It's been a while since I blogged. I've been busy since last year rolling out our NDIS Network™ networking events in NSW. They were put on hold during 2020 and it's so good to be back networking face-to-face. The feedback and demand have been overwhelmingly positive.
At each networking event I love to feature and support a sole trader or new start up business to support them in their marketing and public relations. It can really give them a good start in small business.
At our Central Coast event recently we had Emma McBride MP as guest speaker, the assistant shadow minister for carers and mental health. Then at Campbelltown we had Rita Harden and her son Jacob. Rita is a tireless disablity advocate, carer and Jacob is a young man who has smashed his NDIS goals. Jacob also introduced us to his team of providers including his fitness instructor and disability support workers.
The networking meet ups are a place to share local business information, inspire, motivate and build referral pathways. With many providers working from home now it is a crucial thing to get to know colleagues in the field of disabilities and the myriad of new NDIS providers popping up. So if you're in NSW and yet to attend an event just go to our NDIS Network™ page and search for one near you!
I really enjoy the community development work as a complimentary balance to my private counselling and coaching practice. I think it's really important to strive for balance in work to prevent burnout and maintain wellness. It also enables me to support NDIS business owners and or provide employee assistance which I find professionally satisfying. Supporting the disability field workforce is important to me. How are you keeping a balance in your life with mind, body and spirit? Have you thought about doing a community development project to energise you?
Hope to see you soon at one of our networking events! If you'd like to sponsor one just give me a call and let's have a chat. It can be really cost effective marketing for your small business.
Happy father's day to all the dad's, step-dad's and carers today! With many nursing homes in lockdown, the visits today may look a bit different in this new world order. None-the-less the connections run deep and the love and care remains. Another thing that remains is knowledge. The search for wisdom and knowledge has proven insatiable over the centuries. Evidenced by the growing body of research on neuroscience and healing from trauma.
Talking about knowledge...the foundation of therapy according to Dr Bessel van der Kolk is gaining a sense of time, then the pre-frontal cortex comes back online. We can then engage the reasoning part of our brain so we don't follow our reptilian brain impulses (Van der Kolk). This month I've been enjoying Dr Van der Kolk's trauma conference and am looking forward to soon practicing EMDR. That's the theory about eye movement desensitisation (Shapiro) proven to have an 80% success rate healing adult survivors of trauma (Van der Kolk). What an amazingly high success rate for people to learn self-regulation after experiencing a trauma trigger! It's also a good alignment with my core values and business goals to help and heal people...so I'm excited!
The thing about traumatic memories is that they leave a sensory imprint on the body and the feelings can return. Reason and understanding only gets the survivor so far. According to Van der Kolk it's only when the bodily sensations get integrated that the traumatic feelings go away. Hard to do when on high doses of medication (Van der Kolk), which brings a whole other debate regarding the medical model. Necessary at times no doubt. The brain has an amazing ability to heal itself, that's the incredible thing about the growing body of work on neuroscience.
All this learning makes the body weary! At the end of the day it's helpful to remember that therapeutic change takes place in a safe therapeutic relationship. A relationship characterised by warmth, trust and deep connection. It reminds me of one of my colleagues who works with people living with disabilities and often those who have been released from prison. Lucy Johnston is an NDIS support coordinator who has a passion to support those who have experienced the profound trauma of loss of liberty and lowered functioning. So if you are a person recovering from trauma remember it is helpful to surround yourself with a professional team to support you.
Meantime, let's continue the quest for knowledge. Our reptilian brain or survival brain doesn't have to run the show! I'm going to make a plan to do some self care this month with a massage, deep breathing and increase my walks now that this beautiful spring weather has arrived. Meantime, I'll continue my EMDR learning and integrate it as a mind-body approach in my counselling practice. Let me know what you've got on this month and any therapeutic tips that have worked for you in the mind-body healing approach. I love hearing from you!
Tania Gorry is a counsellor in private practice on the Central Coast of NSW. Tania founded Whole Warrior Solutions where she is also active in community development work for people living with disabilities and their providers. The NDIS Network is a rapidly growing community of NDIS providers with over 900 followers on social media!
Lucy 'Luz' Johnston is an NDIS Support Coordinator who founded a boutique agency called Lucy Support Coordination, based in Western Sydney. Lucy has a passion for supporting people with disabilities involved in the Justice system and can be contacted at www.lucysupportcoordination.com.au
Come with me to a little Greek island called Ikaria. A blue zone where the people forgot to die they live so long! Living with a disability it may be likened to a labyrinth like the one in Ikaria for some. A maze of entrapment. Others may put on their wax wings, fly out of the maze keeping a straight course between the sun and the water, whilst ensuring not to go too close to either so the wings don't melt.
Whether or not you subscribe to Greek mythology, NDIS providers have a great responsibility inspire hope, mentor lifestyle habits such as good nutrition, exercise, fresh air, sunlight, water and connection. In her book Food as Medicine, dietitian, Dr Sue Radd says what we put in our mouths will either slow down or speed up chronic disease. Some people living with a disability are able to make positive choices about nutrition and lifestyle, other's are completely dependent on their providers to improve and maintain their wellness.
One of my roles, in addition to counselling and casework, is coordinating the NDIS network. It is a community of nearly 500 NDIS providers who brainstorm together to offer the most relevant services and products for people living with a disability. All types of businesses and professions are represented. Many are health allied professionals who are well informed about the benefits of a mediterranean diet, like the Ikarian's, that contributes to longevity and wellness.
If you are an NDIS provider consider what lifestyle habits you are role modelling today? Are you eating a healthy lunch in front of your participants, living a balanced lifestyle, turning up to work ready for the day after a good sleep, drinking enough water throughout the day, inviting participants to get out in the fresh air and sunshine when possible, offering healthy activities for them? When we take control of our self-care it will improve mood, self image, and increase health literacy.
There is much we can learn about bluezones like the tiny Aegean Greek Island, Ikaria. Ikarus, son of Daedalus who created the labyrinth, became complacent and flew too close to the sun causing his wax wings to melt leading to his demise. Hence the saying 'Don't fly too close to the sun!' Are we flying close to the sun? Complacent about our nutrition...and has it caused a demise in our health?
Why do the Ikarians have less chronic diseases like dementia and heart disease? Whilst we are grounded from flying during the pandemic, I'm going to research a more about the secrets that contribute to them living longer and healthier lives. I want my waxed wings to withstand the elements of wind and sun, and carry me into old age with dignity and grace. When I put my hand to my mouth I'm also going to try to remember that food is medicine..my body is a temple!
Love & light
Start networking in our NDIS provider network to make a difference here!
For Mediterranean cullinary inspo follow inspired Dr Sue Radd who won "Best Health & Nutrition Book," World Cookbook Awards, 2017 on Instagram @culinary_medicine
After itching to get back out there so long how do you re-enter society after months of isolation? As the long weekend is upon us some will run at the opportunity, some will ease back into it, and others may need a leg up to get off the couch! Working from home, home schooling and reduced socialisation has been the reality for many due to the pandemic. I find myself forgetting to plan outings as our restrictions start to lift in Australia. Crazy huh after itching to get back out there so long and connect!
Having been so busy as a counsellor and caseworker during the pandemic it’s caused me to get back to basics. I’m so grateful to have a job. But doing the little things like food prep, growing veggies and herbs , drinking enough water, going for a walk in the winter sun, doing a little bit of cleaning each day, ringing a friend. That’s the stuff that keeps the wheels turning. All these little choices help me keep aligned to my values. The values of health, wellbeing, friendship, etc.
Some of those little things I’ve let slip during the period of isolation. Not vacuuming enough (really missing the office cleaner), skipping daily walks, eating too many carbs. I’m only human! So this week I started a gut reset, have been eating mainly vegetables and lost a few much needed kilos. It has been a good kick start to help me re-enter society coming into a long weekend. It feels good to be in alignment again, I’ve got some energy back, it has cleared my head. Now I’m ready to face the world again. This time in person! After all it's only by connecting with others that we share love.
What little steps are you taking to get back out into the community this long weekend? Are your choices aligning with your values and the person you want to be? You were born to connect, express and give love. If you feel you want a little support to get back out there and connect...I’d love to connect with you. For those living with a disability community access is possible. There are creative ways to connect.
Book a counselling session with Tania today!
The meaning of life! What is it, how do you find it and when do you arrive at it? The meaning of life is often pondered at times of profound grief. The type of gut wrenching, knock the wind out of you, can't get out of bed for six months grief. Ever been there? Maybe you're there right now. Posturing the circle of life, balancing on the edge of a high place, or laying in the depths of sorrow. To love is often associated with risk of grief.
To love is to become attached to another person or animal. The recent outpouring of sadness for the koalas lost and injured in the Australian bushfires demonstrated Australia's love of our iconic bears. The depth of collective sadness was remarkable. In contrast, what about a parent's private and protracted grief after the loss of an adult child to suicide. Sadly stigma and shame can be a barrier to an outpouring of support for the bereaved. I think about my mother who cared for her husband who lived with the slow progression of vascular dementia for 23 years. At the end of his life she put on his bronze memorial plaque 'My chains are gone!'. It struck me as a remarkable celebration of his freedom and a sign that she had already grieved the loss of the man she loved. The way we grieve is therefore affected by the circumstances.
Expressions of grief in some families may not be tolerated in other societies. When my new husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness I'll never forget how I felt. I think I mentioned it earlier...gut wrenching, knock the wind out of you, can't get out of bed for six months type of feeling. Yet he reacted in the opposite way that was foreign to me. Nobody was right or wrong. It's messy, this grief thing. It's intangible and foul smelling if we let it. Complicated grief can happen when it goes on a very very long time. Theorists have debated models of grief for centuries...Freud, Shear, Wagner, Warden to name a few. What seems to affect the way we cope with grief is things like how attached we are to the person, personality, spiritual beliefs, complicating factors like mental health, abuse, culture, social norms and circumstances of death to name a few (Hall, 2011). Grief is a really personal thing.
Nurses stepped up a notch when my loved one entered palliative care. The outpouring of empathy, kindness, consideration for the little things was outstanding. It made the whole death thing somehow tolerable. Do doctors crank up the morphine and teeter it to the edge of what some may call euthanasia...so that it is 'a good death'. It spared the patient from the depths of physical pain. Come to think of it I've been present when three loved ones have been in palliative care. The pattern each time was doctors releasing them from suffering. I recall my ethics professor discussing Thompson's famous violinist case...which illustrated when making decisions about life and death always consider is it 'for the greater good'. Quite an ethical dilemma...the euthanasia debate.
Which brings me back to the meaning of life. We critically analysed abortion for 13 weeks in my philosophy class...I remember wishing I could do my essay on the ethics of euthanasia because it was more topical for me at the time. In studying ethics, I reflected on the social conditioning and institutionalisation I had been exposed to in my lifetime and how it had impacted my choices. At the end of the circle of life, personally I want to know I have lived a good life? Have I been kind, ethical, responsible, considerate of others in my choices and behaviour. Just being a decent human being, living life for the greater good seems enough for me. Kinda makes me want to start a kindness epidemic with so many doing it tough!
Support for grief and loss support is available.
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This week I did a course on core values with Sandi Herrera as part of my continuing professional development. It gave me opportunity to reflect on my light source, what are my core values and why? As I mused over the topic of light source in my meditation I had a vision in my mind of a triangle, with a white glowing light at the apex. The sides of the triangle were illuminated by the glory of the white light. Inside the triangle was pure white. The base of the triangle got me thinking about roots and that they need water for nourishment. Like a tree in the shape of a triangle. For centuries history indicates people planted tall trees as they wanted to occupy the high places in the spiritual realm. To get closer to the source of light, wisdom and power.
Core values define the backbone of who we are and what we create.
Core values define the backbone of who we are and what we create. Like the base of the triangle...our values lay a foundation for stability in life. By raising our consciousness it avoids blaming other people unconsciously for things that block our way. There is a difference between values you agree with, versus your core values. We can be respectful of others and support them in their values. Think about what really bugs you? If it is people that talk down to women then you might really value respect in relationships. Having our values alignment avoids people pleasing or putting up with things we don't value. Live with purpose, clear the clutter, rid yourself of toxic relationships. What is your personal purpose...your why!
Much has been written over the centuries also about the sun, moon and stars. Sources of light. However, if these sources go dim, the moon is blacked out, the sun goes down and the stars fail to give light...what will be your light source? The furnace of affliction has caused me to dig deep on this issue personally. Divorce, loved ones with terminal illnesses, periods of financial difficulty, family and relationship conflicts, heavy case loads, exposure to narcissism, disabilities, fires, floods, and now a pandemic. Everything we go through is a refining fire. Personally, my trials have caused me to search for wisdom and live humbly by my belief about my everlasting light.
Are you living in a space of values alignment?
Whatever your higher power belief system, a pandemic is a good time to reflect on your light source. For me, I want to be part of the generation that ends human trafficking. What is driving your core values, do you live with intention, purpose, higher consciousness and clarity? Are you living in a space of values alignment? I'd love to hear your musings on values alignment. If you would like to activate your core values in a counselling session I'd love to support you with techniques to do that. Living with intention is a powerful place to be!
Love & light
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I've been gone a while now and missed you! I'm feeling very grateful to have two essential jobs...whilst trying to keep my head above the increased need for crisis work which the pandemic has triggered. It's taken all my self-control to manage cabin fever, practice mindfulness, gratefulness and look for the silver lining the last month during the lockdown whilst providing telehealth counselling and casework. Some days I failed miserably! Other days when the sun was out I embraced working from home, took walks by the lake, enjoyed the friendly hellos as people exercised. Somehow the 'how are you's' have been more sincere during lockdown...especially from the single people self-isolated alone. Through it all...I never cease to be inspired and amazed by the resilience of my counselling client's who live with mental health disabilities.
It seems to be the little things that count towards resilience. The morning routine, expressions of faith, splashing the face with water, regular bedtime, food prepping, connecting in with people, and mindfulness to name a few that make all the difference. When chaos sets in...routine can be the first thing to go. However, keeping up the self-discipline of routine when things get tough is a hallmark of good mental health. Easier said than done when you're dependent on carers to provide for your needs and the workforce is impacted by a pandemic. Yet good habits are powerful things and help us navigate periods of change.
One of the only things we can control, when rapid changes are happening in the world around us, is our thoughts. We can choose to focus on the positives or the negatives. I think of my fruitless trips to buy toilet paper and coming out of the shop empty handed five times and feeling disheartened. So I chose to focus on my access to running water, a shower, and a roof over my head when so many don't even have those basic needs met around the world. That's what mindfulness is. It involves noticing the thoughts that come to us...inhale...and noticing when those negative thoughts leave our mind...exhale. It's OK to think of both the negative and the positive. It's even more powerful to notice when the negativity leaves our mind. I find it very exciting actually...when I notice a really positive thought come to my mind...it fills me with indescribable joy. You can't put a monetary value on joy!
After practicing mindfulness as a new habit for 21 days...your brain grows neurons and new neural pathways in the brain are formed. Making it easier each day to experience joy! Pretty exciting stuff hey! This works really well with trauma triggers too. Like when a flashback comes, breathe deeply four times, notice the thought leaving. Phew! You're then back in control, breathing steadily and enjoying the physiological calm that the simple deep breathing exercises produce. Try four deep breaths and notice your heart rate fall. This is great for calming anxiety too.
Whether you believe COVID19 is a 'Plandemic' involving biological warfare or an unfortunate virus that escaped from China...I try to look for evidence. Being a person who likes to see facts and statistics (probably due to my training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to look for automatic thoughts V rational thoughts)...I found that Australian's only a 0.9% chance of contracting the virus and the recovery rate is 88%. The other encouraging things are that Australia has one of the lowest rates for the virus in the world, a high supply of respirators, and free public health system.
Coming from a large family of health professionals my heart goes out to all the frontline workers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and sacrifice! It's a good time to keep health workers and our leaders in our prayers too...as the daily grind of showing up and leading is a test of their resilience too. For us personally, the things we can control are our thoughts, building our resilience, have a good morning routine, practicing mindfulness, deep breathing, and picking up the phone to connect with others. It's a privilege in my counselling practice to hear how people are navigating this new world order well. Each day holds a new celebration as they implement new habits to increase their wellbeing and resilience. I'd love to talk with you more about resilience and mindfulness techniques and how they can transform your life.
Light and love
#resilience #habits #mindfulness #neuroscience #mental health #CBT #wellbeing #psychotherapy #counselling
I love being a woman! Embracing my femininity is the hallmark of my individuality, and my access to education, capacity to run a business, care for those of my choosing, and exercise my equal rights is wonderful! Since the beginning of time, society has had expectations about women. Women expected to cook, clean, serve men, bear and raise children, and to nurture the family. Super women! Over time, some women have rejected the stereotypical roles and responsibilities and sought equality, negotiation of roles and responsibilities according to strengths. Modern women have stood up for their right to access equal pay, hold high profile leadership positions, the right to safety, and to have a voice in a male dominated world. To all those women who have lobbied for our human and equal rights, we salute you and thank you!
You may have heard it is International Women's Day on Sunday, 8 March 2020. The slogan spells clearly ''An equal world is an enabled world!'' Within every gender, race, and ability we strive for equality, for a voice, access, and recognition for our clients as human service workers. However, throughout history women have been considered vulnerable. Is this due to patriarchal attitudes held by institutions, governments, communities, the fact that many women may be smaller in size and stature, and bear children? At the end of the day, the culture of male privilege runs deep. Women fought successfully for the right to vote, for maternity leave, for positions traditionally only awarded to men such as CEO. Society still seems to expect women to juggle children, housekeeping, career and relationships whilst access to affordable childcare wanes. Yet women have survived and thrived for centuries by supporting and understanding each other. We have come a long way as a Western society to support women's rights.
However, we still have work to do to uphold women's safety. Sadly, pregnant women are the highest target for men who use violence, coercion or control. The effects of domestic violence during pregnancy include complications in labour, premature delivery, a higher incidence of neonatal death, underweight babies and miscarriage (Alio et al 2009; Shah and Shah 2010).
It got worse after I was pregnant: he became much more physical, and it was as if being pregnant didn’t make any difference to him. (Lisa).
Whilst they are at their most vulnerable ''with child", some men choose to use power and control over pregnant women. To the majority of decent men who show women love and respect with words and actions - we respect you.
On the income front, women are still paid 12-17.5 per cent less than men in the same roles. Despite the gender pay gap narrowing it has remained stable over the last fifteen years (Graf, N., Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2018). The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay. Pew Research Center, April, 9.) A curious notion when we consider that women can vote, achieve an equal education and do role reversal of stereo-typical roles and responsibilities in the home these days. In my experience of working 20 years in domestic violence, the over-representation of male perpetrated domestic violence is one barrier to women's career success. Being put down, ridiculed, financially and sexually abused does not aid performing at your best level at work.
So it is essential that women have women's rights! They have been fought for over the last 100 years. A benefit of the current neo-liberal policy is funding for small business owners, where women can work on their own terms. Yet, inconsistencies in gender equity glare in our faces. Like the fact that 92% of primary care for children living with a disability is still done by women. Australian women also account for 70% of carers for parents. Why the disparity?
I'll be celebrating International Women's Day at a series of university lectures on the Central Coast at University of Newcastle on Sunday. My interest in women's business has remained keen for the last 20 years. I enjoy supporting women, counselling survivors of domestic violence and women who have come out of adverse childhood experiences. How will you uphold women's rights this International Women's Day and in the year ahead? Shine a light in the dark places, lend a hand to an oppressed woman, stand up for her, call the police if there is domestic violence, teach boys not to bully girls. ''An equal world is an enabled world!'' Let's keep flying the flag for women to access and experience the benefits of their human and equal rights.
Tania Gorry is a counsellor in private practice at Whole Warrior Solutions based on the Central Coast of NSW. Tania has a passion for supporting people living with disabilities, trauma, stress, anxiety, depression and grief and loss.