

1. Self-care
When everyone seems to be smiling around you, it can make it harder to acknowledge that you might not be feeling happy yourself. It is important to be honest with yourself, though. Trying to force yourself to be happy just because it is the holidays is not healthy. Take some time out to clear your mind by going for a walk, listening to soothing music, reading a book or practising breathing exercises. Maintaining good habits like getting enough rest and making healthy eating choices can help to reduce stress.

2. Keep active
Maintaining our physical health is not only good for our bodies, it can also have a positive impact on our social, emotional and overall wellbeing. Regular exercise is seen as an active recovery tool for people with lived experience of anxiety and depression as it can help to promote a relaxed state of mind, boost self-esteem, and can help people connect with others through shared social experiences. Incorporate exercise into each day as part of a healthy routine by going for a walk in the park, doing a sport or activity you find fun and enjoyable.

3. Maintain connections
Living apart from family, complex relationships or the recent loss of someone can magnify feelings of loneliness or isolation during the holiday season. If you are feeling sad or down, reach out to a neighbour, family member, friend or community group for support and companionship. Volunteering your time with a group can also help broaden and strengthen your friendships.

4. Accept help
This requires strength in itself, as does offering help to others. What you might consider a small gesture can have a big impact on someone’s wellbeing. Likewise, it can also play a positive role in enhancing your own wellbeing. You might want to help someone cook a meal or just be there to listen. Reversely, if someone offers you help, don’t be afraid to accept it. It is also important that you seek professional help if you need it. There are crisis and information services operating 24/7 during the holiday period.
https://lifepathpsychology.com.au/mental-health-links/

Internet addiction and online gaming disorder on the rise

In our modern world, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, enabling us to be more connected and efficient than ever before.

But our move online has also resulted in the serious and growing global phenomenon of internet addiction.

 

What is internet addiction?

Internet addiction manifests when excessive internet use starts to affect someone’s life, causing impairment or distress. There are various types of internet addiction, from social networking and gambling to pornography and gaming.

Internet gaming addiction, also known as Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD), is now recognised as a mental health condition that can have major consequences for an individual’s wellbeing.

Dr Vasileios Stavropoulos, a senior lecturer in clinical psychology and coordinator of the Gaming Research Group at Federation University Australia, says six criteria must be met in order for excessive internet gaming to be classed as an addiction.

That criteria includes a frequent preoccupation or obsession with internet gaming, progressively higher doses of gaming to achieve the same outcome, using gaming to modify mood or feelings, conflict with others due to dysfunction in the gamer’s other roles, failing in attempts to curb or stop gaming, and withdrawal symptoms when not gaming online.

Anyone who presents with all six of these characteristics gets a diagnosis but if some do not present with all six and present with some of them, we tend to think that they are at high risk of Internet Gaming Disorder,” he says.

While the incidence of online addiction has grown in the past decade, it’s still an emerging area of research. Dr Stavropoulos says a 2010 Tasmanian study of more than 1300 students indicated 4.6% met the six criteria for internet addiction but little is known about the national prevalence of the condition.

 

Who is most at risk?

Dr Stavropoulos, who has studied the impact of internet addiction and excessive online gaming on adolescents, says studies show male adolescents, particularly those aged 16 to 18, are generally at higher risk than female adolescents. But new research has shown that female students who are struggling at school and who experience hostility in the classroom are vulnerable to addiction, turning to the internet as a refuge and a place to find acceptance and connection that they are not finding at school.

What makes people addicted to the use of online games has been found to be mainly the online socialisation aspect, so they get in contact with other gamers. It’s what we call internet paradox because this medium, which has been designed to advance communication between individuals, ends up making them more isolated in real life,” he says.

Gamers compensate the lack of relationships in real life with online relationships, and what makes online relationships more attractive to individuals has to do with three things – anonymity, escapism and convenience.”

 

What makes internet gaming addictive?

Research shows Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) can increase the symptoms of internet addiction.

Dr Stavropoulos says the games create ‘online flow’, where gamers are absorbed by the game action, coupled with the psychological state of telepresence, where gamers’ perceptions fail to accurately acknowledge the role of technology in their experience.

MMORPGs also enable gamers to create and develop a character, known as an avatar, that reflects who they would like to be in the real world.

This virtual identity often reflects their idealised self – you can choose who you are and you can choose the way other people see you. You can be who you want to be and that’s the power of the game,” he says.

It’s what we call augmented reality. It’s a part of reality but it’s also augmented with fantastic elements that make it very absorbing and attractive – it’s like living your fantasy in many ways.”

Dr Stavropoulos says MMORPGs feature constant development and rewards, enabling gamers to develop skills to achieve higher levels, which provides an immediate sense of satisfaction.

Despite the games often being played in isolation in the real world, they drive communication online, enabling gamers to socialise in gaming groups, called guilds or clans.
How is Internet Gaming Disorder treated?

The evidence-based psychological talk therapy Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is used to treat internet addiction.

Dr Stavropoulos says group therapy is crucial in helping gamers to develop relationships and improve how they relate to others while individual therapy assists gamers to address gaps between their virtual identity and their real self.

Dr Stavropoulos also urges caution against using medication, such as mood modification-related medication, to treat internet addiction.

The gamers’ main driver is to change the way they feel, and if they find that there is a chemical way of modifying their feelings, we may address the behaviour form of addiction, transforming it into a substance-related form of addiction.”

 

Sourced: http://compassforlife.org.au/internet-addiction-online-gaming-disorder-rise/

Do you clench or grind your teeth at night?

Do you clench or grind your teeth at night?


Grinding or clenching your teeth at night can be very painful. The medical term for teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw is known as bruxism.

The teeth grinding action that occurs with bruxism is unconscious. This is why hypnosis for bruxism can be effective, as it too works on the unconscious level. Stress and anxiety are often linked to teeth grinding; two issues that can also be addressed with hypnotherapy.

If you suspect you are suffering from bruxism, a visit to your dentist or doctor is advised. They will be able to see if the grinding/clenching has caused any damage to your teeth.

As part of your treatment plan, you may want to explore hypnosis. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching happen unconsciously, whether you’re awake or asleep. As the action is controlled by your unconscious, hypnotherapy (a therapy that works with the unconscious mind) can use the power of suggestion to help change thought patterns that lead to bruxism.

Hypnosis puts you into a deeply relaxed state. When you are in this state, your unconscious is open to suggestion and re-patterning. Using hypnotherapy techniques, the thought patterns that lead to teeth grinding can be interrupted. Then, using suggestive language, your hypnotherapist can encourage new (more beneficial) thought patterns.

When looking at stress and anxiety, hypnotherapy can help you get to the root cause. It also supports the development of more positive coping methods, so that your mind reacts better in stressful situations. As teeth grinding can often be a reaction to stress and anxiety, using hypnosis for stress may reduce bruxism as a result.

At Lifepath Psychology our practitioners can help you reduce the stress in your life that may be causing you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth – working with you using psychotherapy and hypnotherapy to get you taking steps in the right direction towards a long restful nights sleep.

Contact Lifepath Psychology on (08) 6496 0039 for further information or to schedule an appointment.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (sometimes called PTSD) is a form of anxiety disorder. The Australian prevalence rates for PTSD are 4.4% (12 month) and 7.2% (lifetime)

Some people develop this condition after they have experienced a traumatic event. This event might be a serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or a natural disaster such as a bushfire or a flood. Strong reactions such as fear, horror, anger, sadness and hopelessness are natural after events like these, of course. In most cases, these feelings will pass after the normal working-through of emotions and talking things over in your own time with family, friends or colleagues.

When these feelings are intensely distressing and go on for more than four weeks, however, it is important to ask for help from a doctor or other health professional, as they may be symptoms of a more persistent condition such as PTSD. About 25% of people who are exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD. As well as being very upsetting, the symptoms interfere with the person’s ability to carry on their everyday life, work and relationships. Treatment helps deal with the symptoms so that people are able to get on with their life again.

 

What are the symptoms?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is identified by three main groups of symptoms:

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event through intrusive memories or nightmares. As well as strong emotions, there may be physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic attacks.
  • Feeling emotionally numb and avoiding situations that are reminders of the trauma. Avoiding possible reminders of the trauma can cause someone to lose interest in day-to-day activities and become detached from friends and family. Some people experience ‘dissociation’ – a feeling of watching from a distance as events unfold.
  • Feeling anxious and ‘jumpy’ for no reason. Heightened vigilance can mean the affected person is constantly on the lookout for danger, possibly leading to irritability and a lack of concentration.

Other indicators of PTSD may include:

 

  • Panic attacks
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Uncontrollable rages
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Self mutilation
  • Somatic pain
  • Terror
  • Addictions (alcohol, drugs, sex)
  • Overreaction to minor stress
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sense of defilement or stigma
  • Nightmares
  • State of fight or flight
  • Extreme mood swings
  • High risk behaviours
  • Shame, guilt and blame

Someone who has experienced a traumatic event may sometimes feel that they have ‘got over’ it, until they are confronted with a reminder that triggers symptoms again. Those affected may also develop other anxiety disorders (such as phobias or social anxiety), depression, or problems with alcohol and drug use. These conditions can be present at the same time as the PTSD, and require additional treatment.

 

Symptom Checklist

Have you experienced or seen something that involved death, injury, torture or abuse and felt very scared or helpless?

Have you then experienced any of the following:

  • upsetting memories, flashbacks or dreams of the event?
  • feeling physically and psychologically distressed when something reminds you of the event

If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also experienced at least two of the following:

  • had trouble remembering important parts of the event
  • had very negative beliefs about yourself, others or the world
  • persistently blamed yourself or others for what happened
  • persistently felt negative, angry, guilty or ashamed
  • felt less interested in doing things you used to enjoy
  • feeling cut off from others
  • had trouble feeling positive emotions (e.g. love or excitement)

And have you experienced at least two of the following:

  • had difficulties sleeping (e.g. had bad dreams, or found it hard to fall or stay asleep)
  • felt easily angered or irritated
  • engaged in reckless or self-destructive behaviour
  • had trouble concentrating
  • felt on guard or vigilant
  • been easily startled?

If all these things have been happening for a month or more, you may be experiencing post traumatic stress disorder.

 

How common is PTSD and who experiences it

Anyone can develop PTSD following a traumatic event, but people are at greater risk if the event involved deliberate harm such as physical or sexual assault or they have had repeated traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual abuse or living in a war zone. Apart from the event itself, risk factors for developing PTSD include a past history of trauma or previous mental health problems, as well as ongoing stressful life events after the trauma and an absence of social supports.

Around 12 per cent of Australians will experience PTSD in their lifetime. Serious accidents are one of the leading causes of PTSD in Australia.1

If you feel very distressed at any time after a traumatic event, talking to your doctor or other health professional is a good first step. If you experience symptoms of PTSD that persist beyond two weeks, a doctor or a mental health professional may recommend starting treatment for PTSD.

 

What are the treatments?

Treatment usually involves psychological (talking) therapy with the person directly affected (and sometimes their family) by a qualified health professional such as a doctor or psychologist. The sooner someone is diagnosed and receives treatment, the more likely it is they will recover sooner. With help, a person can learn to manage their response in unavoidable situations that previously would have triggered a flashback. Medication can also be helpful for a time. With appropriate treatment and support people with PTSD are able to recover and get on with their lives.

 

Tips on managing psychological trauma

There are several things you can do to look after yourself and promote recovery from a traumatic event or situation. The following points provide some general advice.

  • Recognise that you have been through a distressing experience and give yourself permission to experience some reaction to it. Don’t be angry with yourself for being upset.
  • Remind yourself that you are not abnormal and that you can and are coping.
  • Avoid overuse of alcohol or other drugs to cope.
  • Avoid making any major decisions or big life changes.
  • Do not try to block out thoughts of what has happened. Gradually confronting what has happened will assist in coming to terms with the traumatic experience.
  • Don’t ‘bottle up’ your feelings – share your experiences with others when opportunities arise. This may feel uncomfortable at times, but talking to understanding people that you trust is helpful in dealing with trauma.
  • Try to maintain a normal routine. Keep busy and structure your day.
  • Make sure you do not unnecessarily avoid certain activities or places.
  • Allow yourself time to rest if you are feeling tired, and remember that regular exercise is important.
  • Let your friends and family know of your needs. Help them to help you by letting them know when you are tired, need time out, or need a chance to talk or just be with someone.
  • Make time to practise relaxation. You can use a formal technique such as progressive muscle relaxation, or just make time to absorb yourself in a relaxing activity such as gardening or listening to music. This will help your body and nervous system to settle and readjust.
  • If the trauma that you experience stirs up other memories or feelings from a past unrelated stressful occurrence, or even childhood experiences, try not to let the memories all blur together. Keep the memories separate and deal with them separately.
  • Express your feelings as they arise. Whether you discuss them with someone else or write them down in a diary, expressing feelings in some way often helps the healing process.

Sourced: Sane, APS, Beyondblue, RACGP, Mindhealthconnect

 

Do you think you may be suffering from PTSD?

If you feel you may be suffering from PTSD, seek the advice of an experienced mental health professional. Visit your GP and discuss your concerns, book a longer appointment so there is time to explain your issues and how you are feeling.

Your GP may write a referral to a psychologist, which may entitle you to access Medicare rebates under the Federal Governments Better Access to Mental Health Care Rebate scheme.

Remember your Doctor and psychologist are there to help,and will not judge.

To book an appointment at Lifepath Psychology, or request further information about our services, please feel free call 6496 0039 and one of our friendly staff will more than happy to assist.

Children who bully at school

Understanding school bullying
School bullying is a serious problem in many countries. Bullying is observed across gender, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. It is prevalent in all grades and all schools – and can be mild, moderate or severe.

Bullying is now widely considered as a systematic abuse of power, that is, the intention of bullying is to put the victim in distress in some way. Bullies seek power. While definitions in the literature vary, especially with new forms of bullying being identified, the majority of definitions include all or most of the following elements:

  • aggression;
  • intentional hurtfulness;
  • abuse of power (asymmetric conflict); and
  • repetition.

 

Importantly, bullying is distinct from interpersonal conflicts or “rough play”. While disagreement, teasing and conflict are part of growing up, bullying is an extreme form of peer conflict or teasing and can be harmful, both physically and psychologically.

Examples of school bullying include:

  • physical fighting;
  • name calling;
  • social exclusion;
  • spreading rumours and gossip; or
  • distributing hurtful or embarrassing messages or pictures.

It can take place in face-to-face encounters, through written words (e.g., notes), or through digital media such as text messages, social media, and websites

 

How common is bullying?
Bullying has been the focus of considerable international research and policy development. In one large Australian national study, approximately 1 in 6 school students (between the ages of 7 and 17) reported being bullied at least once a week. The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study reported that 1 in 4 students (in a sample of 20,832 Australian students aged between 8 and 14 years) reported being bullied every few weeks or more.

 

What do we know about bullies?
A significant number of young people who bully others have been bullied themselves.
Researchers suggest that children who bully are self-focused, highly competitive, exhibitionistic and aggressive. Others propose that children who bully lack empathy and tend to be manipulative and self-seeking in their interpersonal relationships.

children who bully can be grouped by their level of involvement:

  • ringleaders – organising a group of bullies and initiating the bullying;
  • followers – who join in the bullying once it is started; and
  • reinforcers – who do not actively join in, but reinforce more passively by watching and laughing or encouraging the bullying.

 

Criminal offending as an adult
There is now strong evidence for a substantial link between children who bully their peers and later offending and depression. Bullying others at school is a highly significant predictor of a child growing up to be a criminal offender, on average six years later in life.

 

Did you know?
Children who bully are more likely to:

  • do poorly in school;
  • turn to violence as a way to deal with problems;
  • damage property or steal;
  • abuse drugs or alcohol; and
  • get in trouble with the law – Young people who bully have a one in four chance of having a criminal record by the age of 30.

It can be a shock to discover your child is bullying others. But if it’s happening, you need to step in. You have an important role to play in helping your child learn about caring and respectful relationships with others. This is a vital step towards changing the bullying behaviour.

 

What does bullying look like?
Bullying is when your child deliberately and repeatedly upsets, frightens, threatens or hurts someone or someone’s property, reputation or social status. Bullying in adolescence often goes undetected and is generally less physical than bullying in younger children.

There are several different types of bullying, including:

  • verbal bullying – for example, insulting, threatening, ridiculing or mocking
  • bullying behind someone’s back – for example, playing nasty jokes, spreading rumours, or encouraging peers to exclude someone
  • cyberbullying – using technology such as mobile phones and the internet to bully
  • physical bullying – for example, pushing, tripping or hitting.

How bad bullying is varies widely, as does its impact. What might be a bad day at school for one child could be devastating for another. While the vast majority of bullying is fairly mild (for example, unpleasant teasing rather than assault or social exclusion), all bullying is hurtful and upsetting. It can sometimes be very disruptive or even harmful.

 

Signs your child is bullying
If you suspect your child is bullying, there are some signs to look out for. For example, your child might be:

  • talking about the other kids at school in an aggressive or negative way
  • having money, electronic goods or things that don’t belong to them.
  • being secretive about communication devices, including computers
  • systematically excluding others from her friendship group.

None of these signs means your child is definitely bullying. But you might want to talk to your child to find out if they have been having any problems getting along with other children at school.

 

What to do: first steps
The first step is to acknowledge that your child is bullying others.
This involves
talking with your child. She needs to know that you know about the bullying. Make it clear that bullying is always wrong, whatever the circumstances.

Not all bullying behaviour is deliberate. Some young people show bullying behaviour without realising the harm they’re causing. Generally, this sort of bullying will stop when your child is shown that what he’s doing is wrong or hurtful.

Tell your child that you want to work with her to stop the bullying. Talk with her about reasons she might have for showing bullying behaviour, and discuss options and strategies to change things together.

Your child needs to know that you’re taking the matter seriously and that you’ll support him to change his behaviour.

 

Your role
You are the best role model for your child. You can use your everyday interactions with other people to teach your child about being respectful, empathetic and responsible. For example, you can model the behaviour you want your child to use by showing respect and caring

You are the best role model for your child. You can use your everyday interactions with other people to teach your child about being respectful, empathetic and responsible. For example, you can model the behaviour you want your child to use by showing respect and caring towards others – in your family, with your friends, out shopping, and so on.

Your child can learn from you about expressing anger or negative emotions in healthy and constructive ways. For example, if you feel angry, you could say something like, ‘I feel really angry just now. Could we talk about this later when I’ve calmed myself down?’

If you have a conflict with your child or somebody else, it can be a chance to show your child how to resolve conflicts constructively. For example, think about how you react when your child breaks the rules or upsets you. Use these times to talk through what happened and involve your child in coming up with ways to resolve the issue.

This all lets your child know that you can talk about feelings, rather than having to act on them.

How you relate to your children at home can have an influence on bullying behaviour. A child who is fearful of the adults in her life might be more likely to bully others to try to get a sense of control and power. On the other hand, a child who is given few boundaries by her parents is also more likely to bully others. It’s important to be neither too strict nor too relaxed. 

How your children relate to each other is also important. Bullying among siblings is quite common, and there’s a clear link between bullying at home between siblings and bullying at school.

 

What to do if the bullying continues

  • Share your concerns with your child’s school. All schools are required to have strategies in place to manage bullying. Working in partnership with your child’s school is likely to be the most effective strategy.
  • Discuss your child’s friends and their influence – both with your child and with the school. Bullying can sometimes be a result of the influence of others.
  • Think about what else is going on in your child’s life. Is there a situation or a recent event in your child’s life that could be causing anxiety or fear? Bullying others might be a way to get control over these feelings.
  • Consider whether your child is frequently exposed to arguments, conflicts or relationship problems at home. Some young people develop inappropriate ways of reacting to and coping with stress when they’re exposed to behaviour at home that models bullying behaviour. Your child might be copying negative adult behaviour.
  • Discuss situations that have occurred in real life or on TV, to explore issues from different people’s points of view. This can help your child develop empathy.
  • Think about how you handle discipline with your child and how you solve problems as a family. Some young people learn that negative events can be handled only in physical ways, rather than through talking and working on problems to find solutions. The next time your child hurts you or breaks the rules, involve your child in solving the problem together. This teaches him that he has some control over situations and that you value his input.
  • Think about what your child is watching. Is your child being exposed to violence or inappropriate images on TV, in video games or on the internet? Young people who see too much violence in the media can learn that this is how you behave and solve problems.
  • Consider your child’s communication skills . Is your child using bullying to communicate anger or sadness? Speaking with your child and a school counsellor about these issues might be helpful. Give your child plenty of chances to learn how to solve problems through healthy, open communication.
  • Consider your child’s social and emotional skills. Is your child bullying because she doesn’t know how to interact appropriately with others or how to form friendships? Speak with your child and a school counsellor about these issues. You might like to read more about social and emotional changes in adolescence.

 

Developing positive, resilient young people
When you model respectful and caring behaviour, you help your child build the skills he needs to develop positive relationships and feel good about himself. These skills include:

  • awareness of and ability to manage emotions
  • empathy for others
  • ability to manage peer pressure
  • respect for others
  • acceptance of others’ differences
  • ability to deal with conflict
  • problem-solving
  • good decision-making
  • how to get what he needs without bullying.

Some children might need extra help to develop these skills. Speak to your child’s school counsellor, or a psychologist or GP for help if needed.

 

Resources and support
There are many programs, resources and supports out there to help you to support and guide your family. These include:

  • your child’s school – you can approach your child’s teachers, principal, school psychologist, school counsellor or guidance officer
  • confidential telephone counselling services such Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline
  • health professionals such as your GP or a psychologist or counsellor

Sourced information: Raising Children, Australian Studies – Australian Institute of Family Studies, Kidspot