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Felix & Sage Psychology Blog

The Things People Do…

Observations of a psychologist: the things people do

Elizabeth, Helen and Don: Ode to Authenticity

Information vs Connection: In a world of AI, ChatGPT, google and social media

New Year’s Resolutions

While we can’t guarantee you’ll be able to transform your life within the first few weeks of January 2024, we can offer some suggestions that might help you get some clarity about what you want and how to achieve it

“But I Don’t Feel Like It!”

Motivation. Drive. Get-up-and-do-it. Action. “Go”. All are synonyms for the thing that pushes us from passive inertia into actively doing something. This “something” that people often postpone or avoid usually entails some form of effort. Which often leads to procrastination… and then more procrastination

Getting back on the horse

I often hear the following remarks from clients, especially after something bad has befallen them:

  • “When I am ready, I will have that difficult conversation.”
  • “When I have gotten better, I will start doing things that I enjoy again.”
  • “When I have fully healed, I will go back to work again.”
  • “When I am stronger,

How can a person ever tell?

I recently received a most wonderful gift in the mail from my oldest childhood friend in South Africa: the outstanding novel Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. The story has its base in fact (William Shakespeare’s early life, his marriage and his three children) but is also highly fictionalised, especially around the death of his only son (Hamnet) and the subsequent writing of the famous play Hamlet.

The Room

Come in, and have a seat…

All therapy happens somewhere! I have worked as a therapist in a variety of settings: first in various public teaching hospitals in Cape Town, then a year in a little barebones clinic on a military outpost in the middle of nowhere (where I painted the walls of my office yellow within my first week of arriving there).

What is diet culture and how is it harmful?

The term diet culture has a lot of buzz around it of late, but many still ask what it is and why should we be aware of it? It can be tricky to spot because most diet culture is sadly considered the social norm.

What is diet culture?

Diet culture doesn’t simply equate to “being on a diet”,

On Pushing, Pulling, Patting and Partnering

As a psychologist, I often find myself in the tricky space of balancing two therapeutic modes of being with a client: empathic holding on the one end, and challenging the client on the other end. As per classic Rogerian theory, I certainly subscribe to the idea that unconditional positive regard, warmth and empathy form the bottom line of any good therapeutic experience.

Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables: Is there a superior?

Many Australians believe that fresh vegetables are better for you than frozen, but is this really the case? The truth is, science has shown there is very little difference in nutritional value between fresh and frozen vegetables. (1) This is great news and here’s why:

Frozen Vegetable Benefits:

Less food waste:

Food waste equates to a $20 billion economy loss in Australia each year,

The 50 Minute Hour

How many minutes are there in an hour? 60, right? Well, in the psychological parallel universe, there is an actual expression “the 50 minute hour”. What this means in practice is that a session usually starts on the hour (say, 10am) and finishes more or less 51-55 minutes later (say, 10.53am)… hence the “50 minute hour”!

What is Mindful Eating and why is it important?

Mindfulness is a word often thrown around a lot today. It’s a practice based on Zen Buddhism which is based on having a clear understanding of being in the present moment, calmly and without judgement. Therefore, mindful eating encourages awareness of our eating experiences. It’s about bringing your attention to the present moment when eating,

The Golden Goal of Therapy (always, at all times)

Now that is quite a strong statement, isn’t it!? Especially coming from someone who actively avoids broad brush strokes when giving opinions, and who is generally more comfortable with grey than with black and white! I am however very happy to throw my weight behind the following statement, or my “golden goal” for therapy:

  Therapy – i.e.

Recipe: Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is a known and loved household meal. It’s quick, easy, delicious and kid-friendly. That’s why I’m giving you all this tasty spag bol recipe, packed full of hidden veggies, but also providing some nutrition education below the recipe to tell you exactly why certain ingredients are so good for you!

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion,

Two Faces, a Staff and a Key

I have always found Greek and Roman mythology fascinating. Oh, the adventures the gods were having! Their unbridled humanness was shining through at every turn they took, and their passions, failures, strife, and plights were beautiful mirrors of how life was – and still is! – for mere earthlings.    

In Roman mythology, the lesser-known god Janus has two faces: one looking to the front like a normal face,

How Can I Support Good Mental Health Through Food?

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health conditions across the world today, and evidence tells us there is a strong relationship between a healthy diet and mental wellbeing (1, 2). Five years ago, research found that over 1 billion people were affected by mental health disorders, this equates to 7% of the world’s entire population (3).

I Have a Dream

Of course, after I have so proudly announced in my previous blog that I never have any sleep issues, good old insomnia ironically came knocking at my door for a few nights in a row! Tossing and turning, overthinking, annoyance at myself for not sleeping, stressing about lack of rest, and tiredness the following day… the whole package.

Stepping into the Land of Nod… or Not

Body. Mind. Where does one begin and one end?

In my office I see this every day: people who feel in their bodies that something is not well with their psyche. This is extremely common in anxiety and depression, the “common colds” seen daily in psychological practice. Hearts racing, stomachs churning, shortness of breath and sometimes even vomiting and diarrhea are typical of anxiety and panic disorders,

“The Land of Tears is so mysterious”

From Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince

I have always adored this quote. It comes from one of my favourite books, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The story, first published in French in 1946, tells the fable of a man whose plane got wrecked in the desert,

Decision Making: Aussie Traffic Rules

In my previous blog I elaborated on tricky roundabouts and how to exit them. Both the real ones in Croydon and Mooroolbark, as well as the mental knots we often tie ourselves up in. Staying with the traffic theme, I’d like to talk about another wonder in the world of Aussie traffic: the U-turn. I actually find this pretty phenomenal!

Exiting the Roundabout: Part 2

In my previous blog I have described some of the ways we can get stuck in eternal roundabouts of things we feel, think and do. Anxiety feeds avoidance – and in turn avoidance feeds anxiety. Feeling low, sad and unmotivated feeds a flat attitude of “I can’t be bothered to do much” – which of course,

Exiting the Roundabout: Part 1

When I moved to Melbourne’s outer east and was still getting a feel of the lay of the land, I once found myself in the vicinity of Wicklow Avenue, close to the Croydon bus depot and train station. Completely unprepared, I encountered this:

Confusion! Mayhem! Two roundabouts in one! So…. I went round (as in fully round) Roundabout 1,

On Fences and Gates: Managing Boundaries in the Therapeutic Relationship

Shortly after moving into our house some time ago, we had some fence troubles. The tired wooden fence between our house and the neighbours’ showed distinct signs of sloping over to our end, at some points hanging dangerously low. Hence the joint neighbourly decision was made to have it fixed. Which in essence meant taking away the broken bit and getting a new fence installed.

The Last Session

Having written about a first session before, it makes sense to fast forward to a musing on the last session. (Many of the future writings will focus on the bit in between!) A last session is, in many respects, quite the opposite from a first session. It is an ending rather than a beginning, the client and therapist have come to know each other,

Diagnosis – a tricky, sticky affair

When I was at university many moons ago, the classes for the subject Psychopathology were always jam-packed with curious students. After all, who would not be intrigued by OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), DID (dissociative identity disorder), various phobias, schizophrenia, psychosis and the like? This is the stuff movies are made of, right? And on some level the Psych Pathology course did not disappoint – it was truly fascinating.

The First Session – Pleased to meet you!

First psychotherapy sessions. How I love them!

I love the energy, getting a feeling of each other,the fact that there is not much preparation to be done, and little expectation for anything to be “fixed” in a first session. Maybe I love first sessions because I suffer from incurable curiosity! When I look at my diary and I see a new name there,

The Other Chair: An introduction to the musings of a psychotherapist

These questions often loom large in the minds of clients. Especially when they are new to the therapy process, this can be quite anxiety-provoking. Going to a first therapy session – taking a leap into the unknown (and into the office of a complete stranger!) – is therefore one of the bravest things anyone can do.

ANZAC Day 2020 – A Different Type of Day

I must be honest, when I was asked to write something for Felix & Sage Psychology about the way ANZAC Day 2020 will be harder and different for many Australians, I felt at a bit of a loss. As a South African and a newcomer to Australia, having arrived in Melbourne less than 2 years ago,

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