05 Jun 2019

BY: Anna Keyter

Clinical Psychology / Depression / Online Depression Counselling / Seasonal Depression

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Seasonal Depression

Article by Sara Taveira

WINTER IS COMING

Experiencing the Winter Blues (Seasonal Depression)?

What is seasonal depression? We are all familiar with this heading tagline from a famous TV Series. However, the expression is also highly used these days because of the difficulties of “surviving” through the winter, the so-called, winter blues. On a daily basis, we can already notice the slight changes in mood in everyone’s faces, the sense that people are already building up their emotions around the fact that the cold, dark and rainy days are ahead of us.

Why do we feel seasonal depression?

Well, although science has not come up with a specific answer yet, it mentions several contributing factors contributing.

  • Vitamin D: “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine”, indeed! This vitamin is very important to our energy levels and mood as it helps with cell growth, our immune system and many other things in our body. During the winter period, most of us wake up when there is no daylight, go to work, spend all day in the office and then, when it’s time to return home, the daylight is already gone. As a result, we do not have much of this vitamin in the winter when comparing to spring and summer time.
  • Hibernation: this may sound strange but some research talks about a physical slow down process that all mammals go through, during winter. Humans are no exception, although in a lighter way. The problem with this is that we actually cannot hibernate and have to keep going with our busy lives.
  • The relation between body hormones, light, and circadian rhythm: these three dances harmoniously. In detail, daylight differences regulate our internal biological clock through the release of hormones, such as melatonin. Therefore, at night, because daylight ends, our body starts producing this hormone which makes us feel sleepy, decreases our body temperature, and many other modifications to tell us “it is bedtime”. The opposite process occurs every morning. So, if you consider all this, you will find the answer to the common question “why am I still so sleepy and tired every morning?”. That is right, in winter when you wake up, there is no daylight, so melatonin is still running happily through your veins, so you feel very sleepy. The lack of light also decreases another hormone, which is extremely important for mood, appetite, sleep, social behaviour and even sexual appetite regulation – serotonin. So, it makes sense that you feel less happy during dark, cold and rainy days, as our natural mood stabilizer is much less produced by our brain.

What can we do beat Seasonal Depression?

Well, I guess just like olive oil, garlic and onions are the basis of any good recipe, so exercise, diet, and sleep are the basis not only for avoiding the winter blues but for good mental health. For this reason, eat smart by avoiding sugar, alcohol, and caffeine, which can deteriorate your mood, and nourish yourself with chocolate once in a while as it helps to boost your mood. Aim for 8 hours of sleep, and get moving by simply going outside and doing a 30 minutes’ walk. You will kill two birds with one stone: you will exercise and get some natural daylight. Other ideas that may help are expressing your emotions and being near your social support for those harder moments, turning on the radio or other music you like at home to glow the dark rainy days or learn a new skill/new project. If your wallet is “booming”, plan a trip to a sunny place.

What if the above ideas are not enough?

It might come as a surprise to you, but there is in fact a mental health disorder caused by the above alterations in our body, a seasonal depression. Some examples of symptoms are sadness and loneliness, social withdrawn, excessive tiredness, irritability, etc. These symptoms have to cause clinically significant distress and/or impairment in important areas of your overall functioning.

So please talk to us if you are worried you might be experiencing seasonal depression. We can assess if you are, and if so, help you to overcome them.

Want to know more about Sara? Follow this link.

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06 Apr 2019

BY: Anna Keyter

Clinical Psychologist / Clinical Psychology / Online Clinical Psychologist / Online Therapy Clinical Psychologist

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Online Therapy welcomes Sara Taveira Clinical Psychologist

Online Therapy welcomes Sara Taveira Clinical Psychologist to our online family

Sara Taveira interviewed by Anna Keyter:

We are delighted to introduce Sara Taveira to our Online Therapy family,  and this is her story.  Sara is an independent clinical psychologist (Registered with the New Zealand Psychologist Board) joining our small group of therapists. Below is the interview with Sara to get to know her better.

How did you get into Clinical Psychology?

I started my University Degree initially wanting to become a forensic psychologist.  My dream was to be a “Criminal Profiler”. However, in the first years, I was introduced to the multitude of psychology fields and it was with clinical psychology that I connected the most.

I love life, people, smiles, a good laugh and positivity. Possibly, these are the things that motivated me to become a psychologist in the first place. That visceral curiosity about the other, the need to understand the person I am in a therapeutic relationship with, and help them if I can. With clinical psychology and psychotherapy, I can certainly do that.

Where did you do your training and how did you register at the New Zealand Psychologist board?

I completed my studies up to Masters level and psychologist certification in Lisbon, Portugal. In the European Union, the higher education is based on the “Bologna Process”, which in cooperation with all European countries, standardises higher education among all countries, thus strengthening quality assurance and facilitating the recognition of qualifications and periods of study. Therefore, the process to register at the New Zealand Psychologist Board (NZPB) was straightforward as they follow the guidelines from the UK as part of the Commonwealth of Nations.

What work did you do in New Zealand and internationally?

When I moved to New Zealand I started working for the District Health Board’s (DHB).  I attended to patients experiencing moderate to severe mental health disorders. I have worked in many different Hospital Services: Maternal Mental health; Children, adolescents and families services; Eating disorders Specialized Services; Parental intervention and group therapy for children with behavioural disorders Specialized Services and Mental Health Crisis Team.

I accepted a contract as a psychologist and psychotherapist with the ACC in 2015.  At the ACC, I provided services for Sensitive Claims, doing psychological assessments to determine mental injury from sexual abuse trauma.

In Portugal, I started my career as a university counsellor and providing psychological assessment services as a student. After completing my qualification, I gained experience in psychiatric hospitals, schools, private practice and psychosocial projects for children and adolescents with risk-taking behaviours, their families and the school community as a clinical psychologist.

What key functions will you bring to Online Therapy?

As a clinical psychologist, I am hoping to bring a new intervention approach – psychotherapy – to those who are not able to attend on-site consultations.  If you are unable to get to an office, you can contact me online.  The online space is where I can offer assistance for people physical problems and disability, illness, mobility, geographic area, language, difficulty in reconciling schedules and unable to get to an office.

Psychotherapy addresses overall patterns, including chronic or recurring problems in a person’s life, and focuses on feelings and experience. It is an in-depth therapy modality on internal thoughts and feelings and core issues. The main objective is to achieve personal growth and to gain insight into the main areas of a person’s life.

During my 12 years of experience, I have gained qualifications in different specific psychotherapy modalities which could benefit Online Therapy clients.  These qualifications include EMDR, CBT, Mindfulness, ACT, CRT, CBT-E and FBT, evidence-based protocols for PTSD and complex trauma.

I consider myself an eclectic psychologist, focused on adapting the intervention to each person. I don’t follow the trend of labelling with diagnostics and jargon but aim to understand each unique person I am working with, and then adapt working tools accordingly. Over the years of clinical practice, I have found that working with emotions is central to all processes when dealing with transformation and personal growth, which is the focal point in my therapy room.

Why were you brought on board and what is your specialist areas?

I have started my relationship with Online Therapy over a year ago, fuelled by my interest in telepsychology and helping patients who cannot attend face to face therapy.  I am also keen to maintain my bilingual psychotherapy skills. As an eclectic psychologist, I have gained experience and interest over the years in conditions such as anxiety and stress, depression, eating disorders, trauma, relationships, feelings of emptiness, emotional difficulties, life changes adaptation difficulties, parental coaching and personal growth/coaching.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I will start by saying that I may share DNA with cats since I love sunbathing. Food is another great passion as, in my culture, it means family reunion and connection. I get immense bliss when cooking for loved ones and putting smiles on their faces.

Motherhood has been, without a doubt, the joy of all joys and a highway to happy moments, personal growth and constant self-reflection.

Music provides the background soundtrack to my life. It allows me to personify emotions, it helps me to express myself and enables me to relate to others as well. My most recent personal goal is to learn how to play the guitar so that I can sing and play with my child.

A good conversation undeniably makes my day and time fly.  What else… well, I am a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, a society member, a citizen of the world….

 

 

Contact Sara Now

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