A tantrum is an outburst of intense, emotion-driven behaviour that can be exhibited by young children. They typically start between the ages of 1 and 4, and can last well into later childhood years. A meltdown is ALSO an intense and overwhelming emotional response that can be exhibited by individuals, but they can occur at any age, and are more commonly associated with neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, anxiety, as well as some mental health difficulties, such as PTSD.
During both tantrums, and meltdowns, an individual may scream, cry, kick, throw objects, hurt themselves accidentally or on purpose, or withdraw and seem to shut down. Tantrums can occur in response to frustration, anger, or other strong emotions, and can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as hunger, fatigue, overstimulation, or a desire for attention or control. Tantrums are a normal part of child development and can be a way for children to express their emotions when they do not yet have the language skills to do so effectively. Meltdowns can also be triggered by a variety of factors, such as sensory overload, emotional stress, changes in routine, or difficulty with communication or social interaction.
In both tantrums and meltdowns, the behaviours can be distressing for both the individual experiencing the difficult emotions, and for those around them. And it’s important to note that something might start as a tantrum, but as the individual becomes increasingly overwhelmed by their emotions and the bodily sensations and stress these bring about, they might move into meltdown.
In either instance, we need to understand that the child or individual isn’t behaving this way on purpose and that they feel awful. Nobody likes having these strong and overwhelming emotions, and most of us want to feel calm and happy rather than angry and upset. A calm, compassionate, and curious approach to individuals who are experiencing strong emotions is often the fastest way to both help them back to calm, and understand what happened to them.
If you or your child are struggling with tantrums or meltdowns, you might like to have a look at our Director, Jessica Cleary’s evidence-based Calm and Connected Parenting Program to help you understand what’s going on, and to calm the chaos. You can find a link HERE.
So you did it! You’ve been studying for 5 years to become a provisionally registered psychologist and you’re finally ready to apply for jobs. Congratulations! But where-to from here?
As a provisional psychologist in Australia, there are lots of different settings in which you can work to gain the necessary experience and supervision required to become a fully registered psychologist.
Some of those setting might include:
Whilst there are many different types of ways that you can work toward your general registration, we like to think that we offer something special at Hopscotch and Harmony.
One of the biggest things that we hear from psychologists - provisionally, generally, or endorsed registration - is that they think, or have experienced, private practice as really isolating work, where they’re like ships in the night with their colleagues. They may come into the office, see their clients, do their clinical admin, and head home without ever seeing one of their colleagues during their working day or week.
We do things differently at H&H. For a start, we will work with you carefully to ensure that your caseload is made up child and adolescent clients who light you up - rather than groaning as the alarm rings in the morning, you’ll be ready to jump out of bed and start your work day seeing the kinds of clients you love to work with.
Secondly, your wellbeing is our priority. We cap the number of clients you see a day at a maximum of 4 early in the internship and 5 later in the internship, so you have plenty of time to work on researching your clients’ presentations, undertaking your clinical admin, and ensuring that you know how to work with each and every one of your clients. We also offer a maximum of 4 client days per week in our internship program, so you can dedicate one day a week to finalising your university studies - because that’s how we need to think of your internship year, the finalisation of all the hard yards you’ve put in at university to date.
Third, we make sure that we hire the right kind of people to work at H&H. The kind of people we hire want to work with a team. We offer lots of ways to make sure you have plenty of time to connect with your colleagues. We know that a sense of belonging at work is vital to your wellbeing, and it’s one of our primary priorities.
Finally, we pair you with one of our talented, experienced Board-Approved supervisors to ensure that you get your learning and development needs met, and that you’re on track to get through your internship year as close to that 12 month mark as is feasible.
If you’ve recently finished your Masters of Professional Psychology and have experience in providing therapy to children and adolescents, and are interested in speaking to us about what we can offer then please get in touch. Our aim is to provide you with the working environment that will help you become a confident, competent, and supported psychologist working in Private Practice,
If you have secured an internship elsewhere and are seeking Primary or Secondary supervision in the child and adolescent space then we can help you there too.
Tamsyn White. Principal Psychologist
It's completely understandable to feel frustrated and overwhelmed when your child is behaving in ways that are the opposite of what you would like, despite your best efforts. Remember that as a parent, it's important to approach these situations with warmth, understanding, and a willingness to learn and grow.
It can be helpful to take a step back and re-evaluate your expectations for your child's behaviour. Remember that all children make mistakes and may exhibit challenging behaviours from time to time. Sometimes as parents we our expectations of our children can fall outside of their abilities - by setting developmentally appropriate expectations, you can help your child feel more confident and supported.
When your child is behaving in challenging ways, it's important to remain calm and respond in a consistent manner. Reacting impulsively or losing your temper can escalate the situation and make it more difficult to address the behaviour. Instead, try to stay calm and firm in your response, and be consistent in your expectations and consequences.
Dr Daniel Siegel, a renowned psychiatrist and author who specialises in child development and neuroscience, has popularised the phrase "connection before correction." This means that before we try to correct or discipline our children, we need to focus on building a strong connection with them.
As parents, we want our children to listen to us, respect our authority, and follow rules. However, in order for children to feel willing to listen to us, they need to feel a strong connection with us first. Connection refers to the quality of the relationship between the parent and the child. This includes trust, understanding, empathy, and communication. We often make the mistake of FIRST correcting a child’s behaviour (by telling them off, punishing them, or trying to immediately make them cease their behaviour), and THEN later try to understand what happened to cause them to behave this way. This makes sense to our adult brains, but is unfortunately in the wrong order for children to be able to make sense of.
When we instead prioritise connection before we provide corrective responses, we are showing our children that we care about them as individuals, that we want to understand them and what’s upsetting them, causing them to experience big emotions and behaviours, and that we are committed to building a strong and positive relationship with them. By doing this, we create an environment where our children feel safe and supported, which can help them regulate their emotions and behaviour.
To put it simply, we need to focus on understanding our children's perspectives, actively listening to them, and showing empathy and compassion towards them. This approach is not only more effective in helping children learn and grow, but also nurtures them to develop into happy, healthy, and resilient individuals.
Remember that parenting is a journey, and it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them. By approaching these situations with warmth, understanding, and a willingness to learn and grow, you can help your child develop positive habits and behaviours over time.
If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to address your child's behaviour, consider seeking support from Jessica Cleary’s Calm and Connected Parenting online course, or book a consultation with one of our talented and passionate clinicians. We can provide guidance and support in developing effective strategies for addressing challenging behaviours and strengthening your relationship with your child.
Tamsyn White, Principal Psychologist
I don’t know about you, but for me the world seems to have changed so much in the space of just a few short weeks.
At the end of February, COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, was barely on my radar and I certainly wasn’t aware of just how much it was going to start impacting my life. Lots of the clients I work with, my colleagues, and my friends, have reflected the same thing back to me, too.
One of the biggest changes for my clients is that, before COVID-19 really hit our consciousness, the word “Telehealth” was probably rarely heard. These days, if you’re tracking the news like I have been, the word seems to be everywhere!
So what is Telehealth?
Well - despite lots of people just hearing about it for the first time - Telehealth is not new. In fact, there are practitioners from lots of different disciplines who have been offering Telehealth services for many, many years. Some services ONLY offer Telehealth services.
For example, our clinic’s director, Jessica Cleary, has been offering Teleheatlh appointments to women around Australia who have been experiencing parenting stress for a number of years now; our Speech Pathologist, Meg Tasker, has worked for a Telehealth provider, offering speech pathology services to clients locally, and some who don’t even live in Australia; and I myself have provided Telehealth treatment to clients who live rurally in the past.
Telehealth has really broadened the scope of the clients who we can reach out to and help. We, as a clinic have almost always had Zoom (like Skype) appointments as an option if a client can’t attend the rooms on the day of their appointment.
You might also be reassured to know that there is some really good evidence that tells us Telehealth can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy in most cases. In fact, there can be a stack of benefits to Telehealth for clients - not least of all that we get an insight into where you (or your child!) lives, and can help you identify things in your own home environment that can be used in your journey to wellbeing.
There are some things to think about that can help you and your child get the best out of their sessions:
Above all - we’re all in this together. I’m so glad that we have this option to continue working with you through this hard and stressful time in the world. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you think we can help you with something we haven’t thought of.
If you live in Australia and would like to book a Telehealth session with Hopscotch & Harmony for you or your child, please click the button below to complete our booking form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.