5 Delightfully Therapeutic TED talks


These 5 delightfully therapeutic TED Talks are perfect when your head is a cacophony of critical chatter or your brain barrages you with blasts of self-blame. Take time, less than 18 minutes, to listen to a voice other than your own which is, after all, just telling you a story that you’ve probably heard many times before.

All these speakers know how hard it is to be human and yet still inspire us to be better. Clients tell me these talks make you feel that you’re ok, even if you’re not perfect.  TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a not for profit organisation spreading ideas in the form of powerful talks. Before you start listening,  scroll to the bottom of the post for some therapeutic listening tips.

1. The Power of Vulnerability

Let’s start with Brene Brown. Her first talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one I’ve listened to many times and encourage most clients to listen to.  If you’ve ever thought your vulnerability was a weakness then this talk is for you.  Its funny, poignant and uplifting.

2. Listening to Shame

Brene Brown is so inspiring she’s got two on the list.  Listening to Shame is for anyone who bows their head and thinks “I’m not good enough”.  Again, Brene is funny, engaging and delightfully confronting.

3. The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage

Psychologist Susan David explores the power of the so-called negative emotions.  Try this talk if you’ve ever believed you shouldn’t feel the way you feel or if you try to avoid negative emotions.

3. Your body language may shape who you are

Need a boost to your confidence?  Amy Cuddy challenges us to change our posture to change our confidence.

5.  Ze Frank – Are you human?

And because we all need to laugh, take Ze Frank’s test: Am I a human being?

Therapeutic Listening Tips.

Don’t let the words just drift aimlessly over your head.  Engage with the speaker, as if they were talking directly to you.  Here are some questions you could ask yourself, maybe you could even take some notes.

  • If I was raving to a friend about this talk, what would be the three most important points to share?
  • What new ideas does the speaker give me?
  • What one action can I take today after listening to this talk?
  • How did I feel while listening to this talk?
  • Is there something I didn’t understand? Who could I discuss the ideas with?
  • What do I disagree with the speaker about? Who can I talk to about this?

Which was your favourite talk? I’d also love to know what talks you’d add to the list, and they don’t just have to be TED talks.  Let me know in the comments below, or on Facebook.  

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Creating calm and safety

Image may contain: living room, table and indoorA warm welcome, a cup of tea, a comfy place to sit, beautiful surroundings, gentle music and the waft of fragrant oils.  We hope our clients experience a sense of calm and safety as they enter our counselling space at Little Window – Counselling, Psychology and Wellness. The house, with frosted glass windows, provides complete privacy and scatters a soft light through the rooms. A sanctuary and an inward-looking space. Ideal for reflection.

Created with intent

Image may contain: living room, table and indoorThe directors of Little Window, psychologists Thania and Christina, created this space with intent. They lovingly chose and positioned every item for the rooms and behind their artful decoration lies neuroscience. Their intention is to provide a calm and safe space, which helps interrupt the fight, flight or freeze response clients often experience. These responses begin in the amygdala, the area of the brain that processes memory, interprets emotion, and often drives impetuous decisions.  At Little Window our clients have an immediate experience of a soothing environment which helps calm their amygdala.

You would hope most counselling spaces are designed like this but I can assure you they’re not.  For a comparison, look at one of my first posts Honoring the Psychologist’s Chair.  My clients and I sat for seven years in a cell-like room on those dirty grey chairs. While I believe I still offered good therapy and together we did good work, Little Window enables me to do better.  Each day I am grateful to have found these people and this space to work in.

Creating calm and safety for yourself

Woman drinking teaThe space around us can be a reflection of our internal world and vice versa.  If we create calm and order in our external world it may help calm our internal world.

Do you have a favourite chair, a soft jumper or a throw to snuggle in? Does a pet sit at your feet? Can your eyes rest on the beauty of nature and art? Does soothing music, good conversation or the laughter of children fill your ears? Do you allow yourself the pleasure of savoring good food? Do you mindfully light fragrant candles or stop to smell the roses?

I hope its possible to create a small space in your world that’s serene?  Where is that for you?  What have you included in your calm and safe space?

Today I come to you as the Reflective Psychologist.

I always love to read your comments and thoughts in response to my posts.  You can do that below or on the Facebook page.

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Victims voices
and stories
often silenced.

A parent abuses a child, yet that same parent is also responsible for feeding and sheltering the child. Fear of retribution deftly silences the child.  No adults are seen as safe.

Condemnation and punishment await an unruly and antisocial boy, who has no words to describe his chaotic emotional world or the abuse he is experiencing. Opportunities for disclosure are lost.

A teenage girl internalises her shame, silenced by the myth of the perfect family. No one would believe what happens in her family. The self-inflicted slashes on her thighs scream her pain, but no one hears.

The young woman sexually assaulted at work doesn’t complain. She believes she’ll lose her job. Her workmates don’t understand why she no longer joins them for Friday night drinks. They mistake her withdrawal for snobbiness and stop inviting her. The #MeToo campaign hasn’t changed her world yet.

A separated parent, hearing that the Family Law Court sometimes view a complaint of child abuse against the other parent as vexatious, remains silent. They long to see their child.

A victim of institutional abuse does not have the education, power, money, or skills to fight a monolithic organisation. Those with power and money use delaying tactics to maintain silence, perhaps like Lucky Cardinal Pell.

We seal our lips

A psychologist writing the biography of a Forgotten Australian is advised by pillars of society not to publish. Although hopeful we are only silenced temporarily,  I dread that it will be forever.  I swear and rant against this suppression, yet they assure me silence is in the best interests of the victim.

My friend. who I will now call Ms Fogotten Australian, is both despondent and infuriated. Once again her voice is silenced…….. Oh and we can’t tell you why, so please don’t ask.

Are you silenced?  Let me know how, either in the comments below or on the Notforgotten facebook page.

Follow me on this furiously frustrating journey by registering your email address or liking the Notforgotten.tv facebook page, not just the post. Sharing this post on social media is like sending me a hug… Thank you.

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Estranged mothers and adult children

woman sadIt’s Mother’s Day tomorrow in Australia. A day when many families come together to rejoice in the loving bond between mothers and children. A day to celebrate the blood, sweat and tears that ooze out of mothers while raising children. But for some families, it’s a day of heartbreak. There will be no bunches of flowers or boxes of chocolates. Adult children and parents can become lost to each other. That’s tough.

Those that choose to break the relationship with their parent or child, often see it as a move of self-preservation. For some reason, the family dynamics have gone awry and the person, unable to stand the emotional turmoil, chooses to leave. A broken attachment can feel calmer and safer Continue reading

The Seduction of KPI’s

How easily seduced are you?

I guess the answer depends on who or what is doing the seducing.

Let’s put this into context. I’m talking about the age old problem of becoming seduced by the task, at the expense of the end game, or the bigger picture.

"KPI" Tag Cloud Globe (key performance indicator data targets)The quality, or absence of key performance indicators can do that to you. We all deserve to know where we are heading, how our success will be measured, and what role we play in getting there.

I for one want to know (or at least be reminded) that I’m on the right track and focussing my effort on the things that matter, so having a quantifiable and regular measure to keep me on task is welcomed. This could be a self-imposed measure, one Continue reading

Women’s Work is Never Done

TableRecently we went to the launch of Be Enterprise, an innovative social enterprise program of Logan Women’s Health and Wellbeing Centre. The evening combined the launch of the program with a healthy amount of fund raising. The invitation to attend had been extended to me by Liz Irvine, Chair of the Board, and since I’d had a role in her being on the board in the first place it was an offer I really couldn’t refuse.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a women focused event and it was great to step outside my normal routine. I felt recharged after the night as I listened to women with conviction and passion speak about the work they do to make a difference to women’s lives.

Shannon Fentiman MP – Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Member for Waterford reminded us that the gender pay gap is still alive and well, with woman being paid, on average, 17% less than men. I thought of a recent conversation Continue reading

What have you left behind?

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’ve got to show for the years you’ve invested into your career? I’m not talking about your pay check, but the other tangible and intangible results or outcomes that you can hang your hat on and say with pride…..I did that.


I guess that’s exactly what I’ve done over the past week whilst packing my office and readying myself to leave the Queensland Government. I’ve been there eleven years, and it’s the longest period I’ve spent with Continue reading

The times they are a changing

Sometimes, the easiest thing to do, is to do nothing. Maintaining the status quo is comfortable. Many years ago, I remember asking Anne, “What’s wrong with easy?”  I still like that question by the way.

take_a_chanceChange is difficult, change is confronting, and change is risky. Change takes you out of your comfort zone, so why would you want to go there if you didn’t have to? If life and work is treating you well, providing the rewards and personal satisfaction you desire, then there is no need for change. You just need to nurture the things you have and embrace them.

P1140500 (2)After returning from our six month adventure, there was no status quo. There was no normal. There could have been though, if we let it happen. It would have been very easy to step back on to the treadmill of work and life as we knew it, and that’s what we did……..well at least initially Continue reading

Losing my comfort in the vortex of change

P1140494 (2)I’ve been back at work for five weeks now and feel as if I’m stuck in the spin cycle of the washing machine. The organisation I work for quadrupled its size in the last two months after winning a government contract. There are lots of new offices with minimalist fit outs in new locations, new staff, not enough staff and IT systems that just can’t keep up with the new demands.

The story of my laptop illustrates the chaos and frustration I have experienced since I’ve been back.  On day one I asked for a laptop to be issued back to me. I need this to do my work as I was told there was no computer for me at the offices I was assigned to.  Apparently this was quite an outrageous request in this new world of work. Continue reading

8 or so weeks on the run…

No sniping ....... yet
No sniping ……. yet

I am enjoying the wonderful absence of urgency and stress. We have had two weeks at home after the trip to New Zealand and there is plenty of time to do anything that needs to be done, but nothing seems particularly important.  I love lazy mornings with slow starts, problem is my lazy mornings can easily run into the afternoon.

Make new friends but keep the old

One is silver and the other gold

This old refrain keeps echoing through my mind. These eight weeks have been full of precious new and old friends and family. The intensity of the delight in reconnecting with people has surprised me.

We have had many conversations with friends about how much you need to work at our stage of life.  Could work look differently than it does now? Longer leave periods? Part time? Less stressful jobs? Can you retire too young? How much money do you really need to retire? How do you have Continue reading