Sun setting behind a boardwalk reaching out into the ocean representing improved performance and achievement

Understanding Perfectionism and Unrelenting Standards

At its core, perfectionism manifests as a relentless pursuit of excessively high standards. While striving for excellence can be motivating and rewarding, when perfectionism becomes pervasive, it can lead to a host of psychological challenges.

Various theoretical frameworks within psychology shed light on the nature and origins of perfectionism. One such perspective is rooted in psychodynamic theory, which suggests that perfectionism may stem from early childhood experiences, such as overly critical parenting or a need for approval from caregivers. According to this view, individuals develop perfectionistic tendencies as a means of coping with feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.

Cognitive-behavioural theories posit that perfectionism arises from maladaptive beliefs and cognitive distortions. These distorted thoughts often revolve around themes of worthiness, failure, and the need for control. Individuals with perfectionistic tendencies may engage in all-or-nothing thinking, viewing any outcome less than perfect as a total failure.

Humanistic theories emphasise the role of societal expectations and cultural norms in shaping perfectionistic tendencies. In a society that values achievement and productivity, individuals may internalise unrealistic standards of success, leading to relentless self-imposed pressure to excel in every aspect of life.

Practical Strategies for Managing Perfectionism

Recognising and addressing perfectionism is essential for promoting psychological wellbeing. Here are some practical strategies informed by psychological research and clinical practice:

Cultivate Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially in moments of perceived failure or imperfection. Research suggests that self-compassion is inversely related to perfectionism and can buffer against its negative effects.

Challenge Maladaptive Beliefs: Identify and challenge perfectionistic beliefs and cognitive distortions through cognitive restructuring techniques. Examine the evidence for and against perfectionistic standards and develop more balanced and realistic thinking patterns.

Set Realistic Goals: Set achievable goals that prioritise progress over perfection. Define SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—to provide a clear roadmap for success without setting unrealistic expectations.

Practice Mindfulness: Cultivate present-moment awareness and non-judgmental acceptance of your experiences. Mindfulness techniques can help individuals disengage from perfectionistic thoughts and develop a more compassionate and accepting attitude towards themselves.

Promote Work-Life Balance: Establish boundaries and prioritise self-care to prevent burnout and perfectionistic tendencies. Maintain a healthy balance between work, leisure, and relationships, recognising that perfectionism often thrives in environments characterised by chronic stress and overwork.

In embracing imperfection and striving for progress over perfection, we invite our clients to embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-compassion, fostering resilience and wellbeing. Take the first step today towards a more fulfilling and balanced life by reaching out for support and incorporating these practical strategies into your daily routine.

Sun rising behind a tree in an empty field, representing positive change from seeing a psychologist

What are Core Psychological Needs?

What are our five core psychological needs?

Understanding and addressing our core psychological needs lie at the heart of fostering psychological wellbeing and resilience. These fundamental needs, rooted in our experiences and relationships, significantly impact our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. By acknowledging and meeting these needs, individuals pave the way toward psychological healing and personal growth.

Safety and Security

Feeling safe and secure forms the cornerstone of emotional wellbeing. This need encompasses physical safety but extends to emotional security, stability in relationships, and predictability in our environment. When this need is unmet, it can manifest as anxiety, hypervigilance, or difficulties in forming trusting relationships.

Connection and Belonging

Humans are inherently social beings, yearning for connections that provide a sense of belonging. This need encompasses meaningful relationships, acceptance, and a sense of community. When this need is unfulfilled, it may lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, or a persistent sense of not fitting in.

Autonomy and Competence

The need for autonomy and competence involves a sense of independence, self-reliance, and the ability to make choices. It reflects the belief in one’s capabilities and a sense of mastery in different aspects of life. When this need remains unmet, it can lead to feelings of helplessness, dependency, or low self-esteem.

Identity and Purpose

Having a clear sense of identity and purpose is vital for a fulfilling life. It encompasses understanding oneself, values, beliefs, and having a sense of direction or meaning. When this need is unfulfilled, individuals might experience confusion, lack of direction, or feelings of emptiness.

Spontaneity and Play

The need for spontaneity and playfulness involves experiencing joy, creativity, and a sense of freedom. It’s about finding pleasure in life’s simple moments, being playful, and embracing creativity. When this need is neglected, it can lead to a lack of joy, rigid thinking, or an inability to relax and enjoy life.

Fulfilling Core Needs in Therapy

Psychotherapy often involves identifying and addressing core psychological needs to heal emotional wounds and break harmful patterns. By creating a nurturing environment, exploring past experiences, and fostering healthy coping strategies, our Gold Coast Psychologists help individuals meet these needs, leading to psychological healing and personal transformation.

Sun rising over a wooden pier, symbolising a new life direction and a better future

The Power of a Morning Routine: Start Your Day with Action, Not Reaction!

Your mornings have the power to shape your entire day. Have you ever woken up feeling groggy, rushed, and already behind schedule? It’s a common experience for many of us. However, as a Clinical Psychologist, I can’t stress enough the importance of starting your day with intention and action, rather than being swept away by the demands and distractions that come your way. The benefits of a morning routine cannot be overstated and can set the tone for a more productive, fulfilling day.

The Science Behind Morning Routines
Did you know that the way you start your day can have a profound impact on your overall wellbeing? Research suggests that establishing a morning routine helps reduce stress, increase focus and productivity, enhance mood, and boost overall mental health. When you wake up and take control of your morning, you set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Seize the Power of Habit
Our brains are wired for habits, and morning routines are an excellent way to leverage this innate tendency. By establishing a consistent morning routine, you create a sense of structure and predictability. This, in turn, reduces decision fatigue and frees up mental energy for more important tasks later in the day. Remember, habits take time to form, so be patient and persistent as you build your ideal morning routine.

Make Time for Mindfulness
Starting your day with a few moments of mindfulness can work wonders for your mental wellbeing. Whether it’s meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply savouring a cup of tea or coffee in silence, these moments of stillness allow you to center yourself, cultivate self-awareness, and set positive intentions for the day ahead. Research shows that practicing mindfulness regularly can reduce anxiety, improve focus, and increase overall resilience.

Focus and Productivity
Starting your day with purposeful action allows you to proactively set priorities and tackle important tasks before distractions creep in. By dedicating time to your most significant goals or projects in the morning, when your mind is fresh and focused, you’re more likely to accomplish them efficiently and with greater quality. Remember, action begets action, and taking control of your mornings can lead to a ripple effect of productivity throughout the day.

Cultivating Positivity and Gratitude
Incorporating gratitude exercises into your morning routine can significantly enhance your overall well-being. Before you jump into your daily activities, take a moment to reflect on three things you’re grateful for. This simple practice shifts your mindset to one of abundance and positivity, setting the stage for a more optimistic and fulfilling day.

By embracing the benefits of a morning routine and starting your day with action, intention, and self-care, you can cultivate a more balanced, productive, and fulfilling life. Remember, it’s never too late to establish a morning routine. Start small, experiment with different activities, and find what works best for you. With consistency and commitment, you’ll soon reap the incredible rewards of a purposeful morning routine.

So, why wait? Take charge of your mornings, embrace the power of a routine, and witness the positive transformation it brings to your life!


Vanderkam, L. (2016). What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. Portfolio.

Bonura, K. B. (2017). How Morning People Can Make Their Mornings Better. Psychology Today.

Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind. Science, 330(6006), 932.

Loprinzi, P. D., et al. (2014). The Role of Morning Exercise for Health Benefits. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 33(2), 271-286.

Relationship counselling

Passionate versus Companionate Love: The Dangers of High Chemistry Relationships

Passionate love and companionate love are two distinct types of love that individuals may experience in their romantic relationships. Passionate and companionate love are characterised by distinct emotional qualities and have implications for the overall dynamics and longevity of the relationship.

Passionate love is often described as intense, consuming, and characterised by strong emotions, desire, and infatuation with one’s partner. It is often associated with the early stages of a romantic relationship when there is a heightened sense of excitement, novelty, and physical attraction. Passionate love is characterised by an intense longing for the presence of the loved one, frequent thoughts about the person, and a strong desire for emotional and physical closeness. It is often accompanied by physiological responses such as increased heart rate, butterflies in the stomach, and a sense of euphoria or joy.

On the other hand, companionate love is characterised by feelings of warmth, affection, and deep attachment. It develops over time as the relationship progresses and the initial passion subsides. Companionate love is more grounded, steady, and based on shared values, trust, and emotional intimacy. It is often described as a deep friendship and a sense of comfort and security with one’s partner. While passionate love tends to focus on intense emotions and physical attraction, companionate love emphasises a sense of deep connection, support, and commitment.

The experiences people have in dating and relationships can be influenced by whether they lean more towards passionate love or companionate love. Relationships dominated by passionate love often start with a strong initial spark and intense emotions, but they can also be volatile and prone to fluctuations (ups and downs). The passionate aspect of love often fades over time, leading to challenges in sustaining the relationship if there isn’t a strong foundation of companionate love to rely on.

As a Clinical Psychologist, I often advise clients to exercise caution when entering high chemistry relationships. It’s important that we take the time to assess compatibility, evaluate long-term potential, and ensure that the relationship is built on a solid foundation of shared values, effective communication, and emotional intimacy. By being cautious and mindful, individuals can increase their chances of finding a healthy and sustainable relationship that goes beyond the initial intense chemistry.

Relationships driven by companionate love tend to be more stable and enduring. The deep emotional connection and shared experiences foster a sense of security and trust, which can contribute to long-term relationship satisfaction. While the passionate element may diminish, the enduring bond and emotional intimacy of companionate love can provide a strong foundation for a lasting and fulfilling relationship.

It’s important to note that passionate love and companionate love are not mutually exclusive and can coexist in varying degrees within a relationship. Relationships often go through different stages where passionate love may evolve into companionate love over time. The ideal balance between these two types of love can vary from person to person, and it’s crucial for individuals to understand their own needs and the needs of their partner to cultivate a healthy and satisfying relationship.

Overall, while passionate love may ignite the initial spark and attraction, it is the presence of companionate love that often sustains and enriches a relationship in the long run. Finding a healthy balance between passion and companionship can contribute to a more fulfilling and rewarding partnership.

Impermanence (Nothing Lasts Forever) & Radical Acceptance

Impermanence refers to the idea that everything is constantly changing and that nothing lasts forever. This can be a difficult concept to accept because it goes against our desire for stability, security, and permanence. We may hold on to things, people, and experiences because we want them to remain constant and unchanging, but in reality, everything is in a state of flux.

Accepting impermanence can be challenging because it requires letting go of what we hold dear and embracing uncertainty. However, it can also lead to a greater appreciation of the present moment and a deeper understanding of the transience of life. This perspective can help individuals develop a more flexible and adaptable mindset, allowing them to better cope with change and uncertainty.

Additionally, understanding impermanence can help individuals adopt a non-attached, non-clinging perspective, reducing feelings of attachment, greed, and desire. It can also lead to a greater sense of inner peace and contentment, as individuals come to understand that the impermanence of things is a natural part of life and a part of the larger cycle of birth, growth, and decay.

Radical acceptance is a psychological concept that involves fully accepting and embracing reality as it is, without judgment or resistance. In the context of impermanence, radical acceptance involves accepting that everything is constantly changing and that nothing lasts forever.

Radical acceptance can help individuals deal with impermanence by reducing feelings of resistance and struggle. When we resist change, we create additional suffering for ourselves. By accepting that things are always changing, we can let go of our attachment to them and reduce the pain associated with loss.

Radical acceptance also involves recognizing that resistance and denial only prolongs our suffering and increases our feelings of frustration and unhappiness. By embracing impermanence, we can develop a more flexible and adaptable mindset, allowing us to better cope with change and uncertainty.

Furthermore, radical acceptance can help us develop a greater appreciation of the present moment and a deeper understanding of the transience of life. This perspective can lead to a greater sense of inner peace and contentment, as we come to understand that the impermanence of things is a natural part of life and a part of the larger cycle of birth, growth, and decay.

Who Am I? The Process of Identity Formation

Identity formation is a crucial aspect of human development and is a central focus of many individuals’ lives. As a Clinical Psychologist, I often work with clients who are struggling to understand who they are and to establish a stable sense of self. This process can be especially challenging for those who have experienced trauma, loss, or other significant life events.

From a psychological perspective, identity formation is a complex process that involves the integration of various aspects of the self, including our beliefs, values, experiences, and relationships. Our sense of identity is shaped by our experiences, both positive and negative, as well as by the people and relationships in our lives.

For many individuals, the process of identity formation can be a source of confusion and uncertainty, especially during periods of transition or significant life events. This can result in feelings of anxiety, depression, or a lack of purpose.

In therapy, I often help my clients explore their beliefs and values, and to understand the impact of their experiences on their sense of self. This can involve exploring childhood experiences, past relationships, and cultural background, as well as more recent events and challenges.

In addition to exploring their personal history, I also help my clients to develop a sense of purpose and to build meaningful relationships. This can involve exploring new interests and hobbies, seeking out new experiences, and building supportive relationships.

It is also important for individuals to have a safe and supportive environment in which to explore their sense of self. This can be achieved through therapy, support groups, or other resources.

Mental Health Impacts of Long COVID

Long Covid, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), refers to the ongoing symptoms that persist after a person has recovered from the acute phase of Covid-19. These symptoms can range from mild fatigue to severe physical and mental health issues, and can last for weeks, months or even longer.

The mental health impacts of Long Covid are significant and can be devastating for those who experience them. People with Long Covid may experience depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness. This is due to the impact of the ongoing physical symptoms on their daily lives, as well as the uncertainty surrounding their recovery.

To assist with managing Long Covid symptoms, it is important to take steps to maintain good mental health. Some strategies that may help include:

Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve mental wellbeing and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day, and try to incorporate activities that you enjoy.

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall mental health.

Social support: Spending time with friends and family, or connecting with others through support groups, can help to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Sleep: Getting enough sleep is essential for good mental health. Establish a regular sleep routine and aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Seek professional help: If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. They can provide support, guidance, and strategies for managing your symptoms.

In conclusion, Long Covid can have serious mental health impacts, and it is important to take steps to manage these symptoms. By incorporating strategies such as exercise, mindfulness and relaxation techniques, social support, adequate sleep, and seeking professional help when needed, people with Long Covid can improve their mental wellbeing and take control of their recovery.

Stoicism: The Psychology of Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor, offers valuable insights into how we can live a meaningful and fulfilling life. His teachings can be applied to modern-day life to help individuals navigate challenges and cultivate inner peace and contentment.

One of the core principles of Marcus Aurelius’s philosophy is the idea of accepting what we cannot control. In his book “Meditations,” he writes:

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.”

This idea is relevant to everyday life as it encourages us to focus on what we can control, rather than dwelling on things that are outside of our control. This can help us to avoid frustration, anxiety, and negative thoughts, and to cultivate a sense of inner peace and contentment.

Another key aspect of Marcus Aurelius’s philosophy is the idea of living in the present moment. He believed that life is brief and that we should focus on the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This idea is relevant to modern-day life as it encourages us to be mindful and to focus on the present moment, rather than getting lost in our thoughts or worries. By focusing on the present moment, we can cultivate a sense of inner peace and live a more fulfilling life.

Marcus Aurelius also emphasised the importance of being kind and compassionate to others. He believed that helping others is a key aspect of living a meaningful life and that we should strive to be kind and compassionate to those around us. This idea is relevant to modern-day life as it encourages us to focus on the needs of others and to build positive relationships with those around us. By being kind and compassionate, we can cultivate a sense of inner peace and live a more fulfilling life.

Finally, Marcus Aurelius believed in the importance of self-reflection and self-improvement. He encouraged individuals to reflect on their thoughts and actions and to strive to improve themselves. This idea is relevant to modern-day life as it encourages us to reflect on our thoughts, beliefs, and actions and to strive to improve ourselves. By doing so, we can cultivate a sense of inner peace and live a more fulfilling life.

The philosophy of Marcus Aurelius offers valuable insights into how we can live a meaningful and fulfilling life. By accepting what we cannot control, living in the present moment, being kind and compassionate to others, and reflecting on our thoughts and actions, we can cultivate inner peace and live a more fulfilling life. By applying these principles to our daily lives, we can gain a deeper understanding of who we are and what is truly important in life.

Working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak: Tips to support your mental health

Due to the impacts of coronavirus, many people are either already or are about to work from home. With this in mind, here are some tips that will help support your mental health whilst you adjust to these changes to your workplace:

  • If possible, create a separate office or workspace
    • Studies show that working from home can interfere with sleep, especially for individuals who find it difficult to switch off from work. In particular, avoid working in your bedroom (if possible), as your bedroom will become associated with being alert, awake, and switched on.
  • If you’re not stuck in self-isolation, try to get outside at least once per day.
    • Go for a walk, get some fresh air and sunshine. If you are in isolation, go out to your garden or walk up and down your driveway or go out on your balcony and enjoy fresh air.
  • Maintain a health work-life balance by setting time limits.
    • Set a routine as if you are going into the office, wiht a regular start and finish time, and a structure for your day, including breaks and exercise scheduled in. This will assist you to maintain a strong boundary between work and home life.
  • Keep connected to colleagues
    • Staying connected with other will help to reduce stress, feelings of isolation, and increase productivity. It also helps you communicate with your manager or employees to keep them informed of what you’re working on.
  • Get ready for the day ahead as though you were going into work.
    • Creating cues such as getting changed into your work clothes at the start of the day and out at the end can help with maintaining a strong work-life balance.
  • Digital detox in the evenings
    • Try a digital detox to help you switch off from work, so you can spend quality time with your family, or do the things you want to do.