26 Jul 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Anxiety / Decisional Fatigue / Depression / Fatigue counselling

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Decisional Fatigue and how to solve it

By Sara Taveira

The anxiety of making choices

Today I decided to talk about the paradox of choices. I went to lunch at a restaurant with so many options on the menu; it made me anxious. I share my experience with you, dissected it from a Clinical and Health Psychology perspective to help get to an understanding of how the thought of “the more options we have the better”, is a great fallacy!

The menu offered more than 20 options for main courses and I felt the anxiety running through my body. The sweet anxiety of choice! The first consequence of this was mind-boggling, being confused without being able to read the name of all the dishes. I don’t need to explain how this increased my indecision, right? The truth is that it was really difficult to make a choice, without even realizing it. In fact, when I reflect on what happened, I now realize that my choice, like all of our choices, adds to anxiety on an unconscious level. In particular, here I was thinking about what others would think of my choices and even more, I ended up basing my choice on what I saw others selected.

Finally, I became aware of my anxiety about making choices and wondered if I had chosen the best meal. With so many options, my expectations naturally increased. When the meal finally arrived it was good, but I was disappointed because “I expected more”. Ultimately, I started to think that I made a mistake and felt guilty for not enjoying the meal as much as I could. That, of course, made me even more anxious and frustrated with myself. Do you notice the endless loop? Now let’s translate my experience of eager gastronomic choice to Psychology.

How many choices do we make a day?


We make an average of 35000 choices per day, from deciding whether to take a step left or right, to the more complex professional decisions. The simpler choices come from a fast, automatic, and intuitive system in the brain instead of the complex choices, which arise from a slower, analytical and rational system that therefore expends a lot of brain energy.

The more choices we make in our day-to-day lives, the more tired our brain gets, especially if they are complex. And it is at this point that we feel daily wear and tear and may wonder if we are depressed or just fatigued. Don’t get confused. This lack of mental energy for making too many choices is called “decisional fatigue” which has the consequences of reducing our capacity for self-control, leads to inertia and automatic decisions accepted by the status quo. This explains why I froze and ended up ordering what others ordered.

This phenomenon also explains why we sometimes make so many “mistakes” later in the day. We may decide not to go to the gym because we are tired, we get home, lie on the couch, order fast food and we binge-watch our favourite series. Sound familiar? That is, the more decisions you make during the day, the more difficult it is to make good decisions at night, as your self-control diminishes, your brain becomes tired, just like our muscles after an hour of physical exercise.

How to prevent this decisional fatigue?

Basically, we have to work with these two systems that I explained and automate as many daily decisions as possible to save the most rational system for when it is necessary to avoid impulsive decisions and mistakes.

What do I want you to retain today? Choices imply risks, losses, and changes, and for that reason are unpredictable which undoubtedly goes hand in hand with anxiety. Leaving things to chance is intolerable and that is why we try our best to prevent the risk of this happening. But by stopping chance, we decrease our happiness because we do not allow ourselves the possibility of pleasant surprises. Even more serious, we are stuck with regret and dissatisfaction because it is impossible to arrive at the ideal choice which leads to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and high self-criticism. Another way to increase anxiety. The choice is, then, the hesitation before the decision, which, when increased and diversified, can lead us to mental confusion, to feelings of constant doubt, which diminishes our self-confidence.

A Solution strategy

Why not try to understand your choices as clouds? For example, have you ever heard someone say that cloud format was good or bad? Never, right? So why don’t we also think that choices are just that, choices, possibilities and that they can’t be good or bad? If we take this stance, we cannot make catastrophic mistakes even when it seems that we did it when we chose A or B. The truth is that everything ends up being resolved in one way or another. Think back to a problem that seemed huge and impossible to solve at the time. The likelihood is that now you even smile when remembering how you exaggerated your fears and anxieties. Trust yourself, as there are many roads to the right path.

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26 Jul 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Online clinical supervision / Online practice supervision / Online psychologist supervision / Online psychology supervision

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Online Psychology Supervision

Article by Sara Taveira

Clinical supervision

In theory, clinical supervision is a paramount element to success in future psychologists’ clinical practice. However, if this is not done properly, the opposite may happen and novice therapists can have more difficulties building a caseload and a thriving practice and struggle to do the best job at helping someone in need.

So what’s makes a good supervisor and excellent clinical supervision experience?

The American Psychology Association (APA) mentions seven domains in their guidelines, namely, competence in supervision and diversity of topics discussed, supervisory relationship, professionalism, assessment, evaluation, and feedback plus ethical, legal, and regulatory considerations. Overall, it’s a growing process that is much more than based only on therapy skills, but more on consulting, didactic teaching, and managing cases, administrative topics, etc.

Quality of supervision and the relationship

Out of all these domains, we cannot deny that the quality of the supervision relationship is a key element for the success of the process. This relationship should include trust, safety which are extremely important for the up-and-coming psychologist to feel comfortable being vulnerable and sharing one’s difficulties. From the supervisor’s point of view safety and trust also mean being secure providing consistent, sincere, opportune, and high-quality feedback. One can even say that the clinical supervision relationship should be like Winnicott’s concept of “good enough”. The relational experience between interns and supervisors also involves the ability to listen from both hands. In order for a novice psychologist to develop listening skills they must have a supervisor who knows how to listen very well, creating a safe “holding environment”. It also requires that the supervisor has the skills to tolerate not having all the answers, so he can teach that to the psychologist in training.

What to expect of clinical supervision at Online Therapy

At Online Therapy NZ we do our best to practice with high standards and evidence-based guidelines, including in clinical supervision. So if you are looking for a senior psychologist to travel with you this journey of clinical supervision do not hesitate to contact us to know more details and start this process.

Would you like to receive online psychology supervision? Please complete the form below.

14 Jul 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Awards / Nominations / Online therapist / Online Therapy

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Global Health & Pharma 2020 Nominee

We have good news

Online Therapy is excited to share some news with you. In the past week, we received an email informing us that Online Therapy New Zealand has been selected by Global Health & Pharma as a 2020 nominee for the 5th annual Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Awards, by Global Health & Pharma (GHP).

About GHP

GHP is a global community for communication networks & collaboration and sharing of knowledge in three areas of health: human, animal and environmental.

Where does Online Therapy fit in?

The Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Awards praise companies and individuals who daily transform people’s way of living by improving their physical and mental health, and as a consequence, their wellbeing and enabling those in need of support to experience a fulfilling lifestyle.

Our promise

At Online Therapy New Zealand, every day we assume the responsibility to ensure that those in need of help and seek out for support have the highest quality of mental health care we can provide through our daily practice with online therapy. Thus, we are really happy for this nomination as it definitely is a sign of recognition of our hard work and our daily efforts to increase psychological health worldwide.

Please feel free to share your testimonies about your journey with us.

Testimonials

Tilak: For 10 years I had a troubling recurring dream at least once a week. Finally, I decided to talk to someone about it. Anna helped me to work through my dream. Thankfully it stopped. Thank you very much.

Anonymous: Thank you, Anna, for providing me with this service. Your help has been invaluable.

Do you want to contact us to provide feedback? Feel free to contact us using the form below. Sara and Jim will be glad to provide you with information on the Global Health Pharma nomination or therapy you may require.

12 Jul 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Online therapist / Online Therapy / Online Therapy Clinical Psychologist / Online Therapy Safety

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3 Essentials of finding good online therapy

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels | Article by K. Yusay

Are you thinking of trying online therapy? If you want to avoid wasting your time and find one that actually works well for you, then we can provide you with a few pointers in the right direction. Here are three things to keep in mind for finding good online therapy.

(1) Get a Qualified Online Therapist.

Nowadays, if you’re looking for an online psychologist, there are numerous qualified psychologists available online. Bear in mind, however, that there are a couple of things you need to watch out for.

According to the American Psychological Association, on the top of your list should be credentials and registration. Do your research and make sure that you find a licensed and qualified online psychologist. Preferably, work with someone who is registered with boards in your own country, even asking their practice certificate. If you work with someone outside of your country then you will be subject to the laws that govern outside your country and the complaints procedures may be difficult if you received poor or unethical services.

Moreover, you can also choose a specialist to help you in your healing journey. Whether you are suffering from trauma, childhood abuse, substance misuse, LGBTQ issues, etc., working with one who has the expertise you need makes it easier for both parties.

Additionally, as stated in a 2019 article authored by Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., aside from credentials, you should ask your online therapist if your insurance covers the sessions. In New Zealand, find out if your insurance company covers psychological services. Jim Bierman works with insurance companies in New Zealand, feel free to contact him to find out if he has worked with your insurance company in the past.

(2) Try it with someone you can build rapport with.

As written by Noam Shpancer Ph.D. in Psychology Today, another way to spot if a therapist is right for you is if you’re able to build rapport with him/her. The therapeutic relationship is one of the most consistent predictors for therapeutic success, in research over the years. Noam further explains it’s necessary that you feel comfortable, understood, and connected with your psychologist.

(3) Prioritize security and privacy.

There are laws in place that can safeguard your data. The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) ensures that companies providing mental health care prevent data leaks.

Another U.S. law called HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) ensures that if a data breach happens to you, you’ll be notified. The only difference is that PHIPA is a law for companies and organizations and PIPEDA covers information custodians like nurses, doctors, ambulance workers, etc.

As for the European Union, there’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). It’s considered the world’s toughest data privacy law.It levies harsh fines for violators, even costing them millions.

The reason these laws are important is that it safeguards online users of psychological services of negligence on the side of the professional. It is also important to remember that safeguarding is not only the duty of the psychologist, but you must also make sure you have a secure connection and that you have downloaded all the security updates as recommended by your service providers.

Something that is often overlooked is your physical privacy. Is your location secure? Can family or colleagues hear your conversations? Security is more than just online safety, it is also securing your conversations so that others cannot hear what you talk about in confidence.

If you want to learn more about online therapy safety, click here.

Do you want to contact Jim or Sara? You can read more about Sara by following this link and Jim by clicking here. Alternatively, just complete the form below.

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