My First International Conference With PsychReg – Philippines, 2018

My First International Conference With PsychReg – Philippines, 2018

I started my YouTube channel GetPsyched just over a year ago. The object was for me to engage with a wider audience, to take on the role as a voice for psychology students and people just generally interested in psychology.

As I developed my YouTube channel, I also invested in developing my social media accounts.

I put more time into sharing content on Twitter, I started a GetPsyched Facebook page and an Instagram account under my own name.

This was all in an effort to network, to reach more people and to potentially create new opportunities and share ideas and content.

It was tricky at first, being in front of a camera felt very unnatural.

I had no idea about recording or video editing and so learned as much as I could from YouTube videos and articles.

Initially, the engagement was slow. I struggled to gain much traction and saw little development.

However, I had made a commitment and really did not want to fall at the first hurdle. As the months went on I developed my website frasersmithcounsellingpsy.com.

This brought more traffic and engagement to both my written blog and my YouTube channel.

As time progressed I was getting contacted by different organisations that liked my work and wanted me to write some guest blog articles.

PsychReg contacted me a few months into the development of my online content. They were a developing psychology organisation that published research and online material.

I wrote an article on men’s mental health and one on top tips for psychology undergraduates.

A few weeks later, I was invited to be interviewed about men’s mental health on the PsychReg podcast, The Mental Breakdown.

You can check out the video here.

From there, things really took off for me. I was seeing weekly growth and deeper engagement with a larger audience of psychology students and professionals and people just generally interested in psychology.

However, about six months into the development of GetPsyched. PsychReg invited me to speak at their upcoming international conference in the Philippines.

I was blown away. After an incredible amount of work and extra effort, I was gaining enough recognition to be asked as a speaker at a huge conference.

The conference itself with incredible. There were speakers and delegates from all over the world that sought to communicate revolutionary findings in psychology and education, as well as network and experience a new and diverse culture.

The Philippines and New Era University in Quezon City, Manila welcomed us with unapparelled hospitality.

The students and delegates that attended the conference had such an interesting background of experiences and a strong desire to learn more.

Throughout the conference, each speaker had the opportunity to engage with attendees that wanted to learn more about their topics. Seeing such an enthusiasm for psychology and education was amazing to witness.

It made me think more about the responsibility we hold as people that work and study in psychology and education. Our research and our learning outcomes are not only applicable to the country where we work but all over the world too.

We live in an age where we can share ideas, thoughts and findings to massive audiences across the world. As a result, new collaborative approaches to things such as mental health, schooling of young children and human rights can be shared and developed. This conference was an illustration of all of this. It was an opportunity to share amongst new colleagues and witness new ideas unfold.

My presentation was on my recent findings on a widespread literature review of men’s mental health.

I covered concepts such as toxic masculinity, male identity and issues with therapeutic uptake in men.

The opportunity itself was genuinely life-changing. I found myself on the other side of the world with some of the most prominent and inspiring figures in the field of psychology and education.

After being unsure as to whether developing online content in psychology was a good idea, I cannot describe how grateful I am to PsychReg and all others that have supported me in developing GetPsyched.

I suppose this post is not one of new information or insight, or perhaps for some, it is. I hope that this article can be utilised as motivation for anyone considering stepping out into a new domain, or those willing to think outside the box a little.

Taking a step of faith and being consistent with what you develop and the passion you show for what you do will always work! It will always provide you with what you hope for and so much more! There is no downside to working hard, showing extra effort and developing your passion for something you care about. There will only always be positivity, and at times opportunities that you cannot believe have presented themselves.

What Is Positive Thinking And What Can It Do For You?

What Is Positive Thinking And What Can It Do For You?

Positive thinking has been in mainstream headlines and psychology headlines for a number of years now.

It’s something you are probably well familiar with, but what exactly does it mean and what are the true psychological and well-being ramifications of positive thinking?

So, before we start, what exactly is positive thinking?

One of the first issues here is that you might be tempted to think that positive thinking is looking at the world without any negativity, like looking through rose glasses.

It doesn’t.

It means having a positive outlook in spite of everyday challenges and barriers we all face.

The psychologist Martin Seligman gives an explanatory understanding in illustrating what positive thinking is.

He states that positive thinkers are able to absorb the good things that happen and can see negative outcomes as external to them and as temporary and fixable.

On the other hand, negative out lookers blame themselves for circumstances they can’t control.

They fail to give themselves credit.

They view negative events as lasting and expected, and they view challenges as insurmountable.

So, now we know what positive thinking is and isn’t. What then can we do to adopt more positive thinking and what could this do for our well-being?

In recent years, pop psychology books have made positive thinking popular.

However, positive thinking has real empirical research that shows massive health and well-being benefits.

Benefits such as:

  1. Less stress
  2. Longer life span
  3. Increase resistance to infection
  4. Lower depression rates

So why are there all these benefits from positive thinking?

Well, first of all, its clear that positive thinking is linked to other things that improve our health and well-being.

By thinking more positively, we adopt a tougher protection to things like stress and anxiety, we also tend to live healthier lives in general.

All of this positive thinking stuff sounds great then, but how can YOU develop a life with more positive thinking and gain all these incredible benefits?

Tip #1

Well, the first thing you can do is to be aware of your inner monologue. What is your inner monologue saying to you? Is it positive or negative?

By doing this, we can start to understand the source of our positive and negative thinking patterns.

Dependent on the situation and context, your inner monologue might tell you something really detrimental and negative. Knowing what situation this happens in is the first step to developing a more positive outlook.

Tip #2

Understand and evaluate how you think in difficult situations.

For example, for me when things go wrong, I am quick to think that my situation is unfixable and that the situation is inevitably going to get worse.

What is best for me here is to focus on my successes so far, understand that difficulty is part of what I am doing and that I have made it through similar circumstances before.

By being realistic about my circumstances and the situation I face and knowing that I have faced similar situations before, I develop my positive outlook and my positive thinking patterns.

Tip #3

Understand your own blame game

One of the defining features of negative thinkers is that they are quick to blame themselves, regardless of the circumstance.

This doesn’t mean as a positive thinker you need to blame others.

It means that as a positive thinker you need to be realistic with the blame you dish out.

Understanding what you are capable of improving and working on rather than fixating on what you cant control goes a long way to improving your positive thinking capabilities.

Tip #4

Start small.

Studies have shown that people who try to cultivate new habits and try to change big aspects of their lives all at once, fail more often than not.

Focusing on small steps tend to stick better over time.

So how can you utilise this when trying to think more positively?

Well, perhaps you could try some daily reflections on your negative self-talk.

Or you could find one situation a day that you normally would feel negative about and try and have a more positive outlook on.

Fundamentally, positive thinking can have an incredibly profound and positive impact on your daily lives.

There is no doubt that it is difficult, it can be hard to suddenly change from focussing on negativity to thinking more positively.

However, by adopting these top tips and understanding a little more about positive thinking, you will be well on your way to making that change.

Why not check out my YouTube channel GetPsyched where I took a look at positive thinking in a recent video, just click here to see the video.

 

Self-Motivation, What Is It And How Do We Get More Of It?

Self-Motivation, What Is It And How Do We Get More Of It?

Motivation is a strange concept, we can feel motivated to do a number of different things, but often we don’t fully see them through.

Often, we might think we are motivated to complete a task, and yet struggle when things get too difficult or when we fail.

The truth is, there are loads of things they we wish we were doing, but often we don’t undertake them or push forward to achieve them, but why is this?

The first thing we need to consider is a change in our language.

Something we would like to do is vastly different from something we want to do. It is the dichotomy of true desire and passive thought.

If we truly want something, then we are much more likely to go out and get it. So, the first point of call when assessing and developing our self-motivation is to think, is what I am working towards something I really want, or something I would like to do?

If it’s the later, then there’s a bit of an issue.

Perhaps thinking about who you are doing this for, what you might gain from achieving it, or how far you have come already will aid you in developing your ‘would like’ into a ‘want’.

The next thing for you to consider is to question yourself, are you scared to progress forward in your life?

Ron Siegel from Harvard University gives a cognitive neuroscientific perceptive here. He says that we are hard-wired to continuously expect danger in new situations.

That fundamentally means changes, or new circumstances, elicit feelings of anxiety and concern before they elicit feelings of anticipation or excitement.

Therefore, it is likely that the first thing we do will be to highlight the potential for failure, or harm to ourselves when undertaking something new. This can be really difficult when developing a sense of self-motivation.

So how do we combat this?

Well, it might sound simple, but focusing on the positive and the opportunity over the chance of failure is what is key here.

If we highlight the chance of failure instead of seeing the positive possibilities in a new task or venture, then we are much less likely to be motivated to push forward and achieve what we want, especially if and when times get hard.

So, focus on the potential positive opportunity rather than the chance of failure!

Perhaps this can be better highlighted with an example that I’m sure you can appreciate.

I have a friend who smokes and keeps attempting to stop. Time and time again he says, ‘this is my last one’ or ‘I really would like to give this up’ (again we are back to ‘would like to’ and ‘want to’ from earlier).

However, he always returns to smoking, making some lame excuse as to why he hasn’t given up, or he just ignores people altogether when he is pulled up about it.

He lacks self-motivation and can’t seem to stop.

Fundamentally, this is because the focus is with the fear of pain that he might experience in quitting, as opposed to the massive positive impact it could have on his life. He focusses on the difficulty he will experience in trying to quit, rather than the potential health improvements.

The cravings etc. are what the immediate effects would be, the health improvements are much further down the line and require discipline to progress through the negative effects of quitting smoking.

This is fundamentally what he struggles with, and is a perfect example of someone who focusses on the potential for failure, rather than the opportunity for positive success in the long run.

What makes this even more prominent and what makes it even harder for people to become self-motivated is a fixation on immediate reward, rather than long-term and sustainable gain.

Short-term immediate gain over longer sustainable and more profound gain is what stops people from being motivated in the future.

It’s what makes people stick to a job they hate rather than quit, take a pay cut and start a business of their own.

It’s what makes people go to parties rather than study for upcoming exams that will inevitably improve their future.

So, what can we possibly do about this?

My first piece of advice here would be to write out all the potential failures and successes you might experience as a result of doing what you desire.

Then, attempt to fully emotionally engage with them, experience how it would feel to fail and to succeed at what you want to do.

If we use our previous example, try and emotionally engage with the challenges and difficulties of going through cravings when quitting smoking. Then engage with how it would feel to be healthier and fitter as a result.

By experiencing the emotions as in-depth as we can, we, in turn, develop our awareness and expectations of what might happen if we fail and if we succeed.

I’m willing to bet that if you fully engage with this, then the joy of succeeding and getting what you want will be so enticing that you’ll become much more self-motivated to take that leap.

So, after all of this, how do we know if we are self-motivated or not?

Well, all you really have to do is ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Can you do it?
  2. Do you really want it?
  3. Will it work?
  4. Is it worth it?

If you answer yes to all of these above questions, then consider yourself self-motivated…congratulations!!!

Self-motivation is not something we are born with, nor is it something that we just stumble across one day.

It is something we work on.

Don’t be disheartened when you fail or you procrastinate, what matters is that you seek to develop your self-motivation as much as possible on a daily basis.

With this understanding and applying these tips, you’ll be well on your way!

Also, be sure to stay up to date with my YouTube channel GetPsyched as self-motivation and the development of self-motivation is something I’ll look at in the coming weeks. You can subscribe and hit the bell next to the subscribe button to get reminders of when I upload!

What To Expect From A Psychology Doctorate Programme.

What To Expect From A Psychology Doctorate Programme.

Deciding to undertake a massive course like the doctorate in counselling psychology is a huge step.

For me, it was a journey I wasn’t sure I would ever get the opportunity to be a part of at one time. Starting the counselling psychology doctorate meant I had to conduct a graduate diploma in psychology and gain enough experience in the therapeutic and psychological field to be considered for the course.

When I was accepted onto the doctorate in 2016 it was an overwhelming sense of relief, excitement and apprehension. I would experience these to even greater degrees as the course began.

I’ve come to realise a number of things after being on the counselling psychology course for a year and a half, that I think are worth sharing. Firstly, it is a fantastic course. Studying a subject that is your passion is exhilarating at times, I feel like I am a working cog in the course and not just a ‘student’ listening to a ‘teacher’.

Although this, in theory, is true, I feel that because I enjoy learning so much about counselling psychology, I feel fully involved in my learning experience.

Secondly, there are a massive amount of opportunities that present themselves during the course and after graduation. Attending annual conferences, presenting workshops at universities, connecting with larger psychology organisation, and developing networking connection are just some of the fantastic opportunities I have realised come with undertaking the doctorate.

My advice here is that these opportunities really only present themselves to people who go out to find them. The extra work is well worth it though.

Thirdly, success on this course is dependent on a number of things rather than just intelligence. The ability to juggle multiple things at once is something you have to get used to very early on and get better at as the course develops.

Class work, reflective work, assignments, placements, personal therapy, and your own external work are just some of the things going on for me right now. Staying organised and accepting that the juggling act is just part of the course is vital.

At times for me, it feels like working on coursework is something I spend less of my time on than everything else. Placement takes up a large amount of time, as do additional reading and reflective practices. I’ve learned not to be worried about this though and have seen the value in investing time in these exercises.

Reflection and learning from practical work are extremely valuable when it comes to writing assignments and feeling more confident in the therapeutic work you facilitate. One key point I have learned so far is that your ‘intelligence’ might get you on the course, but your resourcefulness and determination will keep you on it.

One of the most challenging aspects of training for me has been juggling it with employment. Making enough money per month whilst studying can be stressful and has become a challenge I have had to accept on a monthly basis. I have been fortunate enough to work part-time as a research assistant and seminar tutor, which has allowed me to earn a living whilst studying. However, financial assistance for the course is something I feel needs improving. Especially when compared to our clinical counterparts. This, of course, is an issue externally to my course, my university and my governing bodies, but it is an issue that I feel needs consideration by those about to start the counselling psychology doctorate.

The course has been a pleasure and a real honour to be a part of. Studying my passion has kept me motivated and focussed on progressing further. I have learned that there are huge opportunities in the field of counselling psychology. I have also learned that whilst continual independent reading is vital, the practical experience that we gain in classes and on placement is invaluable. Practically implementing theory and research into actual therapeutic work is exciting to be a part of.

Interested in learning about the day in the life of a psychology doctoral trainee? Then click here.

Why not stay up to date on my YouTube channel ‘GetPsyched’ too. Youll find weekly videos on topics in psychology and study tricks also. Check out the channel by clicking here.

 

 

The One Thing That Creates Lasting Change.

The One Thing That Creates Lasting Change.

It New Year, so of course people are trying to think about the best ways to improve themselves, how they can lose that holiday weight, how they can increase their salary, how they can be a better partner and an all-around improved version of the person they were last year.

I am passionate about people, I love their interactions, their perceptions, their emotions, their beliefs of the world and of others and how all of this connects together to create a whole worldview.

When it comes to self-development though, this fascinating interaction of emotions, thoughts, behaviours and upbringings create unique perceptions about the world and about the self.

In short, what I am getting at here is that everyone has their own perceptions of how they are going to be better than they were last year, in whatever area it is they want to improve.

Over the next few weeks, self-help book sales will increase, gym memberships will double at least and some may even consider quitting their job and starting something up for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of all of the above, and each has a place at times in our lives, but how do we truly create lasting, deep, positive change in our lives?

About 6 years ago I got into lifting at the gym. I found the process of working out almost therapeutic. Physical activity and weight lifting had always been a part of my life, but I now wanted to focus more on it.

I bought some new gym clothes and joined the gym at my university. I had heard that in order to really put on muscle, I had to eat more. So, this is what I did.

In truth, it ended in me gaining quite a bit of fat as opposed to muscle, at the time I thought I was doing well, I was working out quite a bit and eating as much as I thought I needed.

The reality was that I was doing the opposite, I was heavier, not as healthy as I had been and feeling unhappy with how I was looking.

Until I pointed the finger back at myself in every situation. You see, I was great at being able to point the finger at others and convince myself that I was in the position I was in because of them. “I have the wrong workout programme”, “I go to the wrong gym”, “the government is putting hidden sugar in my milk”.

All of this went on in my head as to why I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to be. It wasn’t until I made my self accountable for everything, and I mean everything, that I started to see change. Now, you might this that this sounds like a massive strain on a person to hold themselves accountable for everything, sometimes people don’t have control over their circumstances.

I completely agree. Take the weight situation for example, people might get ill, or medication that they need to take may cause weight issues. What I would say in circumstances such as these is to hold yourself accountable for the factors you do have control over. You’ll be surprised, when fully honest with yourself, just how much of an impact accountability can have.

When I pointed the finger back at myself and said, “it’s not the gyms fault, or the workout programmes fault, or even the government’s fault, it’s my fault”, I started to see change. I realised I wasn’t reading the labels of my food correctly, I realised that although I was eating more, I wasn’t calculating how much. I held my self accountable in the gym, working harder than I had the previous week and working around injuries and illnesses.

After doing this, I saw real change. I felt happier with myself and with my workout regime. What’s more is that This accountability led me to feel pride that I had pushed myself to achieve what I had. I didn’t rely on self-help schemes or even a personal trainer. I held myself accountable and made the changes that way. It led to consistency in my workouts and fed into other areas of my life, such as my academic studies.

The reason for this post is simple. Over the next few weeks, we will hear a lot of professions, and those that maybe aren’t professionals, talk about how to make your new year’s resolutions last, how to keep them going for a full year rather than just a full week. Holding yourself accountable for the situation you want to change, even when it may be the case that others should be more accountable than you, it’s what will develop lasting change. It will drive you to continual growth a feeds into all other aspects of your life…I off to the gym!

The Combination of Therapy and Technology – Is the Future Already Here?

The Combination of Therapy and Technology – Is the Future Already Here?

The combination of therapy and technology is a topic that I find really interesting and one that I often feel is either overlooked, ridiculed or ignored.

I feel that we are on the verge of seeing some huge technological advances in the way we conduct and facilitate therapeutic services.

The development of online, web chat and telephone counselling in recent years has been met with both massive growth for numerous psychotherapy services and debate between professionals regarding the ethical considerations that come with such advances.

What Already Exists?

The facilitation of web chat and telephone counselling services may not seem like therapy has reached a galaxy far far away. It does however give us an idea of the direction that therapy is heading in, one that is more technologically aware.

The anonymity and ease of access that users may experience in utilising such online services may improve the likelihood of them accessing therapeutic services that will only benefit them in the future. I wonder what you think of the ethical dilemmas of online therapeutic services, contrasted with the potential outreach such services can facilitate.

Recent Research

I recently read a few articles that focussed on the development of technology and how it can benefit those wishing to access therapeutic services. ‘Technology-Enhanced Human Interaction in Psychotherapy’ (Imel, 2017) is a very interesting read, published in The Journal of Counselling Psychology, that focusses on how technology could help with feedback processes for client and counsellor, as well as the potential for what they call a ‘technology –mediated treatment modality’. Fundamentally meaning how technology can play an active role in the facilitation of therapy.

This quote from this article really highlights how Imel (2017) views the potential of technology in therapy:

“Technology is beginning to provide treatment options that do not require these dramatic efforts at the outset—meeting the client closer to where they are.” p390

New Initiatives

Perhaps the timing of this blog post is appropriate as only recently the Scottish Government has announced the development of a computerized cognitive behavioral therapy programme that will be launched nationwide next year.

This is in part due to the initiative by the government to increase the accessibility and development of psychological therapies to treat the developing issue of mental health.

As exciting as it is to see the access and development of psychological therapies increasing, what does this mean for working therapists?

Recent research has stated that computerized or app based therapy services can be as effective as face to face therapeutic treatment with a qualified practitioner.

The Future of Therapy?

Therefore, should we as therapists and trainees be concerned?

In my opinion, we shouldn’t be concerned. I view technological advances in therapy as something therapists can work with instead of compete against. Furthermore, many of the studies that have concluded that app based therapeutic service are as effective as face to face, consider issues such as smoking addiction and self-help initiatives instead of issues such as major depressive disorders. With regards to these issues, face to face therapy has been deemed highly effective.

Developments in app based and technological therapeutic initiatives should be welcomed by us working in therapy. Not only is there a place for such developments, but I believe they can aid our work in psychological therapy and ultimately benefit the client.

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