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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 To them, we may appear overwhelmed, angry or even withdrawn, or we are not performing the way we used to.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

By now, it is likely that you have heard of online counselling, and may be wondering whether its right for you.

In the past, it was often difficult to get to help for mental health challenges. A lack of information and the stigma of visiting a psychologist would often get in the way.

For an increasing number of people help is becoming easier to find and use. Online video counselling has made finding and talking to a trained mental healthcare professional easier than ever.

Here, we try to answer the questions you might have.

Does online counselling work?

An important factor for you when deciding whether to use online therapy will be whether it works or not.

With advances in technology and training, online video counselling is more effective than ever, especially so when the right tools are used. Counsellors are also now more aware of when and when not to use online tools as part of their work.

Using a high quality and secure video connection a therapist is able provide effective psychological care and counselling in the majority of cases.

Psychotherapists generally report that they can see and hear their client sufficiently well. This is especially true where both parties on the call are used to communicating online. Given the number of us that use Video Conferencing at work, or to “FaceTime” or “Skype” the family, many more of us are getting comfortable with online video each day.

Regulatory standards now usually require a therapist to offer you exactly the same standards and duty of care as would be afforded to you if you visited them in their own clinic. The only thing that changes is that you aren’t physically in their office. Being online should not equate to reduced standards if you use a reputable experienced online therapist.

Speaking more broadly, 65% of those surveyed in America report that their comfort levels with online and video technology are high enough that they would consider an online session for their next appointment with their medical practitioner.

Being able to book, pay and visit your therapist from the comfort of your home, or safe place is an added advantage for many. No more visiting a remote office, appointments squeezed into your working day, or worried that someone might see you. Instead with a few clicks you can browse available appointments, and have your appointment whenever, and from wherever you want. This is especially useful for those that suffer from any form of anxiety, or even those who don’t like making phone calls. Effective and affordable Psychology is now available.

Your Counsellor or Therapist will let you know if online counselling isn’t right for you

Generally online counselling is suitable for mood disorders where something is affecting your levels of happiness or is impacting your ability to achieve goals including sustain relationships and career objectives.

Anxiety, Depression, parenting, eating, sleeping, trauma, anger, relationship problems, family conflicts, self-esteem etc are all typical uses of online counselling.

Not everyone is suited to online video counselling. As with all forms of Psychology, your therapist will help you understand whether online appointments are right for you.

Online video counselling would not for instance be suitable for those affected by serious psychiatric disorders or experiencing thoughts of harming themselves or others. It is also not suitable for use in emergency situations.

What to look for when choosing your online counselling

Select a Counsellor who is experienced at using online counselling. They will know how to ensure your safety and confidentiality at all times. Importantly they will know when not to use online counselling, and how to communicate in a way that gets the very best.

An experienced online counsellor will be mindful that your use of Online Video Counselling should be known only to you and your counsellor, and will use a service that ensures that. Whilst offering great quality, and encrypted video conferencing, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and their equivalents have some weak spots that may leave evidence of your session behind. Better are those companies that use products that are able to achieve HIPAA standards (the regulatory standard covering technology used for medical practice). Example products that can meet this standard are VSEE and ZOOM, although others are available.

Getting ready for your online session

In order to get the best from the session that you have booked with your therapist you should find somewhere suitable for doing your sessions from. Typically this would be:

* A comfortable place
* Somewhere free from distractions
* Somewhere where you can be alone and your needs for confidentiality can be respected

Importantly you should make sure that you are ready for your call prior to your session. Generally this means checking that your device is connected to the internet with a faster enough link, and that you have downloaded any necessary applications or software. If you can FaceTime, Skype or watch Netflix or similar on your device it will almost certainly support your online video counselling or therapy session.

Generally your Therapist will tell you what you need to do in their welcome and appointment confirmation emails to you after you book. They may even send you a questionnaire for completion before your first session. If you have any queries, call their office before the start of your appointment. After all, you don’t want to waste the previous time that you have booked and paid for on getting a connection working.

Choosing Aspire Counselling as your online video Psychotherapy and Counselling partner

Maria Luedeke of Aspire Counselling is a highly qualified counsellor 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.

Importantly Aspire Counselling uses tools that support compliance with regulatory requirements over patient confidentiality in Singapore and the US where the HIPPA requirements are standard. Such standards meet the requirements of most countries and offer you the comfort that your information will be maintained in a secure and confidential manner.

For online booking we use the highly regarded Acuity Scheduling. Payments are taken via PayPal, and online counselling sessions use VSee a specialist video conferencing tool used widely by Doctors.

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

Life was never intended to be an incomplete difficult jigsaw.

Although it sometimes feels just like that. A little extra help can be useful when you are needing to find direction in your life or to put the pieces of a puzzle together.

By talking about what you are experiencing to an experienced Psychotherapist you can often find the clarity you need and find your own way forward. At Aspire Counselling we focus on helping you realise your goals and living an empowered, fulfilled life.

Book an appointment online today at https://aspirecounselling.net or call 656570 2781, email  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net

Aspire Counselling Pte Ltd

9 Taman Serasi #02-17
Singapore 257720

tel:        8748 2964
fax:       6570 2751

email:  marialuedeke@aspirecounselling.net