Rachel specialises in the following areas…
Understanding the relationship between a parent and a child is extremely complex and considered one of the most enduring and significant relationships in one’s life. To understand the parent-child relationship, we must look at the ways that parents and children interact with one another physically, emotionally, and socially. Think about your own parents. How did your relationship with your parents contribute to who you are today, or did it? The relationships between parents and children are very important in determining who we become, how we relate to others and the world. If you are struggling to understand the relationship you have with your child, feel out of your depth or would like to further cement what you have already established, arrange an appointment so we can discuss further.
Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. It includes anything you do to intentionally injure yourself. Some of the more common ways include:
- Cutting or severely scratching your skin
- Burning or scalding yourself
- Hitting yourself or banging your head
- Punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects
- Sticking objects into your skin
- Intentionally preventing wounds from healing
- Swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate objects
Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger, such as driving recklessly, binge drinking, taking too many drugs, and having unsafe sex.
Regardless of how you self-harm, injuring yourself is often the only way you know how to:
- Cope with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage
- Express feelings you can’t put into words or release the pain and tension you feel inside
- Feel in control, relieve guilt, or punish yourself
- Distract yourself from overwhelming emotions or difficult life circumstances
- Make you feel alive, or simply feel something, instead of feeling numb
But it’s important to know that there is help available if you want to stop. You can learn other ways to cope with everything that’s going on inside without having to hurt yourself. Sometimes parents want to come simply to try to understand their child’s behavior better, to look at how to support them and to help make sense of their child’s distress.
While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that has significant impact on both physical and mental health.
Depression is often not recognized and can go on for months or even years if left untreated. It is important to seek support as early as possible, as the sooner a person gets treatment, the sooner recovery can commence.
Untreated depression can have many negative effects on a person’s life, including serious relationship and family problems, school and educational disruptions, difficulty finding and holding down a job, and drug and alcohol problems.
There is no one proven way that people recover from depression. However, there is a range of effective treatments and health professionals who can help people on the road to recovery.
There are also many things that people with depression can do for themselves to help them recover and stay well. The important thing is to find the right treatment and the right health professional for a person’s needs.
All young children can be naughty, defiant and impulsive from time to time, which is perfectly normal. However, some children have extremely difficult and challenging behaviours that are outside the norm for their age.
The most common disruptive behavioural disorders include Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder (CD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These three behavioural disorders share some common symptoms, so thorough assessment is integral to favourable outcomes. A child or adolescent may have two disorders at the same time. Other exacerbating factors can include emotional problems, mood disorders, family difficulties, trauma and substance abuse.
Medication is not always the answer for symptom management. Parent training, cognitive behavioural therapy, behavioural modification programs and emotional self regulation and awareness can also significantly improve symptoms and prognosis.
(Please note, Rachel does not prescribe medication for attentional difficulties)
Bullying happens when a person or a group of people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions to cause distress and harm to another person’s wellbeing. It isn’t the same as ‘normal’ conflict between people (such as having an argument or a fight) or simply disliking someone. It’s more about repeated and intentional behaviour by someone who has power or control over someone else. Bullying can happen anywhere: in schools, at home, at work, or online social spaces like text messages, emails, Instagram, Facebook or other social media sites. It can happen whilst playing online games. It can be physical, verbal and/or emotional, and is really about someone intimidating or exercising control over someone else in a way that makes them feel afraid or embarrassed.
Being the victim of bullying can have long term and even disastrous consequences. Psychological support can assist in preventing the potential for long term emotional and behavioral problems, depression, anxiety, avoidant behaviours and assist in increasing a child’s coping and resilience.
What if my child is the bully?
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. There is no firm links between bullies and any religion, race, income level, family structure or other factor. Bullies may be introverts or extroverts, academic achievers or struggling in school. One of them might even be living under your roof.
Kids bully for a variety of reasons. Some do it to feel powerful or in control. Others do it because they are bullied themselves. Some believe it will increase their status with peers. Often, kids who bully have a difficult time empathizing with their victims. No parent wants to hear their child is a bully, however parental involvement is fundamental to breaking the cycle and addressing the issue.
If left unchecked, bullying can lead to serious life-altering consequences. If your child has adopted bullying behaviors, you can help them turn things around and get back on a better track. So open those lines of communication, seek support.
Anxiety, worry, and stress are typically a normal part of everyday life. Anxiety is an important and sometimes necessary warning signal alerting us to a dangerous or difficult situation. Without anxiety, we would have no way of anticipating difficulties ahead and preparing for them.
However; anxiety becomes a disorder when the symptoms become chronic or overwhelming and interfere with our daily lives and ability to function. When these symptoms are severe and upsetting enough to cause intense emotional responses or to feel extremely uncomfortable, out of control, or helpless, it’s usually a sign of an anxiety disorder. This is when support is advised.
Anxiety disorders are a set of related mental conditions that include:
- generalized anxiety disorder
- panic disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- social phobia
- simple phobias
Anxiety disorders are commonly treated by psychotherapy but may also require medication to further alleviate symptoms and increase overall coping. Living with an anxiety disorder does not need to be debilitating. Intervention, strategies and understanding triggers and responses can make a significant positive difference.
Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, leaving you feeling helpless in what seems like a dangerous world. Traumatic experiences frequently involve a threat to life or safety, but ANY situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
Experiencing trauma in childhood can have severe and long-lasting effects. When childhood trauma is not explored or resolved, a sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma. However, even if your trauma happened many years ago, there are steps you can take to overcome the pain, learn to trust and connect to others again, and regain your sense of emotional balance.
Any time a person does not feel safe and protected, the event could be seen as a trauma. Because trauma is defined by the person who experiences it, no single list can include all the causes of trauma for children. Common traumas people face include but are not limited to:
- Surgery or serious illness
- Constant and intense bullying
- Separation from loved ones
- Natural disasters
- Emotional Abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Isolation within the family
- Domestic Violence
- Community Violence
- Substance Abuse
- Mental Illness
- Flight from home as a Refugee