Dr David Malkin

Clinical Psychologist Perth | Counsellor Perth

Tel: 0409 227 548

Psychological Discomfort

Psychological symptoms or discomforts can sometimes be an opportunity knocking in disguise but not always so.

The stars are not wanted now:put out every one;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

(W.H.Auden 'Funeral Blues'  1938 )

This could be a graphic portrayal of grief without redemption. Some clouds don't have a silver lining. The pain cannot be rationalised or analysed away.The wounding needs a long time to heal,if ever, and leaves a scar.

 

In contrast, C.G.Jung wrote 'We are still as much possessed by autonomous psychic contents as if they were Olympians. Today they are called phobias,obsessions, and so forth; in a word neurotic symptoms. The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious symptoms for the doctor's consulting room...'

(Commentary on 'The Secret of the Golden Flower'. Collected Works v, 13 1968)

 

In Jung's conceptualisation,these painful experiences can be construed as meaningful. So the anxieties,depression, and other psychological malaise are  indicators of the need for actions leading to change. For example, the boredom or depression arising from being in the 'wrong' career; the anxiety about losing the 'wrong' job;  the pain of a dysfunctional relationship; or frustrated self development in general, can lead to a more positive course of action or  arrangement. The pain of low self esteem can signal a call to arms for choices, behaviours, and achievements of various kinds.

The fear of risk in confronting change may be overcome when an apparent purpose for a symptom can be realised in a way that seems to fit. There may be an opportunity for needed growth in a frightening symptom or circumstance. It is a sober task to differentiate between the latter and psychological distress  that simply requires recovery.

 

If you are seeking the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor. please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I still don't know what I was waiting for

And my time was running wild

A million dead-end streets

Every time I thought I'd got it made

It seemed the taste was not so sweet

(omitted material)

ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(omitted material)

Time may change me...

So sang David Bowie on his 1971 album Hunky Dory.

One of the puzzles in counselling work has been why clients find it so difficult to make changes that they clearly want for their own good. Sometimes changes are totally resistant or only occur with time and the mellowing of older age. Ego State theory developed by Eric Berne in Transactional Analysis in 1957 helps understanding of this. Loosely based on Freud's multifaceted personality theories, Ego State theory explains how people can have several opposing strands of motivation running at different levels in the personality  at the same time and some of them outside of  awareness. Berne called the ego states the Parent, the Adult, and the Child. Berne explained how experiences and decisions formed at the Child level remained locked in and dominating of life outcomes in adulthood.

Redecision therapy was developed in 1965 by Bob and Mary Goulding. This therapy is based on the assumption that if decisions are made in chilhood in emotional situations,then redecisional changes are best made by re-invoking those emotional scenarios often in role play situations. The therapy is a combination of Transactional Analysis,Gestalt Therapy, and Cognitive Therapy.The therapist offers support for the making of more self-enhancing beliefs at all levels of personality.However, because of the intense emotions often invoked, this therapy is only suitable for clients with good ego strength who can well integrate the material.

If you require the services of a Psychologist Perth or Counsellor Perth, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Giving Birth to Yourself

Many parents mistakenly over identify with their children. Sometimes reasons may include urges to realise unfulfilled ambitions;to correct their own childhood hurts; overprotectiveness; need to control;immaturity; or covert narcissism in general. Kahlil Gilbran writes in The Prophet (1926):

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.

(omitted material)

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

So children are individuals and to realize individuality each person in time needs to give birth to themselves. Symbolically,creative outputs can be regarded as your 'children'. These 'children' are the living arrows of personal creativity through which self expression and self identity are realized. They are more appropriate as vehicles for realizing your potential than your actual physical children.  The birth of this creative potential involves allowing part of yourself to be channelled and infused with enthusiasm and expressed in thoughts and/or  activities. Activities may include cooking; gardening; decorating; singing; dancing; sporting performance; art; writing and journaling; film and photography; innovative thinking at work; music; carpentry and handiwork; engineering; adventure; dreamwork; conversing and sharing thoughts and ideas; relationships; etc.. The important ingredient is the enthusiasm and intentionality to be personally involved and connected as opposed to just going through the motions.

When creative action takes place there is a sense of fulfillment,satisfaction and personal congruence. Lack of creative endeavour and self expression can instead lead to feelings of depression,anxiety,agitation,ennui,frustration,anger,etc.. Great artists of all types speak of their creative gifts coming through them from a place beyond. They have humility. In a way their gifts do not strictly speaking belong to them.Hence,the general public at large can appreciate that which is of collective value. True creativity can lead to a gratified sense of self not inflated with grandiosity and egotism.

If you require the services of a Psychologist Perth or Counsellor Perth,please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Moments of Incandescence

'On the stiff twig up there

Hunches a wet black rook

Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain

I do not expect a miracle or an accident

To set the sight on fire

In my eye

[omitted material]

I only know that a rook

Ordering its black feathers can so shine

As to seize my senses, haul

My eyelids up, and grant a brief respite from fear of total neutrality

[omitted material]

('Black Rook in Rainy Weather', Sylvia Plath 1956).

It is natural on such an anniversary as New Year, a sort of mini 'fin de siecle' (end of an era), to reflect on what has passed. Although one is aware of a general sense of a sweep of history in one's life, the things that light us up and are truly memorable are usually points of experience as described above in Plath's poem. Only rare beings would claim to be ecstatic all the time and most of us run on auto pilot with our daily routines. Life can be a blur and often seem routine and neutral. Although it often takes a special event to burn itself into lasting memory, it does not have to be so. The event in Plath's poem is totally ordinary and simple .The important ingredient is the act of noticing the present moment.

Depression tends to be about a sense of PAST loss and anxiety tends to be about a sense of a FUTURE event occurring. Complete focus on the PRESENT moment from time to time can be astoundingly uplifting, relieving and memorable no matter how seemingly ordinary the event. It may be random or it may be planned such as listening to a favourite piece of music. 'Radiance' by Ken Davis usually does it for me. It may involve NOTICING the moment when engrossed in a favourite activity or enthusiasm. These are the things that are likely to populate your memory when reflecting on your life as well as being experienced joyfully at the time. BE HERE NOW is a teaching that has been handed down through the ages. Practising this intermittently can support all the other necessary activities of life.

If you require the services of a Psychologist Perth or Counsellor Perth, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Being The Emperor of Icecream

In 1923 the American poet Wallace Stevens published The Emperor of Icecream. In terms of framing life and death he said 'let BE be the finale of SEEM..the only emperor is the emperor of icecream' (emphasis added). What Stevens was getting at was the importance of being in the moment with its vividness of the experience of being alive.This is in contrast to worrying too much about how we seem to others.The latter attitude is so prevalent in modern day advertising with its emphasis on personal comparisons between individuals and their image and possessions.Many people report they are unhappy because of concerns about what they think others think of them. In real terms you probably do not really know what other people think about you privately whatever they may say publicly.A useful mantra can be to say to yourself 'what other people think about me is none of my business. What I think about me is my business.' The latter,you can control.The former you can not definitely determine.

Being the emperor of icecream puts emphasis on having fun:having recreation and hobbies;and the enjoyment of the experience of being grounded in the present moment in life. Balancing play, as well as work and pleasing yourself as well as others,seems important in the maintenance of  good psychological and physical health. Many unwanted symptoms are likely to include reflections of negative expressions of unmet natural needs to laugh and play in a healthy fashion.If we listen to Wallace Stevens about what matters,when framed by the end of life,the ONLY emperor is the emperor of icecream (emphasis added).

If you require the services of a Psychologist Perth or Counsellor Perth, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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CLAREMONT
1/40 St Quentin Ave
Claremont WA 6010
(Find at cnr Stirling Rd & Stirling Hwy)



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PO Box 6247
Swanbourne WA 6010

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