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Many of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves in a situation where somebody probably should be asking us “Do you want to talk about it?”. We will be asked this because they have recognised that our behaviour has changed. To them, we may appear overwhelmed, angry or even withdrawn, or we are not performing the way we used to.

If we are lucky, there will be a family member, partner, friend or colleague that asks us this question. At other times we might find ourselves asking ourselves this question. Our response might not always be a positive one and we could find ourselves avoiding the conversation, walking away, or even getting angry. That’s when it might be useful to consider the benefits of talking to a qualified, experienced therapist.

Why do some of us find it so hard to talk to a therapist?

Historically many of us have become conditioned not to share how we feel. We can become embarrassed to talk about our feelings and can see ourselves as weak for doing so. We might even think that what we are feeling isn’t real, or sufficiently important for anyone to take us seriously and that we just need to pull ourselves together. Too often we have a perception that no one wants to listen to us, no one will hear us, and it will just be an uncomfortable experience for all concerned if we talk about how we feel. Thankfully, that is only the stigma and perception talking.

Some fear that there will be an impact on their lives if they show their vulnerability. In some cultures or in the workplace, it has been seen as wrong to talk about feelings or mental health. This has been unhelpful to those needing help. Thankfully, increasingly those that are finding the strength to talk are finding that they are being heard and respected for doing so. Many have found that their initial fears were unfounded and that talking was liberating.

If we don’t talk about how we feel it can lead to us suppressing our pain or loss, locking it up inside us and hoping it goes away. If we are experiencing serious pain, or have suffered trauma or abuse, then suppressing our thoughts and emotions about it can lead to further difficulties in the future. Left unchecked, both our physical and mental health can deteriorate as a result of our repressed emotions. Our mental health is so important to our overall wellness that unchecked mental health challenges can manifest themselves in physical symptoms.

Seeking help is brave, strong and courageous, not a sign of weakness.

If we had a broken leg or physical illness we would likely talk about it, seek treatment, and tell our employer about it. We’d take leave from work, and take action to improve our health. It comes naturally.

Successful people generally recognise that they can’t do everything in life themselves, and benefit from help. Did you know that even the CEO’s of top global companies frequently have coaches, mentors, and use counselling? Even Psychologists benefit from counselling and talking about their feelings with problems with others! These “successful” people recognise that at times they need a different perspective, guidance and direction. They know, that a non-judgemental, third-party perspective and insight into their home and work-lives can be beneficial. Many will say that its a key to their success and they couldn’t have done it on their own.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to admit that at times we would benefit from a little help, or even just need to be able to talk, and know that someone will genuinely hear us. We all need help from time to time in our lives.

How can a Counsellor or therapist help me?

When you talk to a qualified Counsellor you will be talking to an individual who is trained to listen and really hear what you are saying. They’ll listen to you in non-judgemental way and allow you time to express yourself and how you are feeling. Importantly they’ll help you shape and put into context what you are feeling. Your Counsellor will explain to you that its far from unusual to feel the way you do and that you are certainly not alone in having to deal with whatever situation you find yourself in.

Importantly your qualified Counsellor will offer you the opportunity to talk in a “safe space”. You will be assured of confidentiality, and what you talk about will stay in the room. You won’t be judged and they’ll respect that you had the strength to seek help.

Your experienced Counsellor will know a number of techniques that can be applied to help you in your situation. Interestingly, many of these will help you learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings in different ways to how you have done it traditionally.

Amongst a number of techniques they can, for instance, help you recognise and explore negative thoughts to show you how you can help yourself respond differently in future. They’ll help you understand coping techniques for your situation, and how to perhaps respond differently to others around you and situations that you find yourself in. You may well find your experience with your counsellor life-changing and brings about far-reaching change and benefits beyond the initial reason that you went to them in the first

Our highly experienced Counsellor is waiting to hear from you

If you or a family member would benefit from counselling our experienced and highly qualified counsellor Maria Luedeke is available to help you.

Maria believes in using a collaborative approach with Clients to aid them in developing self-efficacy, resiliency and self-empowerment through their innate strengths and abilities. Utilising her experience, Maria empowers individuals to achieve what they aspire to and provide tools to respond, rather than react to life challenges. This enables growth, happiness and success in all facets of personal and professional life.

Aspire Counselling can be contacted, or you can make a booking for an online or face to face appointment on http://aspirecounselling.net or alternatively by emailing Maria Luedeke at marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

We have moved

Aspire Counselling Singapore is moving.  From 23rd October 2017 we will be providing counselling and psychotherapy from our new practice close to the Botanical Gardens.

Our new address will be:

9 Taman Serasi #02-17
Singapore 257720

Maria Luedeke will continue to provide mental healthcare and counselling services for individuals, couples, families, groups from this new location.

Book an appointment online at https://aspirecounselling.net – whether you want to meet face to face, or via confidential video link from somewhere you feel comfortable, we have a service that can help listen when you need to express how you feel.

It happens to all of us. We can sometimes get so caught up with whats happening that we struggle to see a way forward.

When we are so concerned by what has happened in the past or could happen in the future we can find ourselves struggling to know what is best to do right now today. Situations that would normally be so easy to deal with can become overwhelming.

At times like these, we clearly would benefit from a little extra help. Help that can listen, and give us the perspective we need, enabling us to move forward.

Asking for help is the sign of a courageous and smart person. Despite all the misconceptions and stigma it really has absolutely nothing to do with weakness or shame.

That’s where counselling and psychotherapy with Aspire Counselling comes in. Our highly trained counsellor can listen and hear you from an independent perspective. This can happen in person, or using online video counselling if that is what you prefer or if you are located overseas.

We can help you find the clarity of vision that you need to see what you should be doing next. Our training and experience will help you to learn the tools and mechanisms that will work for you. We can help you find a way forward for yourself. Whether it is a bump in the road or a longer term challenge that you are facing.

Our personal clients include both expatriates and locals; men, women, children, families, and couples. We help people overcome relationship and life challenges, change related issues, relocation, and career choices are all within our scope.

Book an appointment online at https://aspirecounselling.net – whether you want to meet face to face, or via confidential video link from somewhere you feel comfortable, we have a service that can help listen when you need to express how you feel.

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.

Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd

9 Taman Serasi #02-17
Singapore 257720

tel:        8748 2964
fax:       6570 2751

email:  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net