plentiful life counselling

Counselling for individuals, families and children on Queensland's Sunshine Coast

Life skills series workshops

The aim of this series is to provide a safe, supportive environment for participants to work and grow.

These workshops are a blend of psychoeducation, discussion, art, reflective exercises, interactive exercises, symbols and other expressive therapies. Participant can involve themselves as much or as little as they feel comfortable. These is no pressure for participants to share information about themselves.

Workshop series
 

Who am I?

So often, disruptions or difficulties in our relationship with one or both parents have a negative impact on how we develop our sense of who we are –

Our Real Self

In developing our real self, we need to learn how to experience deeply a wide range of pleasant and unpleasant emotions. We need to do that in a safe environment with an adult to help us regulate our feelings. If we don’t get that support then we don’t learn how to soothe ourselves and when to reach out to another person to help us. In fact we are likely to not seek help when we need it but isolate ourselves instead.

Another aspect of developing our real self is learning that we are entitled to certain things such as being able to experience mastering a skill, achieving something or pleasure and joy.

We need to develop the ability to be able to identify our own unique individuality, our wishes, dreams and goals and to be able to be assertive in expressing them without anyone else’s help.

We need to develop the capacity to know we are worthy because we cannot depend on others to maintain and build up our self-esteem. We need to develop the capacity to soothe ourselves. We need to be able to make commitments and stick to them despite any difficulties and setbacks we encounter.

Our real self is able to be creative, especially in making changes to old ways of living that are familiar and comfortable and replace them with new, initially scare, but more successful ways of living.

We need to develop the capacity for intimacy. Intimacy requires us to be able to enter into a close and open relationship with another without being overwhelmed with feelings of being abandoned or overwhelmed. We also need to be able to be alone without feeling we have been abandoned.

We need to develop a sense of self that is continuous and be able to recognise our real self persists over time and circumstances.

Our real self means we are able to reflectively function, which means we can imagine and recognise other people have separate minds and think separately. In reflective functioning we have the capacity to understand our own thoughts, feelings, behaviour and intentions as well as those of others. We understand our feelings affect our behaviour which affects other’s feelings and behaviour and in turn affects our feelings and behaviour. We can focus on our thoughts, feelings and behaviour and acknowledge them. We can track the choices in our life and events that lead us to feel more vulnerable and likely to want to defend ourselves but we can learn to be okay with that vulnerability and hold back these defending behaviours.

The workshops start with an exploration of who we see ourselves as, our self-image. “I know who I Am”.

Self Acceptance

Once we have a picture of who we are we need to learn to accept ourselves, both the parts we approve of and those we don’t approve of. This is different to self esteem, where we judge ourselves positively or negatively.

How we accept ourselves accepts how we relate to others because it affects how we behave towards others.

Self Compassion is an important aspect of Self Acceptance. As is acknowledging our feelings and accepting them without criticism. Being self compassionate allows us to understand our feelings without judgement and find a way to choose to act rather than reacting defensively.

This workshop looks at how to learn self acceptance, to use solitude and contact with others to resolve uncomfortable feelings. It also looks at how to self soothe, as so many people never learnt this skill in childhood.

Values and Beliefs

We have values and beliefs that form that basis of our beliefs about ourselves and about others. Often we do not even know what our values and beliefs are. We have ideas about what we think we should do, but they are often learned from significant people in our childhood. This workshop explores what you really believe and helps you to accept these beliefs unconditionally.

Boundaries

Learning where “I” ends and “You” starts is an important learning task in childhood. It is a difficult learning task and few of us reach adulthood with the ability to set good boundaries.

Boundaries are about respect for self and others. About knowing when to step back, not interfere, and let our friends, partners and children, ask for help if they need it. It is also about knowing it is okay to say no to others and that you have the right to have your decision respected. It is about what you allow others to do to you and when what they are doing is not something you have to accept.

In this workshop participants learn what a healthy boundary is and to respect themselves enough to set it and take responsibility for the decision they make regarding their boundaries.

Assertiveness

Assertiveness is an important part of boundary setting. It is a style of communication and includes an attitude of respect for self and others. It is also about accepting responsibility for your own decisions and behaviour. Assertiveness is a skill that can be learned and is a vital part of healthy relationships. It is about feeling free to express feelings, thoughts and desires with respect and being able to say no to others without needing to explain.

This workshop explores the different communication styles and how to approach people with different communication styles as well as how to use an assertive communication style.

This workshop is paired closely with the following workshop, Communication and Negotiation.

Communication and Negotiation

The workshop builds on the assertiveness skills of the previous workshop and teaches participants how to handle potential conflicts and the basics of negotiating with other people including the skill of conflict mapping.

Managing Stress

This workshop discusses what stress is and its impact on the body and mind. Participants have an opportunity to explore the stresses in their lives and how that affects them and others. This is followed with teaching strategies for managing stress.

Resilience

Resilience is the ability to keep living despite difficulties. Sometimes difficulties in life can leave people feeling they are not coping. Often unrealistic ideas of what coping is can lead to the perception of not coping. In this workshop we explore the myths and reality of resilience. We explore the benefits of resilience and reflect on our personal levels of resilience. There is then an exploration of ways to develop resilience.

Self Esteem

Healthy Self Esteem is not about being the best, it is about knowing you are a worthy person. Being able to acknowledge you are not going to be best at everything but you are still a worthy person. It is about knowing your flaws and being okay to be less than perfect. It is about using self compassion.

So often people think healthy self esteem is about being best and never failing and will parent their children from that perspective. For this type of parent their child is always right, never wrong and always a winner. Research has shown that children, in interacting with their peers, gain a realistic sense of their competency and an always right attitude from parents can create a child who feels great pressure to succeed and is terrified of failure. Children in this situation do not get an opportunity to learn how to deal with failure and disappointment. They do not learn it is okay to not be best at everything. Other children are heavily criticised by perfectionist parents and they also miss the opportunity to learn how to deal with failure. The flip side of the unrealistically praised child is narcissism and difficulty working with and relating to others.

Many adults struggle to feel good about themselves. This workshop seeks to demonstrate the true meaning of healthy self esteem. It builds on the previous workshop on resilience, which covered skills that form a basis for healthy self esteem. Participants to this workshop explore that they think about themselves. This is also an exploration of the impact of low self esteem in people’s lives. The workshop then focuses on how to build healthy self esteem.

Who Am I

This workshop is a revisit of the subject of self image covered at the start of the series. It is designed to allow participants to reflect on how their concept of self has grown throughout the series. For those who missed the first workshop, it is a useful exploration of self.