Brave Therapy is a blog site created by Andrea Szasz, a Psychotherapist and Counsellor living and practicing in Sydney, Australia.
As a mental health professional I am very committed to reduce stigma around mental health issues. There is still so much that we can improve systematically and in our personal life.
What will you do?
On the Labour Day weekend just gone, I attended the 30th anniversary conference of ANZAP, the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy.
While there was a strong sense of celebration at our collective achievements, and we were encouraged at the continuing success of the Conversational Model of Psychotherapy, we were also keenly aware that our work to heal suffering and trauma in the community has a long way to go. It is always an honour to sit together with hundreds of creative practitioners whose life work is to heal trauma, and this gathering was no exception.
One of the presenters was the Honorable Justice Peter McClellan, Chair of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
He shared with us that the Royal Commission conducted 7,641 private sessions with survivors. The legislative change that allowed survivors to give evidence in private sessions, and the 57 public hearings conducted so far has given survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) a voice that was previously unheard. Research and suggestions for policy changes by the Commission are completed. 50 reports are completed, and the Commission is hoping that researchers will further build on this work. Justice McClellan highlighted that the Commission learned about victims of child sexual abuse who, having held their lives together for decades could fall apart when an unexpected life event brought up their trauma and they disintegrated.
Justice Peter McClellan also shared that:
“An important development now available in some jurisdictions to assist the court to receive effective evidence from a child is the use of intermediaries. Intermediaries can be used to assist vulnerable witnesses at both the investigative stage, and in preparation for a trial. The intermediary is generally a professional with expertise in the communication difficulties that have been identified with respect to the witness. They conduct an assessment of the communication skills of the witness and recommend to police, and later to the court, the appropriate communication style for that witness.”
The Royal Commission also found that survivors need ongoing care for the rest of their lives. It assessed the current level of training in treatment and care of survivors of CSA as good enough, but far from perfect. Survivors reported some bad experiences with poorly educated therapists, counsellors and other support people.
Justice McClellan spoke against short term treatment of trauma, and stated that the 10 session Medicare Mental Health Care Plan system is outdated. The limitations are not necessarily supportive of CSA survivors, due to their need for long term treatment.
He also warned us that while there have been some achievements and healing as a result of this Royal Commission, we have to be vigilant and not to expect that Institutional abuse will no longer happen. It was also pointed out that most CSA occurs in families, not Institutions. You can read the whole speech, it really is worthwhile and you will get all the information here. Listening to this great man speak reminded me when I heard him few years ago at the start of the Royal Commission’s investigations and hearings. He seemed full of energy then, I had to wonder what effect it had on his life to chair this Commission…
Some practical information:
Nicola Ellis and John Ellis of Ellis Legal Lawyers and Advocates also presented their work with survivors. They are wonderful people, and their work really touched me. You can read about the model they have developed here .This wholehearted duo shared with us their finding about how more often than not, survivors are not interested in the money, but instead look for creative ways to feel heard and acknowledged. They provided a good example of this phenomenon: Lina’s project Newcastle area. Nicola and Ellis also shared that they have recently experienced a positive change in how police personnel respond to survivors of CSA when they are reporting.
While it feels like there have been some hopeful movements towards healing for some survivors, there is a long way to go. Protecting our children is a responsibility that we all share!
If you have been affected in anyway by the Royal Commission please refer to the resources above and find support.
You are not alone.
Master of Science in Medicine (Psychotherapy)
Psychotherapist. Supervisor. Group Facilitator.
SE® Practitioner, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator
PACFA Clinical. EMDRAA, ANZAP
*Mindfulness vs. Over identification. Allows us to “be” with painful feelings as they are. Avoids extremes of suppressing o running away with painful feelings.
Self- compassion linked to wellbeing (Zessin, Dickhauser & Garbadee, 2015) Reductions in negative mindstates: Anxiety, depression, stress, rumination, thought suppression, perfectionism, shame. Increases in positive mind-states: Life satisfaction, happiness, connectedness, self-confidence, optimism, curiosity, gratitude. Self-compassion leads to well-being by holding negative thoughts and emotions loving, connected, presence.
Kristin and Brené calls mindfulness: courageous presence. You can’t have self compassion without mindfulness or courageous presence. So developing a practice around that would be very important.
There are many great and affordable resources out there and, I also run workshops where we learn some techniques and practices in a group setting.
Hello Dear Brave Friends,
I wanted to tell you about a yearlong, online program that has been changing thousands of lives—The Foundations of Well-Being.
In this guided, step-by-step program, Rick Hanson, Ph. D. shows you how to use the science of positive neuroplasticity to turn ordinary experiences into powerful inner strengths, including kindness toward yourself, insight into others, grit, gratitude, and self-worth.
Rick is a Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and invited speaker at Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford universities. He’s also the New York Times bestselling author of Buddha’s Brain, Hardwiring Happiness, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture, a neuropsychologist, meditation teacher, and very down-to-earth, practical, and warm-hearted guy.
In the Foundations program, Rick uses the 12 Pillars of Well-Being to teach you practical, effective ways to see more of the good in your life, and grow greater calm, contentment, and confidence from the inside out.
It’s thorough, it’s deep, and it works—with insightful talks, guided practices, revealing quizzes, monthly live-streamed events with Rick, creative activities, and inspiring guest experts like Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, and Gretchen Rubin. You also get vibrant community forums, the science behind the program, special interest areas (e.g., children, addiction) – and a money-back guarantee.
With the early-bird special that is available now through December 5th, you can save over $180 when you choose the single-payment option.
Also, psychotherapists, social workers, and nurses can receive 24 continuing education credits from PESI for just an additional $50.
You really can change you brain for the better, and in the Foundations of Well-Being program, it’s straight-forward, fascinating, and fun.
Start feeling less stressed or worried, become more mindful and grateful, free yourself from past painful experiences, and experience more pleasure and joy in daily life.
The word “resolution” is rooted in a beautiful idea that’s nearly 700 years old: in Latin, it means the process of reducing things into simpler forms.
Mmmhmm. We’ve gotten lost on the way to New Year’s resolutions, didn’t we?
There’s a much better way to create the year you want. No baggage, less striving. More freedom. Instead of relentlessly pushing yourself to achieve goals, you do work that feels clean and nourishing from a Soul level. And you can do it in a supportive community while cheering each other on.
When we drift from the fiery clarity of our core desires, we wade in the muck of trying to be good enough. It doesn’t work.
A soul-connected resolution isn’t about trying to create a new-and-improved version of ourselves. It’s about loosening our grip. Letting go of what has ceased to serve our fullness.
When we’re uncompromisingly clear on how we desire to feel—the unnecessary stuff gets stripped away and the path to making stuff happen opens up.
You register between November 9th and January 1st. The moment you sign up, you get:
6 brand new audios from Danielle that walk you through The Desire Map process in a distilled format. Whether you’re new to Desire Mapping or have done the process before, this is the perfect ritual to begin your New Year.
Look at classic Desire Map exercises in a new way—plus get access to new exercises customized for you as you walk (run, leap, dance) into a New Year.
Planning your month should be a joyful habit—and when your desires are driving your choices, planning becomes more engaged, in tune, and exciting. So every month, you will receive a new Goals with Soul workbook to keep you on track with your monthly goals and intentions by helping you reflect on the previous month, and prepare you for the month ahead
When you set goals based on your desires—not the 21st-Century version of bettering yourself—things shift. Radically.
Yes. The awesome thing about Desire Mapping is that it’s new every time, because you’re new every time you sit down to meet your desires. And Desire Mapping at the start of a New Year is your path to your best year yet.
How long will the process take to complete?
We’ve intentionally structured Desire Map for the New Year as a super concentrated course that you can move through in a day. It’s meant to be something that you dive deep into and power through so you can start designing your year as quickly as possible.
Can I do this process with a friend?
Absolutely! It all depends on how you learn best and how you process best. If you’re the kind of soul that needs a lot of quiet and solitude to work out your thoughts, that’s great. If you’re the kind of soul who loves company and processes via conversation, then go for it. Whatever lets you be your most honest, most self-loving you—that’s the way to go.
Desire Map for the New Year is already an awesome value at just $25. But if you decide to dive in with a friend, gift it for only $10 more.
I just bought this program and sitting in my garden working through the first 3 chapters.
Take the first step towards healing now and contact me to book an appointment.