death of a sibling

Grieving for a Sibling

By | Counselling, Grief and Loss | No Comments

Siblings Don’t Die – Do They?

No one ever expects a sibling to die.  Everyone else can experience that but not you. After all your siblings are your lifeblood, your family. Your parents have already passed away. All you have left are your siblings. No one told you that you will spend the rest of your life grieving for a sibling.

You receive a phone call on Monday night, out of the blue to say your brother has just died.  It’s a joke, right?  No, he died of a massive heart attack.

But I was only talking to him last Friday and making plans for him to visit.

You know the sibling on the other end of the phone wouldn’t make up such a terrible lie, even as a joke.  So, how do you process this?  Your brother was the eldest, you were close to him and shared so much.  You spoke to him every day.  You bantered with him on social media.

No one can possibly explain this hole that has suddenly overtaken your family.  Siblings don’t die.  You can’t even bring yourself to tears because the shock has taken over your body.  You want to know all the details.  How he died, when, what time.  No one has all the answers yet.

The funeral plans are in motion.  Times, people, what do I wear that is suitable, something that he would have liked.  Definitely not black, as I know he would have scoffed at black.

You arrive at your sister siblings house and everyone consumes large quantities of alcohol and food.  Tears aren’t on the menu as yet as disbelief is the flavour of the day.

Maybe there was something I could have done.  Deep down when speaking to him on the Friday, I knew something was wrong and couldn’t put my finger on it.  Wait, it’s not my fault.  But, I knew something was wrong. Again, I knew something was wrong.

Ok, it’s expected that parents die as this is the ‘norm’.  But my brother was supposed to be there for eternity.  You all have another drink and sip the time away, remembering, laughing, playing music, your brothers favourite music.

D-Day arrives, the day of the funeral.  It’s ok, I, we can get through this.  My brother, our brother would be saying “get over it, I’m at peace now.”

You are all standing outside of the chapel and the hearse arrives.  Ok, that’s ok.  The car stops, they get out of the hearse and open up the back door.  They pull the coffin out.

The tears just flowed down my face.  That’s my sibling in that box, that’s my brother.  This IS real.  I wasn’t expecting it to be so real.  The coffin is carried into the chapel and everyone takes their place.  You sit there looking around and people send you smiles and you smile back.

Pictures are shown on a slide show of his life and the tears are trickling down the side of my face.  Don’t cry, don’t cry you say to yourself.  Too late, the damn has burst and you need to find the tissues.  Someone should sell tissues at a funeral it would be profitable.  What a sordid thought, but you think of dumb things to distract yourself from the reality of what is happening.

The chapel is packed, you had no idea there would be so many people.  That’s pretty good.  The day ends with more alcohol but on a melancholier note.  Everyone is exhausted.  What a shame my brother isn’t here to see this.  Hold on, that is just so bizarre.  He is not here anymore.  Wow, this is a bit much to digest.  Everyone goes their merry way.

Six months pass and you are listening to a song on the radio.  One of your brother’s favourite tunes.  You start crying. Not just a few tears but uncontrollable waves of salty lines down each side of your cheeks.

A few months pass and you go to pick up the phone wanting to call up your sibling.  Hold on you can’t, he’s not here.  The brain and the heart have gone in opposite directions.  You stop for a moment to catch your breath.  OMG, he is gone.  He really is gone.

You want to pick up the phone to speak with your sister sibling but do I have a right as she is probably trying to cope with her own grief.  Now, you need to talk and now you are ready to talk and share all your feelings and emotions with someone who doesn’t care how many times you go over the same story again, again and again.  You have finally realized you need to grieve.

There is no set time with grieving.  There is no set process.  You need to let your body go through the emotions, to feel the sadness, the emptiness.

Losing a sibling breaks that sibling connection.  It’s a connection that no one else can replace.  You may go through shock again.  It’s ok, there is no flow chart.  There are stages but these are not set.

Your life will carry on but from a different point again as I did when my parents died.  You learn to live with the loss and you learn to cope with the emotions.  You have done it before and you can do it again.

Grieving the death of a sibling is dealing with a part of you that has gone.  You never stop grieving.  It just changes. Throughout the years you think about times you had with your brother.  You may spend a few moments crying.

We all need to learn that it’s ok to feel emotions, it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to feel lost at times and it’s ok to feel depressed.  Most importantly, it’s ok to talk to someone who you can share these emotions with.  It’s ok to get some guidance.

Siblings do die, and it is important to grieve.

In Remembrance of my brother 28/11/2011


Start Your Email Counselling Session Now

pamelaI am an accredited Social Worker and a member of the AASW.  My passion is about providing a unique service for anyone, anywhere, anytime.
If you need help or any assistance, you can Contact Me Now via my website or through start an email session now  

Pamela Vandersande
BSW, Dip. Couns.

anxiety a

Anxiety – Taking Control With 5 Easy Steps

By | Anxiety and Depression, Counselling | No Comments

You have just handed in your final essay for university.  Two weeks have passed.  An email lands in your inbox from your lecturer.  They would like to speak with you at your earliest convenience.  Anxiety has just kicked in.

All of a sudden you go into a massive panic attack.  “oh my God, I’ve failed.”  Automatically you feel as if the whole world has come crashing down. Your heart starts pumping, your palms become sweaty and you start to think “OMG what am I going to do?”

Yet, you don’t know what the lecturer is going to say.  You don’t even know if there is a problem.  Maybe they are wanting to let you know that you have written an excellent essay and they want to commend you on your research rather than send it via email.

What you have done is you have catastrophized.  Those that suffer with panic attacks are more prone to catastrophizing.  You have a tendency to jump off the cliff before checking your safety harness.

It’s ok, many of us who have suffered with panic attacks still do the same thing from time to time.  Yet, knowing how to control the thoughts which control your feelings leading to negative behaviour is something to be learned over time.

How to start controlling your thoughts and stop catastrophizing.  This can be done through writing.

  1. As soon as a catastrophizing thought enters your mind, write it down.
  2. Write down what triggered this thought, what happened
  3. List your feelings
  4. Jot down the behaviour you have just experienced
  5. Finally, write down the reality of all possible outcomes.

It looks better on paper – correct?  You can externalize your feelings now.

Worst case scenario, the only way you could possibly fail an essay at university is if you didn’t answer the question.  As long as you know you have answered the question and followed the criteria then the likelihood of failing is almost impossible.

Usually lecturers will not contact you to let you know you have failed.

There is another way to approach this situation and that is taking control of the anxiety, fear, panic attack and work through a what if situation.  This allows you to face your fear head on and take control.

List your fear from the current situation.  Then list down what would happen if you failed the essay and what would you do.  Finally write down the likelihood of you failing.  If you hesitate and know that it would be unlikely then you have just taken control.

Of course it’s a little more complex than that but you get the general idea.  It takes a lot of time and effort to learn the techniques, monitor and apply the skills.  One of the most important things to do, and from my own experience is to speak to someone that knows how to walk you through this a few times.  Not only will it calm you down but put everything back into perspective.

Anxiety is very real.  We don’t have to let it keep controlling our lives.  Decide if you want the control back and take the first step.

Start Your Email Counselling Session Now

pamelaI am an accredited Social Worker and a member of the AASW.  My passion is about providing a unique service for anyone, anywhere, anytime.
If you need help or any assistance, you can Contact Me Now via my website or through start an email session now  

Pamela Vandersande
BSW, Dip. Couns.



email counselling and instant messaging

The Benefits of Counselling via Email and Instant Messaging

By | Counselling | No Comments

The benefits of counselling via email and instant messaging 

Email counselling and instant messaging is still relatively new but it’s convenience, efficacy and popularity is continuing to grow.  Email counselling provides anonymity and time for reflection.

It can provide a greater level of disclosure, instant access, privacy and safety.  It is a cathartic experience and allows greater externalizing of emotions.

It can be said that email counselling encourages the art of communication.  Both the counsellor and the client can use paraphrasing.  This ensures clarification and understanding of what has been said.

Research shows that strong therapeutic alliances are developed through email counselling due to the counsellor having more time to respond with more care and time taken with the thought process.

If you decide to seek counselling through email or instant messaging you will find how relaxing it can be to transfer the thoughts from your head to paper.  This is how therapeutic journaling happens.  It’s a cathartic experience, which is what I recommend for many people.  You are able to externalize problems; allowing the brain to make space and to look at the problems from a different perspective.  The little voice inside goes away because you are too busy typing everything down.

Email counselling or instant messaging is such a positive avenue for counselling.  There are less time constraints and more time to read and reflect.

A study done by the University of Zurich found that 57% of patients who were treated for depression using online therapy were free of depression compared to the 42% who  had face-to-face therapy.

Sometimes you may not need counselling.  I remember one person who contacted me via instant messaging. They were about to go on holidays, so I wanted to provide some ideas to hold them over.  They responded with saying they never thought of the problem from that angle before.  It was only a few lines. I was able to do this almost immediately.

The written word can be very powerful.

If a client has the responses from the counsellor on paper, they can keep going back to the conversation without fear of forgetting what was said.  When you see the counsellor in person you may forget some of the things that were discussed.

Even though there is an absence of verbal and visual cues, text based communication using emoticons usually works wonders for letting the other person know how they are feeling immediately.  There are no guessing games.  Research has indicated that many clients do enjoy the email style of counselling and in many cases the clients find it easier to provide greater self-disclosure.

Emails can be short lived or they can go over a period of weeks which is seen by the client as an extended session.  Clients also find instant messaging effective for counselling as they can still retain their anonymity and receive instant feedback.

As the population continues to become more text and internet savvy, the modality of email, texting and instant messaging for counselling will continue to grow in popularity.  It’s convenient and provides instant connection with a counsellor.  It’s about ease of use, anytime, anywhere, any place.

How do my email sessions work?

You go to my and then you can either contact me vial instant messaging and receive a FREE 15-minute consultation or go straight into booking an email session.

You can send as many emails as you like. Then I will respond with one long email back to you.

The great thing about email counselling is that you don’t have to wait for an appointment.  I will always endeavour to contact you straight away unless I am with another client.  I believe in acknowledging as soon as possible.  Each person is just as important as the next.

I know, if I had a problem I would want to speak with someone as soon as possible. With email counselling and instant messaging, there are no long waiting periods.  It’s access to counselling at your fingertips.

Email and instant messaging is the way of the future. It provides access to those who are:

  • Socially isolated
  • Unable to access transport
  • Located on the other side of the globe and need someone to talk to immediately
  • Unable to find someone to mind the children
  • A personal carer and unable to attend face-to-face counselling throughout the day
  • Preferring to remain anonymous
  • Preferring the comfort of their own home
  • Unable to find the time to attend face-to-face counselling
  • Wanting the convenience of when they chat with a counsellor
  • Interested in using this experience to externalise their feelings
  • Looking for affordability
  • Looking for a counsellor to be available anytime of day

What to look for when doing internet counselling

It is important to know the credentials of the therapist.  If they are a member of an association then you know they have a code of ethics, rules and regulations they must abide by.  You will also have a complaints process.  In addition you can be assured that your therapist will have ongoing professional development and will of course be qualified and trained in their field.

Never use a regular email such as gmail, hotmail etc with the therapist.  That’s why I use PlusGuidance.  It is run by professionals and all messaging is encrypted.

pamelaI am an accredited Social Worker and counsellor, and a member of the AASW.
My passion is about helping people change their lives.
If you need help, you can Contact Me Now via my website or through PlusGuidance.  

    Pamela Vandersande,  BSW, Dip. Couns.  AASW: 456171        


Fingrut, W., Stewart, L., & Cheung, K. W. (2016). Choice of smoking cessation counselling via phone, text, or email in emergency department patients. Preventive Medicine Reports4, 597–600.

Rawson, S., & Maidment, J. (2011). Email counselling with young people in australia: A research report. Women in Welfare Education, (10), 14-28. Retrieved from

Salleh, A., Hamzah, R., Nordin, N., Ghavifekr, S., & Joorabchi, T. N. (2015). Online counseling using email: A qualitative study. Asia Pacific Education Review, 16(4), 549-563. doi:

online counselling

Online Counselling; Why Does it Work for So Many People?

By | Counselling | No Comments

Online Counselling.  Why does it work for so many people?

They don’t have to leave the comfort of their home, it’s convenient with no travelling or parking costs.

What are the types of online therapy?

  • Email
  • Instant chat (encrypted not skype)
  • Voice
  • Voice and video (encrypted not skype)

How do I know I am speaking with a qualified therapist?

Look for qualifications. Not all therapists will choose to join associations so don’t use this as a guideline.  Most therapists will have an about me page on their website or profile.  Number of years counselling does not make a counsellor better than another counsellor who has only been counselling for a short period of time.  There are so many variables.   Speak to them and if you feel comfortable then make an appointment.  If you contact them via email or online chat you will know if the counsellor is for you by how they communicate.

Can any therapist do online counselling?

This is a yes and no answer.  Of course, anyone can set up an online counselling practice but it takes experience to read between the lines of the person you are communicating with and being able to respond in a clear and concise manner.

Some therapists are better suited to online counselling and some therapists are better face-to-face. Many counsellors manage both.  It’s what they feel comfortable with and how their clients feel.

Why do so many therapists charge so much money?

They don’t actually.  For example, if you pay $100 for a 1 hour counselling session, the therapist pays for rent, social media, website maintenance, travel, superannuation, tax, ongoing training, text books, telephone, other incidentals and organisation memberships.  They would be lucky to take home at least half of that.  After each client, they usually write up case notes.  Most don’t receive any government assistance through Medicare.  So, you see they don’t make a lot of money.  In addition, they are limited to the number of clients they see each day.  It can be mentally exhausting and sometimes stressful. And, if they do online counselling they still have to pay the same bills.

Counselling is not as simple as getting a qualification and hanging a ‘shingle’ outside their door to start counselling.  Many therapists have spent years training at university, colleges, attending seminars, reading and attending professional networks.  The training is ongoing.

Is online counselling the way of the future?

There will be more and more services that will be able to provide online assistance.  Such as GP’s, health specialists and other allied health services.

So, the great thing about online counselling for many people is the:

  • Convenience
  • Anonymity
  • Comfort and feeling safe in their own home environment
  • Not having to pay for petrol or public transport
  • Using email any time of day to converse with a counsellor

Counselling will always be available face-to-face.

How do I know my information is secure?

  1. When using online services, emails should not go to a personal email address.
  2. Skype should not be used for video or chat. All information should be encrypted
  3. If you are speaking with a professional who is a member of an organisation, they will have a code of ethics to abide by. If you have a problem you are always welcome to make a formal complaint to that organisation.
  4. Many online therapists now use specialized counselling sites which have been specifically set up for online therapy.

Will online therapy work for me?

If you think you will find it difficult to work out an appointment time through the day or with other commitments, or maybe you can’t find a babysitter or can’t attend counselling through the day because of work or suffering with an illness, then online counselling is the way to go.    If I could do everything from the comfort of my own home, I probably would.

How do I provide my online therapy service?

I use the provider PlusGuidance.  Their data is encrypted so I know it’s secure.  It’s easy to use and won’t cost you anything except for the counselling fee.  As the counsellor, I pay PlusGuidance a percentage of each counselling session.

I also provide a FREE 15-minute counselling session.  This way you can speak to me before you book a session.  You will see my calendar of available times and choose what type of session you would like to have.

How do I book a session with you?

Simply go to and message me.  If I don’t get back to you straight away I am usually with another client.  Leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I have finished with a the client.  We can have a FREE 15 minute chat or you can book any type of session you want straight away.


pamelaI am an accredited Social Worker and counsellor, and a member of the AASW.
My passion is about helping people change their lives.
If you need help, you can Contact Me Now via my website or through PlusGuidance.  

Pamela Vandersande
BSW, Dip. Couns.




depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy

What Can You Do, If You Suffer With Depression and Anxiety During and After Pregnancy?

By | Counselling, Perinatal Non-Directive Counselling | No Comments

The risk factors of depression and anxiety, during and after pregnancy


Pregnancy and after the birth is often seen as the time to be happy and elated.  For many it’s not such an easy, happy or stress free time.

If you are dealing with depression and or anxiety, you are not alone.  Approximately 1 in 10 will suffer.   Those who have suffered at least one episode of depression prior to pregnancy are likely to suffer depression during or after pregnancy.

Some of the risk factors for depression and anxiety during or after pregnancy are:

  • Lower socio-economic status
  • Financial problems
  • Lack of social support
  • Relationship issues
  • Previous mental health issues
  • Anxiety
  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • Domestic Violence
  • Pregnancy and delivery complications
  • loss

However, that doesn’t mean that if you don’t fall into the above areas that you may not suffer from either.  It simply depends on your circumstances.  No two people are the same.

Dealing with depression and anxiety not only puts you at risk but your baby is also at risk of possible neurological affects during the pregnancy and then a premature birth and possibly a lower birth weight.  Babies that are born to mothers suffering with anxiety disorders are more prone to sleep problems and temperament issues.

So, what can you do, if you suffer with depression and anxiety during or after pregnancy?

In Australia, we have what is called non-directive perinatal counselling which is fully covered by Medicare.  Which means you can have up to three sessions that are bulk billed.

Depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy aren’t just fly by night issues.  So, I was thinking how do I provide the best possible care for those that are pregnant or who have just had their baby and suffering from these issues when the bulk billed time is so limited?

I have my own techniques that I always use but I needed something more.  That’s when I decided to use IPC or Interpersonal Counselling.  IPC is a time limited and structured counselling that is very focused.   Using IPC usually takes three sessions which is perfect for my mums or mums-to-be.  If there are other issues, then we usually work something out to address those too.

Depression and anxiety are not to be dismissed especially during and after pregnancy.  Simply visit with your GP and ask for a referral x 3 visits and book in to see me now.  I am at Illoura Child and Family Counselling Centre, 31 Duckett Street Beaudesert, currently on Mondays.  The rooms are just lovely, you can sprawl out, make yourself at home and know that you will be in a safe, non-judgemental and non-bias environment.  And, it’s all bulk billed.  Just bring your Medicare card.


pamelaI am a qualified Social Worker and Counsellor.
My passion is about helping people change their lives.
If you need help, you can Contact Me Now.  

Pamela Vandersande
BSW, Dip. Couns.



helping someone to reach their goals

Helping Someone to Reach Their Goals is More Than Just a Good Deed

By | Counselling, Education and Career | No Comments

Not too long ago I assisted a student with an essay.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take on the responsibility but I decided to dive in and see where we both ended up.

I must say, I really enjoyed the work and felt selfish taking payment.  It wasn’t a lot but it was payment all the same.  The student was happy.  Not too long after that the same student asked for assistance again and I was happy to oblige.  Something happened with setting up payment from my end.  I don’t like to muck people around so I decided to do the job for free.

The job gave me great pleasure in helping this person to obtain employment with an organisation that is very dear to their heart.  Yes, it took up my time but at the same time it added value to my time and more value to my life.

Not everything in life is about payment for service.  Helping another human being that you don’t know is a positive motion.  Some day that person will do the same for another.  Almost like ‘pay it forward.’

When you help someone reach their goal and expecting nothing in return, it is a lot of fun and very satisfying.  So many times, people don’t help people unless there is something in return.  In the office, it’s playing politics.  In a community, it’s more than politics it’s notoriety.

I have been witness to many that have helped others reach their goals because they get kudos from their so-called act of kindness.  It’s not so much about helping the other person it’s about helping themselves.

This is a heavy burden to live with.  Deep down you know what you have done and it will remain with you for the distance.  That is such an incredible responsibility to shoulder.  Not only have you been selfish in your motives but you have introduced greed, power and a return of favour into your life.

Doing something for someone and not expecting anything in return helps to cleanse the soul.

Society is losing the art of helping people to reach their goals.  Those you work with, employment agencies, employers of course all expect something in return.  What if every now and then an employment agency helped you out with no expectations?  What would happen if your employer helped you achieve a higher level?

Anyone that helps another human being to reach their goals, never goes unnoticed. Why? They have reached a goal of their own.  It’s more than just a good deed.  They have shown support, kindness, understanding, honesty, goodwill, love, friendship……….and the list goes on.

Helping someone to reach their goals is more than just a good deed.

I am a qualified Social Worker and Counsellor with over 25 years of experience in corporate, government and human services in administration, IT and management.  My passion today is about helping people change their lives.  If you need assistance to help set goals, or to work through issues, you can Contact Me Now.  I provide FREE 15 minute sessions through PlusGuidance.  Simply sign up for free,  message me and I will set up your FREE session.



Is Masculinity the New Societal Toxin?

By | Counselling, Domestic Violence, Education and Career | 2 Comments
Image by Pixabay



Over the past nine months I have researched the topic of domestic violence, hoping I would find societal ideologies changing.  The exciting thing is the data is there, clearly stating that men and women are perpetrators.  And, I would like to add that in most cases, women who are the perpetrators do not do it in self-defence.  However, I find the ideologies are not changing.

Now I discover that it’s men’s masculinity that is to blame.  To categorize masculinity and violence in the same sentence is simply unacceptable from a humanitarian and social justice point of view. Shouldn’t we be focused on the behaviour?  Are we going to start categorizing new born babies into masculine terrors and sweet feminists?

The new wave of insult to men is called Toxic Masculinity ; describing the patriarchal, sexually powerful all ravaging men.

Catharine Lumby, a Professor in Media from Macquarie University  stated that “she doesn’t use the term ‘toxic masculinity’ because it is “inflammatory”.

It seems, and tell me if I am wrong, that being a male in the 21st Century is nothing to be proud of now.  In fact there are new wave courses on masculinity on “male toxicity’.  How would your little boy feel if he was told that he was toxic?  How would your daughter feel if she was told she was part of a new study called “Females are toxic?”

Why is society letting this happen?

Has feminism become so powerful that now we need to ostracize our boys and men and tell them they are pollution to our society? Feminists should be concerned that we are now doing to the men what women have complained about for years and that is gender inequality and discrimination.  Last time I looked at the legislation it said discrimination is against the law.

Liberal Feminists believe that women should have the same citizenship as men.  The Socialist Feminists believe that women deserve equal right of pay.  Radical feminism believes that patriarchy is the cause of women’s oppression.  They say that ALL women are oppressed.

I can honestly say, the only people I have felt oppressed by are other women.  Whilst I have had ‘run-in’s with men, I have never felt they were toxic.  It was the personality I was dealing with not the gender.

In a day and age where the suicide rate for men is three times higher than for women – what is society doing? Why is masculinity the new societal toxin?

Society is still having difficulty accepting those with mental health issues, still having difficulty accepting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender’s.  Now society wants to categorize men as being toxic.

Everyone needs to back off and fight for equality, respect, dignity and acceptance.  Most people spend their lives putting themselves into categories, we don’t need society to help that along.

We need to fight for what is right.  Society needs to re-educate themselves on human rights.

We have serious mental health issues in Australia, we don’t need another category to increase the numbers.


Pamela is available for male support and counselling in Beaudesert and Sherwood 0477162296
enquire about LGBIT Counselling
Germov, J. & Poole, M., (2011) Public Sociology – An introduction to Australian Society




domestic violence

“Intimate Terrorism” – Women, Perpetrators of Domestic Violence.

By | Counselling, Domestic Violence | No Comments

Intimate terrorism, intimate partner violence or domestic violence, whatever you want to call it, tells us we have a serious violence problem with both men and women.  Yet, the general public still see women as being in the majority of victims.  People don’t realize that the number of  men who are victims as a result of  violent women is increasing.  I don’t know how many times I have entered into conversations only to get the response “yes, but women are ultimately the victims, the data shows this.”

Well that data is incorrect.  This is my third article on domestic violence towards men, the first one being The ‘Silent Victims’ of Domestic Violence and Who are the Real Aggressors of Domestic Violence?.  I was amazed with the response.  It was apparent that we have a problem and very few are acknowledging the fact that women can be just as aggressive as men.

Intimate Terrorism.  We all know that many women are victims of domestic violence.  No one is arguing with that point.  What we should be discussing is, it’s no only women but an increasingly number of men are reporting cases of domestic violence or “intimate terrorism”.  These are the men who are subjected to punching, kicking, biting and being hit with objects.  Research is  showing that women can be just as controlling as men and are certainly perpetrators in their own right.

Who Suffers Physical Abuse more?  More women do have a higher rate of suffering from physical abuse  but let’s not sweep under the carpet that the number of women who are aggressive towards their male partner is rising.  A study by Leisring in 2008, showed that 33% of women had physically hurt their male partners.  In the same study it reported that 64% of women who were attending clinical anger management classes reported to have physically assaulted their male partners.

Do men Suffer Psychologically? The psychological effects of interpersonal violence for men is increasing.  Men are reporting depression, anxiety, PTSD, fear and shame.  Unfortunately, about two thirds of men don’t report abuse for fear of shame and the loss of their masculinity.  If this is what is happening to our males, could this account for their increase in substance abuse?

Should Men Retaliate in Self-Defence Using Aggression?
Should we still promote that a man should never hit a woman, no matter what?
Should our young boys just sit back and accept that a girlfriend can physically assault them but they should never hit back?
Little boys are taught never to hit a girl.  But what do we do as parents if a girl hits a boy?
Schools are still teaching that boys should never hit a girl.  What about girls hitting boys?

What do I tell my kids?
If you are with a person who is abusive towards you then you are in the wrong relationship.  End of story.  No if’s, but’s or whatever.  It’s better to walk away and protect yourself.  If someone has abused you once they will do it again.  The excuses just change.
If it’s a matter of life or death, all bets are off, it’s self-defence.

Why Aren’t Women Held Accountable?  The problem is with societal perception.  A woman is unlikely as men are stronger.  As a feminist I believe in equality for all irrespective or gender, race, age, ethnicity or culture.  More and more research is exposing that women are just as capable of being the perpetrators of intimate terrorism.  The women who have been reported as perpetrators were found to be suffering from mental health issues such as self-harming,depression or bipolar disorder Many are under the influence of substance abuse.
A study in 2006 found that between 77 – 95% of women were suffering with a personality disorder.

Are Males Supported by the Government?
Over the past five years, the funding has been geared towards women.  Men were left out of the equation.  It is becomming more widely acknolwedged that Males are victims of domestic violence

What to Do if You are a Male Victim of Intimate Terrorism?
You can contact:  or
An excellent source of information is


Leisring, P. A., PhD. (2011). Top 10 reasons why women’s perpetration of intimate partner violence is an important area of inquiry. Partner Abuse, 2(4), 452-467. Retrieved from

Sansone, R. A., M.D., Elliott, K., PhD., & Wiederman, M. W., PhD. (2016). Self-harm behaviors among female perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Partner Abuse, 7(1), 44-54. doi:

Youtube video put together by:  Tamalpais High School AIM





Taking Control of Your Life

How Do You Know When Your Addiction is in Control?

By | Addictions, Counselling | No Comments

When someone is controlled by addiction they have lost personal control of their life.  Whether you are controlled by drugs, alcohol, gambling, diet or now social media, it’s all the same.  You have lost control.  One of the most powerful things you can do is to get that control back.  Whether it takes one person or a team of people to help you, your motivation is about regaining control of your life.

So how do you know when your addiction is in control?

When you find yourself in exactly the same place time and time again. How many times have you heard the saying: ‘doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result?’  You would be amazed at the number of people who fall into this routine. They keep doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result.  It’s almost like painting a car red expecting it to turn out blue.

Going back to the same routine after rehab. Let’s make one thing clear, rehab is brilliant to break the cycle, receive counselling and receiving support. However, once you leave rehab you need immediate support.   Once you leave rehab, going back into the same environment just reignites the same old routines, the same temptations.

Unable to relax and unwind without artificial help.  The problem with this is that your brain has realized the only way it can escape for a while is to substitute your reality with drugs, alcohol, gambling or food.  I understand that thought process “it’s all too hard, just once won’t hurt.” Unfortunately, just once turns into again and again and again.  Finding activities to rewire your steps to relax and unwind are all part of motivational interviewing.

Not having the tools to change. I have a chuckle to myself when people who have never touched a drop of alcohol or tried any type of drug, dictate to people the perils of drug taking. I respect what they are trying to do but honestly, the daily battle of remaining in control becomes even more stressful when someone says “it’s bad”.  Sometimes, it’s easier to retreat and give up.  This giving up is not a sign of weakness.  If you haven’t got the tools to deal with these situations then stop blaming yourself.

Lack of support. One of the keys to your success is having these tools and someone that really understands.  Having that person to be beside you, who has walked in your shoes, who will help to break down the barriers and give you that ever-necessary support.  It may take you 6 months it may take you 2 years.  The only time limit is you.

Not being able to make real changes in your life. Scientific evidence-based data has proven time and time again that motivational interviewing is successful for those who are battling addictions whatever they may be.  So whatever you have tried in your past has obviously not worked.  It’s time to get serious.

Motivational Interviewing is about putting you in the driver’s seat, having you take control.  After all it’s your life, your challenges.

When we have accepted the worst, we have nothing more to lose.  And that automatically means we have everything to gain. ~ Dale Carnegie

Change your life. Contact me for a free 15 minute chat to see how I can help you



Why Waste Your Time in Counselling?

By | Counselling | No Comments
      Many people think that if you go to see a counsellor, you are suffering from a mental health problem. They think you can’t cope or it may be seen as a sign of weakness. I sat back and started to think why is it that people can happily go and see a clairvoyant, pay anything up to $200.00 for 1 hour to find out about their future.

If I had a crystal ball, how easy life would be. If we had all the answers then our lives would be so much easier. Our future has not been written yet. You are the only one who has control over your life and your future.

What is Counselling?

Counselling is spending time with a highly-trained professional in either Social Work, Counselling or Psychology. These people spend years studying. Counselling is about making changes to your life, making the hard decisions, changing the way you think, act and feel with the assistance of someone who helps to facilitate these changes. You work with someone who can provide you with coping mechanisms and tools to be able to get through the difficult times. Counselling sometimes deals with complex issues. Counselling may also assist with life changes in a person’s career or relationship. The issues are endless. Counselling can be a sounding board.

How Can I Pay Someone to Just Listen to Me?

How much do you spend on your physical health? Then why wouldn’t you spend time and resources on your mental health. After all, it’s how we think, feel and act that impact our physical health. What happens in your brain will affect the rest of your body.

How do I know if the therapist is any good?

A good therapist will:

      • listen and confirm with you what they understand about your situation.
      • will maintain professional boundaries at all times.
      • know you are the expert in your life and they are they are there to facilitate.
      • not tell you what to do.
      • not spend time talking about themselves or their experiences.
      • encourage you to become as independent as possible and not dependent upon them.
      • treat you with respect and dignity at all times.
      • maintain confidentiality.

Try not to judge a therapist as to how long they have been counselling. Whilst experience does make a difference how the therapist will run a session, it does not determine their worth in being able to help you. Always check their qualifications. Anyone can call themselves a counsellor. However, not everyone can call themselves a Social Worker or Psychologist because these two professions require University Degrees. Counselling is becoming more regulated and in the future no one will be able to call themselves a counsellor without recognised qualifications.Therapists are usually members of professional organisations. They are required to spend time outside of hours, training, attending seminars, personal development, running courses and so on. They want to be the best to give you the best.

How Much Should I Expect to Pay?

It’s up to the therapist. Remember, they too have to pay rent, electricity, telephone, probably someone to maintain their website, travel and so on. Whilst they are in the profession usually because they have a passion to assist people, they are also running a business.

Why Should I Pay to See a Stranger?

It’s great to have a good social network, friends and family you can talk to. However, not knowing a person gives you the freedom to just open up without any judgement or bias. It’s a safe space to be honest with yourself. Honesty sometimes is one of the hardest things to do.

I Don’t Have Any Issues So Why Waste My Time and Money?

That’s great if you don’t have any issues. Those people who usually say they don’t have any issues are too busy taking care of everyone else’s issues. Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to focus on you even if it’s only for one hour? It can simply be about sharing and reflecting. Now, if we go to the physical side of the coin, those who are physically fit spend time on their physical health so spending a little time on your mental health is again, simply maintenance. You would be surprised at the issue/s that arise out of conversation.

Wasting Your Time?

Maintaining your mental health will improve your overall health. The evidence is clear that good mental health improves physical health. Good physical health improves mental health. You owe it to yourself, your friends and family to be the best you can.