Psynamo Celebrates World Mental Health Day Wednesday 10th October 2018

The team at Psynamo celebrate mental health every day and in every way. We have been supporting individual patients, Corporate EAP programmes, NGO’s and Charities alike in Hong Kong and the Asian Pacific Region for the last decade.


Our Mission has always been “We are dedicated to the betterment of mental health and mental health awareness for all whenever possible.” We only find more reasons every day to keep doing this, what we love – empowering others to thrive in a future that they can see for themselves.

Mental health can be thought of as “Mental Hygiene”, we go to the dentist for ‘dental hygiene’, ensuring awareness and capability to make necessary changes in our life is good ‘mental hygiene’. Taking care of our bodies and our minds is a priority in life and well-being is one of the top research areas in the world at the moment.

See the World Health Organisation’s website to learn more about how we can all create and inspire awareness today and everyday.

Be sure to be your own positive advocate for your own mental health or for someone you care about – it takes only a moment and definitely can carry through a lifetime.

Wishing you good mental health!


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Psynamo Celebrates: International Coaching Supervision Day 19th May 2018

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Celebrate with the Team at Psynamo Group May 19th 2018

 International Coaching Supervision Day!

Supervision, or Super-VISION as it is sometimes referred to, comes in many shapes, with over 400 forms throughout the various helping disciplines. In the mental health field, this has been an established and necessary part of professional training, development and practice for some time and is considered an indispensable element in ensuring the highest level of ethical practice.

The profession of coaching, as an extension of the helping professions, has begun to embrace the concept of reflective practice as an element of professional development in the form of coaching supervision. Currently, only the Association for Coaching in the UK and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council based in Belgium, and with chapters around the globe, make supervision an integral part of coach training, development, accreditation and continuing professional practice as a coaching professional. They also offer accreditation as a coaching supervisor, placing rigorous standards on the issuing of such credentials. This practice is surely due to expand as more and more organisations and professional bodies become aware not only of the research available that supports the positive results of regular supervision but ultimately the improved satisfaction of coaches and coachees. It pays to be professional!

Like coaching, supervision is a collaborative process that uses clear contracting to make the best and most use of time and to ensure the relationship in that moment is as authentic as it can be. Unlike coaching, each session does not necessarily have to build on some greater ‘SMARTS’ goal. Supervision is a professionally developmental relationship built on trust and using reflective practices, where supervisee and supervisor discover together each time in a way that may not occur when reflecting alone. It is a unique way to learn and can be more rewarding, professionally and personally, than trying to see what you cannot see for yourself when alone.

The Team at the Psynamo Group wish you a

Happy International Coaching Supervision Day today!

Enjoy Reflecting…

Staff Writer: Scarlett Mattoli, MSc, MSc, MA

Scarlett is a Coaching Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Psychometrist. She is a full member of the ISCP, the AC and the EMCC, having additionally achieved accreditation with the latter two, in addition to having membership and accreditation with a number of other professional bodies for other disciplines in which she is trained.

She has been coaching with individuals and in a family context since 2007, completing her research masters in coaching psychology in 2013 with the University of East London and diploma in coaching supervision in 2015 with the Coaching Supervision Academy. Scarlett supervises coaches on a one-to-one and group basis in person and via secure online platform.

Scarlett has a background of 25 years in psychology with a focus on cognitive neuropsychology, assessment and psychotherapy, and is due to complete her doctorate in clinical psychology in late 2018. She utilises knowledge gained in these areas to support her coaching supervision and coaching practices where appropriate, especially when issues present that cross-over coaching and mental-health boundaries.

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Taking Stock of Your Values

ValuesTaking Stock of Your Values, by Emma Wienker

The start of a new year is often a time when people make new year’s resolutions and set goals for what they want to accomplish in the coming year. From extensive research we know that well-defined goals increase the likelihood that we will achieve the things we want.

Goals are future oriented, something that we are striving to achieve, change or obtain at a later time. Interestingly, people who become overly goal-focused may also experience frustration and a lack of fulfilment. Their focus on the future and achieving the next milestone may mean they put off experiencing joy or success until the goal has been achieved. Often I hear statements such as “once I lose that five kilograms (goal) then I will feel much happier”, or “when I get that promotion (goal) work will be so much more satisfying”. In both scenarios, happiness and satisfaction is tied to achieving a goal.

However, what if the goal is not achieved or it takes considerable time to accomplish? How can we experience meaning and purpose every day? One answer to those questions is to take stock of, clarify and make a conscious choice to act on our values.

What are values?

Values are what we want to stand for in life, how we want to behave and the global qualities of our actions – Russ Harris, MD The Happiness Trap. Values are something that you can do on an ongoing basis, for example, being loving, accepting, curious, assertive, fair, or nurturing. In contrast, being happy, confident or content are not values, these are feelings or emotional outcomes. Being respected, valued or loved are also not values, as these relate to how others behave towards you.

What is so special about values?

Values are an expression of what really matters to us. Acting on our values brings meaning, purpose and fulfilment that comes from being true to ourselves. Values can be used in every facet of our life, our relationships, our work, our health and our leisure time. Knowing our values can help us make choices about how we might act in response to stressful or challenging situations. Despite how we are feeling, we can still take actions that are in line with our values. For example, in the midst of discussing a sensitive issue with your partner, how do you want to behave? Is it with hostility or avoidance? Is this in line with your values as a partner? Or do you want to engage with honesty and compassion? Being in touch with your values can help you to respond more effectively, engage fully in your life, even when faced with emotionally difficult situations.

Unlike goals, values are ongoing, they aren’t completed and can’t be crossed off your bucket list as “achieved”. Values are not future focused, they are accessible here and now, we can choose to behave in ways aligned to them in each moment. Values aren’t dependent on whether or not we achieve a goal. They are flexible; there are multiple ways in which you can act on your values at any given time. When our behaviours don’t align to our values, people may feel lost, our achievements may feel empty and our experiences may lack a sense of meaning.

How can I use values in my life?

In relationships, being clear on our values helps us to define the qualities of our own behaviour and the sort of partner we want to be (for example, supportive, caring, affectionate). Acting on our values in a relationship can be very empowering. Even though we can’t control how our partner behaves, we do have control over how we act and respond, which can help pave the way for constructive communication and meaningful engagement with our partner.

As a parent, acting in ways that align to the sort of parent we want to be (which might include values such as being nurturing, patient, curious, as examples), can help us derive meaning, especially on days we feel like we are down in the trenches, sleep-deprived, and when pursuing any goal may seem impossible. Knowing our values can also be helpful in guiding how we behave when we are dealing with difficult parenting situations (e.g., toddler tantrums, rebellious teenage behaviour).

Workplaces are often goal-driven environments, but they can also be complex and fluid. Acting on our values allow us to be purposeful in our actions even if there is ambiguity. As a leader, behaving in line with our values (which might include authenticity, encouragement, fairness) also provides consistency for our direct reports, providing them with a sense of stability and certainty about the future.

If values are so important, should I forget about my goals?

Values and goals serve different purposes. Goals help to keep us moving while values are like a compass, providing direction and a link between our goals, giving them meaning. To help live a values-based life, use your values as a starting point when setting goals and taking action towards your goals. If values underpin your actions, then the outcome of your goals becomes less important in leading a rich and meaningful life.

So before the year marches on, consider making time re-visit or discover your values. What do you want to stand for and how do you want to behave? If you are working towards a goal, ask yourself if it is aligned with what truly matters to you? Think about the little things you could do to take values-guided action in different areas of your life each day.

Emma Wienker is a Psychologist and works with people experiencing various life transitions and challenges. Helping clients identify their values is a central part in supporting clients on their journey to make meaningful changes, find alternative ways to reduce their struggle with painful thoughts and feelings, and engage fully in a purposeful life.

For more reading on values see Russ Harris, MD: ACT With Love and The Happiness Trap.

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Psynamo Celebrates Counselling Awareness Month: April 2017

PsynamoBirdsCounselling Awareness: 8 Top Tips to get the most out of Counselling

Counselling is a relationship between two people as well as a healing and learning process. Both the counsellor and the client need to be ready to work together and hopefully will be able to like each other. Here are 8 Top Tips for getting the most out of Counselling so you do not waste your time or money and ensure a healthy result.

1. Practitioner Counsellors should be at least Master’s levels qualified. Check out the Counsellors qualification(s) and affiliations in the country of origin of their degree. Some practitioners may refer to themselves as a ‘Child Specialist’, but do not actually have counselling or psychotherapy qualifications or additional specific training to work with children and teens. If they are working with your children make sure they have a ‘Criminal Records Check’, ‘Sexual Convictions Records Check’ or equivalent in place in their country of practice.It is important to understand what you or your child will be receiving so be sure to ask. Most counsellors will be trained to work with anxiety, stress, managing transitions, work-life balance and similar queries but many do go on to get specialist training for older or younger groups, for couples and similar, be sure to watch out for these specialities if you feel that they may be more suited to your needs.

2. Ask your counsellor what type of therapy they practice.Some refer to it as a ‘modality’ and many practitioners work with more than one. The most often quoted therapeutic stance is ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ or CBT, but there are more. There is also ACT or Acceptance and Committment Therapy, there is Play Therapy, Sand Tray Therapy, Art Therapy, Drama Therapy, Emotion-Focussed Therapy, Addictions Counselling specialists, Marriage Therapy, Family Therapy, and much more. Do a little research for yourself and make sure this seems right for you.

3. Counsellors should ideally be insured with Professional Indemnity insurance. Some are under their company policy, some may be under a group policy, others may go whole hog and get their own policy. This protects them from a number of potentially tricky aspects of profesisonal practice that do not usually come up in routine daily work, but more than anything else, tells you that they are practicing with a higher level of ethics in mind as most learned societies will require listed practitioners to have this before they are granted any form of membership.

4. Agree a fair market price. Counsellors are (should be) trained professionals and offer a range of services for a range of fees. Many may have set up on their own and have huge rents to cover and so may have few years of practice but high fees. Call around to a few providers and assess what scale suits your budget, or your insurers. You will need to feel that you are receiving a fair service for a fair price but keep in mind that when there is no financial investment in the process you may feel equally less emotional and/or cognitive investment and come out with little more than a bit of insight into the process. A good practitioner will earning their keep; if it is free, ask why.

5. Find out what their holiday and sick policies are so that you are preapred if the worst happens, both for you and for the counsellor. Many practices will make a charge for session missed and sessions that have been cancelled without more than 24 hours notice. This may not seem fair if you are genuinely unwell, but proof that you were sick and not avoiding the session often can clear the need for payment. Some counsellors may take extended holiday periods seasonally If this is not the sort of schedule you keep then find out what their plans are for locum coverage, most have a plan for this and will have a qualified and trsuted colleague to work with you in their absence when necessity calles for it.

6. Scope out the location of their premises and make sure you are comfortable with the area, the set-up internally and you feel safe and comfortable. You will be in the room alone with your counsellor for 50 minutes at a time and for up to 24 sessions should the need arise – be sure you are alright with the surroundings and you can get there easily enough to be on time for y our appointments. It hopefully goes without saying, you are well advised to try to avoid sessions that might be offere in a coffee shop.

7. You will get out of it what you put into it, don’t be shy. You will need to be honest or this relationship is not going to work. Counselling should be a confidential, protected and non-judgmental space, just for you, but you will only get out of it what you put into it. Counselling is not an advisory service or a place where anyone should be telling you how you should live your life. So long as you come to the table with all relevant details, a professional counsellor will be your reflective guide. They should never divulge the details of your sessions to anyone else, unless legally requested to do so, or in the course of regular supervision, which would be anonymised – and they should never even share whether or not you are a client – confidential means confidential, enjoy the freedom.

8. Last but not least, make sure you like the person. If you are not comfortable with the counselling or anything in the mix make it known to them so they have a chance to answer your queries. If you can’t put your finger on it but just don’t feel comfortable, you are not obliged to continue where you are seeking private counselling services as a privately paying citizen. You of course would need to follow the cancellation policy for any upcoming booked session, but you should have the right to cancel at any time. Equally, you should not be coerced into purchasing any ‘packages’ that you cannot have the right to cancel at a later date should you really find that counselling, the person or any other part of the mix is just not for you.

We hope that is a helpful starting place for thinking about counselling. Here are a few Counselling Association websites so you can get ahead of the curve – happy counselling…

American Counselling Association

Australian Counselling Association

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapies

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Psynamo Celebrates International Women’s Day 8 March 2017

The Team at Psynamo are celebrating all women worldwide today. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women everywhere. The theme this year is “Be Bold For Change”.

Each and everyone of us can do a little something, attend an event to celebrate, begin a change in themselves or in their community and takes steps towards gender parity.

Learn more about how you could participate today and in the future by visiting the dedicated website.

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Psynamo Celebrates Awareness of Bullying: November 14th to 20th, 2016


DisappointmentTo Bully, be Bullied, Bystand or Be the solution.

Bullying is a phenomenon that exists in nature and has been observed in animal and human models. It is a phenomenon that happens worldwide and causes untold angst and stress and yet there is very little that is done until someone is unable to cope and takes desperate measures to remedy their feelings.

Bullying can take many forms and can sometimes be indistinguishable from teasing, hazing and other practices that are considered ‘normal’ and something to just be taken on the chin. It can happen at school, in the home, in the workplace, socially, in the community, in cyberspace and pretty much anywhere that one human perceives an opportunity to exert themselves in some way over another human and seeks to carry out that act, often repeatedly with increasing intensity and frequency.

Whilst not an exhaustive list, bullying can take any of these forms and can exist anywhere there is a power differential to be had; Physical/Verbal/Cultural taunts and teasing, Stealing money or belongings, glaring/staring/not sharing, breaking in line, poking/touching inappropriately, damaging other’s belongings, ignoring, selective inclusion/exclusion, coercive demands, withholding something until receipt or something else, sexual reprisals/demands, demanding performance of some act without rational reason that is humiliating or degrading to another, requiring acts of an individual who is incapable of carrying them out for the purposes of segregation and acts that amount to exploitation.

This can come from friends, colleagues, peers, parents, siblings, community leaders and similar such figures. Bullies are not necessarily those who are physically stronger than others, they also come in the guises of more socially adept or connected, with more money, more powerful position, smarter or more skilful in some way or just plain better looking than anyone else.

This list may be longer than what you had in mind and include a wider variety of actions than you thought would come under the heading of bullying but this is only a small representation of what actually goes on in many people’s lives on a daily basis, in some routine or another that they feel unable to break free of, feel unsupported for and feel powerless to change.

According to recent research in the US, over 20% of Elementary/Primary aged school students experience some form of bullying. While this number drops of as Middle/High/Secondary school years approach, there is still a considerable amount of bullying behaviour reported and at an escalated level. If unstopped and unsupported, these bullies may well go in into adulthood carrying on with these maladaptive behaviours unchecked, in a mistaken effort to control situations where they themselves lack confidence, and meet out even more punitive and/or more damaging forms of these behaviours such as office bullies, stalkers, sexual predators, social exclusionaries, cyber-terrorists and worse.

There are multiple parts to any bullying situation and we may have all played one of these roles at some point in our lives; bully, victim, bystander/watcher, whistle-blower or dare-er. At any point in the development of these relationships, many people have had the opportunity to intervene but often most do not, preferring instead to hope it will stop, go away, disappear, redirect interest or just plain not have happened. The truth is that once a bully and victim realises that no one is going to help the victim, it is too late.

Bullies are often bullied themselves and actually are in need of support for their own inabilities to cope but this is rarely recognised in time. Most recognition goes to victims, who may have physical signs of being hurt, may have sullen and frightened behaviours, may have inexplicable loss of money and/or property or damage to belongings as well as low mood, anxiety, depression and loss of interest in activities, school work, peers or interests that once gave them enjoyment.

Bullies themselves may have some of these signs early on but may also often cover up pain and hurt by carrying out behaviours that deflect, such as being nice to a teacher, giving gifts to people or other more socially acceptable or laudable behaviours in order to distract them from action going on elsewhere that may be less than sparkling behaviour. Some of the most effective measures for supporting both parties is to give everyone the chance to describe what feels like being bullied, as one person’s line is drawn in a different place from another.

For example, when one comes from a home where parents insist on particular behaviours around cleanliness or orderliness, when the child has the opportunity to make choices for themselves, they may decide to either have no rules for cleaning or to go to the opposite extreme and persecute themselves and others with their own rigid interpretation of the rules. Thus, when asked to be responsible for such a situation in a social arena, they may not be able to have the same boundaries as others who may have come from homes that were more relaxed about cleanliness and thus display intolerant and/or demanding behaviours towards others, assuming a ‘leader’ role or similar in an effort to exert order in an otherwise seemingly unruly group.

This can be most readily witnessed in adult social bullies who ‘collect’ weaker adherents who ‘follow’ their lead. Often these individuals will offer gifts and rewards to those who will spend time with them and choose a select few who will form part of their core co-bullies, unwittingly or otherwise joining in. Then, these individuals will utilise the core group to entice others to join in on events that help the initial bully to appear more powerful and confirms this sense in them so that by choosing who will be included and/or excluded they exert the control over others that they refuse to have levelled upon themselves, such as judgment or having to deal with one’s own painful emotions as one is surrounded by other’s who confirm the power and thus the bully is perpetuated, constantly replacing lost individuals, with new core loyals, who may well feel rewarded for finally being allowed in and therefore become all the more loyal, reconfirming the bully’s power, goals and self. Where this line can be drawn can be difficult to tell however.

For example, if we are teased by a good friend for a habit, such as always splitting the lunch bill exactly in the number of people or according to what each had precisely, it is up to the individual to decide what level of comfort they have with teasing and also to say with which level they are uncomfortable. As an adult, one usually develops self-respect to the measure to be able to say such things in defense of one’s self. Children however, are still developing such sense and may not yet be resilient enough to recover from a blow that was too strong, to recognise that it was too much, to have the wherewithal to enunciate it to someone who can do something about it or to anyone at all and to tell the difference when everyone else seems alright with but it really doesn’t feel good and so to say something immediately so that it does not build up.

Once this is set in motion and no one questions the balance, it can be very difficult for young persons to develop the discrepancy to defend themselves and to be able to seek out help when they are unable to or no longer able to cope with what is happening to them. Often, because of this and due to pride or other such concepts, many students do not seek help, because it is not cool or they would lose face, and let it go until the bullying situation escalates beyond what is reasonable and sometimes ends up in damage to property, other people’s welfare and even the loss of human life.

With the advent of social media, it has become even easier for faceless perfectionism to taunt anyone who wishes to seek it out and for those who are still learning to flex their social-emotional learning boundaries to go too far without having to have to respond to the consequences that would have once been instituted on the school ground or in the home or community.

Many schools and organisations have instituted policies and essential agreements around expected behaviours from verbal, physical, mental and cyber with clear consequences for transgressions. Homes have become less clear territory as more children have free access to electronics and less chaperoned time on them.

Whilst physical, verbal and direct emotional bullying have perhaps reduced in numbers as the migration to cyberspace ensues, this form of bullying will probably go on for some time, numbers will most likely pale in comparison to what can be exacted through social media however. It is an important time to be aware of our children, our colleagues and our own behaviours. It takes only a moment to stop and educate if we can recognise the opportunity and/or encourage others to do so on their own behalf, but the consequences are now more dire and more and more isolation leads to potentially greater numbers of reported fatalities, whether there is an actual increase in numbers or not.

Take a moment to check with your children, friends and family – does anyone feel under duress or stress for something they are unable to control or feel they have no ability to change? Then it may just be time to encourage them to talk and for you to listen and to find out where their boundaries are. Help someone else recognise this today, Don’t be a bystander, be a supporter of learning, whether on behalf of the bully, the victim or the bystander – everyone has a role to play in development and in diffusing. Which role could you take today?

A Special Week: Monday 14th November: Bullying Awaress Week, 2016

Learn how to recognise, respond to, prepare for and report on bullying situations and more from both Canadian and US sites.



Our fave phrase…

“Remember that all things are only opinions and that it is in your power to think as you please”

– Marcus Aurelius (112-180 C.E.) Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher


Psynamo, 1201 Car Po Commercial Building, 18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong

T. +852 2789 9908 E. W.

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Psynamo Celebrates: World Mental Health Day – Monday 10th October 2016

PsynamoBirdsPsynamo Celebrates World Mental Health Day: Monday 10th October, 2016

The Team at Psynamo have always held mental health in highest esteem and we have taken this as our Mission:

Psynamo is dedicated to the betterment of mental health and improved awareness of mental health issues for all, whenever possible.”

World Mental Health Day has been established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is celebrated Monday 10th October this year.

Learn more here

The Team at Psynamo spend all of our working hours looking after others and we love our jobs. Not everyone has this passion so close to their heart and we realise that. Being aware of your own good mental health and that of others is a great place to start however.

Be sure to remember to think about your own mental health, are you feeling a little stressed, a little low mood, a little angry or something else? We all do sometimes and checking in with someone is good mental hygiene, just the same as checking in with the dentist is good dental hygiene.

Our Project Mental Health is an effort to provide affordable professional support to those who may not otherwise have access to such services or may not even be aware that mental health could be of support to them.

Let us know of any special people who need support or if you yourself could use an ear to let something off your chest. We are here for you whenever you are ready.

We believe that remaining steadfast in our beliefs about supporting others who are in need is the only way to be.

“My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure”

– Alfred Lord Tennyson, co-founding Director Scarlett Mattoli’s something odd great grandfather.

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