‘ …You gotta learn to be positive, it’s your only chance

You mustn’t be so defensive,you gotta join in the dance

But it isn’t your dancing that you’ve gotta improve

Ooh,it’s your attitude…’

( The Kinks…”Attitude” )

It’s natural to see the world in a habitual fashion,like wearing glasses with writing on the lenses.You will see this message everywhere.These filters or channels help to configure and reinforce our  attitude or way of experiencing and reacting to the world at large.  Eric Berne, founder of Transactional Analysis, regarded neurotic behaviours as patterns described as different types of ‘psychological games’ .One of Berne’s students ,Stephen Karpman, has suggested  the entry point  to these behaviours is signposted. The characteristic signposts were designated as behavioural patterns seen to be one of three possible positions. The positions are described as ‘Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer ‘ in a dynamic described as the Karpman Drama Triangle.  The positions change from the beginning to the end of a sequence of behaviours or ‘psychological games’. The end result is the repetition of a pattern with an attached familiar bad result and familiar bad feeling. Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, relationship or self esteem  difficulties may feature. Generally pre-existing attitudes or beliefs are reinforced in this process.

With reflection and insight these characteristic ‘ Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer ‘  patterns may be recognised and modified so that behaviour, in turn, may be modified. This work is one of the elements of a certain type of psychotherapeutic work. Doing this; changing your outdated characteristic , automatic and  compulsive beliefs or ways of seeing the world , may lead  to a change of attitudes. In turn this may radically help you to change the way you structure your life and experience. The resulting possible changes in  negative repetitive patterns may result in better quality relationships and perception of self and others. This is a common goal in counselling or therapy and the work often involves separating past experiences from present day reality testing.

If you are seeking the services of a Perth psychologist or Perth Counsellor, please contact me at


Self Esteem

‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.’

            – Gautama Buddha


This is a value judgement. It is not based on anything except a decision to value spiritually equal every being in the universe regardless of persona, status, or ability. Like every grain of sand on the beach being equally important in the inanimate world.

This position seems very hard for many people to experience as status and performance are so highly valued. Even then, many people with lofty rank and great ability and achievement harbour feelings of low self worth.This can lead to a search for perfection, where nothing one achieves feels good enough. It can also lead to approval seeking behaviour, extreme criticism of self or others, and feelings of depression and/or anxiety. It may lead to some people giving up entirely in trying to achieve anything.

This state of affairs may be remedied by understanding the difference between UNCONDITIONAL worth and CONDITIONAL worth.The former is represented in the above quote of Gautama Buddha. It is a spiritual value judgement. This is a deliberate  DECISION not a performance.Unconditional worth can be seen as the cake and conditional worth as the icing on it. Unconditional worth is based on BEING whereas conditional worth is based on DOING. You can decide to value and support yourself no matter what circumstances prevail. This is a cognitive activity of choice not a muscular one. If nobody loves or values you, you CAN decide to love and value yourself anyway.The self parenting strategy outlined in an earlier blog may be a useful way to do this.

It does not mean you are selfish or unable to recognise, reflect on, and react to mistakes, errors of judgement, or inadequacies. It does not mean you can not strive for conditional feelings of worth based on maximising potential. It simply means you can decide on a solid foundation of  one level of equal self/other valuing in your existence no matter what. This knowing must not be lost or covered  with passing feelings of  hurt and disappointment when a performance or outcome has been less than hoped for. Nor lost in the face of exclusion or criticism by others.

The corollary of all this is the ability to also  choose to give others compliments or ‘strokes’ based on both conditional and/or unconditional regard.

If you are seeking the services of a Psychologist Perth or Counsellor Perth please contact me at


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.


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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)


(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

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