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This month Maria contributes to the Expat Living article entitled “We All Have Issues.. What helps and who can you talk to?”

Maria discusses Counselling for Expats:

As an expatriate, you may be more likely to need counselling than someone who stays put in their home town, surrounded by the support of long-time friends and family, confirms MARIA LUEDEKE of Aspire Counselling. She herself uses a collaborative approach, she says, to help her clients develop self-efficacy, resilience and self-empowerment through their innate strength and abilities.

“Expats are in a constant state of transition and adaptation as we are continually moving in and out of each other’s lives, changing social groups and establishing different norms,” she says. While this can be exciting, continuous change in the absence of traditional support structures can make expats more vulnerable to loneliness and isolation, creating distressful situations and triggering mental issues.

Some Danger Areas

  • Worries about ageing parents are intensified when thousands of miles separate us from them; the same goes for our own adult children who may be going through difficult times. 
  • A sense of impermanence and instability can arise from the unpredictability of expat assignments. “Expecting to stay only for two or three years, they simply exist in their adopted home, instead of fully investing in it and creating meaningful connections,” explains Maria. Anxiety about the future can make us reluctant to engage with others, so we end up isolated and depressed. 
  • Pressure to perform can lead to excessive stress, especially for high-achieving expats whose companies have brought them here for their valuable skills. As a result, they sometimes neglect themselves and their families, or turn to problematic coping mechanisms such as drinking, drugs or unhealthy relationships. “People may act in ways they would never consider acting in their home country, as they feel a sense of anonymity and entitlement.” 
  • Family structures can be strained by school changes, work changes, social changes and extended separations between parents and children and spouses, be they for work or leisure. Be aware, too, of the possible consequence of replacing parental supervision with that of domestic helpers. 
  • Marital issues can develop or worsen as you adapt to new environments, new roles and different cultural expectations. Long hours, excessive travel, the frustrations inherent in setting up life in a new country, and perhaps the loss of a former career, can lead to loneliness, to temptation, to anger and to resentment.

Seeking Help

It’s commonplace for expats to ask one another for referrals to dentists, hairdressers, tutors and such – “but there is still a degree of taboo when it comes to asking for the name of a good mental health practitioner,” says Maria.

“Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health and share information and knowledge,” she urges, and don’t suffer in silence. “Reaching out for help – be it face-to-face counselling or video-conference-based online counselling – can make all the difference in successfully navigating the challenges of expat life.”

Working with Aspire Counselling

If something in the above article resonates with you and you or someone you know needs support at this time then Maria Luedeke at Aspire Counselling is ideally placed to help.  As a seasoned expat, mother and highly trained Psychotherapist Maria will be able to relate to what you are feeling and help you understand the next steps you should take.   You can instantly book an appointment with Maria online today using our booking page or by contacting Maria via our contact page.

You can read the full article from Expat Living Singapore at:

 

The photo and words used in this post are reproduced from the content of the article that appeared originally in Expat Living Singapore

Giving birth is a miraculous thing. Expectations are high, and everyone is excited. Its a time of great change in the lives of everyone involved.

With the transition of welcoming a new baby into the world, there is often stress coupled with symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Sometimes these feelings occur postpartum and sometimes they appear before the birth.

A time of great change

Experiencing perinatal mood-swings and elevated emotional levels is not at all unusual, and not something anyone should feel guilty about. After all, just imagine what is happening within your body, there are great physical changes taking place and hormone levels are changing rapidly. There is absolutely no correlation between how you are feeling at this time of great change and wether you are a good mother or not.

You likely know that at this time you should take good care of your physical health, but do you take the same care of your mental health. It is equally important to both you and your baby, as well as those around you. Good Nutrition, Exercise and sleep are vital to both physical  and mental well-being.

Your mood and feelings

If you are affected by any of the following, you would likely benefit from talking about how you are feeling.

* Overwhelmed or feeling you can’t cope
* Struggling to adapt to the changes in your life
* Anxiety
* Depression
* Guilt
* Paranoia
* Mood swings
* Delusions
* Thoughts of harming yourself or others

Talk about how you are feeling

If you are pregnant, or have recently given birth and you affected by any of the above, you might want to talk to a professional counsellor about it. With the right help, the symptoms that you are experiencing will be temporary and treatable.

Where can you find help?

Aspire Counselling can help , we understand that talking about how you feel, or about your fears isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. We do however know from experience, that talking helps.

Maria Luedeke of Aspire Counselling is a highly qualified counsellor and mother who has lived and worked in America, Europe and Asia. Maria has extensive experience providing counselling to both locals and expats in Singapore and overseas. These days Maria conducts much of her work online and as such has become highly experienced in using online video counselling.

Contact Aspire Counselling today and book an appointment with Maria either through our website http://aspirecounselling.net or by emailing marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

In 1948 the World Health Organisation(WHO) was founded. Of its principles, the first is:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Yet, even today, many people struggle to achieve balanced health. For those lucky enough to have physical and even social health, mental health is often lacking. Despite mental health issues affecting 1 in 4 people (25% of the population of the world), it remains a taboo and stigmatized subject in society. 350 million people in the world suffer from depression.  These people are not odd “crazy” strangers, they are often amongst your closest family members, colleagues, and friends. So common are mental health challenges, that there’s absolutely no reason why it is not viewed as a normal, regular, yet managable condition.

Whilst some of these affected will need the help of specialists in order to function and maintain their mental health, we can all take basic steps to look after ourselves. Just as we invest in a healthy diet, gym memberships etc to maintain our physique and physical wellness, we can do similar things for our mental health. Both share exercise, diet and sleep in common.

When our physical health suffers we often feel the effect quite quickly in the form of tiredness, or even pain. With mental health, the signs can often be rather more subtle. For that reason, it is important that we frequently “check in with ourselves“. Daily self-monitoring and reaction to the changes we observe can be beneficial and helps with the identification of changes to our mental health. When changes are detected, or even before, we can learn numerous coping techniques to assist with the most common challenges such as depression and anxiety.

When we notice changes in our mental health that can’t simply be addressed by refocusing our thoughts or implementing healthy coping techniques then there is an abundance of help available in the form of psychotherapists, counsellors, peer support groups or even talking to family, colleagues, and friends.

Aspire Counselling is here to help when you need to talk or learn how to understand how you feel.  Psychotherapist and Counsellor Maria Luedeke specializes in empowering individuals, families, couples and teams in the corporate workplaces to achieve their goals and live fulfilled lives.

You can find out more or book an appointment with Maria at Aspire Counselling by visiting https://aspirecounselling.net or by going directly to our online appointment booking page.

Exercise, Sleep, Nutrition – tackling depression

On world health day 7th April, Maria shared with website Patients Engage 3 lifestyle habits that can support those affected by depression.

The following content was first, published on Patients Engage.  Read the original article here: https://goo.gl/HXVzQ3

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 350 million people globally who suffer from depression. Sadly, it is one of the most prevalent of mental health issues in the world. Maria Luedeke, Counsellor & Psychotherapist, CTRTC, stresses the urgent need to engage in a discussion of individually empowered self-management strategies.

Depression has a cyclical effect. Those with chronic illness are more susceptible to it and those with depression have a higher risk of other medical issues. This can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape from. Prioritizing physical self-care such as sleep, nutrition, exercise and medical conditions are imperative in breaking and prevention of this cycle.

Exercise

Exercising can be a powerful anti-depressant. Research has shown that consistency is more important than quantity in improving mood disorders, so it is more beneficial to walk daily for 10-15 minutes than to do a 3-hour workout once a week. Choosing an exercise that is enjoyable and fits well into daily life is also essential to maximize the likelihood of adherence. Ideally, exercise should be done first thing in the morning or at least 3 hours before trying to sleep.

Sleep

Sleep is an area that is often cited by depressed individuals as problematic. Many feel constantly fatigued, have disrupted sleep cycles or are unable to sleep/wake at typical times which interferes with their ability to function normally in daily life. Sleep hygiene is an important skill to learn in general for good wellness and becomes integral when managing depression. Establish regular sleep and wake times and be consistent with those throughout the week. Avoid electronics 1-2 hours before bed, this includes phones, iPads, computers and TVs as the blue light emitted from these devices stimulates brain activity at precisely the time we are trying to induce relaxation. Reading on a Kindle or iPad can be done by adjusting the backlight to a softer setting but online reading should be avoided as it is too tempting to flip back and forth between websites and “surf” which is another brain stimulating activity that should be avoided at bedtime. Those who have difficulty falling asleep can try progressive relaxation exercises or deep breathing exercise; both of which induce relaxation and calm.

Nutrition

There are numerous studies about the link between nutrition and mood. One such study by Harvard School of Public Health found that women were 41% more likely to suffer from depression when they regularly ate processed grains, sugary sodas, and red meats. Improving the quality of food eaten eliminates blood sugar spikes and dips that are linked to mood spikes and dips, can increase energy and brain clarity. The Indian Journal of Psychiatry states that patients with depression generally have inadequate nutritional intake, particularly foods high in essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Ensuring good nutrition, avoiding skipping meals and reducing high sugar foods can support mood stability.

Psychosocial Care

Practicing healthy physical habits is one piece of managing depression. Paired with Intellectual, emotional and spiritual self-care this is a power approach of depression treatment. Psychosocial therapy and medication are integral components and should not be dismissed but empowering individuals with proactive self-care practices dramatically improves the positive outcomes of depression and mood disorders.

Maria Luedeke is Director of Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd, Singapore. Maria is a highly qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist with educational qualifications from U.S. and Australian institutions and possesses a Certificate of Clearance from the Singapore Government authorizing her to work with children and adolescents in all settings. 

If you are affected by depression and would like to know more, or want to book an appointment with Maria you can go to https://aspirecounselling.net or click here to go directly to our appointment bookings page.

Featured in Expat Living – January 2017

Aspire Counselling is featured in Expat Living Singapore, published 11th January 2017, read Maria’s thoughts on Cultural identify crisis and marital issues affecting expats

Read the full article at http://www.expatliving.sg/counselling-singapore-issues-exp…/

The following is an excerpt from the article:

Cultural identity crisis

Moving into an unknown culture can be a confusing, stressful and frustrating experience for both adults and children as they are suddenly made to adapt to a new way of life or set of values. Being far away from home and without family support can also create stresses of their own. Culture shock can cause symptoms like extreme homesickness, an abnormal change in appetite and depression.

Treatment options:

You can attend individual, couple or family therapy where counsellors can help you develop coping strategies for cultural adjustment issues. They can also assist you with any other underlying or coexisting issues such as marital strain or mood disorders.

Marital issues

Issues in a marriage can develop or become more pronounced during cultural adjustment periods. Both partners are experiencing high levels of stress as they get accustomed to the new environment, roles, cultural expectations and jobs. Excessive travel, loss of former careers and long work hours can add to daily frustrations of beginning a new life, creating temptation, loneliness, resentment and sparking arguments between spouses.

Treatment options:

You can go for individual or couple counselling sessions where counsellors can provide a framework for you to work through difficulties.

Aspire Counselling

1 Tanglin Road, Orchard Parade Hotel, #03-03
6570 2781 | aspirecounselling.net

Find out more about how Aspire Counselling can help under these circumstances at http://aspirecounselling.net or by calling 6570 2781

Susan Newman Ph.D writes in Psychology Today:

“Most parents have an instantaneous desire to protect their children. We tend to our children’s needs: If an unexplained rash appears, we see the doctor. If a fever spikes, we see the doctor. If a bone seems injured, we see the doctor.

Visible wounds are relatively easy to recognize. It’s different when a child begins having problems at school or with friends, or if he or she becomes uncooperative and has inexplicable outbursts. Such occurrences often leave parents feeling confused and unsure about what to do.”

To read more of this article and discover some of the signs, click the link below:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/singletons/201609/13-concerning-signs-mental-illness-in-child

If you feel that you may need help with regards to your children’s behaviour, or issues affecting them, you might like to check out Aspire Counselling’s services for Children. We specialize in:

  • Third Culture Kid adjustment and identity
  • Worry and Stress Management
  • Relationship Counselling
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
  • Anxiety and Panic Disorders
  • Depression and low mood
  • Anger Management
  • Grief
  • Divorce
  • Bullying

You can also visit our website to book an online or face to face session with us at http://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Maria Luedeke at Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples, families and corporates.

Image source Source: Giideon/Shutterstock

Life is not always easy, in fact it often feels as challenging as having to walk a tightrope to get to where we want to go. We all have goals and dreams, but how we respond and how well prepared we are for when the going gets tough defines whether or not we achieve those goals.

Often we may even feel that we don’t have any other choice but to give up. We end up feeling stressed, even depressed or suffering from anxiety when things don’t quite go as expected.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Resilience and empowerment

It is possible to develop a resilience that will help you achieve your goals and reach fulfilment. Part of this involves learning and implementing techniques that will empower you to get yourself through the more difficult days and continue driving towards your goals.

If you are prepared and believe that you can get the best from yourself then you will be more likely to have the resolve to keep moving forward. To find out how you can be empowered to stand up to the challenges that life may put in your way, then Aspire Counselling would be happy to help you.  Psychology and counselling are not something to shy away from, in fact they can be key to empowering you.  Our therapies include Choice Theory Reality Therapy (CTRT), Lead Management, Mindfulness, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

You can also visit our website to book an online or face to face session with us. http://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples, families and corporates.

As we were growing up, we would often joke that some people would spend too much time looking in the mirror. How times have changed. These days we are just as likely to see ourselves in a selfie on Instagram than a mirror.

We see ourselves constantly, but do we really see ourselves properly?

What would you see in the mirror?

Have you thought about what you would see if you took time for self-reflection? What would you find? And if you have managed to spend time self-reflecting, could you fix anything you weren’t entirely happy with? Would you just see the symptoms, or the root cause? And would the fixes you make, have the lasting effect that you intended them to?

Even when we can see what is happening and make changes, do we monitor ourselves to prevent us from going “off the rails”, or deviate from your chosen path?”

Finding the root cause

It seems simple, but we are often so caught up in our lives ( and those of others ) that many of us find it harder to see who we are, or have become, take action, and then keep an eye on ourselves. If we realised that we were suffering from depression, anxiety, stress or were generally unhappy, are we able to see why we are feeling that way?

A simple way to get to where you want to be

If you feel you would benefit from guidance to find out who you really are, and then be empowered to change and keep it that way Aspire Counselling would like to help guide you.

At Aspire Counselling we believe in enabling you to live an empowered and fulfilled life, and importantly to keep it that way.

Aspire Counselling – book an online or face-to-face counselling, psychotherapy session and get instant confirmation of your appointment at https://aspirecounselling.net

Contact Aspire Counselling at info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781 to find out more about our services for men, women, adolescents, couples counselling, relationship counselling, families and corporates.

This article from Caitlin Ainsworth writing on The Mighty, describes what many of our clients can feel. They struggle to get out of bed and from the outside they are percieved to be lazy and unfocused. At times they may also see themselves this way. In the article referenced below, Caitlin describes how life feels to her. You may even recognise yourself in what Caitlin describes.

“Have you ever felt like everyone around you was living a full life? Not to say they are — or you are not — but I’ve found sometimes through my own pain it can seem like everyone else has nothing to fight off. I wake up every day with immense dread that I’m no longer asleep, or worse, that I’m not finally dead. I finally find the courage to get out of bed five hours after my alarm goes off to go to the bathroom and maybe find some food, but after that I’m back into my nest of blankets and pillows that once in a while seems to guard me from the monsters in my head — the monsters that surround me.”

Read more at https://buff.ly/2gzxBBx

Do I have to continue like this?

Too often these struggles lead the individual to feel guilty and that they aren’t normal. However, you should know that it is not an unusual feeling. Also, it is not something you need to feel guilty about. In fact, when feeling this way you need to make sure you are kind and compassionate towards yourself. We know that you are trying and doing your best.

We can empower you to live a fulfilled life and achieve your goals

Aspire Counselling is here to help in these circumstances. Our passion is to help empower people to lead fulfilling lives. We would like to help guide you towards ways that you can help yourself, whether you are suffering from depression, anxiety, bi-polar or any other condition. We can show you techniques that you can use to help you achieve your goals, whatever they are.

Contact Aspire Counselling

Contact us at http://aspirecounselling.net to find out more about our services and book an appointment.  You can also call us on  6570 2781 or email on info@aspirecounselling.net

The Thinkstock image accompanied the article when it was published on The Mighty on 22nd November 2016

Couples counselling

Couples and Relationship Counselling

Romantic relationships are an integral part of our lives. They can bring the best out of us, as well as the worst. They are intricate and constantly evolving. Communication is an integral part of romantic relationships. Whether you are dating, living together, or married; communication is at the core of any relationship.

Couples counselling and therapy ( including relationship counselling and marital counselling ) can help find effective ways to communicate openly, build/re-build trust, deepen loving connections and establish positive boundaries in a safe, supportive non-judgemental environment.

Some of the issues couples and relationship counselling can assist with are:

  • Infidelity – emotional and/or physical
  • Addiction
  • Grief
  • Parenting
  • Divorce
  • Pre-marital counselling
  • Life Transitions Counselling
  • Intimacy Issues – emotional and/or sexual
  • Dealing with a partners anxiety, depression, stress etc.

 

Online Video or Face to Face Counselling – Singapore Couples Counselling, Marital Counselling, Relationship Counselling

Aspire Counselling – book an online or face-to-face counselling, psychotherapy session and get instant confirmation of your appointment at https://aspirecounselling.net

For further details email info@aspirecounselling.net or call 6570 2781

  • Singapore Relationship Counselling
  • Singapore Couples Counselling

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