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Archives for October, 2010


Halloween on the Inside…

Out here in Australia, Halloween is an inherited festival that’s only just starting to catch on. And though is still seems a slightly foreign ritual to me, there are also benefits in approaching things like this as an outsider. For sometimes you can see into things a little differently with fresh eyes…

So maybe we can look at this tradition afresh together and find out what else Halloween might offer us (other than the...
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Bowen Family Systems Theory

Black Sheep, Scapegoats and Family Systems Therapy (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this post, in an effort to understand more about how black sheep and scapegoats are created, we looked into some of the theory behind “triangles” in families. We explored how Murray Bowen, the founder of family systems theory, thought that families fall into these key triangular patterns of relating to try to reduce tension. That by focusing on a “problem child” or black sheep or scapegoat,...
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Bowen Family Systems Theory

Black Sheep, Scapegoats and Family Systems Therapy (Part 1)

Do you have a black sheep in your family? Someone who’s considered the odd one out or a bit weird or not quite living up to the family ideal somehow. A misfit. An outsider. Maybe a ‘failure’.

Maybe you’re it…

Black sheep seem a fairly common phenomenon. Many families have one. Someone who the others might fret about or devote a lot of energy discussing when they’re not in earshot. Someone they’re generally...
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The Crush of Infatuation and Other Affairs of the Heart

These two hearts were drawn together on the pavement near where I work; one with cobwebs, one without. They’re just a couple of children’s chalk drawings – yet, they’re also food for thought. And they remind me of another way of understanding the experience of infatuation.

When infatuation or unrequited attraction or a ‘crush’ is awakened within us, how much of that is actually really about the other person occupying our thoughts, and how...
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Tears and Your Internal Weather Patterns

It’s raining today and hundreds of droplets cover the windows of the train I’m in.

If you come in really close and look inside each raindrop on the pane, you can see a whole world captured in there – an upside-down and slightly refracted reflection of the world outside. So by looking into these liquid prisms, you’ll get a condensed, sometimes sharper or brighter vision of what’s going on.

Perhaps it’s the same with tears…

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Learning How to Say ‘NO’

This collage of 'no's was collected on a very short walk around the suburb this morning, so it seems like there’s no shortage of ways to say it.

So why is it so hard sometimes?

For such a little word, it can seem like quite a big one…

Sometimes, in an effort to ‘get along’ or be polite or to smooth things over, we can find ourselves saying yes to all sorts of things we’d rather not...
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Existential Issues

Your Gender: is it ‘All in the Mind’? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this post, we looked at some of the conversations about gender that have played out in the media recently. It seems like a single, over-arching answer about whether gender exists in nature or in nurture might still elude us for now.

But perhaps one place you can get some answers about gender is much closer to home:

In you.

So perhaps it’s worth taking a minute and investigating what gender...
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Your Gender: is it ‘All in the Mind’? (Part 1)

Where do you keep your gender?

(And no, I’m not being euphemistic and lewd here).

But where do you actually house that inner knowledge about what gender you are and what that means to you? What it might mean about you.

It seems there’s lots of science and opinions swirling around this gender stuff at the moment. People weighing-in on the side of either nature or nurture; suggesting that we’re born with our gender or...
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Money Matters: Exploring Your Relationship with Money

Money can be a complex thing.

So often, it’s about a lot more than just itself. Instead, it can roll a whole lot of other exchanges into the deal. It can be highly charged, imbued with meanings and values. (Perhaps especially so soon after the western world faced the recent financial crisis).

So what does money stand for in your life?

Maybe freedom. Or a burden of debt. Or something in between.
Maybe a sense of...
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Therapy and the Art of Getting Well

I caught a bit of a cold recently so I’ve been feeling a little unwell (and not attending to this blog as often as I’d like).

This physical unwellness got me thinking about the nature of emotional ‘unwellness’, too – wondering what the signs and symptoms of that might be for each of us, and how it might impact us all in different ways. (And what kinds of things it might lead us...
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