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in sight counselling

My name is Keena Hudson and I have been a counsellor in the Sutherland Shire for 20 years. Making an appointment to see a counsellor c...

Friday, January 20, 2017

in sight counselling

My name is Keena Hudson and I have been a counsellor in the Sutherland Shire for 20 years.

Making an appointment to see a counsellor can feel very scary. People are concerned that their problems may not be big enough, that counselling won’t actually help or that it will be too expensive.

Research shows though that most people are helped by seeing a professional. My job is to help you feel happier, to be more at peace, to do the things you want to be able to do. I help individuals and couples and love to do marriage preparation.
People are all very different – there is no one size fits all therapy. So I prefer to work cooperatively, which means I like to get your feedback about what how you want to go about therapy. 

It’s very important for you to feel comfortable with a counsellor. So I’m happy to meet with you for an initial free assessment to discuss your needs and see if I am the right counsellor for you. I like to be able to provide counselling that is affordable so during this session we would discuss an appropriate fee. Sessions are 1 hour long.

Keena Hudson BACCounselling, Grad. Cert. EFT, Cert IV AOD

Counselling is scary - at first

Going to see someone about your problems is a very courageous thing to do. In fact many people would rather die than seek professional help – and sadly often do. Picking up the phone is the first hurdle – I’m ok really. I just have to try harder and it’ll be ok. My problem isn’t big enough. Heck, I don’t even know what the problem really is! I just feel bad, but it’s probably my fault. Counselling won’t make any difference. I’ve tried everything anyway.
The next big hurdle is turning up for the first time. What if I don’t like the counsellor? What will she think of me? I really don’t want to talk about this. Where do I start? What am I going to say?
Yes, it takes a lot of courage to go for counselling. The initial phone call and turning up for the first appointment I think are the worst parts. Once it’s started it should feel a little easier. I think she gets it. That wasn’t so bad. Maybe this could be helpful after all. I’m proud of myself for doing that. What a relief to finally get that off my chest.

It’s worth it to try counselling. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trashing and Cherishing

When a couple first fall in love they emphasise each other’s good points. Tidy, fun or good with money. They cherish their partner, and emphasise their good points. They look for the evidence that these qualities outweigh the negative. They feel so lucky to have this special person in their lives, and often express appreciation to their partner

Fast forward a few years, and tidy, fun or good with money can become obsessive, irresponsible or stingy. When a relationship is not working, the first indication is that one or both partners begin trashing the other. They nurture resentment and emphasise (in their minds) their partner’s negative qualities. They gather evidence that the negatives outweigh the positives. They focus both on qualities the partner doesn’t have, and flaws they do have. And all this may be true. We are all flawed human beings, but none of us like to see only our flaws emphasised.
The tragedy of trashing is that people stop noticing the good things about their partner. The good things their partner does, the qualities they do have. This makes it very difficult for the partner to make changes, because changes won’t be noticed. And good deeds that go unnoticed may not be repeated. The partner feels like they can never win, why bother, what’s the point. You can see how this will lead to further corrosion of the goodwill between a couple.

So the moral of the story is: Be on the lookout for the things your partner does right, the things you appreciate about them. Notice the good things, and let your partner know that you notice them. Thank them for what they do, the mundane and the extraordinary. Use these opportunities to build a positive atmosphere between you.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Communication styles that harm relationships

John Gottman, a relationship researcher, has been able to predict with 90% accuracy which relationships will fail by watching the couple interact. Those most at risk used these communication styles
1.         Criticism:
2.         Contempt: 
3.         Defensiveness:
4.         Stonewalling:  

Criticism  is attacking your partner with the intent of making yourself right and the other person wrong. For example,
Generalizations: “you always…” “you never…”“you’re the type of person who …” “why are you so …”
Comparisons: Others can do it . .
Remedy: Learn to raise issues gently and politely, but firmly. Keep the focus on the problem, not the character of your partner. eg  “When you (behaviour) . . It’s a problem for me because (consequences) . .  I’d prefer (propose a solution). . . .Could we experiment with that or do we need to tweak it?”

Contempt is attacking your partner’s sense of self with the intention to insult or psychologically hurt them.Tactics include: Insults and name-calling: “bitch, bastard, wimp, fat, stupid, ugly, slob, lazy…” Hostile humor, sarcasm or mockery Body language & tone of voice: sneering, rolling your eyes, curling your upper lip.
Remedy: Notice the good things about your partner and build a culture of appreciation (5 times as many positives to negatives)

Defensiveness is seeing yourself as the victim, defending or preventing a perceived attack. Tactics of defensiveness include:
Making excuses (e.g., external circumstances beyond your control forced you to act in a certain way) “It’s not my fault…”, “I didn’t…”
Cross-complaining: meeting your partner’s complaint, or criticism with a complaint of  your own, ignoring what your partner said
Disagreeing and then cross-complaining “That’s not true, you’re the one who …” “I did this because you did that…”
Yes-butting: start off agreeing but end up disagreeing
Repeating yourself without paying attention to what the other person is saying Whining “It’s not fair.”
Remedy: Listen generously and take responsibility for your part in the conflict. Change what you need to change in yourself.

Stonewalling is withdrawing from the conversation as a way to avoid conflict or punish. Partners may think they are trying to be “neutral” but stonewalling conveys disapproval, icy distance, separation, or smugness:
Tactics include:
Stony silence
Monosyllabic mutterings
Short answers
Changing the subject
Removing yourself physically, without returning to the topic
Silent Treatment
Remedy: To help the relationship, learn to calm yourself down and finish the conversation in a relaxed way.   

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Emotional, verbal and physical bullying

Bullying comes in many forms. The aim of bullying is to gain power and control over your opinions, choices and actions.  The message is ‘Do things my way or I’ll  ...’ In other words, what he/she says goes, and though the partner may object, they usually comply to placate.
Placaters often have a hard time understanding why they feel so bad. The bullying may not sound like much and often people around them will minimise it. But it is actually a form of abuse. Abuse is any behaviour that doesn’t value the dignity of another person. Living in a climate where your dignity is assaulted by being ignored, criticised, mocked or shouted at has a deep effect. Emotional bullying cuts to the core of a person, attacking their very being and personal dignity. It leaves them feeling fearful, insignificant, lacking in confidence, unworthy, untrusting, emotionally needy, undeserving, unlovable and guilty. ‘Peace at any price’ is the motto: resentment and depression the result.

Emotional Bullying uses actions to hurt another person emotionally.

·         Being unavailable emotionally.
·         Refusing to communicate.
·         Angry silence.
·         Discounting your feelings
·         Minimising your achievements
·         Expecting you to always agree and give in.
·         Making you feel guilty.
·         Making you feel like you’re crazy.
·         Cross examining you for information.
·         Manipulating you with lies.
·         Treating you like you are worthless.
·         Distorting your reality (playing mind games).
·         Saying they’re only joking.
·         Acting unpredictably, mood swings.
·         Flirting with the opposite sex.
·         Expecting you to be perfect and meet every need
·         Constantly expecting preferential treatment.
·         Setting unrealistic expectations and telling you that you can’t do anything right.
·         Placing responsibility on you for anything that goes wrong.
·         Always putting their own needs before yours.
·         Expecting you to perform tasks that you find unpleasant or humiliating.
·         You understand their feelings, but they never try to understand yours.
·         You need to ‘walk on eggshells’ so you don’t upset them.

Verbal Bullying uses words to hurt another person emotionally.

·         Mocking your values
·         Saying no one else would be interested in you or want to go out with you
·         Making fun of people like you, including your race, gender, age or personal style
·         Calling you names eg fat, stupid or ugly
·         Criticising   your   looks,   actions,   efforts   and intelligence.
·         Telling jokes about you.
·         Humiliating or insulting you.
·         Using sarcasm.
·         Constantly disagreeing with you.
·         Constantly asking you to justify your actions or back up what you’re saying.
·         Using an unpleasant tone of voice.
·         Shouting.

Physical Bullying uses, or threatens to use, strength and force to hurt another person physically.

·         Hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, choking, shoving, being hit with objects, or being held against one’s will.
·         Breaking things.
·         Hurting pets.
·         Physically intimidating you, eg standing too close, banging things in a threatening way, driving dangerously, playing with weapons.
·         Threatening to hurt a person or property.
·         Repeatedly frightening you
·         Making you fear for your safety
·         Making you fear for the safety of others
·         Forcing sex or sexual acts when you don’t want it.

Other forms of bullying - isolation and financial

·         Isolating you and restricting your social activities.
·         Acting extremely possessive.
·         Always making you ask permission.
·         Using jealousy to justify their actions.
·         Restricting your activities eg not letting you go out with friends.
·         Restricting what you read, who you talk to etc.
·         Controlling all the money.

To avoid taking responsibility for their behaviour bullies might:

·         Tell you that you bully them.
·         See themselves as martyrs or victims.
·         Convince you that the bullying is your fault.
·         Blame you for problems, but never take responsibility for what they do.
·         Tell you it’s just a joke (but you feel humiliated).
·         Blame anyone and anything else for unfortunate events in their lives.
·         Tell you that you have psychological problems are crazy, hysterical, or blow things out of proportion.
·         Focus on flaws in your upbringing or your hormones.
·         Dismiss your difficulties or issues as unimportant or an overreaction.
·         Ignore logic and prefer amateur theatrics.
·         Try to destroy any outside support you receive - family, friends or counselling - by ridiculing it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Safe People: How to recognise people who are good for you

Many people have put a lot into relationships that left them deeply hurt. They’ve been taken advantage of, and are left with little show for what they’ve given. What’s worse, they tend to either repeat the same mistakes over and over again, or else lock the doors of their hearts to further relationships. How can you pick if someone is going to treat you with respect? After you’ve known a person for a while, look at their behaviour objectively and ask yourself how safe is this person? And how safe are you for others?
Unsafe People
Safe People
Withdraws, criticises or makes you feel guilty
if you disagree with them, or
do something they don’t want you to do.
Respects you even when you
disagree with them or do something
they don’t want you to do.
Listens to you for a bit, and then turns the conversation back to themselves.
Listens to your opinions, comments
and stories with interest.
Take more than they give.
Give as much as they receive.
Not interested in your thoughts and feelings
Have compassion for you.
Holds grudges for a long time.
Ready to forgive you when you do something wrong and genuinely apologise for it.
Have one set of standards for you, and another for them.
Standards of behaviour are the same for both people.
Treats you either like a parent or a like a child.
Treats you like an equal.
May or may not do what they say they will.
Do what they say they will.
Demand your trust and become defensive
when you have a reasonable query.
Earn your trust by being trustworthy.
You don’t like yourself as much when you’re with this person.
Brings out the best in you so you feel stronger and better about yourself.
Either act like they have it all together, or
blame others for their problems.
Admit their weaknesses and take
responsibility for their own behaviour.
Won’t admit when they’ve done the wrong thing. Or apologise with feeling and regret,
but do not change their behaviour over time.
When they have done the wrong thing apologise and work on changing their behaviour.
Deceive others by lying or leaving out
important information.
Tell the whole truth, even when it is difficult.
Tells other people your secrets,
or tells you other people’s secrets.
Keep your secrets safe with them

How to get the most from couples counselling


1.   A focus on changing yourself, not your partner.
2.   Attitudes and skills to work as a team, including
       a. Listening with curiosity and compassion instead of butting in or being defensive.
       b. Speaking up instead of complying with resentment or withdrawing.
3.   The motivation to persist and persist and persist.
4.   Plenty of time to talk, help each other out and have fun. 


The first cost will be time. The time you put into your relationship will probably encroach on either your personal or professional time.
The second cost is emotional comfort. It is challenging to change yourself and the habits you’ve developed over a lifetime. 
The third cost is energy. It simply takes effort to remember to be more respectful, more giving and more appreciative.


No one runs a business without goals. Nor do we schedule business meetings without an agenda. So the more specific you are in 2 areas - the sort of relationship you want to create, and how you want to be as a partner - the more effective our work can be.
Similarly, if you prepare mentally for our meetings, they are more likely to be productive. In preparing for a session think about
What is the next step I need to take to be the partner I want to be?
What would I like our relationship to be like?
How has what happened this week fit into the wider context of our relationship?


Most ineffective reactions can be classified into one of five categories. Although we use all of them once in a while, most of us have favorites we use when feeling threatened, fearful, inadequate , resentful or some other kind of emotional pain.
Withdrawal - Stonewalling, becoming stoic, giving minimal responses, or leaving in the middle of a heated discussion.
Blaming - Accusing, finger pointing, yelling, trying to dominate the discussion.
Resentful compliance - Overly compliannt  to your partner in order to avoid tension or potentially nasty discussions.
Whining - Complaining, competing for the victim position, ‘poor me’, or being very indirect about what you want.
Confusion - Inability to think clearly, going blank.
To create a flourishing relationship, we have to resist using these ineffective coping reactions.


1. Edit yourself. Couples who avoid saying every critical thought when discussing touchy topics are consistently the happiest, so learn to bite your tongue.

2. Soften your “start up”. Arguments first “start up” because a partner sometimes starts a discussion by making a critical or remark in a confrontational tone. Bring up problems gently and without blame.

3.  Accept influence. A marriage succeeds to the extent that the husband can accept influence from his wife. If a woman says, “Do you have to work Thursday night? My mother is coming that weekend, and I need your help getting ready,” and her husband replies, “My plans are set, and I’m not changing them”, this guy is in a shaky marriage. A husband’s ability to be influenced by his wife (rather than vice-versa) is crucial because research shows women are already well practiced at accepting influence from men, and a true partnership only occurs when a husband can do this as well.

4. Lower your tolerance for bad behaviour. The lower the level of tolerance for bad behaviour in the beginning of a relationship, the happier the couple is down the road.

5. Learn to repair and exit the argument. Successful couples know how to exit an argument. Successful repair attempts include: changing the topic to something completely unrelated; using humour; ‘stroking’ your partner with a caring remark, offering signs of appreciation for your partner. If an argument gets too heated, take a 20-minute break, and agree to discuss  the topic again when you are both calm.

6.Focus on the bright side. In a happy marriage, while discussing problems, happy couples make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each othe,  and their relationship, as negative ones. A good marriage must have a rich positive atmosphere. So make deposits to your emotional bank account.


In thinking about your goals ask yourself:
What sort of relationship do I want to create?
For this to happen, what sort of partner do I need to be?
What do I need to stop doing?
What do I need to start doing?


Laziness, resentment and fear are the big 3.
1. Laziness. Creating lasting significant change takes effort in both time and emotional energy from both. One person cannot do it all on their own.
2. Resentment says “This is  my reward for suffering and putting up with so much B.S.” But nursing our resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.One big problem with resentment is that it makes us feel helpless. And  our resentment makes us so unpleasant, the other person has little incentive to repair the situation.
If you are holding onto resentments, what is the price you are paying?
3. Fear. We are afraid of feeling rejected, being dismissed, anger, not feeling loved or supported. So as well as being afraid, we feel emotional pain about them. But instead of expressing this fear we usually fall into one of the types of ineffective communication.


We are all responsible for how we express ourselves, no matter how others treat us.
Most people come to couple therapy to feel better, but it’s better to approach it to get better. As people we tend to want what we don’t need, and need what we don’t want.
The hardest part of couples therapy is accepting you will need to improve your response to a problem (how you think about it, feel about it, or what to do about it). Very few people want to focus on improving their response. It’s more common to build a strong case for why the other should do the improving.
Couples therapy works best if you have more goals for yourself than for your partner.
Your partner is quite limited in his/her ability to respond to you.
You are quite limited in your ability to respond to your partner.
Accepting that is a huge step into maturity.
Improving your relationship means improving your own reaction to stress.
You can learn a lot about yourself by understanding what annoys you and how you handle it.
You need to have a good understanding of a problem before you can find an effective solution.
In a strong disagreement, do you really believe your partner is entitled to their opinion?
Under stress, do you have the courage and persistence to understand what you’re partner’s going through, and the courage to express what you’re going through?
It’s important to explain to your partner what is happening for you, because they can’t value what they don’t understand.
Can you reasonably expect your partner to treat you better than you treat him/her?
Can you reasonably expect your partner to treat you better than you treat yourself?
If you want your partner to change, do you think about what you could do to make it easier?
Do you know how you feel in important areas of your relationship? If not, it is like playing poker when you see only half your cards. You will make a lot of dumb moves.
Trust is the foundational building block of a thriving relationship.
You create trust by doing what you say you will do over a significant amount of time.
If neither of you ever rocks the boat, you will end up with a dull relationship.
You can’t change your partner. Your partner can’t change you. Becoming a more effective partner is the most efficient way to change a relationship.