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Therapy animals: Emotional support from a parrot!?

About a month ago, my mum and I went to a local pet store. I was having a bad day, and she knew seeing animals would cheer me up. (Being a 15 year-old with Aspergers and anxiety isn’t always easy!). And although we didn’t intend to, we left with a beautiful, affectionate parrot named Ollie. This article explains why they make great support animals.

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Defensiveness is natural but being non-defensive is wise

Many people get defensive OFTEN. Righteous indignation, playing the victim, and whining can be heaps of fun; the problem is they don’t work! No one likes feeling under attack from judgement, criticism or blame. Yet, defensiveness gives rise to more defensiveness. We need to find a way out. The key lies in our response-ability. Watch this short video to find out more.

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How to stop being a people-pleaser (but stay loving)

Are you a people-pleaser? What is the difference between caring about others and having empathy, and being a people-pleaser? How do you tell the difference? In this short video, Dr Rachel explains the distinction.

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Healing with humour: Interview with Fiona McGary

Rachel: As a comedian, why are you interested in humour and mental health?
Fiona: I got sick in 2014. I was in bed for 4 months, my business was failing, my relationship was failing, life was bad. I had depression. I was crying in the middle of the night and stuck in bed. I’d had depression years earlier when I remembered my sexual abuse. At that time, I drank and smoked too much to cope. When I had depression in 2014, I never went back to that terrible depression like before, because I sought help. That’s when I started to use humour properly.

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Grief is the Price We Pay for Love

This blog post has been inspired by the lovely comedienne, Jordan Kadell. Six years ago, Jordan’s family suffered a devastating loss when her brother died in a terrible accident while overseas celebrating finishing high-school.

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Overcoming Childhood Suffering: A Three Stage Process

Dark moments from our childhood – divorce, emotional neglect, a parent’s mental illness, witnessing violence or addiction, being abused – can stay with us as adults, even though we ‘feel fine’ most of the time. Research shows that adverse childhood experiences produce toxic levels of stress hormones that can affect the development of the neural networks in a child’s brain. In the past 20 years, researchers have shown that high scores on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) survey are highly predictive of adult mental, social and physical health problems later in life. The effects of these ACEs may be invisible, but they can weigh upon us decades later.

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Help Me! I’m a Comedian: New show with Rachel on ABC

LAUNCH TIME: I have been working on this ABC series over summer with Ashwin Segkar where we ask a comedian to share an issue they struggle with, and I offer ideas to them and the rest of us about coping with similar situations. Laughter and storytelling plus psych tips! In Episode 1, our guest was comedian Stav Davidson from B105 radio, where he discusses his chaotic childhood. Not quite “Comedians Get Therapy”, but almost! Click to listen to our first episode. More to come. Rachel

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What Makes Us Loyal? Dr Rachel on Loyalty for ABC Radio

Trust and loyalty have at least one thing in common: I am making something I value vulnerable to another person’s actions. Whatever I choose to make vulnerable to another’s actions, I do so because I believe their actions will support it or, at least, will not harm it. In the beginning however, loyalty to a person, place or brand always begins with how that person or place makes me feel. Which is where I begin this interview I did yesterday on ABC Radio in Brisbane. Click to listen.

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Surviving Christmas

Although Christmas is meant to be a happy and joyful time, this isn’t how everyone feels at this time of the year. Christmas can be a stressful and depressing time for many people. Today, Dr Rachel was on ABC Radio Brisbane discussing tips for surviving Christmas. Click to listen.

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Insomnia, Anxiety, and The Sleep Book: A Teenager’s Firsthand Experience

Our latest blog is a guest post from Alice, the 14 year-old daughter of NBP Director, Rachel Hannam. Alice just finished reading “The Sleep Book” by Dr Guy Meadows. It really helped her overcome her sleep anxiety and insomnia. This is her experience as a teenage sufferer. (She’d love some feedback in the comments 🙂

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The Superpower of Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is a superpower. Whilst I was growing up, and even now as an adult, I found the X-Men Marvel characters really appealing. I mean what teenager doesn’t know the feeling of being weird, judged or like an outsider? How awesome it was to escape into a world where I could imagine having superpowers! Now I see…

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How to Give Empathy

I want to be a more empathic person. But when I try to give empathy, I don’t really know how. I end up giving sympathy. Or I ask questions and give suggestions, leading to conflict. How do I give empathy to my partner or my children without ending up in an argument or feeling rather disconnected and helpless? I need some tips….

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How Do I Forgive Him?

“People talk about forgiveness, but I am too full of hurt and resentment. Since doing couples counselling, we are better at communicating. I want to work it out, but I haven’t forgiven him yet. How do I let go of the past and forgive?” So, start by asking yourself what happens when you don’t forgive. If it’s only good things, then don’t forgive! But, more likely, you are asking this because you want out of the mental suffering that non-forgiveness creates…

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My Trauma Story: Integration v Shame

In case you missed it or aren’t on Facebook, I posted a video yesterday about my own trauma story (see below). Actually, just one piece of my story that came back to me after 20 years. I was inspired because many survivors of trauma who I meet are still carrying around feelings of shame. Which is understandable, since shock and trauma can leave us disoriented, frozen, fearful, and ashamed. But I believe in the power of stories to…

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The Stress Myth and How Lobsters Grow

The myth that stress is bad for us still abounds. I personally think toxic shame is much worse. But stress in all forms, such as fear, worry, discomfort and anxiety, is part of life. So long as we are not ignoring high levels of chronic stress, stress is important and helpful. At any rate, stress is inevitable. So, we need to adopt a friendly attitude towards stress and to build our capacity to handle it. So how do we do that?

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