Sunday, August 28, 2011

... anti-bullying campaign philippines ... (life coach, counseling, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)


. Why do school kids and teenagers bully?

There are many reasons why school kids and teenagers bully. Some bully in an attempt to hide or mask their feelings of inferiority. To compensate for their low self-esteem, they act arrogantly and try to dominate and demean those who they perceive are weaker than them. Others bully because they themselves have been victims of bullying by classmates or maltreatment by their parents. Bullies also need to be evaluated as to whether they have a narcissistic or sociopathic personality disorder.

. When should the bullied child report this to the school principal?

It is important for victims of bullying to seek protection and support from adults. These adults include the principal, teachers, guidance counsellors, security guards, school personnel, parents of other classmates, even including the maintenance staff. All adults in school have to be vigilant and play an active role in preventing bullying from occurring inside the campus.

. Should a child fight back or go to the principal's office to report the incident?

Children should not be advised to fight back because they can get harmed in the process. Bullies usually have friends who also have a hostile predisposition, so they may gang up on the victim and maul him. There is also a risk that the bully may be carrying some weapon which could inflict serious or even lethal injury on the victim.

. Are there children more prone to bullying than others? Why or why not?

Bullies usually pick on those kids who they perceive are weaker than them. Kids at risk are those who are smaller, more quiet, passive, submissive, and fearful. Apparently, kids with these characteristics are most likely not going to retaliate against their aggressor.

. What should the parent of the bully or the bullied child do?

Parents of the bullied child should first of all talk, empathize with, and console their child. Out of fear, they may keep mum about the bullying which they experience. The bullied child will need encouragement to be more at ease in sharing his ordeal. Parents should discuss the matter with the teachers, guidance counsellor, and principal and come up with strategies and solutions. If the child is traumatized and suffering from anxiety, depression, or other symptoms, consultations with a psychologist or psychiatrist may be helpful.

Parents of bullies need to assess whether their child’s bullying behaviours stem from family problems, marital problems, or an unhealthy parent-child relationship. If these exist, then a counsellor or psychologist should be consulted. With the psychologist’s help, a behavioural modification program consisting of rewards and penalties should be designed and implemented.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

... GREAT (Growth and Recovery Enhancement for Anxious Thinkers): support group in the philippines for people with social anxiety/ phobia ...

GREAT: Growth and Recovery Enhancement for Anxious Thinkers

A group of brave souls who go out of their comfort zones in support of one another to break free from social anxiety and depression in the quest for a joyful and meaningful life.

Our Vision: A joyful and meaningful life

Our Mission: To support one another in order grow, evolve, and be empowered to break free from social anxiety and depression

Our GREAT Goals:

G - ood social interaction
R - ecovery from depression
E - nhancement of life’s growth
A - nxiety-free positive thoughts
T - ime-tested support for one another

Membership in this group is free but an essential requirement is that the member should willingly attend and actively participate in the group therapy sessions facilitated by a competent psychotherapist/life coach.

The group schedules therapy sessions at most twice a month, and each member attending gives donation for maintenance costs to our facilitator, the amount depending on the number of attendees and his capacity to contribute financially.

Activities for each session vary but mainly the group applies Gestalt therapy which is about the "here and now" experiential learning. Gestalt therapy emphasizes the importance of personal growth by working on one's unfinished business, and by being responsible for one's thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions. One's thoughts will be validated with what the group is actually thinking. The members are also challenged to do or experience the thing they fear. The group may also have healing sessions at times, like the facilitator may administer psychiatric acupuncture and may be teaching the group emotional freedom techniques (EFT) and how to perform reiki healing.

In between sessions, the group members continue to connect and support each other through the GREAT group page.


E-mail address:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

... Gestalt Therapy growth group activity: chopping up a snake and reviving a skeleton back to life ... (life coach, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

medical students from u.p. manila dropped by for a growth group activity experience. shown here with me are ralph mendoza, april lapuz, jean mendoza, and bryan mesina.
the activity entitled "chopping up a snake" revealed how intimate relationships can surface our insecurities and fears, make us feel vulnerable, and result in trust issues.

the activity entitled "reviving a skeleton back to life" revealed how past situations still get resurrected when they should really be buried for good.

i hope that ralph, april, jean, and bryan gained insights that can guide them well in their journey through life.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

... adjusting to new school ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, philippines)

Adjusting to new school

What are the sources of stress for the child and the parent when the kid transfers to a new school?

Human beings are creatures of comfort. So when transitions and changes come along, it is only natural to get stressed. This applies to children as well as adults.

When children transfer to a new school, there is always a fear of the unknown. Since a new school is unfamiliar territory, the child wonders whether the teachers are strict, whether the subjects are difficult, and whether he can blend in with new classmates.

Another stress new transferees have is in getting separated from friends and classmates from the previous school. There may be some sort of separation anxiety, loneliness, and a sense of alienation in the first days of being in a new school.

Also, if the reason for the transfer is a conduct problem from the previous school, the child wonders whether people in the new school will ever find out.

As for the parents, their anxieties primarily center around whether their child will adjust smoothly and integrate well in the new school- its system, its teachers, and the new classmates their child will have.

What should the parent do? Should he stay in school for the first few days to help the child adjust? If so, for how long? . What should the parent tell the child and his teacher?

Months before it actually happens, the parents must prepare the child for the transfer. Parents can open up the topic with the child and discuss the reasons why the transfer must be done. The parents can also give the child options for which school he could transfer, thus empowering the child to make his or her choice. Visits can be done to prospective schools so that the child gets a feel of its environment. Lastly, a generous dose of encouragement and emotional support should be given to the child before, during, and after the transition takes place.

If needed, and if school policies allow, parents of young anxious children can accompany them for a few days just so that the child does not feel alone, lonely, or lost. Slowly, the parent weans away as the child develops friendships among his or her classmates.

Both parents and teachers can strategize on how to get the child integrated in the new school. For instance, other children can be assigned to befriend and accompany their new classmate. Also, the child can asked to join enjoyable activities which build confidence and promote friendships.

Around how long will it take a child to adjust to his new school?

Every child is different in the way he or she adjusts to transitions. Some will have no difficulties in adjusting, while others will take months to feel comfortable in the new environment. To be on the safe side, it is best to monitor the child for symptoms of anxiety and depression. This may manifest as changes in motivation, mood, behaviour, and health.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

... abs-cbn interview on the top 3 relationship problems of couples ... (life coach, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, philippines)

Just by virtue of being imperfect humans, people are going to experience conflict in their relationships.

Of course, in the beginning of a relationship, partners are usually madly in love with each other. In this phase called “infatuation,” love is indeed blind and partners are oblivious to each other’s flaws and faults. However, as the passion of the relationship fades, reality sets in and that’s when the differences become more apparent.

As a counselor and psychologist, clients consult me for all sorts of relationship problems. The most common of these problems would be constant quarrelling, lack of intimacy, and infidelity. These 3 problems are undoubtedly interrelated but can also exist independently. Let’s discuss each of these problems in greater detail.

Constant quarrelling between partners is a combination of many factors: unrealistic expectations and demands, impatience, lack of cooperation, and poor conflict resolution skills. Obviously, partners with high or unrealistic expectations are just setting themselves up for disappointment and frustration. Those who are demanding simply get impatient waiting for their partners to comply. No amount of nagging, cajoling, and arguing is going to work on a person who doesn’t want to cooperate or to change.

One rule of thumb is this: If you’ve told your partner 3 times to do something, and it still hasn’t been done, then it’s most likely against his or her will to do it. It would be wise for the demanding partner to lower or modify his or her expectations rather than to force the issue.

Constant quarrelling is also aggravated by poor conflict resolution skills. Partners have to learn how to fight fairly. That means, keeping heads cool and avoiding emotional outbursts. It’s always good to solve problems rationally, pro-actively, and strategically because emotions simply cloud the problem-solving process. Thus, if you feel the anger rising, it’s best for both of you to get a 20 minute cool-down break before resuming your discussion.

Lack of intimacy is another common relational problem. With this problem, I am referring not only to sexual intimacy or physical affection but also to emotional connection. This can happen because the intensity of passion naturally subsides as the relationship gets “older.” Moreover, as disappointment, frustrations, and resentments build over the years, there is a natural tendency to create emotional space between each other. The one who gets most affected is the partner who is more emotionally needy. The other partner gets affected when the needy partner starts demanding that his or her emotional needs be met.

The lesson here is to resolve relationship problems rather than sweep them under the rug. Otherwise the problem just festers and becomes a breeding ground for more problems.

The third common problem in relationships is infidelity. This used to predominantly be a male phenomenon but these days, more and more women are presenting the problem. Again, there are many reasons for partners to be unfaithful. Sometimes, it simply is a manifestation of lust. After all, we are still part of the animal world and lust serves us the biological purpose of procreation so that our species survives and proliferates.

Infidelity could also be a substitute for getting one’s sexual and emotional needs met when the partner is unwilling or deficient. Furthermore, infidelity could be used as a form of retaliation, or to end a failing relationship.

Infidelity is best prevented by sticking to a vow of faithfulness and by a commitment to flee from temptation. This vow and commitment should be made once the relationship is formalized. Partners have to realize and constantly remember that a formal relationship curtails one's freedom to fool around and to play around.

Despite the occurrence of these problems, the good news for couples is that there is always hope and help available. If couples are unable to resolve their problems, then it is important to get relationship counselling. A neutral, objective, and empathic mediator can help couples to get over the hump of their relationship crisis. Through relationship counselling, couples work at resolving their differences with the goal of working towards a harmonious, loving, and respectful relationship.

Monday, August 1, 2011

... sex education: affirming a child's sexuality ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist)

Moms is a Christian Magazine published by the Asia Pacific Media Ministries. Here's an article from their latest magazine:

Affirming a Child's Normal Sexuality
by Jeanne Ching

How can parents affirm healthy sexual orientation in their children? The following interview with Dr. Randy Dellosa, a psychologist and psychiatrist and former professor at Asian Theological Seminary gives some answers to this complex question.

How can parents affirm a child’s normal sexuality?

It’s affirmed by giving them gender appropriate toys, complimenting them as they develop masculine or feminine traits, giving them responsibilities appropriate for their gender; and, living by example. Be their model.

What behaviors should parents or guardians watch for?

Parents should be aware of their own values with regards to sexual matters because, whatever they believe, the children will believe. They should monitor their child’s exposure to sexual information and sensual materials. Parents should have frequent dialogues with their children so that their attitude will be directed.

Parents should make sure the computer is placed in a common area so they can monitor what the children view. They should carefully look at the games and cartoons their children enjoy. Games and cartoons may have materials which are sexual in nature. Parents should read what their children are reading.

Parents should help their children develop balanced lives. Teens have the tendency to focus on sexuality when they’re idle. But when parents help them develop different interests, then sexuality becomes just a particular aspect of their lives, and things are placed in perspective.

What are some things to avoid?

Avoid exposing children to sensual materials. Sensual means it has connotation of passion and sexual behavior. In case there is exposure, it should be properly explained and guidance is needed.

Can peers influence one’s sexuality? How can parents help their children choose friends?

‘Yes. Parents may try to screen their friends and introduce them to people who their children can emulate.

What is the father’s role in the family?

‘The father should affirm the development their sons and daughters. Fathers should compliment their children. When children feel that they do not belong, they look for the sense of belonging outside the family. That’s when the child goes astray.

When should one seek professional help?

  • When a person is confused and distressed about his or her sexuality.

  • When a person experienced sexual trauma or violation in the form of incest or rape.

  • When they have strong urges and do not know how to deal with it.

  • Promiscuous behaviors.

  • If they have questions that they’re too embarrassed to ask family or friends for fear of being judged.

Every parent has their child’s best interest in mind. Since we cannot live lives for our children, our only recourse is to pray for our children, maintain an open line of communication with them, guide them through instilling right values in them and live by example.