Pilot Research Study on Gestalt and Depression January – April 2021

Two online participant positions are available.

In any one year around one million people in Australia will experience depression (beyondblue.com.au). With the impact of COVID these numbers have escalated sharply in 2020. Symptoms of depression are a general orientation towards negative thinking, a heavy bodily feeling and an overall sense of being without hope. Sufferers may find motivation difficult and experience an overall sense of deep sadness and withdrawal.

Expressions of interest are now invited from those aged between 25 and 44 suffering from depressive experiences, to participate in a pilot research study initiated by GANZ (Gestalt Australia and New Zealand). Gestalt Therapy is a psychotherapeutic modality that works in the present to increase awareness and improve the ability for depressed clients to creatively adjust in order to move through the experience of being stuck in negativity.

The study is being co-ordinated by the Research Chair of GANZ, Annie Garrety (Ba Dip T MGesTher) who operates a private practice in Mapleton. The purpose of the study is to explore the efficacy of Gestalt Therapy in alleviating the suffering of depressive experiences and the statistical results will add to the body of knowledge available to treat this condition. The overall efficacy results will eventually be published as part of a larger study in a peer reviewed journal.

For those selected to participate there will be ten sessions overall. They will be run online through individual therapy sessions. Naturally, as a research project, there will be no charge to those volunteers selected to participate. To lodge an expression of interest please contact Annie directly, Ph 0404521248, or email garretya@gmail.com for further information.

The Role of Mindfulness and Yoga in Parenting the Anxious Adolescent

Yoga allows the vagus nerve to increase in tone. This increases the ability to tolerate anxiousness. Supporting your adolescent to do 15mins of yoga before bed and NOT discussing worries will expand their comfort zone incrementally daily and assist in getting to sleep. Mindfulness as you do the yoga contributes to this increase in vagus nerve tone.

Living Well With Anxiety

Sometimes the discomfort of the anxious symptoms is simply too high to sit with and do nothing. “Unfinished business” keeps the worry thoughts and emotions swirling around generating the unease we call anxiety. It becomes such a physical response that it can feel overwhelming. When this happens we can support ourselves as in these ways as best as we can.

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#1 One of the ways to down grade the swirling feelings is to give them a voice without words. You can give yourself 20 mins of time to first pay attention the swirling mass of emotion thought and draw with crayons letting yourself free to choose shapes and colours that simply express whatever is arising. Try then giving some words to what you feel when you look at your own drawing. You can even try to see if there are hidden shapes that you could then write more about.

#2 Another way is movement to help contain the swirling mass of emotion thought. Yoga in particular as you encourage yourself to be fully present with your moving body , breathing into the poses especially when directed by another ( there is free yoga on line these days on YouTube)

#3 Movement of all kinds helps to process the cortisol that is created when the flight and fight alert nervous system is activated or over activated. Running walking jogging swimming cycling; movement that brings your awareness into your body is the right kind of support to allow the swirling mass to come to a halt, or slow down a little.

#4 Sitting very still for 5mins breathing consciously into the sensations of the very swirl of thoughts and trying to catch your attention. Catch one thought and write it down then catch and name the emotion attached and write it down then focus back on your still body and repeat. After 5 mins get up and gently walk around while still allowing some consciousness of the anxiety then sit down to focus again and simple say it aloud this time saying …”having a thought that?????…and name it aloud. Having a feeling of ????????…and name it aloud…no need to analyse or understand this is just an acceptance exercise. Let yourself feel all the emotions: sadness,anger and fear as if they were the messages from you to yourself that just needed hearing holding and soothing. 

#5 Warm baths and warm sweet drinks

#6 Vitamin C and some Vitamin B to support the body ( a trip to the naturopath for support in this can really help)

# 7 Stay away from alcohol or compulsive distractions as that can increase anxiety in the long run

#8 Remember at some level you have the resources to be able to feel anxious and not feel endangered. Listening to our fragility with a good friend or relative brought to mind gives us the internal sensation that we can slightly welcome this in just for now. 

#9 Gentle Japanese acupuncture, osteopathy and bodywork massage can help to move the congestion of emotions trapped in bodily systems such as muscles, soft tissues, organs and the nervous system as a whole. 

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is closely related to sudden loss of the ground. Our most significant relationships form the ground we can metaphorically walk upon each day. Loss of a significant other, a Mother, Father grandparent or special mentor can lead to the psychic loss of ground. The disorder known as panic disorder often has the symptoms of an attack of a feeling that one is about to die or go mad. The first onset of this suffering can seem unrelated to the loss of the important relationship. The call of the panic symptoms is the call to find the new ground after the grieving of the old. Building new ground from the supports that remain becomes the psychic ground to process our day to day challenges and developments. Nothing is static and there is no fixed place to arrive at only the ability to keep finding new ground to be seen and consciously known in our bodily senses.

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Counselling & Psychotherapy

Walking beside you for greater well-being in the world

Counselling and Psychotherapy help clients to live well in their worlds. Supporting clients to live well through the challenges of life by coming to know themselves better, growing through difficulties and achieving the changes they want in their lives.  This includes improving relationships with others, gaining relief from distressing emotions, as well as increasing self-esteem and satisfaction in all situations.

Counsellors and Psychotherapists draw on a wide range of therapy interventions and are highly skilled in working across the spectrum of life challenges. They work with people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, distress, confusion, crisis, loss,grief and bereavement, transition, lack of confidence, loneliness, abuse and addictions.

Counsellors and Psychotherapists work with respect for their clients, their values, their beliefs, their uniqueness and their right to self-determination. Over time, the non-judgemental and accepting nature of counselling and psychotherapy makes it possible to face many aspects of ourselves that we were previously unaware. Counselling and psychotherapy take people beyond where they can go by themselves.

What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Although Counselling and Psychotherapy can overlap, there are differences.

Counselling focuses on enhancing people’s capacity to cope with specific life challenges such as anxiety, bereavement, relationship endings, reducing stress and improving well-being.  Counselling also assists with problem solving and developing inner resources to help move on with life in meaningful ways.

Psychotherapy focuses on achieving change in the personality by attempting to help the client to positively reorganise negative experiences of themselves or others.  Psychotherapy is an attempt to heal the “selfing”; how one emerges in their world.  Often people notice that the nature of their personal difficulties is repetitive. Similar issues arise time and again in different contexts and relationships. Psychotherapy helps people achieve better self-understanding and change long standing patterns of behaviour that may be disrupting relationships, work and study.  A developmental perspective usually informs psychotherapy, but increasingly neurobiological research is substantiating and guiding the practice of psychotherapy.

Effective Counselling and Psychotherapy require the client and the therapist to enter into a mutual understanding of expectations and goals. These will be discussed with you at your first appointment. 

…..change occurs when one becomes what s/he is, not when s/he tries to become what s/he is not 

– Paradoxical Theory of Change.  Arnold Biesser.