Counselling Corner newsletter – March 2023

The summer has started which means more sunshine. And this is good news for people’s mood as the sun gives vitamin D which helps to prevent mood disorders and depression. So, get out of bed early and spend some time in the sun and avoid staying indoors the whole day.

Counselling Corner’s topic of the month in February was about family & children and the importance of creating a safe environment to grow up.  We are very happy to see AIA Myanmar added Myanmar subtitles to the inspirational story of their global ambassador, footballer Harry Kane: AIA Myanmar – Harry Kane who founded a foundation to support mental health awareness. The main lessons: always believe in yourself.

During the month of March, we’re talking about addictions. We handle the topic during our free Tuesday Live talks (also available on our YouTube Channel), in our free Wednesday workshop, at our Friday social media posts and during the free Saturday emotional workshops

Addiction and Mental Health

This month’s topic of discussion is “Addiction”. Addiction is defined as a disease that causes a person to continuous have a desire to engage in certain behaviours although this causes substantial harm and has other negative consequences. 

The addiction can be behavioural as for example gambling, eating, playing games, social media, shopping, self-harm but also using drugs, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and cigarettes. An addiction can also be a physical disorder indicated by chronic or persistent use of tolerance-forming drugs and addictive substances, for example alcohol, tobacco, hard drugs including amphetamine and other chemical pills, opioid, marijuana etc.

Substance abuse is the excessive use of a specified amount of drugs, alcohol etc up to a level that you can’t control the quantity you consume.

We regularly see people with trauma, stress, depression and anxiety to look for ways out to deal with these negative feelings. People don’t want be constantly reminded about their negative thoughts which sometimes caused sleepless nights, extreme tiredness and mood swings. To escape from reality, look for pleasure or stop feeling sorry for others, it’s easy to get hooked to instant pleasure giving substances and become gradually obsessed with the temporary “good-feeling” and become eventually addicted.

This addiction affects people around us in Myanmar, at every level in society, in every town and village. In the beginning it looks innocent and controllable but eventually you risk that you can’t find the strength to stop your behaviour. Understanding that you are addicted and asking for help and support is one of the first steps to take.

An addiction is difficult to overcome as withdrawal can cause physical and mentally unpleasant body reactions. There is a big stigma and blame put on addicts; “the addict shouldn’t have started this substance abuse in the first place” or “he is weak” but to be fair, you don’t know what this person has been going through in his head that caused this path to find relief. 

So, when you see addicts, give them a chance to get back to their original healthy life.

Do you feel you’re sliding into addiction? Connect with people and get the guidance you need from professional therapist without judgement. Most importantly, try to get support from family and friends and remember; your real friends are not the ones who encourage you to continue the substance abuse.

The more help you get, the faster you can recover but realise it won’t be an easy journey.

Talking out loud

The part of your brain that stores and process emotions is called the limbic system. For many Myanmar people this limbic system is busy at the moment as there are constantly many extreme emotions to process. When this part of the brain is overloaded, it “locks“ the part to the logical thinking part of your brain. That happens for example when somebody is extremely angry that he / she doesn’t think logically at that moment and makes stupid mistakes.

Watch this video from Khin Moh Moh Kyaw (based in Yangon) and Soe Myat Moe Shwe (based in Singapore) that explains more about the emotional workshop and why it can be good for you.

Counselling Corner is happy to organise a private emotional workshop for your staff, family or group or friends. Every Wednesday and Saturday (time) free workshops are organised for anyone (in Myanmar language from 6 to 8 pm.
Watch it and then Share this video with your friends (and subscribe to our YouTube Channel)

Year-end reflection workshop for staff

We are glad to see organisations taking interest in the reflection workshop for staff as it’s ideal for this time of the year and can easily be combined with a staff retreat.

Workshop synopsis
Everybody in Myanmar faced many challenges during the past year including good and bad things, ups and downs. But we mostly assume our past year with only just one word, for example good, bad, tiring or cheerful. People and teams need to reflect as part of learning and innovation. Reflection can reveal strengths and areas for improvement. During the transition from one year to the next, we tend to focus on what’s coming up in the new year. Planning ahead and creating goals is important, but let’s not forget to reflect on the previous year to learn from our experiences and get focused and deliberate about the future choices we make. After the reflection, there are benefits like promoting motivation, building mindfulness, improving self-confidence, and growing the process of self-development. These end of year reflections will help you to be ready and plan for the next year.

Aims and Objectives
To reflect your emotions, thoughts, behaviours and actions
To know about yourself more both physically and mentally
To build resilience throughout the year
To learn how to plan for new year

Promoting motivation
Building mindfulness
Building our self-confidence
Growing the process of self-development
A year-end review makes planning easier for next year

Book now a reflection workshop for your company before the Thingyan holidays start. A workshop is best held in person in groups of maximum 20 people and takes about 2-3 hours. The fees are 250 Usd (which is just over 12 Usd per person).

Consultation sessions – is something wrong with me?

It’s normal to have extreme emotions in these challenging times and there is nothing wrong about that. Some people easily cope with emotions naturally, some need a bit of support to find the right technique, while others try to suppress their emotions and go for excessive drinking, using drugs, gambling or find other ways out.

Counselling Corner started offering consultation sessions for yourself or for family members or friends to ask confidential questions to a professional counsellor. Any topic is possible to ask, such as “how to support my children as I think they are going through a rough period”, I have sleepless nights and can’t function anymore in day time” and “Help my daughter is addicted and I don’t know what to do”.

Book a one-time consultation session to get an answer to all your personal questions. Regular rate is 70.000 kyats and we always are ready to subsidise partly if you can’t afford our regular rates. Besides that, we regularly offer free consultation days on Mondays.

Basic Counselling Skills Training – next batch starting on Saturday 22 April 2023

The classes are becoming popular and we got requests to hold training during the weekends (Saturday and Sunday) so the next batch will be from Sat 22 April till Sunday 21 May. Daily from 6 – 8 pm online.
Get more info here more info on the curriculum and sign up now to start your career as a counsellor. 

During the past 4 years, we have trained hundreds of people including volunteers in IDP camps in Rakhine and Kayah State as well as women’s organisations in Kachin state and people with disabilities in Shan state.

We are happy to set-up private training classes for small groups at any date.

Read the Myanmar version of newsletter on our website
Please do share / like and contact us if you have any questions or suggestions on the above or want to know more about our services. We want to make it easier for people to talk about mental well-being and we need help from all organizations in Myanmar to discuss mental well-being openly with your team and work on improving it.

For inquiries, please contact us:
Phone: 09 785 074 173, 09 784 509 916

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