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Claudine Lombard

Claudine Lombard

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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Don’t Panic!

I was very fortunate to attend a psychotherapy conference in the USA before Xmas and was so impressed with a talk by Dr David Burns entitled "When Panic Attacks". Dr Burns has been working with anxiety and depression for many years and has developed extremely effective treatments for anxiety disorders, including panic.

The talk got me thinking about panic attacks… Panic attacks are extremely common with estimates revealing that between 2-4% of the Australian population suffer from panic disorders with recurring panic attacks, with panic being almost twice as common among women than men. Panic attacks can be extremely frightening for sufferers, with many people worrying that they are having a heart attack, are losing control or even going crazy. After experiencing their first panic attack, people can worry about having further panic attacks which can then lead to panic disorder. It can become a debilitating and isolating condition as people can withdraw from situations and activities that they enjoy in an effort to avoid having another panic attack

A panic attack is described by the DSM-V as an "abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within a few minutes” and during which people can experience a pounding heart, trembling or shaking, breathlessness, nausea or a fear of dying, among a number of other symptoms. This sudden increase in anxiety can occur from a calm state or an anxious state. 

So… what can be done? There are some very effective treatments for panic disorder, so don’t despair! Below is a brief summary of the treatment options:  

  1. Information on panic and how it arises
  2. Changing the way you think about panic, reframing your thoughts and learning about breathing and relaxation strategies
  3. Gradually exposing yourself to the way that anxiety manifests in your body; and
  4. Confronting situations that trigger anxiety, once you have learned coping and relaxation strategies

                                                                                            

Essentially, anxious thinking is based on unhelpful and inaccurate thoughts that can be challenged with therapy. As Dr Burns concisely put it, you feel the way you think, and you can CHANGE the way you FEEL!

If you would like help with recurring panic attacks or anxiety, book an appointment with Claudine or another psychologist at the Drop Of Life! 

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Posted by on in adults
How Self-Compassionate are you?

How Self-Compassionate are you?

This month we will be focusing on Self-Compassion!! While we are all familiar with the term Compassion, we might not be as familiar with the idea of Self-Compassion. In essence while we may be kind and compassionate toward others, many of us struggle to be compassionate toward ourselves.

We may judge ourselves for our perceived failures, speak harshly to ourselves when we make a mistake, and feel separate and cut off from others during times of suffering.

By taking a more Self-Compassionate stance toward ourselves, we can be more open to our experiences of suffering, be kind and caring toward ourselves, view our shortcomings non-judgmentally and see our suffering as part of the human condition (Neff, 2003).

We can also become aware of our critical voice. You know, that voice that tells us that we are “not good enough,” that we are unlovable, that we will fail or that things won’t get better.

There are three parts to Self-Compassion. The first is being kind and loving to oneself instead of judgmental. The second is accepting that suffering is part of the human condition, which helps us to stay connected to others rather than isolating ourselves. The final important component of Self-Compassion is mindfulness, that is, contact with the present moment and one’s own suffering, as opposed to avoiding experiences of pain and suffering.

Research has shown that people low on self-compassion tend to struggle with depression, anxiety and other problems, while those high on self-compassion tend to have improved psychological well-being, satisfaction with life and overall coping strategies.

So, if you want to increase your Self-Compassion, you could try the following:

    1. 1. Consider how you would treat someone else, like a friend. What tone of voice would you use? What would you say to comfort them? What sort of language would you use (i.e. supportive versus blaming)
    2. 2. You could comfort yourself with a physical gesture
    3. 3. Develop compassionate language toward yourself and use these phrases in times of stress or distress
    4. 4. Practice meditation or mindfulness

If you would like more information on Self-Compassion, or you would like to find out how Self-Compassionate you are, ask to see Claudine at Drop Of Life for an appointment! 

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