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Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that occurs when a person is unable to cope with, or adjust to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss, or event. Because people with adjustment disorders often have symptoms of depression, such as tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of interest in work or activities, adjustment disorder is sometimes called “situational depression.” Unlike major depression, however, an adjustment disorder is triggered by an outside stress and generally goes away once the person has adapted to the situation. The type of stress that can trigger adjustment disorder varies depending on the person, but can include:

· Ending of a relationship or marriage.

· Losing or changing job.

· Death of a loved one

· Developing a serious illness (yourself or a loved one).

· Being a victim of a crime.

· Having an accident.

· Undergoing a major life change (such as getting married, having a baby, or retiring from a job).

· Living through a disaster, such as a fire, flood, or hurricane.

A person with adjustment disorder develops emotional and/or behavioral symptoms as a reaction to a stressful event. These symptoms generally begin within three months of the event and rarely last for longer than six months after the event or situation. In an adjustment disorder, the reaction to the stressor is greater than what is typical or expected for the situation or event. In addition, the symptoms may cause problems with a person’s ability to function; for example, the person may be unable to sleep, work, or study.

Symptoms may include:

· Feeling of hopelessness.

· Sadness.

· Frequent crying.

· Anxiety (nervousness).

· Worry.

· Headaches or stomachaches.

· Palpitations (an unpleasant sensation of irregular or forceful beating of the heart).

· Withdrawal or isolation from people and social activities.

· Absence from work or school.

· Dangerous or destructive behavior, such as fighting, reckless driving, and vandalism.

· Changes in appetite, either loss of appetite, or overeating.

· Problems sleeping.

· Feeling tired or without energy.

· Increase in the use of alcohol or other drugs.

Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is the most common treatment for adjustment disorder. Therapy helps the person understand how the stressor has affected his or her life. It also helps the person develop better coping skills. Support groups can also be helpful by allowing the person to discuss his or her concerns and feelings with people who are coping with the same stress. In some cases, medication may be used to help control anxiety symptoms or sleeping problems.


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Some Tips for Creating a Positive Impression

1. Project an impression of openness: The number one key to appearing warm and friendly is projecting an aura of openness. This is usually achieved by using open body language - which basically involves the following:

· Don’t cross your arms; allow them to hang naturally at your sides.

· Similarly, if you’re sitting down, keep your legs stretched out and uncrossed.

· Lean forward to show an interest in the other person.

· Stand up straight; don’t slouch.

· Smile (that helps to put both you and the other person at ease).

2. Pay attention to eye contact: Making good eye contact is essential as well. It indicates you’re happy to be talking to that person, are comfortable and confident, with nothing much to hide. However, if someone won’t meet our eye, it makes them seem a bit more shady (or it can simply send the message that you lack confidence.) Also, try to be natural and don’t stare at the person, as they’ll feel uncomfortable and want to escape.

3. Adjust your signals to the other person’s signals: An astute individual is also aware of, and can read the body language, of other people too. For example, if their non-verbal language seems quite closed and defensive, you may need to back off and give the person space.

4. Engage in Conversation: To create a great impression, you really want the other person to pick up the message that you think they’re wonderful! The best way to do that is to ask them open questions – so you find out all about them, and the things that interest them. For example, what kinds of things are they passionate about? What are their hopes and their dreams for the future? Then respond to their answers with other open questions - to build a fuller picture of what that person’s like.

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How to Start a Conversation When You Have Nothing to Talk About

Starting a conversation to get to know someone or breaking an awkward silence can be very stressful. To start a conversation when you have nothing to talk about, use these guidelines.
1. Introduce yourself if necessary. If you don’t know the person, breaking the ice is very simple: look approachable, tell the new person your name, offer your hand to shake, and smile.
2. Remark on the location or occasion. Look around and see if there is anything worth pointing out. Examples of location or occasion comments include: “This is a gorgeous room!”, or “Great dog!”
3. Ask an open-ended question. Most people love to talk about themselves, and open questions can help with this. These require an explanation for an answer rather than just a simple yes or no. Open questions tend to begin with who, when, what, why, where, and how.
4. Keep the conversation going with small talk. This keeps the conversation light and simple, and helps to establish similarities.
5. Synchronize. Once the other person has started talking, follow his or her cues to keep the conversation going smoothly. Use active listening to reflect what they’re saying and, perhaps, feeling.
6. Helpful techniques and cues to convey your interest include: Say the other person’s name from time to time; give encouraging feedback (by nodding, saying “ah-ha”, “wow’, “oh” “That’s amazing!”, etc.); keep your body language open and welcoming; and make comfortable, genuine eye contact with the person.
7. Be aware of your internal monologue. When you suddenly feel that you’re not able to engage in conversation with someone else, it’s likely that you’re saying negative things to yourself. For example, you may be worrying that you’re boring, not good enough, too unimportant, intruding, wasting their time, and so on. Try to keep in mind that everyone has these self-doubts from time to time.
8. Respond thoughtfully to someone who remains awkward or uncomfortable. If he or she appears withdrawn and uninterested, don’t persist for too long. Try a bit more, and then make the decision to move on and talk to somebody else. Also, be careful not to ask too many questions as they may feel shy discussing themselves.
Source: (Adapted)

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