GoNoodle

Today I just wanted to highlight an amazing resource that I use, and thousands of classrooms use every day. GoNoodle! This fun interactive app and website is available to everyone and is a great way to get kids moving and engaged.

GoNoodle taps into fun, movement and distraction which not only allows children to reset but then be able to go about an activity or task with restocked attention and concentration. GoNoodle is also a great example of how technology is a constant and the issue is not with technology but how we use it. Screen time can be interactive and advantageous when it is monitored, time limited and content restricted.

This is a great resource for children and families and I especially like focusing in on the flow and Mr.Catercise GoNoodles to help kids participate in mindfulness and build stronger brain body connections.  

GoNoodle Link: https://www.gonoodle.com

The Sally-Ann task

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To operate in a social world it’s important to have an understanding of what other people are thinking. This ability is named Theory of Mind. Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires, emotions, knowledge — to oneself, and to others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one's own (Premack & Woodruff, 1978).

Theory of Mind is tested in the Sally-Ann test by using a false belief. The child observes Sally and Anne together, putting a marble in a basket. Sally leaves the scene and Anne moves the marble to another location. The child is asked “where will Sally look for the marble?”

If the child has developed a Theory of Mind, they will answer “in the basket” because, although the child knows that the marble has been moved, it also knows that Sally is unaware of this and will go to where she had left it.

Young children approximately 4 years old can pass the Sally-Ann test demonstrating the development of Theory of Mind. This foundation of social cognition is pivotal in social interactions hence it’s early formation. However, such a skill in my experience can often be taken for granted and Theory of Mind is replaced with cognitive bias and assumptions that can be damaging to relationships.

As adults we are put to the Sally-Ann test on a daily basis when it comes to testing false beliefs in relationships. Remember that we might learn Theory of Mind at a young age but learning about beliefs, desires, intentions, emotions and values for the self and others is a life long experience.

Reference

Premack, D & Woodruff, G (1978). "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?". Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 1 (4): 515–526

Wimmer, H & Perner, J (1983). "Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children's understanding of deception". Cognition. 13 (1): 103–128. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(83)90004-5. PMID 6681741.

2019

When starting the blog in early 2018 I was filled with enthusiasm and energy. It was a project that enabled me to communicate great ideas and keep me learning. It is now January 2019 and I haven’t written a blog since April 2018.When starting I did look at other similar blogs and the regularity of posts. Many blogs were similar in their growth with many posts at the beginning and then a trailing off after a few months. I thought at the time that mine would be different and that I could do better, the planning fallacy and the bias blind spot in play. So now it is 2019 and I am here to start things up again. To see if I can best April, to see if I can do better. Growth is always on everyone’s mind at the start of a new year and I hope this year to explore topics that I am interested in, have previously learned and new topics that I am only starting to become familiar with.

National Volunteers week

This week marks National Volunteers week and celebrates the tireless efforts of volunteers across the country. Give a little change a lot is the thee for 2018 and more information can be found here https://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/nvw/.

Previously I have discussed the enormous psychological benefits of volunteering and its effectiveness of building resilience against depression and loneliness. I encourage everyone top volunteer to not only help the community but most importantly to help yourself.   

Counselling Apps

Technology is a part of our lives and a useful tool in helping us through everyday activities. Self-care, relaxation and mindfulness are no exception to this. A growing part of my practice is the inclusion of mindfulness and relaxation activities.  In the 2017 Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Health of the nation report, Mental health was cited as a top-three issue by 65% of female GPs and 53% of male GPs.  These concerns were predominantly depression, mood disorders and anxiety. Self-care and relaxation exercises are pivotal to assisting people in lowering their overall stress responses and assist in the therapeutic process.

Easy to use applications that are freely available such as smiling mind (https://www.smilingmind.com.au/) , headspace (https://www.headspace.com/), What’s Up (https://au.reachout.com/tools-and-apps/whats-up)  or Mindshift (https://www.anxietybc.com/resources/mindshift-app) are great companions to therapy and assist anybody in maintaining a mindful or relaxation routine.

My current app of choice, however, is a paid app called Calm (https://www.calm.com/). This app has many great features, easy to use and assists with relaxation, mindfulness, sleep, anxiety, depression and stress. Calm also offers master classes in areas of anxiety, depression and other ever-changing topics. For therapist or patient alike this is a useful app that I would recommend to anybody.

Referral

RACGP., (2017). General Practice: Health of the Nation, https://www.racgp.org.au/yourracgp/news/media-releases/mental-health-issues-the-main-reason-australians-see-their-gp-(1)/

Psychologist Misconduct

Psychologist Misconduct

According to a recent study by Kremer, Symmons & Furlonger (2018) between the period of 2008-2013, 42 Psychologists were found guilty of misconduct and malpractice in civil and administrative courts across Australia. Of the offenders 25 were male and 17 female. Transgressions included;

  • Boundary Violation
  • Profesisonal – Incompetence
  • Professional – Poor Communication
  • Poor Business practices
  • False use of Dr/Professor or specialist title
  • Professional – Poor reports
  • Misleading registration claim
  • Impairment (mental illness, addiction)

Kremer, Symmons & Furlonger (2018) found the most common category of transgression resulting in a court‐based guilty verdict for psychologists relates to inappropriate sexual liaisons, followed by professional incompetency, and then poor communication in the provision of services. Reasons for transgressions coalesced into three themes: the externalisation of responsibility for personal actions and behaviours, a lack of objectivity concerning why such behaviours occurred, and an inability to understand how personal circumstance affected the provision of ethical services to clients.

Glass in 2003 developed the guidelines around gray areas of boundary crossings and violations. Glass demonstrated his concept in a Venn diagram below;

Boundary Cross.jpg

 

Undertaking psychotherapy is a personal journey and trust is of the utmost importance to form a therapeutic bond. In this process boundaries can sometimes be crossed, however, it is important to understand that these crossings whilst seemingly harmless can be the start of a slippery slope and regular supervision, client check-ins and objective reasoning is important safeguards against the possibilities of transgressions.  

Reference

Glass, L. L. (2003). The gray areas of boundary crossings and violations. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 57(4), 429-44. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/213131708?accountid=166958

Kremer, Paul & Symmons, Mark & Furlonger, Brett. (2018). Exploring the Why of Psychologist Misconduct and Malpractice: A Thematic Analysis of Court Decision Documents: Exploring the why of misconduct. Australian Psychologist. 10.1111/ap.12343.

Hotdesking

Activity Based Work or Hotdesking is a shared office approach in which individuals do not have assigned work stations. Rather the office is designed to accommodate all employees on an as needs basis including IT access, meetings, networking etc. Immediately it is clear that the greatest benefit of such a design is that it maximises office space in that you can fit more employees into an a single area. This works by having an employee who is at their desk for 40% of the day and out of the office for 60% of the day. If we have 2 employees that meet this criteria then instead of 2 desks hypothetically they could work from 1. Less space per employee means less overheads and greater savings for the organisation. Another benefit for organisations that have multiple departments is that due to the office spaces being indifferent, departments can be moved and changed as needed throughout office spaces providing greater flexibility. 

So great benefits for the organisation but what about the individual? On average not so great. 

In a study by Morrison & Macky (2017) found that shared desk environments increased distrust, distractions, uncooperative behaviour and negative relationships. Shared desk environments were also found to have a decreased perception of supervisor support. In a study by Hirst (2011) in which observations were made of a team transitioning to a hotdesking system, it was found that social patterns still persisted in that some individuals would arrive early and settle in certain spaces whilst those who were unable to were termed “wanderers” resulting in bigger environmental changes and lower perceived identity at work. Both studies also cited the issue of having to pack up and set up desks on a daily basis which was perceived as a waste of time by employees and an inconvenience. 

On the face of it a shared desk environment makes sense, much like trickle down economics. However, it only makes sense from a financial standpoint and it is at the cost of employee wellbeing. That is not to say that some employees do not enjoy a flexible work environment where they can choose to take a space that is isolated, social, standing, sitting or anything in between but it is a preference and depends on their work style and demands. Workspaces need to accommodate the needs of the worker and should be a reflection of the various work roles of a team. 


References

Hirst, A. (2011). Settlers, vagrants and mutual indifference: Unintended consequences of hot-desking. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24(6), 767-788. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09534811111175742

Morrison, R. L., & Macky, K. A. (2017). The demands and resources arising from shared office spaces. Applied Ergonomics, 60, 103-115. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2016.11.007

Theory of Planned Behaviour

Purposeful behaviour has been a buzz phrase for me in the past few months and often working with clients we are inventing small seemingly unrelated purposeful behaviours to achieve. My reasoning for such small purposeful behaviours is not so much the behaviour change but the shift in perceived behavioural control. Behaviours are preceded by a range of variables and some the biggest predictors within that group are perceived behaviour control and attitude. This is demonstrated in the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) which was proposed by Icek Ajzen (1991).

Theory_of_planned_behavior.png

 

In a recent article by Arnautovska et al. (2018) which investigates Physical Activity (PA) in older adults, they provided a summary of TPB;

The TPB (Ajzen, 1991) proposes intention as the proximal predictor of behaviour. It is further hypothesised that intention is predicted by the three beliefbased constructs: attitude (advantages/disadvantages), subjective norm (perceived social approval/disapproval), and perceived behavioural control (facilitators/barriers). In addition, it is proposed that perceived behavioural control directly predicts behaviour. The strength of intention is predicted by a person's evaluation of the target behaviour, perceptions about approval of important others for performing the behaviour, and perceptions of control and ability in relation to behavioural performance. Findings from metaanalyses support the predictive ability of attitudes and perceived behavioural control on intention, with a weaker subjective norm–intention relationship often found (Downs & Hausenblas, 2005; Hagger, Chatzisarantis, & Biddle, 2002). In line with these findings, a review of TPBbased PA studies by Hagger et al. (2002), including persons of all ages, indicated that attitudes and perceived behavioural control were the best predictors of intention (ß = 0.40 and 0.33, respectively), and together with subjective norm predicted 45% of variance in intention. In addition, perceived behavioural control was found to be associated with PA, and together with intention explained 27% of the variance in behaviour.

Our behaviours are the end of the production line of cognitive assembly and therefore provide a function. Subjective norms, attitude and perceived behavioural control are key factors in the process and can be modified to result in modified intentions and therefore modified behaviours.

Reference

Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes50, 179–211. https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T

Arnautovska, U., Fleig, L., O’Callaghan, F., & Hamilton, K. (2018). Older Adult’s Physical Activity: The Integration of Autonomous Motivation and Theory of Planned Behaviour Constructs. Journal of Australian Psychologisthttps://doi.org/10.1111/ap.12346

Downs, D. S., & Hausenblas, H. A. (2005). The theories of reasoned action and planned behavior applied to exercise: A meta‐analytic update. Journal of Physical Activity and Health2(1), 76–97. https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2.1.76

Hagger, M. S., Chatzisarantis, N. L. D., & Biddle, S. J. H. (2002). A meta‐analytic review of the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior in physical activity: Predictive validity and the contribution of additional variables. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology24(1), 3–32. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.24.1.3

Reducing loneliness in later life

Reducing loneliness in later life

A recent study by Dawn et al. (2018) highlighted the major health concern of loneliness for the elderly and especially for those who are widowed. Loneliness is associated with a decrease in physical and psychological health (Coyle & Dugan, 2012). According to Holt-Lunstad, Smith & Layton (2010), mortality risk associated with lack of strong social relationships is similar to smoking, approximately double that of obesity and quadruple that of exposure to air pollution.

Dawn et al. (2018) found that widows experienced significantly higher levels of loneliness than those who continued to be married. However, the study revealed that widows who volunteered 2< hours per week had similar levels of loneliness to individuals continuing to marry and also volunteering at a similar intensity.  

Volunteering appears to influence health through psychosocial pathways like a positive emotional exchange, associated lifestyle factors (increased physical, cognitive, and social activity), self-esteem and purpose in life, as well as through stress-buffering effects that moderate the influence of stressors on health (Matz-Costa, Carr, McNamara & James, 2016).

Interestingly Dawn et al. (2018) also pointed out that not all volunteering is the same. Working and religious organisations were shown to have benefits for younger volunteers, however, not so for the elderly. It is believed that due to the individual's ages they are not assigned as meaningful or important tasks reducing the mutually beneficial outcome.

This study does a great job of highlighting the risk of loneliness as well as a direction to reduce this risk. Volunteering is great for all ages but perhaps it could even be lifesaving for those who have lost a close loved one in later life.  

Reference

Coyle, C. E., & Dugan, E. (2012). Social isolation, loneliness and health among older adults. Journal of Aging and Health, 24(8), 1346–1363. doi:10.1177/0898264312460275

Dawn C Carr, Ben Lennox Kail, Christina Matz-Costa, Yochai Z Shavit; Does Becoming A Volunteer Attenuate Loneliness Among Recently Widowed Older Adults?, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 73, Issue 3, 2 March 2018, Pages 501–510, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbx092

Holt-Lunstad , J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social relationships and mortality risk: A meta-analytic review. PLoS Medicine, 7, e1000316. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

Matz-Costa, C., Carr, D. C., McNamara, T. K., & James, J. B. (2016). Physical, cognitive, social, and emotional mediators of activity involvement and health in later life. Research on Aging , 38, 791–815. doi:10.1177/0164027515606182