psychology Archives - The Indigo Project
  • Brain of Thrones – Episode 1

    GoT nerds, Martha (Indigo Practitioner) & Ash (Content Producer) had a chat about what the latest episode can tell us about our minds, emotions & behaviours.

  • Cheesy inspirational quotes that give us tummy aches

    Cheesy inspirational quotes that give us tummy aches

    The internet loves a cheesy inspirational quote but we’ve found that some of these quotes serve to reinforce outdated or unhelpful mindsets. Check out a few cheesy inspirational quotes that inflamed our psychological sensibilities, and the healthier, dairy-free alternatives we recommend.

    Happy Grilled Cheese Day (and Happy Grilled Cashew Nut Cheese Day for our Vegan friends). Now before we start off on the wrong foot – we bloody love us an inspirational quote here at Indigo (I mean, have you seen our Insta feed?)

    However, the Internet does run rampant with them and it’s come to our attention that some of these “inspirational” quotes aren’t just cheesy, but serve to reinforce outdated or unhelpful mindsets. When these mindsets are replicated and perpetuated, they become normalized, and can easily endorse unhelpful thoughts & behaviours – thoughts & behaviours that might be restricting us from being the best version of ourselves or build up unreasonable expectations.

    So we’ve decided to serve up some cheesy inspirational quotes that have inflamed our psychological sensibilities, and recommended some healthier, dairy-free alternatives.

    This is vague and unhelpful and just plain confusing (“dream tomorrow” what does that even mean?) The notion that we have to blindly “cherish” our past can hinder us from learning and growing from it. Daydreaming of tomorrow, and over what we wish our life was like, reinforces a mindset of lack. While dreams are important, they don’t help unless they inspire real action that can help bring those dreams to life.

    When proposing a way to look at the past, future and present, we think Maya Angelou said it better when she said…

    “If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However. the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present. Gratefully.”

    Ok, so, this is obviously not going to happen unless your love lasts all of 3 months. It’s a pretty rich promise to make. We can never truly know how love transforms and evolves over the course of our relationships, but we do know that it will transform and evolve. That’s simply the nature of relationships. Glorifying the idea that love will always feel just like it did at the very start is setting us up for disappointment. We prefer this quote, which is a little more real

    “A great relationship doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end.”

    The idea that the quest for happiness should be our one and only life purpose needs to get shut. down. Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes in the downs we learn some of life’s most important lessons. A life of eternal happiness might sound pleasant, but how would we know how to truly appreciate our happy moments if we had nothing to compare them to? This one is still super cheesy, but won’t leave you caught in the happiness trap…

    “Everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.”

    Another popular myth that gets circulated is that we can find peace or healing through another person. While this is a beautiful and romantic notion, it completely ignores the fact that true healing & growth are personal journeys, that must come from within. You should not seek out someone to help put your “broken pieces” back together (unless that person is a qualified surgeon). Instead of putting your faith and recovery on the shoulders of others, take back the power and recognize your own strength. Be in charge of your own therapeutic journey.

    “You are strong enough to face it all, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.”

    Bet you feel like a grilled cheese sandwich now. If you want some legit inspirational quotes that we swear by, be sure to follow us on Instagram. If you’re curious to learn more about therapy & our practitioners, you can find more info here

  • Grief, Loss & After Life

    Grief, Loss & #Afterlife

    Experiencing grief and loss can be one of life’s greatest challenges. There is rarely another experience that effects, consumes and transforms you in quite the same way, and you can never go back to being the same exact person you were before.

    Often film and television tend to shy away from the discomfort and harsh reality of depicting grief on screen. When a character dies in a TV show or movie, often time is accelerated through the grief, so as not to get swaddled with the responsibility of showing it.

    However, Ricky Gervais’ latest series chooses to lean into this discomfort and tell the story of Tony, a small-town newspaper journalist and his struggle with grief and loss following the death of his wife & best friend from Cancer.

     

    Grief is experienced differently by everyone.

    Tony’s grief is expressed largely in the form of anger and apathy – emotions that he thrusts indiscriminately on all those around him.

    “You’re like a troll on Twitter. Just because you’re upset, everyone has to be upset.”

    Grief can often leave you feeling sad, numb, irritable, isolated, relieved, guilty or lonely. It can last for weeks, months, or years – and there is no one way to manage it. Instead of overcoming your grief, experts often say that it’s more likely we grow emotionally to make space for it to exist as part of us.

    How to get through grief.

    Tony uses some not-uncommon though definitely ill-advised methods in an attempt to deal with his devastating loss and consequent feelings of apathy and purposeless.

    “I just want to sleep.”

    One of our psychologists, April, specialises in grief & loss and says “It is important to schedule time to confront your grief and sit with the emotions of your grief on a regular basis (depending on the intensity of our grief, this could range from a couple of times a day to once a week/month). This doesn’t need to be long but it is important to do it in a safe environment where you have time to be emotional, if needed.

    When you sit with your grief, although incredibly challenging, it’s important to take the time to notice what you’re feeling; pay attention to the emotions sitting in your body and let these come to the surface (rather than pushing them down or distracting yourself). Sit with these uncomfortable emotions and validate and soothe this part of you gently, and compassionately. It’s important to spend enough time here for you to realise that although your suffering may feel insurmountable, you can be an emotional holding container for your own pain.

    It can be helpful to pair this with writing to help you process emotional content and attempt to make meaning of your suffering as well as with touch, by placing your hands over your chest and belly to help soothe yourself. Because grief often feels like it controls us, popping up at random and unexpected times, scheduling time to grieve can help us feel more in control of our grief and often has the result of reducing the frequency or intensity of spontaneous/unexpected waves or grief.”

    How to help someone going through grief.

    In #afterlife, the people in Tony’s life try doing all they can to help distract him or alleviate his suffering, but it can be difficult knowing how to help.

    “Open the curtains. Enjoy some sun while you can.”

    Ask your friend or loved one how they’re feeling. Listen to understand and don’t feel the need to proffer advice. Sometimes it’s important to make someone feel heard. Ask how you can help – sometimes little things like running a few errands, giving someone a lift or going for a walk can be a huge help to someone suffering. If you feel their grief is harmfully impacting their life without alleviating, it might be worth helping them seek out a professional to chat to.

    One of the most important things we can do through our grief process, however long that may be, is to be gentle and compassionate with ourselves. Grief changes us and from that moment, we are no longer the same person. Life will never be the same again; however, we learn in time that our transformation through grief also has many positive elements and although it doesn’t feel like it at the time, we are capable of experiencing joy again.” – April, Indigo Psychologist

    #Aboutlife is emotional and poignant. It manages to tap into some real and raw themes that highlight the sometimes sad and painful reality of the human experience, as well as our profound strength, resilience and ability to transform and make new meaning. Also, there is a dog in it.

    You can watch After Life by Ricky Gervais on Netflix. If you or someone you know is having a tough time dealing with grief, we have Psychologists that specialise in helping people through it. Check out a few below or Click + WHAT ARE YOU DEALING WITH and select ‘Grief & Loss’ to see our experts.

    APRIL ASH
    Clinical Psychologist

    MICHAEL MAGEE
    Psychologist

    DAFNA KRONENTAL
    Psychotherapist & Counsellor

  • Six Steps to Smart Self Care

    Six Steps to Smart Self Care

    We’re living in an exciting time where self-care is getting some much needed time in the spotlight. Unfortunately, plenty of brands and companies are co-opting it to help sell expensive skincare products and kombucha (which, I won’t argue, is delicious – change my mind.)

    While self-care is super important, it can get confusing trying to understand what it truly entails beyond the insta-worthy vignettes of peach bubble baths and curated beachside excursions. While some aspects of self-care can be glamorous and indulgent, others can be confronting and uncomfortable. However, they’re all necessary to keep you on a path towards growth and self-improvement.

    Check out our six steps below to find out how you can become a boss at smart self-care (and yes, some of the things you can still do in a hydrating face mask) …

    Step 1. Make time to recharge.

    Ok, let’s start with the Instagram-friendly one. We all live busy and stressful lives, where demands are being hurled at us all day, every day. Whilst we can tell ourselves we run fine on caffeine and anxiety (spoiler: we don’t) it’s important to give our minds and bodies the chance to relax and unwind. That might mean time spent away from a screen, like a walk in nature or reading a good book. A daily meditation practice is also great in giving your mind and body a few minutes to centre and revitalize

    Score a free guided meditation from our head psychologist, Mary, here.

    Step 2: Cultivate healthy relationships.

    Our relationships give our lives pleasure and purpose, but in order for them to flourish, we need to make time for them.  True and meaningful relationships are ones that go beyond the superficial, which sometimes means having to have tough conversations and being vulnerable. It also means being there to support our friends/fam when they aren’t having the best time of it. Working on our communication is key so that we can assertively and compassionately state what we want and need out of our relationships.

    Hate having those hard conversations? Check out our worksheet here which shares 7 Steps to Effective Communication!

    Step 3: Do good stuff for your body.

    As much as we might wish this step involved eating limitless crinkle cut chips and sitting unmoving in front of Netflix for 6+ hours, alas no, it’s that old classic EAT👏HEALTHY 👏EXERCISE 👏SLEEP👏. It’s a damn cliché, but that’s because it works. Your body needs nutrients, movement and sleep to be able to operate at its best. The most helpful advice we can offer here is to try and develop healthy habits around food, fitness and sleep – the more automatic these behaviours become the easier they are to maintain, and the more you’ll recognise the benefits.

    Step 4: Learn how to say “No”.

    Boundaries are important, and we need to get better at not only recognising when things become too much but being brave and assertive enough to say so. We’re not taking care of ourselves when we’re spreading ourselves too thin and taking on more than we can manage. Learn how to get comfortable with confrontation (when necessary) and understand that sometimes saying “no” might piss people off and we can’t always help that.

    If saying “no” gets your anxiety singing loudly into the mic, click here to check out some tools on how to take charge of your anxiety (before it takes charge of you).

    Step 5: Get grateful.

    Gratitude practices are awesome. They give you the chance to appreciate and acknowledge all that you’ve done, all that you have, and all that you are. When we spend a few moments of each day focusing on things we’re grateful for, we recognize how truly rich our lives are, bursting with accomplishments, privileges, learnings and experiences – things that can often get taken for granted. Try to take some time out every day and write down 5 things you’re grateful for – yes, even on shitty days, when it’s even more important.

    Step 6: Fine tune your self talk.

    Do you listen to the way you talk to yourself? All the face-masks and bath bombs in the world won’t help you if the dialogue in your head is still one of judgement and criticism. The best way to take good care of yourself is to check your self-talk – is it kind? is it helpful? is it necessary?  Sometimes it’s easier to analyse your thoughts as if they were spoken out loud & directed at someone you care deeply about. Bet you wouldn’t stand for some of that. So don’t talk to yourself that way unless you want to continue cultivating a poor self-image.

    Getting smart at self-care can be a process. It won’t happen overnight. It’s something we cultivate daily and develop over a lifetime. If you want to put some actionable self-care practices in place and have someone (besides yourself) to hold you accountable, why not book in a session with one of our practitioners?

    If you’re new to therapy and want to check us out before you dive in for a one-on-one, why not join us for a course or workshop? They happen every month and cover a range of different themes, but they’ll all leave you with a greater understanding of your mind, body & soul. Check out what’s coming up here.
  • Have You Found The One? Why Seeing A Therapist Is Like A First Date.

    Thinking about seeing a psychologist? Our founder & head psychologist Mary Hoang explores what you can expect in therapy.

    Preparing to see a psychologist can be like a first date. You never really know what to expect until you rock up, and the lead up to the appointment can be anxiety-inducing to say the least. In preparation you might try to calm your nerves by finding information about your future therapist through their webpage or by doing a Google search. Perhaps your therapist has been recommended to you, so you’ve been building a mental picture of them. In the dating game this is akin to some clever Facebook stalking, or getting some goss off a mutual friend.

    Regardless of how much you do (or don’t) know about your future date/therapist, both situations can be downright scary.

    It’s scary because both situations require vulnerability. You’re expected to share personal information about yourself, and it’s normal to develop your own fears on how people are going to take it, or whether they’ll have the capacity to hold it. Will you be judged? Will you get along? What does the potential for the future hold? Nobody likes feeling vulnerable or exposed, and we humans have a tendency to avoid uncomfortable feelings, so it’s not surprising that people tend to shy away from seeing therapists.

    Nobody ever really wants to see a psychologist. I know this, because I am one.

    When I meet new people in a social setting, people either avoid me, get nervous because they think I can read their innermost thoughts, or are curious about what I know about them.

    Having seen a few psychologists myself, I can tell you firsthand that the experiences have varied from the not-so-helpful to profoundly life-changing. One psychologist I enlisted to help me through a particularly soul-destroying relationship kind of just repeated everything I said, and sessions went nowhere. I had already repeated my story to myself in my head a million times and hearing it outside of me, without any clever leads to something insightful, was frustrating to say the least. If this was a date scenario, having your potential lover repeat what you’ve said back to you, without any engagement in your story, could be a cause for no second date.

    On the flip side, when I was battling issues of self-worth and insecurity, a kind and compassionate therapist led me gently (and sometimes very directly) to the cause of my issues, and I felt –  for the first time –  the feeling of being seen, heard, held and understood. This safe space opened me up to trusting my confidant, and together we examined my fears and found strategies to manage them.

    Trusting your psychologist, or feeling like your therapist is there for you, no matter what, is the foundation of therapy and is otherwise known as the “therapeutic alliance”.

    It’s the feeling that they ‘get you’, like the kind of great first date that makes you swoon and text your mates as soon as it’s over. This alliance is the best predictor of success in therapy, NOT what TYPE of therapy (e.g Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness, ACT Therapy) they use. This has been demonstrated in multiple research studies (1-3). Connection is key. It’s not where you go, or what you do, it’s the sense that your therapist is genuinely interested in you, and shows it.

    Like dating, you can get a sense of whether someone ‘gets you’ within the first or second meeting, If you’re not feeling the connection, it’s unlikely that you’ll see the person again. Similarly, if you’re not feeling it with your therapist, change who you see. For something as personal as therapy, it’s important to feel comfortable. (This is why we introduced our Perfect Match Promise here at Indigo).

    So although you may be talking about uncomfortable topics, you need to feel comfortable with your psychologist. You want to be able to talk freely in sessions and not feel judged or worse, pitied. Seeing a good psychologist means that you feel relieved after you’ve been there, even if you feel a little raw after exposing your vulnerabilities. Psychologists might not have all the answers for you, but you should have a sense that they’re trying to understand you, and that they’ve got your back, and they should imbue a feeling of hope in you.

    At The Indigo Project, I’ve hired therapists based on how ‘real’ they are, and their ability to connect with others, not their University grades or list of accomplishments. Having a therapist who is down-to-earth and ‘real’, is having someone that is authentic, compassionate and non-judgmental and who you know at the end of the day, gives a shit about you. This is what real therapy is, and where real healing can occur. Just like dating, finding someone who really cares, can change your world.

    Mary Hoang
    Founder & Head Psychologist, The Indigo Project

    If you’re keen to start your therapeutic journey, check out our incredible team of psychologists, counsellors and life coaches. With over 18 practitioners, each with their own specialties, find a therapist who gets you, today.

    We can help you get your shit together.

    References:

    1. Safran, J.D., Muran, J.C., and Proskurov, B. (2009) Alliance, negotiation, and rupture resolution, in Handbook of Evidence Based Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (eds R. Levy and S.J. Ablon), Humana Press, New York, pp. 201-5.

    2. Horvath, A.O. and Symonds, B.D. (1991) Relation between working alliance and outcome in psychotherapy: a meta-anaysis, Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38 (2), 139-149.

    3. Martin, D., Garske, J., and Davis, M. (2000) Relation of the therapeutic alliance with other outcome and other variables: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 438-450.