June 28, 2011

Mindfulness as a Practice

Mindfulness meditation is a way of paying attention to your life, on purpose, in the present moment in a non attached way. By observing, non judging or analysing thoughts and feelings, allowing them to ‘come’ and ‘go’ as they come and go. Mindfulness is an intentional way of ‘being’ in life. The present moment is emphasised – the past is in the past and the only influence we can have over the future is to live fully and consciously in the ‘now’.

Being mindful allows us to be aware of important feelings and other problems that interfere with the daily management of life’s difficulties – this then allows us to make conscious effective decisions about life challenges. The opposite of mindfulness is ‘mindlessness’ where our thoughts and actions can limit our conscious decisions.

Mindfulness Creates Awareness

What happens when we are not being aware?

• Denial
• Repeating negative mistakes
• Feeling powerless
• Feeling anger
• Internal conflict
• Feeling paralysed

What happens when we are aware?

• We can identify problems
• We can take positive steps to help ourselves
• We are not overwhelmed by intense horrible feelings and emotions
• We become aware of negative automatic responses in behaviour and thinking
• We participate fully and consciously in our life
• We are able to focus on one thing at a time

When we are mindful we are letting go of trying to control, avoid or suppress negative thoughts or feelings by observing our experience in a different way.

This way of being takes practice and is different to other forms of mediation whereby you are ‘taking yourself away’ from thoughts and feelings by using relaxation techniques, positive thinking, or visualising something nice.

This way of being is about discovering what is going on in your mind, of becoming aware of your inner thoughts and being able to ‘be’ with them – this awareness helps stop rumination, going over past negative situations and over analysing intrusive thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness takes patience and practice and takes time to develop, it is more a way of being than something you sit and do. Over time you will develop new habits and develop new skills to break free from limiting or unhelpful habits.

Start to practice now:

Start by consciously practicing for 10 minutes each day.

  • Find a comfortable chair and sit in a relaxed and alert posture.
  • Pay attention to your breathing to each breath in and out. This will ground you in the present and allow you to move into a state of consciousness and stillness.
  • Ask yourself ‘what am I experiencing right now” and observe yourself in the present with whatever is happening. Identify any thoughts or feelings you have and stay with them... until they pass. Focus back on your breathing.
There may be other sensations you experience besides thoughts or feelings – you may be aware of bodily sensations...allow them, don’t analyse and wait for them to pass.
If painful or negative emotions or feeling occur... just watch them, don’t get caught up in them.. they will pass.
Label feelings and emotions eg. ‘that’s a sad feeling’ that’s an ‘angry thought’ NOT ‘I am sad’, ‘I am angry’.

YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUTHTS AND FEELINGS – THEY ARE JUST THOUTHS AND FEELINGS.. they will pass. Allow them to drift away and they will gradually decrease in intensity and frequency.

With practice you will become the observer and witness to your experience. By embracing the full range of what we experience as human beings including pain in all its various forms, worry, anxiety, impatience, anger, grief, sadness, loneliness, anguish and despair we can lessen the power they have over our lives and move into an enhanced state of awareness.

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness and how it can benefit you please contact our counselling unit for an appointment 02 9542 4029.

Deborah, Counsellor at Enough is Enough

June 16, 2011

Male Victims of Domestic Violence

Why am I letting this happen?
The term domestic violence covers a wide range of unacceptable behaviour within the family and may take many forms. Violence can take the form of emotional or psychological abuse as well as physical assault. Indirect violence (threats, verbal abuse and denigration) may, in certain cases, be as detrimental as actual violence. It has been estimated that in 100 domestic violence cases, 40% of these were against men, 60% against women.
Men who are abused by women often suffer in silence because they are afraid that no one will believe them or take them seriously. In addition to the shame shared by many women victims of domestic violence, men must overcome gender stereotypes. 
Many men are too embarrassed to admit that they are being abused. Traditional gender roles also confuse the matter. A 'real man' is expected to be able to "control" his wife. Aside from the embarrassment over admitting abuse, abused men may feel that they are somehow less of a man for "allowing" themselves to be abused. 
"It hits your self-esteem as a man because you do catch yourself thinking "why am I letting this happen?".
But just like abused women are told when they suffer physical violence, abuse is never the victim's fault. This is no less true just because the victim happens to be male. It's difficult for men to ask for support.

How Domestic Violence Affects Men

The researchers found domestic violence is associated with serious, long-term effects on men's mental health. 
Women are more likely than men to experience more severe physical abuse, "But even nonphysical abuse can do lasting damage."(1) 
Depressive symptoms were nearly three times as common in older men who had experienced abuse than in those who hadn't, with much more severe depression in the men who had been abused physically.

What Makes the Women Turn Violent  Against the Men

Here are just some reasons why a woman turns violent against a man. Same with the above signs, these reasons are also found on men who are violent against women:
  • The woman is an alcoholic. As a result, she is not able to control her impulses and gets easily frustrated. If her partner tries to stop her or tries to reason with her, she might get violent and turn against her partner.
  • The woman has psychological problems. Personality disorders may cause a woman to commit domestic violence against the man.
  • The woman has unrealistic expectations or unrealistic demands. Women who have unrealistic expectations or who give unrealistic demands from their partners or the men get easily frustrated, depressed, anxious or irritable. Such reactions may very well turn them violent. To top it all, these women would refuse to get treatment or to let their men help them. As a result, the cycle continues.

How to Know if You're a Victim of Domestic Violence

The signs that the men are also victims of domestic violence are much, much similar to the signs of domestic violence against women. Here are just some of these signs:
  • The woman calls the man bad names, insults him (publicly or privately) and tries to put him down every chance she has.
  • The woman tries to stop the man from going to work or to public places. She also tries to prevent him from seeing his family members and friends.
  • The woman threatens the man with violence and harm, particularly when she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  •  The woman actually hits or hurts the man by kicking, punching, slapping, shoving or choking him. Or the woman may do the same things to their children or pets.
  • The woman takes advantage of the man sleeping or resting and assaults him when he is in no position to defend himself.
  • The woman threatens to leave the man and to take their children with her if he will attempt to go against her or to fight back.
  • Despite all of above, the woman blames the man for her behaviour!

Tips for the Male Victim of Domestic Violence

Take the violence seriously  

Many men are inclined to find it amusing when the 'little woman' lashes out at them. (In one survey of college students, 20% of men who had been attacked by their girlfriends thought it was funny). Violence that seems harmless at first can escalate.

The first time she hits you, tell her that if there's a second time, it will be the last time she sees you - and act on it.

Don't hit back
 If you're an average sized man and your partner is an average sized woman, you can do major damage with a single blow. You will feel much better about yourself if you don't retaliate in kind. However, physically restraining the batterer is ordinarily not an acceptable alternative.

Don't keep it a secret
 If you cannot easily leave (because of the children, for example) let someone know what is happening. Overcome the embarrassment and call the police. Talk to a counselor, to your doctor, to family members.
Speak out about your experience as a victim of abuse. Perhaps domestic violence would no longer be perceived as merely a woman's issue.

What To Do In Our Community

Many domestic violence services are aimed mostly at helping a female population. University found that when an abused man called the police, the police were more likely to arrest him than to arrest his abusive female partner. This is partly the result of primary aggressor laws, which encourage police to discount who initiated and committed the violence but instead look at other factors that make them likelier to arrest men. 
When the men tried calling domestic-violence hot lines, 64% were told the hot lines helped only women, and more than half were referred to programs for male domestic-violence perpetrators.(2)
Work to ensure that male domestic-violence victims will not lose their children in custody proceedings. Ms Hines (2) fond that the biggest reason male domestic-violence victims hesitate to leave their wives/girlfriends is concern for their children. If they leave, their children are left unprotected in the hands of a violent mother. If they take their children, when they're found, the children will be taken away and given to the mother. Moreover, the men are likely to lose custody of their children in the divorce/custody proceeding in any event.

When safe, the domestic violence system needs to treat violent couples as violent couples, instead of shoehorning them into the "man as perp/woman as victim" model. Counselling services for violent couples are unnecessarily rare.
Please call our Counselling Service for support and counselling on 02 9542 4029 (Sydney office).

(2)    http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/domviol/men.htm

Have you or any of your mates been a victim of domestic violence?
Tell your story to us!


June 7, 2011


Recent research shows that 14% of children in Australia suffer from cyberbullying.
Generally, the internet is a highly valuable tool for people of all ages, for instant research and answers of any kind.
However, the internet has also given a new face to an old problem – bullying. The internet allows people to bully or get revenge, without physical confrontation. This ease of use is one of many reasons why cyber bullying is growing exponentially.
Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that is carried out using technology, especially the internet or mobile phones.

Cyberbullying can include:
Using mobile phones by texting or by using a camera
Sending threatening emails or forwarding nasty emails
Setting up malicious websitesInsulting or excluding someone in chatrooms

Frequency of cyber bullying methods

Cyberbullying is different to bullying that occurs in person because:
• It can take place 24/7 meaning it can be difficult to escape
• It can reach a wider audience
• The written word and/or pictures can be permanent and there for all to see
• It can be more secretive and is less easily detected
• It can be anonymous

Tips For Dealing With Cyberbullying

Be Proactive
Don’t wait until a problem occurs. Prevention is always the best approach. Protect your phone number. Only give it to friends, and keep a note of who you’ve given it to. Consider using caller ID blocking to hide your phone number when you call someone.
Don’t give your personal information to anyone you don’t know (or don’t want to know), including your name. Similarly, don’t leave your name on your voicemail as it confirms to the person doing the bullying that they’ve called the right number.
Have regular discussions with your child about how they might respond to cyberbullying if it occurs.
Don’t Respond
Don’t reply to the bully. Responding gives the bully the ‘kick’ they’re after. But it is essential that you encourage your child to tell you or a teacher or another adult when there is something concerning them. Reassure them they will not be trouble with you if they ever do.
Suggestions for Safe Behaviour
• Keep username and passwords secret. Make passwords and security questions hard for others to guess.
• Don’t tell anyone your name, where you live or other personal details which might help them identify you.
• Only put the friends you know on your contact lists.
• Don’t respond if someone says something that is not appropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable. Leave the site immediately.
• Be careful about what you say online; misunderstandings can occur more easily because there are no non-verbal cues when communication is not face to face.
Use Technology to Protect Your Family
Block and delete the individuals who bully your child online. Save the text, images, or the website that contains the bullying.
Also talk to your mobile phone company to see if they can help. Your phone company may be able to stop certain numbers calling you. They may also be able to provide you with a new phone number. Ask them about your options.
Make sure you keep a record of what has happened - include the date and the time. Keep messages. This information can be used as evidence.
Have a Rest From Technology
Encourage your child to turn their phone or computer off sometimes. This encourages them to lead a balanced life and can give them themselves a break from contact with individuals who harass them.
Try to buffer the impact of the cyber bullying by increasing other positive experiences
• Assist the development of self-esteem and self-confidence by helping the child to develop a broader sense of themselves – highlight their strengths, reassure them that they are loved and valued in the family, encourage and support their interests
• Create opportunities for them to expand their support networks outside of the bullying setting
• Help the child experience a sense of personal power and control in other areas of life such as involving them in some decision-making at home
• Reduce the child’ focus on the bullying by increasing the amount of other enjoyable and fun things in their life.
The Law
The law is on your side. People who bully believe that mobile phones and computers are a means of taunting their target anonymously. They are wrong. It’s a criminal offence to use a mobile phone or computer to intimidate, harass or offend another person. And almost all malicious contacts can now be traced.

At Enough is Enough, we have been discussing the issue of cyber bullying with parents and teachers in the Positive Solutions Bullying Resilience Program.
The issue is exacerbated by the amount of time children are permitted on the internet without supervision. If your child has a tool to get on to wireless internet in their bedroom, such as a computer, game console, Mobile phone etc., they have access to the net 24/7, and all the issues which can come with it.
Children can spend all night watching and responding to internet conversations, worried about comments made. This type of behaviour can destroy a child with low self esteem, exclusion in the real world and sleep deprivation. Parents need to go online, discover all the new portals their children are using ie Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc., how they work, how communication can get out of hand, and how to set limits.
Then, if the internet tool is kept in a common area of the house, the child only has the time to use it in waking hours.
They have to be careful of the content they search, or comments they make, as an adult may walk past. As a condition of the child’s internet use, parents should have all usernames and passwords, not to be given to anyone else, and parents should make their children aware they will regularly check the internet use history, simply by clicking the favourites button on the home page.
Children should be advised never to share their usernames or passwords with anyone else, as their friends at school can change at a whim, then post negative comments on the child’s behalf without the child’s knowledge or permission.
The same goes for images. If an image is taken of your child by camera or phone, it takes less than one minute for that image to be on the internet, not only to everyone in a persons address book, but in cyberspace forever.
Comments and images can have legal repercussions for the person who the image is of, and the person distributing the image – this comes under the Child Sex Offenses ACT.
• Check out Facebook, Twitter, Club Penguin and all other chat sites- learn how to use them
• Know your child’s usernames and passwords
• Tell your child not to share their usernames and passwords with anyone else
• Keep all internet tools in common areas of the house, not in their bedroom
• Advise your children to be aware of their behaviour in any public place, most electrical devices now include a camera
• Advise your children to be very careful of what photos are taken of them
See below for more advise and information sites on how to protect your family, and use the internet for the great research tool it is intended for.
Please click on this button to report abuse or receive help/advice on cyberbullying :

·         Report online child sexual exploitation
Report any inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a child.
·         Report inappropriate content
Report any Internet content which you believe is prohibited or inappropriate.
·         Report spam
Report spam to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
·         Help and advice on cyber-bullying
Assistance on how to deal with cyber-bullying.
Note: This information is for people who live in Australia only.  For advice on reporting these issues from another country, please visit the Virtual Global Taskforce website.


June 6, 2011

Trauma & Fear Associated With Natural Disasters

"The world breaks everyone and afterward some are srong at the broken places". - Ernest Hemingway
In a year where natural disasters seem to be the predominant theme; floods, earthquakes, nuclear plant explosions, tsunamis, we are bombarded with images of despair. We will all connect with and experience the collective fear of each other as human beings, to some extent we all will experience some of the trauma, fear and hopelessness in some way. These events also remind us of our fragility and how suddenly our lives and communities and the world can change.

As individuals these events will have a different meaning depending on past traumatic events experienced, the ensuing reactions can be experienced from mild anxiety to complex trauma – even if we experience these disaster ‘s first hand each experience will have a different meaning and response for each person.

Someone who has experienced traumatic events in childhood, or who has had many traumatic experiences will have a different response than someone who is experiencing trauma for the first time in their adult life.

The results of traumatic events become stored in our psyche and body energetically. When we experience a traumatic event our protective mechanism is usually the fight/flight response which enables us to deal with the fear or danger of the event at the time, what happens as time passes however is that the stored fear becomes anxiety which can surface at any time we feel under threat or are reminded of a traumatic event – these reminders can become ‘triggers’ to recreate the anxiety or trauma of the past. We often have no awareness at the time of the connection of the event and the trigger.

People who experience ongoing or repeated trauma can suffer ‘complex trauma’ which can leave them in a state of constant anxiety, commonly known as ‘generalised anxiety disorder’. The symptoms of anxiety can manifest as ‘panic attacks’, hypervigilence, difficulty sleeping, flashbacks, as well as physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, physical tension, and reduced immune response.
As a collective consciousness it is helpful to be aware of the effect these repeated images and stories of traumatic events and natural disasters can have on each of us. They can trigger stored memories of trauma or loss and grief.

“Nothing is so awful we can’t talk about it with someone” - Protective Behaviour Group
An experienced counsellor can help with understanding about uncomfortable symptoms and emotions and help you develop the inner resources to deal with them. For more information about our counselling service please call our office or email: support@enoughisenough.com.au
Deborah, Counsellor at Enough is Enough
What Lies Beneath?
The old saying "The Tip of the Iceberg" is so true because most of the iceberg is under the surface. We as human beings sometimes only see the "tip" in ourselves and others. This video provides you with the opportunity to explore for yourself: "What lies beneath of MY Iceberg?" and how it can relate to any negative emotions, reactions and responses that you would not like in your life.