Back to school!

On Friday I was back at the British School in Stavanger to talk to the MYP assembly about looking after their mental health.  It's a long time since I've stood at the front of the assembly hall and I was just a little bit nervous!  However, the students were incredibly receptive, answering questions and volunteering suggestions with great enthusiasm and I really enjoyed the morning.  At the end of the session I asked students to write suggestions, on coloured paper, of how they could look after their own mental health, or how they could support a friend and to stick them on the wall on their way out.  The results are in the photo below - they had some great ideas and I hope that the chatter I could hear as students left the hall means there are some new conversations about mental health happening. It was also lovely to meet some of the students who had further questions, and a few aspiring psychologists looking for career advice!

MYP students' suggestions of how to look after their mental health.

Confident parents and confident children!

Developing parenting skills, developing confident children!

Being a parent can be wonderful, but it also brings many challenges. Bringing up children to be confident and emotionally healthy whilst living away from the support of family and friends, and juggling the commitments of work and family life, is not easy.

Last week I led the first session of a new course on developing parenting skills. I have a lovely group of truly international parents to work with, who have bought their curiosity, energy and enthusiasm with them to the group. I think I am going to learn a great deal from them as we explore and reflect on what being a good parent means to us, our relationships and influences, how we listen to and talk with our children, deal with challenging behaviour and an awful lot more.

The course consists of 10 sessions, and is held in the shiny new premises of the BISS College in Forus, Stavanger. Aiming to provide a supportive and empowering environment, and the opportunity to give you time to think about your own and your children’s confidence and self-esteem, this is a really positive course to help you develop a range of skills and approaches to be a more effective parent.

If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to sign up for the next course, beginning in January, please contact me.

Focus on... Adolescent mental health in August

Later this month I will be leading some workshops on adolescent mental health in Stavanger, so I thought that this would be a good focus for a few posts over August, particularly with the new Norwegian school year beginning in a couple of weeks.

So, if you are a teenager, or you live with a teenager, are expecting one in the future, know one , or just were a teenager once, please follow me here and on Facebook for regular posts during August, with enlightening and helpful links and support.  adolescent mental health

Young Minds (a fantastic organization, please see below for more) define mental health as ‘the strength and capacity of our minds to grow and develop, to be able to overcome difficulties and challenges and to make the most of our abilities and opportunities’.

Good mental health incorporates our capacity to form and maintain healthy relationships, to learn and play, to develop into a mentally healthy adult. The teenage years are often characterized by a push against authority and the boundaries set by family and school, by new and sometimes challenging behavior. This is entirely normal, and in many ways a healthy exploration of our place in the world, but sometimes young people, their parents or teachers become worried by the young person's distress, difficulty coping or by challenging behaviour, and then it is important to seek help as soon as possible.  A great source of information is Young Minds ‘the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people’. The Young Minds website has lots of information for young people and their parents, carers, teachers and other professionals. Take a look.

For more on adolescent mental health over August please take a look at, and like, the Counselling Psychology Stavanger Facebook page.