Monthly Archives: January 2014
New research carried out at the University of Kingston has identified seven sins of email communication.
Dr Emma Russell, a senior lecturer in occupational psychology has highlighted seven email habits that contribute to stress and a general inability to relax.
Demand for quick responses has never been at a higher premium. Increasingly people are relying on technology in ways that do not respect boundaries or the need for ‘down time’.
Employees want to be seen as performing well and perceived by others as ‘on top of their game’. Constant emails back and forth creating long chains and often out of hours seem to becoming the norm.
Dr Russell explained. “Some workers became so obsessed by email that they even reported experiencing so-called ‘phantom alerts’ where they think their phone has vibrated or bleeped with an incoming email when in fact it has not. Others said they felt they needed to physically hold their smartphone when they were not at their desk so that they were in constant email contact.”
So here they are: – How many are you guilty of?
1. Ping pong email – constant emails back and forth creating long chains
2. Emailing out of hours
3. Emailing while in company, aka, phubbing
4. Ignoring emails completely
5. Requesting read receipts
6. Responding immediately to an email alert
7. Automated replies
Written by Sheehan Brooke Psychology
Why is anxiety so hard to overcome?
For many people anxiety can become a way of life. It tends to begin with worries about a certain thing or issue. Before long anxiety can seem all consuming. What once seemed simple to achieve now feels as hard as attempting to climb Mount Everest.
CTP see many clients in clinic who are reliant on medications such as Propranolol or Diazepam. They often believe they need these to function. Medication is often useful in the short term. For instance, it can be very helpful during an acute crisis. It is not intended or recommended for routine daily use. Clients often find that when they stop taking medication their anxiety returns. The good news is, it’s possible to break this pattern when you learn how to.
Anxiety – Why is it getting worse?
Why does anxiety become so disabling and how can get your life back? The simple answer is that when we feel anxious most of us are motivated to find a quick fix that will remove the unpleasant sensations. The quickest way to feel better is often to avoid a feared situation. When we ‘avoid’ we experience immediate relief.
The bad news is that avoidance usually results in an increased fear of the situation we avoided. This ramping up of fear makes the next attempt even harder. Worse still, anxiety also becomes attached to things, places and events associated with the original fear. It becomes easy to see how anxiety increases over time. In fact many clients say that they feel a prisoner to their anxiety.
The bottom line is, to experience less anxiety, it is necessary to face fears. To achieve success, this must be done in a safe and gradual manner. Remember we are speaking about anxiety not genuinely dangerous situations.
1. The best way to get rid of anxiety is to slowly confront your fears. This is referred to as a gradual exposure. You may do this alone, with a partner or friend or with a therapist.
2. To confront fears successfully, you must be able to gradually increase your tolerance of discomfort. Concentrating on your breathing will be helpful. Learning basic mindfulness strategies will also be useful. There are many self-help books or courses on the subject.
3. Remember that small amounts of felt discomfort do not mean there is danger present. Take a moment to reframe your thoughts. A reframed and helpful thought might be ‘small amounts of emotional discomfort are clear opportunities for navigating change’. Alternatively, you might say ‘I am feeling nervous about doing this, if I press on I am increasing my tolerance. It will become easier with practice’. Your growing tolerance of small amounts of discomfort mean you are on the way to conquering your fear.
4. Break your plan to overcome a specific anxiety into small manageable steps. It is crucial that the steps you design are small but still large enough to cause some mild discomfort. Steps should not be overwhelming. Most people who are unable to overcome their anxiety fail because they make the goals too high and become overwhelmed. Goals that are too big simply increase anxiety and make the process much harder.
5. If a step seems too huge break it down into a smaller step. Although this might make you feel impatient, it is the safest and quickest way to achieve your goal.
6. Practice each step before moving onto the next. You should be able to complete each step without feeling anxiety before moving to the next step.
7. Reward yourself when you have accomplished each step.
8. If you fail, regroup and try again. Failing is part of the success process.
9. If anxiety persists after working through this hierarchy, you may wish to consider professional help.
Written by Christine Tizzard Psychology, Chichester, West Sussex
CTP is an independent psychology provider based in Chichester, West Sussex.
We have clinics located in Portsmouth, Brighton and Harley Street. A full range of assessment and treatment services are available. All our chartered psychologists are registered with the HCPC and British Psychological Society.
Banish the Blues! Depression group in the Chichester area.
Feeling depressed or blue? FREE 4 week CBT group (banish the blues) begins on Tues 28th January at 11.00am at Sheehan Brooke. There will only be a maximum of five people in the group. Text, Tweet, or Telephone to reserve your place NOW.
Sheehan Brooke is an independent psychology provider registered with the BPS and HCPC. The CBT group will be facilitated by a Chartered Psychologist. This is a free event for the local community.
During the 4 week course you will learn strategies to improve your mood and increase your general wellbeing.
Dementia care – Improving communication with a person with dementia.
Dementia is often a heart-breaking disease. If you are caring for a person with dementia you will be all too familiar with the theme of difficult communication. Having a conversation with a person with dementia is often extremely difficult.
Improving communication with the person with dementia will pay dividends. It is often challenging to know how to achieve this.
A typical request for help is often along these lines;
‘I have been looking after my Dad for a while now, actually it’s been five years. Talking to him has become so difficult, I can’t bear to even try to talk to him at the moment. I never know how he will respond. Sometimes it’s like he’s not there. I know he is there physically; but it’s like he is empty, like a shell. Other times, he is angry and gets really agitated. On other occasions, I think we are having a good conversation and then he says something so random that I wonder why I bother. I am really at the end of my tether’. Does this sound familiar?
There are times when it can be very difficult to continue to talk to a person with dementia. Relatives often speak of a loved one as being like an ‘empty shell’. Trying to hold a conversation is often frustrating. You perhaps want to ask what your Dad would like for lunch, he might insist on telling you what he had for lunch during the war.
A person with dementia often has a tendency to mind wander, to be absent, (the empty shell) or to be extremely aggressive. These behaviours are very hard to deal with and when repeated over time can lead to burnout and depression in the carer. Learning to communicate better with the person with dementia is beneficial to you and the person you are caring for.
These simple strategies may help you communicate easier with the individual with dementia.
1) Recognise what you are dealing with.
It will be a great help if you are able to gain information about the condition. A little knowledge will help put the difficulties you are experiencing into context. Acquiring information will help you feel less like you are failing when interactions are stressful.
2) Avoid distractions.
It is very important that when you talk to a person with dementia that you have the time to do so. If you are caring for a loved one, it would be a sound plan to build time where you will not be interrupted, called upon or pressured to be elsewhere. Turn your phone off.
3) Speak clearly and slowly in a calm voice.
Speak clearly and more slowly than usual. Use a calm voice and a warm tone. If you feel nervous or agitated these emotions will be picked up by the person with dementia. They will usually register threat and respond in a negative manner. Keep interactions calm.
4) Use names, be specific.
Rather than say ‘Hi, it’s me’. A more helpful greeting would be ‘Hello Granddad, its Ben, your Grandson’. This type of greeting provides a type of scaffolding to the memory system and can aid the retrieval of information. The result is often less frustration.
5) Stick to one subject at a time.
It is very helpful if you are able to plan the conversation you would like to have with the person with dementia. Take a few minutes beforehand to think about what you wish to say. Think how you could say it clearly, warmly and in such a way that it could not seem confrontational to the person with dementia. This is way harder to do than it sounds. Talking about one topic at a time is a good idea.
6) Use lots of Non Verbal Communication (NVC).
When we communicate 90% of our message is conveyed by non-verbal cues. To the person with dementia who has difficulties in retrieving information, positive non-verbal communication can really help understanding. An open, relaxed and smiling posture conveys safety and reduces the perception of threat. This may seem obvious but it is important that we always checkout our non-verbal communication especially when we are in challenging situations.
7) Listen actively. Regularly paraphrase the essence of what has been said to you. This will facilitate understanding and encourage further dialogue.
8) Don’t argue, quibble or correct. It is often the case that the dementia sufferer will make grammatical errors or confuse words. It’s important that mistakes are ignored and not picked up on. Correcting the individual rarely helps, often it adds to their confusion and increases agitation.
9) Accept there will be good days and bad days.
We all have days that are better than others. It is the same only more pronounced for dementia sufferers. On occasions their mental powers appear better than others. This can be frustrating and heart-breaking for carers. Unfortunately, this situation is attributable to the disease.
10) Consider respite.
Is there any other family member who could give you a few hours to yourself? This may reduce your load. Alternatively, is your loved one well enough to attend a day centre to benefit from reminiscence therapy, perhaps for a few hours once a week? Reminiscence therapy is a structured therapy where the individual is encouraged to reminisce about their past through interaction with various objects or items. This has the effect of stimulating interest and conversation and often makes management of the disease a little easier.
Written by Christine Tizzard, Consultant Chartered Psychologist and Clinical Director of Sheehan Brooke Psychology.
Sheehan Brooke Psychology is an independent psychology provider based in west Sussex.
The organisation provides psychological assessment, interventions and support throughout the lifespan.
We offer a full range of eldercare psychology services supported by a small professional team comprising of psychologists, counsellors, social workers and support staff.
Sheehan Brooke’s elder care services include elder psychological assessment, dementia assessments, treatment and memory interventions, care planning, accommodation selection and support services. www.sheehanbrooke.org
We also provide bespoke training to staff within residential and nursing care settings to enable the provision of professional, compassionate and dignified care to the dementia patient.
Sheehan Brooke has over many years built a reputation for providing highly professional and clinically exacting services delivered in a caring and empathic framework. Our services are broad and advice is always freely available. Our organisational ethos is very simple and that is to provide each client as far as we are able, with the same level of exacting care that we would wish for our own partner, child or parent.