Sunday, September 19, 2021

Helping our patients to process their own feelings and emotions

In counseling work, we often see folks who struggle with processing their own feelings.

Feelings for these folks are often interpreted as good or bad. Wanted or unwanted. Pleasant or unpleasant. Pleasurable or painful. Positive or negative.

If not careful, these experiences will often lead to “reactive moves” like moving towards the pleasurables and running away from the painfuls. This may or may not lead to a positive or desired outcome.

One has to start seeing “feelings” as information and “fuel” for taking action.


If it has a voice, what is it trying to tell me?
Is my biopsychosocial needs met?
Am I moving away from my values?
Am I moving towards my values?
Is it current or old news?
Is the information reliable?
Are my inner values in conflict with each other?
Are my inner values in conflict with the values of others?
What is it trying to “emotively make me do”?

Once we have clarity, we can choose to move towards it, or move away from it.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Depression and anxiety are due to a chemical imbalance or is it?

During my medical student days, I’ve been taught that depression and anxiety is due to a “chemical imbalance”.

Although it is well intentioned and can be useful for certain groups of individuals, I am not a big fan.

I wonder if you are still using this to explain to your patients?

I wonder if this is still taught in University?

The alternative is more of a “biopsychosocial” perspective rather than just a “bio” perspective. We can see “depression and anxiety” as needs not met.

If the “depression and anxiety” have a voice, it’s trying to say the following.

1. Caution. Your needs are not met. Please address them ASAP. Please seek help if required.

2. You may have a lack stability, security or control in your life. You may not be safe. This includes your physical needs as well, like food, sleep, and shelter.  Please address them ASAP. 

3. You may have a lack of secure connections. There may be issues around your connection with your tribe. Please attend to that.

4. You may have stagnancy in your life. You may need more growth, novelty, and newness for better personal growth, development, learning and adaptation.

5. If required, please seek help to attend to the above ASAP.

Using product adoption cycle to understand vaccine hesitancy

Have you ever heard of the product adoption cycle?

Whether it’s a new popcorn flavour, new iPhone or the vaccine, we are going to have the following.

1. Innovators (2.5%)
2. Early adopters (13.5%)
3. Early majority (34%)
4. Late majority (34%)
5. Leggards (16%)

Although the “Late majority and the Leggards” group will frustrate some of us around the slow vaccine uptake, it’s a normal predictable process.

A good proportion of the latter 2 groups will come on board eventually once more than 50% of the population have been vaccinated.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Helping our patients balance the focus on self versus the focus on others

In counseling, we often see the “extremes” of things. Things that have moved too far away from the middle bit of the bell curve, causing adjustment problems with stress responses.

One of those common “extremes” is the “extreme focus on self” vs the “extreme focus on others”.

Each have their own sets of positives and negatives.

Metaphorically speaking, if we look at quality of a brick wall, if “self/self development” is like the quality of the individual bricks, then “others/the relationships” is like the quality of the mortar that binds all the bricks together.

Focusing too much on the mortar but neglecting the bricks, or vice versa will impact on the strength of the wall.

So focusing too much on others but neglecting self, or vice versa will also cause problems.