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New practice location in North Parramatta

After a fantastic five years with PBB Health Centre I’ve found a fantastic space just around the corner at 23 Harold St, North Parramatta. With a larger, dedicated room in a the lovely Windsor Cottage Integrated Health, you’ll find that same service in a relaxing environment. Bookings can be made directly on 0422 134 169, or via email to rhona@rhonabarkerpsych.com.au otherwise everything else: fees and charges, medicare rebates, etc stays the same.

While I plan to be there on Thursdays, as I was at PBB Health Centre, I can be a little more flexible at Windsor Cottage if Thursday is too difficult.

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Forced adoptions

I’ve recently completed some training in understanding and counselling people affected by forced adoption. This practice was still occurring into the 1980’s which means there are many people–children now grown, mothers, fathers and extended families–presently in the community around us who have direct experience of it. They may experience feelings of shame, anger, grief, depression and anxiety, and this can lead to difficulties in relationships, parenting of children, formation of identity and mental health disorders. For a long time people were told to keep quiet about their experience.

The then PM, Julia Gillard made an official apology in 2013 and although this goes some way in recognising the harm done, it is not sufficient for healing. For those who are still affected by forced adoption I would encourage you to seek out and speak to a professional about it, or if you have a family member or friend suffering, encourage them similarly. It’s never to late to heal from these types traumas.

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Transition to Retirement

People often engage with a psychologist when working through a transition in life; leaving school, joining the workforce, becoming a parent. One transition that is often seen as a time to sit, relax and lay back is retirement. The difficulty with this approach to retirement is that when we leave employment we loose a part of our identity. This often results in feelings of sadness, frustration, emptiness and anxiety……unless a new identity if formed.

So what should you do when considering retirement? I would recommend building up social connections before retiring, perhaps work part time while you do this. When social connections are established and participated in, a new identity begins to form. You belong to a group and have activities with others to look forward to. You have a place. Added benefits include a reduction in risk of mortality (Umberson & Montez, 2010), memory decline (Ertel, Glymour & Berkman, 2008) and depression (Cruwys et al, 2013).

So those who are retired or planning to be, focus on staying active socially and get out there into our community!

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Bought a scout Christmas tree?

Like lots of people I volunteer in the community and I’ve found the Scouts to be a fantastic organisation. I’ve been a leader there and found it very rewarding. Today I loaned them my credit card terminal to help them sell Christmas trees at a fundraiser on the corner of Pacific Hwy and Banockburn Rd; and if you purchased a tree there and used a credit card you’ll see ‘Rhona Barker Psychology’ on your credit card statement. Don’t be alarmed – you haven’t been scammed – it was just me helping out the Scouts.

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What about Dads?

November 13-19 is Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week. Check out the PANDA website for some great information on the signs and symptoms dads may show with the introduction of a baby into the family. Dads, please seek help if you are struggling.

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Quote Book

There are many items people use to remind them of special moments in life; photos, letters and knick-knacks to name a few. But what about those special moments when your toddlers says something hilarious, insightful or intelligent? I guess if you are quick enough you may capture it on video but if not perhaps you could write it in, what I call, a quote book. We have done this in our family and it is full of all the stand out amazing things my children have said from when they could talk to .…..well we are still writing in it now when they are in their tweens. I love reminding my children of these, teasing that we’ll need to write that in the quote book and giggling at the words when we are going through a particularly difficult time. It is full of the memory of those special moments. If you are a parent of a toddler then now is the time to start one!