Dr David Malkin

Clinical Psychologist Perth | Counsellor Perth

Tel: 0409 227 548

Relaxation

There are many and varied ways to relax.Some methods appeal to the senses like music.Others may focus on ways to induce calm thoughts and peaceful attitude together with different techniques to relax muscles.Yoga,Tai Chi and various meditations can be taught.One true and trusted method I have used over the years is the Autogenic Relaxation Technique.I have used this for clients in many different settings and generally with excellent results.It is easy to learn and apply and can be done publicly and no-one would know.It can be done in bed and help induce sleep.It can be done with eyes open or shut but probably optimally effective with eyes shut in a peaceful environment.Naturally it is not recommended for use if you are driving or operating machinery. This method is based on Yoga Nidra which is time trusted known in ancient India.The principle is one of distraction and moving the attention to different parts of the body.When taught the instructions given are to be repeated silently by the person relaxing.The instruction is 'my breathing is calm and regular,my breathing is becoming more and more calm and regular'.Repeat twice.Move then then to 'my left arm is heavy and relaxed,my left arm is very heavy and relaxed,my entire left arm and hand is becoming more heavy and relaxed with each breath that I take.'The focus is then progressively moved to the right arm,the left leg and foot,then the right leg and foot.The attention is then moved through the body from gluteal muscles (in the bottom)to lower abdomen,lower back,abdomen,middle back,chest,shoulder blades,space between shoulder blades,shoulders,neck,throat,chin,cheeks,jaw,lips,tongue,roof of mouth,soles of feet,nose,eyes,ears,eyelids,eyebrows,space between eyebrows,forehead,and scalp.The entire body can then be targeted letting go of residual tension.The instructions are regular and methodical.'My.....is becoming heavy and relaxed,my ....is becoming more and more heavy and relaxed with each breath that I take,and repeated.

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Reparenting yourself

I remember reading a book by Sheldon Kopp called 'If you meet the Buddha on the road ,kill him'.This was a book about owning your own power and not externalising it.At the back of the book was an 'eschatological laundry list' which was,in fact,a list of wise aphorisms.One of them sticks in my mind and that is 'learn to forgive yourself again,and again,and again, and again......................But,how to do this practically .Many people find it difficult to empower themselves through personal self support and forgiveness.Inappropriate guilt feellings and other forms of over the top self abuse or self criticism can be hard to shift.Simply talking to oneself as an affirmation may help but many people report lack of success.There is another method that may help and this relies on the ability of people to identify with external objects as can be readily seen with ....football supporters and their team,....their car.....their house.....suburb......clothes.....etc...

It also helps to understand that according to Eric Berne,the founder of Transactional Analysis,that personality is made up of three major 'ego states' or energy systems that interact.The internalised 'Parent' and the inner 'Child' have their characteristic thoughts, feelings,behaviors and defensive actions.These are not always in awareness.The other ego state is the 'Adult' which reality tests,rationalises and mediates between all ego states.According to Berne,the Child ego state is the one which mainly is symtomatic in terms of recurring worries and bad feelings.This ,on its own without support from the inner 'Nurturing Parent' may feel vulnerable,scared,and other abandonment feelings.By taking a photo of yourself as a young child and a soft toy like a teddy bear,it becomes possible to imagine and identify the teddy bear as your young self.Then,it becomes possible to employ all the powers of the potent and nurturing idealised Parent self to care for,dialogue with,and  support and soothe ones own 'Child 'self.Then the active forgiving of self becomes more powerful,more real and more tangibly transactional.It becomes an I-Thou,a compasionate, understanding and relied on relationship.The idealised Nurturing  Parent can be made up,imagined,or modelled on someone you have read about or know.The internal self Critic can be minimised as a competitor by imagining turning down a volume knob on 'the broadcast player' like a radio dial.

It also becomes possible to advocate externally  for ones own 'Child' self.Sometimes it may be helpful to have a big teddy bear at home for hugging and a small one in your pocket or handbag when you are out and about  engaging in challenging activities which may be fearful. The power of touch,such as hugging your teddy bear as a symbol of your child self, is important as is having clear boundaries to identify and separate  the different aspects of self and their contributions to the overall personality.Hugging and talking to your bear at night in bed can be very comforting. Touching your small bear 'child' in your bag or pocket is invisible to others and, hence,non exposing.Personal self  protection becomes more tangible,along with directed internal soothing self talk, then , in dealing with authority and adversity.

This technique is best learned from coaching in a psychotherapy or counselling session.It should not be employed if you have problems with reality testing,or ego stability such as in psychotic or borderline personality issues.Similarly,uncovering major personal trauma from childhood should be approached cautiously and, most safely under supervision by appropriately qualified professional therapists such as counsellors or psychologists with relevant training.

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Habits

Many people have problems with habits.Smoking,food,drinking,etc.An effective stategy to consider is to focus on a good habit you wish to replace the unwanted one rather than struggling to control  the latter.If I asked you to stop thinking about a yellow cow you may find it difficult to eliminate this thought .However,if I asked you to consider a white horse instead of a yellow cow ,it may be more likely the latter would disappear.Focus on the habits you want.Most of us live with habits,you might as well have a good one as an unwanted one.Habits can fulfill a useful purpose in our life.

If you are seeking the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Being Yourself

Sometimes in a crisis,in grief and loss we can feel that we lose ourself.This is a psychological illusion and with nurturing and time and ,perhaps wise and understanding counsel and support ,our sense of self returns.It never really went away but was hidden.Being oneself can be a risky business.We can resort to 'persona',sometimes overtly 'false self' to disguise who we are.Why is this?Presumably because being our 'true self' may not please others because we do not share their opinions or beliefs.Perhaps we do not want to do something that is being asked of us.We do not want to offend others and ,often ,seek approval sometimes because we find it difficult to approve of ourself and be our own authority.Being yourself is risky in this sense.The risk can be minimised by finding the right verbal formula and the right timing to express it.There is sometimes a view in relationships that NOW is always the right time.This is not so.It may be useful to check a suitable time for sharing and feedback and make an appointment even with a family member.Generally it is best to have an opportunity to air  a burning issue within 24 hours rather than one partner putting this on the'never/never'.Resolving the issue may take much longer of course.Risking being honest in a relationship and risking  'being yourself'' seems to be an important ingredient in effective negotiation and problem/conflict resolution in a personal relationship.Some people with difficulties knowing their true feelings and opinions or personal value may benefit from exploring these matters in a safe and supportive counselling environment.

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The Power of Feelings

There is a widespread sense in men in our culture of what it is to be powerful.This is often portrayed as 'big boys don't cry".Hence men can often feel it is a weakness to express feelings or emotions to the detriment of their marriages or relationships.It is very uncommon for men in their male friendships to share their struggles and their internal landscape.Even if they wanted to do this,the skill and awareness can lag.Hence,the recent phenomenon of mens groups,sweat lodges and 'wild man' retreats.There is a telling metaphor which exemplifies feminine power succeeding where masculine power does not.Imagine a landscape with two trees side by side.One is 'female' and one is 'male'.The snow comes and the male tree valiently holds its branches stiffly to resist the pressure.Eventually the weight becomes too great and the branches snap off.In contrast,the female tree allows its branches to yield and they sway down with the weight of snow.Eventually,the snow slides off with its own weight and the branches bounce back to their natural state.It is important to bear in mind that every person has masculine and feminine potential and, hence,the ability to choose which strategy is relevant to each situation.Yielding to emotional expression may be very powerful in the right proportion and context.

If you are seeking the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CLAREMONT
1/40 St Quentin Ave
Claremont WA 6010
(Find at cnr Stirling Rd & Stirling Hwy)



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PO Box 6247
Swanbourne WA 6010

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