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Soften up bro

27 November, 2020

posted in uncategorised

Harden up bro!

Don’t you cry, Boy!

Are you soft or something?

Don’t be a girl!

Soften Up Bro‘ was inspired by the phrase ‘Harden up bro’ and was founded by John Kingi and Heemi Te Waa Kapa-Kingi, with an aim to normalise important conversations with tāne ma who are keen to be agents of change. The Māori duo have launched a kaupapa to encourage emotional dialogue and vulnerability among Māori and Pacific Island men.

This Facebook page is an attempt to flip the narrative and encourage men to open up about the difficult stuff and to be vulnerable with emotions. And it has taken off!

“It’s ok to show the side where things aren’t ok.”

The duo, who appeared on Māori Television with shirts labelled “Boys can cry too” are looking to open a safe space for korero in hopes that men can create change within their families or social groups.

In a society where it is difficult to unlearn the stigma over emotions, the korero is often “shunned and put aside.”

Kingi works as a mental health coordinator alongside Ngāti Whātua and says many of the cases he’s confronted with are associated with cultural discourse.

“Not understanding where you’re from or who you are, that plays a large factor in a lot of the mental health issues I’ve run into,” he says. 

The ‘Soften Up Bro’ initiative is also seeking to unlearn patriarchal and western influences, not only to support one another but also to understand how to encourage wahine around them.

“We’re making sure that we’re aware of the oppression that wahine face,” Heemi Te Waa Kapa-Kingi said.

“Patriarchy affects men as well and the toxic masculinity that comes with that.”

With thanks to Te Ao News for most of this article’Soften%20Up%20Bro’%20was%20inspired,to%20be%20agents%20of%20change.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble (apologies to Shakespeare)

1 May, 2020

posted in commentary, treatment, uncategorised, useful resources, wellbeing

Of course, the Witches in Macbeth actually said ….

“Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble”.

But it made me think about how our bubble runs the risk of turning into a bubbling cauldron after five weeks of Alert Level 3 and 4. We can begin to feel a bit like one of Shakespeare’s witches. Even their recipe (including eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog) begins to sound quite tempting after you’ve run out of cooking inspiration.

But on a more serious note, one of the positive aspects of COVID-19 has been the increased discussions about mental health. It seems like it has finally become mainstream to acknowledge that all of us experience mental distress at one time or another.

One of my favourite websites is the Mental Health Foundation – NZ

Over many years, the MHF has been supporting Kiwis and they have amassed amazing resources which are always practical, science-based and compassionate. Today, they have published a free downloadable poster which focuses on the 7 essentials of keeping mentally well in Level 4 and 3 Lockdown. Drum roll please……the 7 essentials are……

  • Give
  • Get moving
  • Take notice
  • Connect
  • Stick to a routine
  • Relax
  • Stay curious

Click the link below before you start noticing a wart growing on your nose or you’re spotted in the garden scavenging for a newt.

We got this! Resilience in the face of COVID-19

10 April, 2020

posted in commentary, uncategorised, useful resources, wellbeing

Well, we are now two weeks into Aotearoa’s Level 4 response to the pandemic……Early signs are good that staying in our bubbles is paying off Kiwis.

Kia kaha, he waka eke noa.

Stay strong, we’re all in this together.

The team at Psychology Associates which includes 10 clinical psychologists (Fiona, Tara, Nicola, Sallie, Sasha, Tracey, Amanda, Shannon, Ellen and Tammy) and two amazing administrators (Sue and Michelle) are all continuing to provide psychological support to clients but from the safety of our own bubbles. We are using an online platform which provides a confidential, secure, free online space for us to continue working with clients.

Our team ‘met’ online on Monday for our usual monthly group supervision with two goals in mind. Firstly, to support each other. There were some new challenges for us all working from home (juggling multiple roles, finding peace and calm while dealing with the unknown, learning fast about providing tele-psychology) and we shared common feelings such as isolation, stress, grief/loss, worries, optimism and hope. Our second goal was to share online resources that we thought would support our clients and the wider community. We hope the list below is helpful and look forward to continuing to provide high quality psychological support from our bubbles to yours.

With Fondness, The Team at Psychology Associates

For a tonne of wonderful resources for NZers, look at the Mental Health Foundation website, and their awesome resource library

The MH Foundation has also set up a new website called Getting Through Together – Are you Alright? which is “totes amazeballs” for feeling connected with others

There are some great general tips for getting through COVID-19

And some specific tools for managing anxiety

Anxiety management tools (in multiple languages)

NZ Experts Janet Peter and David Codyre talk about combatting fear and anxiety

A talk on resilience by Christchurch author and researcher Lucy Hone

And the NZ Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience has some great current information on strengthening communities

Some resources with a Māori kaupapa

For families struggling with violence or anger issues

Children: For those with wee kiddies – a great wee song to help with little young children’s fears

Tips for kiddies 0-3


Remember it is free to call or text 1737 at any time to speak with a trained counsellor – it’s free and confidential.

They’re gonna find me out! The curious case of the Impostor phenomenon

4 November, 2018

posted in help me, treatment, uncategorised

Did you know about 70% of people will experience the impostor phenomenon (fear of failure, fear of success, a sometimes obsessive perfectionist drive, and an inability to accept praise and achievement, combined with a genuine belief that you, the ‘impostor’, will be found out for being a fake).  To put it simply, it is the experience of feeling like a phony or a fraud.  It is particularly prevalent among high achieving women.

Common thoughts and feelings include:

  • I must not fail
  • I feel like a fake
  • My success was pure luck
  • I don’t deserve to be in this job

Common behaviours include: read more »

Hey men get Post-Natal Depression too, you know?

29 September, 2016

posted in couples, help me, relationships, uncategorised, useful resources, wellbeing

One out of 4 fathers experience symptoms of Post-Natal Depression (PND) during the 12 months following the birth of their child.  While most of them may not meet the full criteria for PND, many men report symptoms of depressed mood, low interest in their regular activities, feelings of worthlessness, loss of energy, and fears that their problems will be dismissed or they will be stigmatised in some way (e.g. seen as weak). While PND is more common in mothers (affecting about 15% of women with slightly higher rates for Maori women), often both partners are suffering some symptoms of depression and men often get missed. read more »

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