Monthly Archives

May 2019

Talking about Depression

Depression is a condition with a variety of causes. It can be caused by biological, psychological, and even social factors. Depression affects around one million Australian adults each year. Depression can occur at any stage of life. Environmental factors and life-changing events can also cause depression.

Because depression has more than one cause, there is more than one treatment. There are different individual responses to treatments, so it has been found that better results come from a different mix of therapies.

Psychological therapy
Talking with a psychologist or other therapist is an important aspect of effective treatment. There are different psychological approaches used. One of these is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT examines a person’s thought process and behaviour. How we think about things, react to situations and develop certain behaviours that can reinforce negative feelings. Examining those thoughts and behaviours can be a way of replacing negative relations and feelings with more positive ones.

Other interventions
Exercise and regular physical activity have shown to have a positive effect on mood.
Regular exercise has shown to boost the brain’s serotonin levels. Serotonin regulates mood. Exercise also helps us keep fit increases energy. Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood in less severe cases of depression.

Research shows a balanced diet and a selection of nutritious foods also improve mood. Yoga and relaxation can help us improve the ways we relax and deal with stress. Yoga, diet and exercise are becoming a part of multiple approach treatments. They are effective in conjunction with established treatment approaches like psychotherapy and medication.

In the last few decades, a number of medications have proven effective for depression. These are often called ‘antidepressants.’ Medications can make a considerable improvement to depression and are often used in conjunction with psychotherapy.

Our qualified therapists bring a variety of treatment options to address the many aspects that can cause depression.

So, if you or someone close to you needs help with depression, contact us today to talk about how our team can best suit your needs.

Mental health concerns in the legal profession

Australian judges and magistrates experience high rates of occupational stress, burnout, alcohol addiction and even PTSD.

A new study from the University of Melbourne has found the rates of judicial officers’ with psychological issues were considerably higher than the general population. These members of the legal professions were experiencing mental health issues ranging from problem drinking and sleep disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Over half reported some level of psychological distress. Three-quarters were at risk of burnout. One-third were experiencing symptoms of secondary traumatic stress warranting formal assessment for PTSD.

Almost one in three have alcohol problems.

Nearly half had trouble sleeping as well as intrusive thoughts about work.

The nature of some legal work and court cases is sometimes very confronting. Sometimes court cases can involve testimony about violence and other distressing situations. The effect of hearing this can cause secondary PTSD. As many as one in five legal professionals felt they had relived the traumatic experience of a person appearing in court.

Obtaining support and trying, as far as possible, to reduce other stressful experiences is important in PTSD treatment. This allows the person to focus more on recovery. If they are distressed after a traumatic event, they should seek help from a health professional.

Like so many people in workplaces requiring highly skilled professionals, people in the legal professions need to take care of their mental health as well.

At Retreat South we recommend that if you are experiencing stress, anxiety or are overwhelmed by workplace events, you seek professional support. If you think you might need to take time out and visit a retreat, take some time to read what Retreat South can offer or call us today.

Horse therapy for PTSD

Therapeutic encounters with horses have been shown to help heal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Recent studies in America with a group of veterans showed a significant drop in PTSD levels after therapeutic horse riding.

Six weeks of horsemanship sessions reduced their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) scores by 87 per cent.

After three weeks of hourly sessions, the veterans were measured using specific military PTSD checklists as well as other tests. They were measured again after six weeks to see if any improvements were made.  The participants had experienced a significant decrease in PTSD scores. A decrease of over 65 per cent after three weeks. After six weeks there was a decrease of 87 per cent in the PTSD scores.

Faced with a traumatic experience, a person may often internalise the trauma emotions. As a result, they are left with unprocessed emotions. This causes  PTSD. Part of the healing process is to resolve the trauma.

Dogs and other domestic animals are also known for providing therapeutic support. Unlike dogs which trust instinctively, horses are hyper-vigilant until they learn they are in a safe environment. Because people with PTSD can also be hyper-vigilant, they can relate to the trust of the horse.

When someone does equine-assisted therapy, a trust develops between the client and the horse. Then the non-judgmental acceptance of a horse enables patients to feel safe enough to be themselves.

The team at Retreat South strive to provide a range of approaches to dealing with the complex condition that PTSD can be. Equine-assisted therapy is one of these approaches. For more information about how Retreat South can help you on your path to recovery call us today.

Harness the power of nature for health

In recent years nature therapy has become an effective treatment for anxiety and stress.

Health and mental health specialists have recommended being in forests, gardens and other natural places. In the natural place, people spend time absorbing the beautiful, natural environment. It seems simple and the effects have been impressive. Just walking or sitting in the natural environment can bring feelings of calmness, improve mood and lower blood pressure.

Many psychologists suggest a daily walk in a garden or park. When the walk is part of a routine it brings better physical health as well as better mental health.

In America and other places, nature-based therapy is proving valuable in treating addiction and helping recovery. In Japan, ‘forest bathing’ has been used as a therapy for decades. People simply in a forest, reflecting in the stillness and silence of the natural surroundings. Like a kind of mindfulness in nature. Mindfulness is gaining ground as a therapy. So is nature therapy. It has been shown to help calm, lower blood pressure and boost positive feelings.

In fact, Japanese researchers have found that forest bathing has positive physiological effects. Cortisol is made by our bodies to help us respond to stress. Cortisol levels rise when we feel stressed and fall when we are relaxed. A walk in a forest reduced cortisol levels and the participants were less stressed.

The Holistic approach, where combinations of traditional psychotherapy and physical therapy give people in residential therapy a better daily balance. Try getting out in natural surroundings and sit or stroll. It is something we can do for ourselves, anytime we need.

At Retreat South there is a blend of natural landscapes and beautifully maintained picture gardens where you can walk, sit or relax and experience the power of nature.