My story is one of those that listens to others’ stories. That I get to witness to the ups and downs, that I can provide a space for reflection and acceptance for those that choose me. This part of my story began when I decided in Year 11, that I didn’t want my then hobby of drawing to become moulded into a graphic design career (that would mean my pleasurable escapism would need to become my means for earning an income). In that moment, I felt I would not be able to love my art any longer and I decided that I was not passionate enough to pursue an education and then job this highly competitive field. My attention turned then to working with people and psychology looked fascinating. And luckily I was quite naive to how competitive becoming a clinical psychologist would be until after I had gotten into my first psychology degree. And although once I realised this, I had fallen completely in love with this profession and I knew that I wanted it regardless of hard hard it would be to achieve. And I knew I would achieve it, I was totally convinced that despite the competition, all the other excellent students around me, that I would get the grades to get into the highly competitive Honours and then into one of the few coveted places in the Masters of Psychology (Clinical). Having conviction of thought and doing all you can to bring dreams to reality, takes a mental attitude where we won’t accept an alternative reality. And for someone who encourages flexibility of thought and knowing how important it is to have a plan B in case plan A does not work, having determination, conviction and a total focus when it comes to your dreams I’ve learnt is actually really, really important. So focus on what it is you really, really want and don’t accept anything less.Because the story is yours alone to write…..
#contentology #topvalue What are your values? Being family oriented, having emotional and mental health and making a difference are my top values. Thinking about the needs of my family and making sure that I make decisions that keep their needs and the needs of our mental and emotional health at the centre, help to guide many of my decisions. I’ve long held the belief that if we don’t have our mental health, we don’t have much as all. I’ve also always wanted to help others and find great sense of accomplishment from being able to be in service in this way. So understanding these values and then on a practical level what I need to do to live in line with these values becomes a little easier to put into practice and ensure that I make it a priority. What do you value and are you currently able to live in alignment with this currently? If you are unsure of your values, look for times that you have been most happy, most content and most proud of yourself and your values may come to the surface. But if you are unsure what these are, it could be helpful to do an assessment of your life values to see if you can find some suggested words that will help to clarify the values and accurately describes these. Understanding our values is useful because it can illuminate if you are not living in line with your values (which will mean there is some discontent or distress present). And identifying and naming that we are in this space is the first step in moving towards living life in alignment with your values. Kate x
Mind over matter is a simple saying, but is incredibly meaningful. Whilst the definition is about being able to control a physical condition by controlling our mind, this ability to use our mind to control our physical self and other things, can lends itself to so many circumstances. For me it’s about our ability to manage our emotions such as stress and anxiety, it’s the way we can push through pain when we are exercising or push through fatigue when we need to urgently get things done. But on a deeper level, I think about mind over matter as our ability to develop our thinking to shift what actually matters in our life. It’s our ability to choose and develop what we think which then translates into actions. I know that there is so much that we can do if we have the mindset behind it, but often we forget how much we actually need to train our patterns of thinking, so that our actions flow from it more naturally. This is why when we are learning new skills we need to practice the thinking and reasoning behind this, practice the actions and then repeat it until it becomes a habit. Mind over matter in the moment is easy, but making longer term mindset change is a different thing altogether. It is also really important to have supports around you when you are trying to develop a new mindset -because it can be quite easy for new intentions to only last for a short time- and before you know it, old habits have reemerged and your new decisions for change have waned. This is not because mindset is not powerful, it really is, but because everyone needs to be supported, coached and reminded about why the change is so important and this is what helps us to make lasting change.
So think about your mindset and whether it is working for you or against you and whether there are some changes you’d like to make! I’m naturally an optimist, however I still find it incredibly important to be be around other optimists to help my positivity, resilience and abundance beliefs. PS. I have recently developed a brand new online parent coaching group that is for you if you are to be a parent that is new to autism and you want to learn how positivity, mindset, support and can change the trajectory of your journey, please check out Glimmer, the Autism journey. https://katefrench.lpages.co/prism-program-1-glimmer/
It is so interesting that in thinking about what ‘gets your goat’ which means what really, really irritates you has been expressed in this really unusual way.
And although I have used this phrase, I was curious to where it came from…..there are a couple of theories, one is that goats used to be put in with race horses to keep them calm and if there were no goats with them they became unsettled. And theory is that because goats can be irritable, it is connected to them and the third theory is that to ‘goat’ is slang for ‘anger’. Regardless of where it was derived, language can be really interesting as well as challenging to make sense of for many people. Just yesterday I was reading a new book, which detailed all the common ways autism can present in individuals, including have differences in language ability and expression. (The Ice-cream Sunday Guide to Autism by Debby Elley and Tori Houghton, 2020) The differences can range from being non-verbal, having some language delays, having specific language disorders such as dyslexia as well, having exact and/or advanced encyclopaedic language skills, to having difficulties in understanding the social use of language, including being challenged by the many idioms that we use! An idiom is a phrase or expression that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning, so if you tend to think very literally you can see that idioms are going to be a challenge.
If you think literally and in pictures and someone asks you ‘what gets your goat?’ You could be picturing a goat, you could be confused as you don’t own a goat and have no idea why someone would be asking about getting a goat (from where?!)…..
And idioms are used all of the time in our day to day language and these too can cause confusion if taken literally. Ones like: “Hang on a minute”, “In a tick”, “Feeling blue”, “Seeing red” “I’ve run out of steam”, and a ‘Different kettle of fish’ are just some of the ones that are more commonly used in every day conversations that could be quite confusing for some people.
So I’m always working on being more aware of the idioms I use and making sure I check in to speak without using idioms (so say exactly what I mean) and teach them the idiom if they are unfamiliar.
So check out your use of idioms in your family, have fun exploring what kind of pictures come into the minds of the children and teens your know and be sure to take some time to explore and explain the ones that you commonly- so that there is no confusion!
How awesome is the beginning of something new and fresh like the beginnings of a new month but also the beginnings of Spring! For me, I love the warmth, so the change of Seasons into the warmer months of the year fills me with freshness and optimism and joy. It also means we are a few steps closer to hopefully having our current social restrictions being eased slightly (fingers crossed). Having a new slate or a new beginning is like getting to the first page of a new book you can’t wait to read, or a new Netflix/Stan/Disney series season you’ve been hanging out to watch. There is anticipation and excitement as well as nervousness that it won’t be as good as you hope it will be. However not everyone sees a clean slate as a good thing, or are even able to see new beginnings easily. For many, change, transitions and new beginnings can bring up new things we need to navigate-even with something as seemingly simple as a new Season. But I know that a new Season brings the possibility of getting used to new clothes (as bodies grow and the weather warms), new routines- as changes the in the daylight begin to impact bedtime routine and sleep, and in our situation, new changes to schooling routine as we hope to transition back to school (in Term 3), just to mention a few. It’s a common experience that navigating change and beginnings is not always easy, which is why it is really important that we have support at these times. However, if you are keen to embrace this new Season, can visualise that we have the opportunity for a clean slate and are open to growth and optimism, then you might be ready to join me in my new parent coaching program that begins next week! This is best suited for families that are newer to being involved in the autism ‘world’ and would like to view their future with hope, feelings of support and a plan. If you think this describes you, please feel free to learn more. https://katefrench.lpages.co/prism-program-1-glimmer/ Wishing you a wonderful first day of Spring! Kate
I’m someone who naturally looks on the bright side of things, a trait that most of the time can be very good, as I tend not to get depressed or deflated easily (or for too long). The only time that I find this tendency to look on the bright side is a drawback is when I’m listening to my children (mainly), I want to head into problem solving mode too quickly! When I do this, I’m aware that this can be felt as very dismissive and probably heading into the area of ‘toxic positivity’! So I’m very aware of this tendency and to combat it I try to sit with the distress, anger, complaints etc as they come and just accept all the emotions (STEP 1 OF BEING A GOOD EMOTION COACH!), without trying to change these feelings into anything else. And while I don’t always succeed, I know when I do this, my children find their own way to a brighter side on their own. Being on the bright side also has great meaning for the work that I do, especially as the partnership between myself and Danielle has been coined Bright Side Learning and Therapy as it’s a joining of both our businesses (Bright Futures Mildura and Side by Side Psychology). Speaking of which, I think I should also let you know that we have a great line up of groups commencing in September and October 2020! In the September school holidays-we have two Minecraft themed social emotional groups beginning on the 28th September which run for the week, which suit children ranging from Prep all the way through to Grade 6. Then in Term 2 on the 12th October, we are running for the first time, the Westmead Feelings Program, an autism specific program for children aged 6-8 years. And in addition to this, I also have my own online parent coaching group GLIMMER, the Autism Journey beginning next week on the 7th September. And in here we will talk about how to support your children and some ways to develop positivity and how to learn about emotion coaching further. https://katefrench.lpages.co/prism-program-1-glimmer/ Reach out if you, or anyone you know might be interested in these programs, to find out more about how to apply, or to be involved! Wishing you an amazing last day of WINTER and I look forward to welcoming SPRING with you tomorrow!
A name that I was given by a few friends in high school was ‘Saunderhead’ or ‘Saunders’ (maiden surname). Only a few call me by these, but especially now, it’s fun to be called names that were made with fondness, by friends that I still know and love, from many, many years before.
Do you have a nickname that you are no longer called or has a nickname from childhood stuck? Would you be game to share it here?!
#contentology #somethingIknowforsure Something I know for sure is that when we do the work, when we make the change, we will get the positive payoff. I have certainty in the strategy’s and skills that I teach my clients and families and know for sure that if we practice them regularly in between sessions, that you will get the progress that you are after. I also know for sure that if you expect that ONLY getting knowledge will not transform you and your skills, it will not create change at the same rate, in fact that change will be quite slow.
Implementation is the key to making change.
I also know for sure that optimism is an antidote to stress, anxiety and depression. And I know for sure that learning skills to develop an optimistic outlook on life is possible even for those that tend to experience anxiety more easily. I know for sure that if you develop optimism there is little that you will not be able to manage. So take the steps to reflect on your tendency to experience the world-do you look at all that can go wrong, or can you see any challenge as an opportunity? If you need ideas on how you might be able to develop this, feel free to join my Positive Psychology for Autism Facebook group, as we share all things relating to developing an optimistic outlook.
I also have a Friday Live each Friday afternoon where I share my thoughts on child psychology and positive psychology if you’d like to join me.
GLIMER the Autism Journey is an online parent coaching group and begins 7th September 2020
Gary Chapman has written a number of books including The 5 Love Languages, indicating he believes that humans have different ways of expressing and receiving love from our partners and those we care about. He’s gone on to write about these love languages and how they can be utilised with our children and family members, not just our romantic partner. He indicated that for each of us, we can feel more ‘loved’ when it is ‘spoken’ to us in the manner that we value the most.
The 5 kinds he described are: Words of Affirmation-when people use words and praise, you feel valued Acts of Service-when people do things for you, you feel valued and loved Receiving Gifts-when people buy things for you, you feel loved and valued Quality Time-when people spend time with you, you feel valued Physical Touch-and when you experience touch from another, you feel loved and valued. However looking at these closer, it is clear that while we may have a preference along these at different time, the purpose behind understanding this is so that we begin to learn to understand our partner or children’s language better, so we can become better at understanding them and adjusting our behaviour so that our actions are aligned and in tune with them (not so that we find a partner or expect others to necessarily learn our ‘language’.) While these love languages seem to have a simple solution for ‘matching’ with others, it is really just the beginning of understanding relationship styles and does not predict that a match in this regard will produce more positive or long-lasting relationship satisfaction. On the other hand John and Julie Gottman have been researching relationships for decades and their model is about having layers of relationships, with the foundation is built of developing a ‘love map’ of your partner and their internal world. After this foundation is laid then the further layers can be built upon. And core indicators of success in a relationship will be around the habits for bidding for attention and how conflict is managed. (The Gottman Institute is also responsible for the research around emotion coaching parenting style and how we develop more emotionally resilient children!) So no matter what our preferences for expressions of care (and in fact quality time is something that all successful relationships require), the point is how to we learn about and respond to the needs of those around us, rather than expecting that it will occur the other way around.
Being spontaneous is definitely not in my nature, in fact it’s something that I’m actually trying harder to do, to inject more fun and more lightness into my mental attitude and into my children’s life. So on the weekend I suggested going to a new place for a walk, which initially was met with some apprehension and questions, it was a really welcomed change, that led to some lovely family time together. I think that naturally I like to have a plan, even though I’m fairly happy to go with the flow if I like and trust other’s plans.
In my daily work, though I know for many of my clients that sticking to a plan is a pivotal part of managing anxiety. For many of us that don’t have sensory systems that are easily overwhelmed or have trouble predicting the nature of social situation, new and unexpected tings can be lots of fund and exhilarating, but for many on the autism spectrum this triggers the fight or flight reflex, which is definitely not fun. So think about you, think about your children and whether spontaneity has a place in your life and whether it’s something that you could create more of, or whether it’s something you need to reduce for the needs of your children.