Services During COVID-19

At Huisy Howland Psychology, we recognise that we live in complex and sometimes stressful times due to the impact of COVID-19 (Corona Virus). Now more than ever, it is important to take care of both our mental and physical health. Huisy Howland Psychology is continuing to provide services by telehealth with some limited face-to-face consults available.

Call Huisy Howland Psychology today to discuss your needs and how we may be of service to you.

由於受冠狀病毒疫情的影響,我們明白客戶均感受到無比的恐慌與壓力。因此現在照顧身體與心靈上的健康是如此的重要。Huisy Howland Psychology 秉承着一貫關懷客戶的理念及按照政府提出的防疫措施下,我們繼續為客戶提供電話健康諮詢服務及加設每日名額限制的面對面諮詢服務。
想了解更多Huisy Howland所提供的各種服務與協助,請立刻撥打客戶服務熱線.
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Happy Mother’s Day. But…

When we think Mother’s day we tend to think breakfast in bed, flowers and chocolates. Sure, this is a time for mothers, who tend to be the glue which holds the family together, to get some recognition. However, what about the women who do not have the opportunity to celebrate this day? I am referring to the women who may be struggling as a mother, who do not get along or are estranged from their own mothers, who have not seen their children, and those who very much want to be a mother but cannot for whatever reasons. For women experiencing these barriers to fully engaging in motherhood, Mother’s day can bring upon overwhelming emotions such as grief, anger, guilt and loneliness.

During these times self care is more important than ever. Take the time to know what gets you through the tough times and invest in the people and activities that build your resilience and well-being. For more information see the following links:

Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia

Child and Youth Health

Beyond Blue

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

Lifeline Australia

Mental Health

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and for emergencies, call 000 or contact the Mental Health Triage Service on 13 14 65available 24 hours, seven days a week.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! But…

So you’ve been dating your Valentine for a while… He’s yours, she’s yours.

But you feel like your Valentine does not love you as much as you love them.

You feel like they don’t even try to make you feel special.

You talk to your partner about it, but they reassure you that they like you and that they will try to work it out. Then after a few weeks you are back to the same problem: feeling unloved. Or maybe you’ve done so much for them, but they still tell you it isn’t enough.

Does this sound familiar?

Before you go breaking up with each other, perhaps consider what your love language might be.


The concept of Love Languages tell us that the secret to lasting love is partly about understanding your partner’s love languages. Love languages was coined by Relationship Counsellor, Dr Gary Chapman, the author of ‘The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts’ which has sold millions. Dr Chapman determined that there are 5 love languages:

  1. Words of affirmation

Like verbal compliments and words of appreciation, best expressed in simple, straightforward statements.

  1. Quality time

By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV together. Turn the TV off, put away the devices and talk. Take a walk together, get a meal, as long as it is with a person and not a cell phone.

  1. Physical touch

Holding hands, kissing and hugging are all ways of communicating emotional love, and not just the physical kind.

  1. Acts of service

By acts of service, I mean doing things you know your partner would like you to do.

Cook a meal, set a table, clean the dishes, do the laundry. Even changing the baby’s nappy. These are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, and effort. If your partner’s love language is acts of service, then actions really do speak louder than words.  Like Elvis said; a little less conversation, a little more action. If you are giving roses to someone who wants you to just take the garbage out, but you haven’t gotten off your back end to move the bins, then your romantic gesture may not have the desired effect.

  1. Receiving gifts

When you receive a gift, you can hold in your hand and say, “They were thinking of me – here’s proof.” The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter how much it cost. What is important is that you thought of your partner.

So, what is your love language? You can check out Dr Chapman’s website:

Or you can spend the time with your partner talking, and find out for yourself.

But, what happens if your love languages don’t match? What if your partner says, “I’m not a gift giver. I didn’t receive many gifts as a child. It isn’t my thing.” Congratulations; you have just made the first discovery in becoming a better lover. If your partner’s primary love language is receiving gifts, you can learn to become a gift giver. Schedule it into your calendar if you have to. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn. If your partner’s primary love language is different to yours, and you want the relationship to work, then get on with the business of learning your second language.  It might take some time and effort but nothing, and no one, worthwhile comes easily!

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Happy new year… Same unhappy job?

Returning to work?

Dreading the drama?

Feels like ground hog day?

Job dissatisfaction can have a spill-over effect on home life. We spend most of our time each week at work so it makes sense that if you are unhappy with your job, there is a high possibility that you are also unhappy at home.

When job dissatisfaction starts to overwhelm our ability to rest, recharge and deal with the stress of the day it can lead to burn out, depression or anxiety. It can be easy to blame oneself, or be blamed by others for not being ‘tough enough’, ‘good enough’ or not being able to hack it… but as attributed to famous Author, William Gibson, “before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”

What is depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), clinical depression is when you experience sadness or a depressed mood for at least two weeks, and to the point where it affects your everyday life. You might also feel bouts of anger, frustration, a reduced interest in activities that you used to enjoy, poor sleep, reduced energy, difficulty concentrating and even suicidal thoughts or intention. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008), on average, around 1 in 6 women and 1 in 8 men will experience some level of depression.

What can I do about it?
If you are feeling depressed, please remember that you have options. Draw upon your support network and see if you can speak to a trusted friend or relative. If that’s not an option, consider seeing your General Practitioner (GP) for some advice. They might refer you to see a psychologist who has received specialist training in evidenced-based therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you better manage your symptoms.

You are not alone!
Please know that there are ways to manage the feelings of depression. Also, it is possible to feel better without having to give up your job. Sometimes it might all be about giving yourself the permission to allocate some “me” time to re-charge and rebuild your resilience. Of course, sometimes a job change can be a good idea, but you don’t have to tough it out alone.

If you’re struggling with mental illness and have suicidal thoughts, contact the Mental Health Triage Service on 13 14 65, available 24 hours, seven days a week. For emergencies, call 000.
For more information regarding mental illness, see the following links:

Beyond Blue

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

Lifeline Australia

Mental Health

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.

Craighead, W. E, Ritschel, L. A, Arnarson, E. O, & Gillespie, C. F. (2008). Major depressive disorder. In W. E. Craighead, D. J. Miklowitz & L. W. Craighead (Eds.), Psychopathology: History, Diagnosis, and Empirical Foundations. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Cuijpers, P, Geraedts, A. S, van Oppen, P, Anderrson, G, Markowitz, J. C, & van Straten, A. (2011). Interpersonal psychotherapy for depression: A meta-analysis. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 168, 581-592. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10101411

Lee, D-J., Yu, G. B., Sirgy, M. J., Singhapakdi, A., & Lucianetti L. (2015). The effects of explicit and implicit ethics institutionalization on employee life satisfaction and happiness: The mediating effects of employee experiences in work life and moderating effects of work–family life Conflict. Journal of Business Ethics, pp. 1-20.

Rodríguez-Muñoz, A., Sanz-Vergel, A. I., Demerouti, E., & Bakker, A. (2014). Engage at work and happy at home: A spillover-crossover model. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15, pp. 271-283. doi:

Soleimani, L, Lapidus, K. A. B, & Losifescu, D. V. (2011). Diagnosis and treatment of major depressive disorder. Neurologic Clinics, 29, 177-193. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2010.10.010

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Festive greetings 聖誕快樂

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What Depression Actually is?

kk“I’m depressed because I couldn’t get any Krispy Kreme donuts”. Yeah, ok, some things can make us sad, but they don’t qualify as ‘depression’.

On the other hand, we can become depressed without even realising this is what has happened. If your pet died, you would probably experience sadness and tearfulness, which can also be symptoms of depression.

However to say that you are depressed because you didn’t get your share of Krispy Kremes, seems like a bit of a stretch. It is important to distinguish between what is normal depression and what is clinical depression. It’s also worth noting that there is a difference between Depression and Grief. Feeling sad is a normal part of grief, but grief doesn’t become a clinical condition, like Depression, unless you get stuck in it for a very long time and the normal healing process from Grief gets stuck.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (5th Edition; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) talks about Major Depressive Disorder (MDD; American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

What is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)?

According to the DSM-IV if you suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), you may experience a depressed mood, such as feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration, that interferes with everyday life. It becomes MDD when the feelings of sadness last for at least 2 weeks. MDD is actually quite common with nearly 17% of people suffering from MDD at some point during their life. MDD is more common in women than men (Soleimani, Lapidus, & Losifescu, 2011).

How Does It Happen?  

Both biological and environmental factors may lead to MDD. Studies have shown that first degree relatives of people with depression are more likely to experience MDD at some time during their life (Soleimani et al., 2011). Also, differences in the central nervous system and neurochemistry between non-MDD and MDD sufferers have been found (Soleimani et al., 2011). Abnormality in some neurochemicals has been linked to MDD, however environmental factors such as life experiences, persistent stress, traumatic events and relationship difficulties can contribute to depressive disorder in significant ways.

What Are The Symptoms?   MDD is characterised by:

1) Depressed mood (e.g., feelings of sadness or emptiness)

2) Reduced interest in activities that used to be enjoyed

3) Sleep disturbances (not being able to sleep well or sleeping too much)

4) Loss of energy

5) Difficulty concentrating

6) Suicidal thoughts or intentions

What Can I Do About It?  

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) teaches you to become more aware of your symptoms and how to spot things that make your depression worse (e.g., negative thoughts and feelings). CBT also provides you with strategies to better manage negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Behavioural Therapy (BT) such as behavioural activation is designed to reduce the depressed mood and loss of energy by encouraging you to engage in pleasurable activities that you would normally enjoy when not feeling depressed.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a short-term psychological intervention which focuses on your interpersonal relationships (Cuijpers, Geraedts, van Oppen, Anderrson, Markowitz, & van Straten, 2011). Other issues such as unresolved grief, role disputes, role transitions and interpersonal deficits may also be addressed with IPT.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may help to alleviate negative moods associated with severe depression or suicidal thoughts, if other treatments are not helping you to get better (Craighead, Ritschel, Arnarson, & Gillespie, 2008). It may also help treat depression in those who have psychotic symptoms.

Medication aimed at facilitating the flow of certain neurotransmitters is also used to treat MDD, these include antidepressants such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Other types of medication used to treat depression include: tricyclic antidepressants, bupropion and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

If you’re struggling with mental illness and have suicidal thoughts, contact the Mental Health Triage Service on 13 14 65 (available 24 hours, seven days a week).

For more information regarding mental illness, please refer to the following links:

Beyond Blue

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

Lifeline Australia

Mental Health

Image Source

Krispy Kreme’s image by McGregor (June, 2013). Krispy Kreme drive-through planned for port road, west croydon. Adelaide Now. Website: http:


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Craighead, W. E, Ritschel, L. A, Arnarson, E. O, & Gillespie, C. F. (2008). Major depressive disorder. In W. E. Craighead, D. J. Miklowitz & L. W. Craighead (Eds.), Psychopathology: History, Diagnosis, and Empirical Foundations. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Cuijpers, P, Geraedts, A. S, van Oppen, P, Anderrson, G, Markowitz, J. C, & van Straten, A. (2011). Interpersonal psychotherapy for depression: A meta-analysis. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 168, 581-592. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10101411

Soleimani, L, Lapidus, K. A. B, & Losifescu, D. V. (2011). Diagnosis and treatment of major depressive disorder. Neurologic Clinics, 29, 177-193. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2010.10.010

Gina Huisy (MAPS) 2014.

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30 minute makeover

Get moving at least 30 minutes a day and you may live longer. Thanks for the video Dr Mike Evans.

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World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2014

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day.

Help us work towards a community that understands depression and anxiety, empowers people to seek help, and supports recovery, management and resilience.

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Machiavellianism – The Little Finger stirring the pot

Most of us have met our fair share of school yard bullies, office bullies and generally unpleasant people. More insidious are the ones that you don’t see coming; the ones that play one person off another, say one thing to your face and something else to the next person. Sometimes you never even notice the effect they have, even when you have been taken advantage of. The term Machiavellianism is a homage of sorts to Niccolò Machiavelli. Nicolo’s claim to fame was to write a book called The Prince, which gave a forthright account of how to go about acquiring and maintaining political power. He wrote this book in Italy, during the Renaissance, and managed to make himself quite unpopular at the time. Apparently being honest about how wealth and power actually work doesn’t make you popular with the rich and powerful.

From a social psychology perspective, Machiavellianism is characterised by manipulation and exploitation of others, a disregard of morality and a focus on self-interest (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). You may at this point be thinking this reminds you of someone.

When I think of Machiavellianism, I think of someone who manipulates others (e.g., a LIttleFingermaster of deceit) or someone who is an opportunist. Think of your Hollywood characters such as Game of Throne’s Lord Petyr Baelish (aka Littlefinger) and Fargo’s Lorne Malvo (who, in my opinion was played brilliantly by Billy Bob Thornton).  In fact, we all have a little bit of Niccolo in us, but usually not to an unhealthy level.

In the work place, the art of manipulation might not be considered entirely undesirable. In some ways, it may work in our favour (unless you get the wrong end of it). For example, Machiavellianism has been associated with qualities such as drive for power and dominance (Jonason, Norman, Webster, & Schmitt, 2009), which does tend to help a business be competitive.  From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, these qualities may be necessary for survival and may therefore not be considered all undesirable (Jonason, Wee, & Lee, 2014). However Machiavellianism has also been associated with the:

  • Lower credibility by co-workers – In research undertaken by Teven, McCroskey and Richmond (2006) the more employees saw that their supervisor had Machiavellianism traits, the less they were prepared to credit their supervisor with competence, caring and trustworthiness, the less happy they were and the less motivated they were to work for their supervisor. Basically folks tend not to trust a manipulative boss.
  • Abusive supervisory style: In a study conducted in Australia and the Philippines, Kiazad and colleagues (2010) found that Machiavellian supervisors tended to be seen as more abusive toward subordinates, which leads to…
  • Bullying-typifying behaviours akin to workplace bullying (Linton & Power, 2013; O’Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & McDaniel, 2012).
  • High on Extraversion and openness, however low scores on agreeableness and conscientious (Jakobwitz & Egan, 2006). That’s psych talk for being outgoing and keen to try new things, but kind of grumpy and unlikely to care about their commitments to other people.
  • Unattractiveness – Recent research suggests that Machiavellians were not perceived as ‘hot’ (Rauthmann & Kolar, 2013) (You can make your own mind up about Aidan Gillen and Billy Bob Thornton).
  • Lower levels of intimacy, commitment and passion in romantic relationships – People high on Machiavellianism tend to be less intimate, less committed to relationships and less passionate (Ali & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2010). One assumes they would also be less likely to admit to these relationship shortcomings.

So keep a clear head about what others are on about and, the next time you find yourself engaging in the act of manipulation, pause to consider how you may look to the next person.

 Image Source

 Image of Little Finger obtained from Game of Thrones Wiki.


Ali, F., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2010). The dark side of love and life satisfaction: Associations with intimate relationships, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 228-233. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2009.10.016.

Jakobwitz, S., & Egan, V. (2006). The Dark Triad and normal personality traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 331-339. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2005.07.006

Jonason, P. K., Norman, P. L., Webster, G. D., & Schmitt, D. P. (2009). The Dark Triad: Facilitating a short-term mating strategy in men. European Journal of Personality, 23, 5-18. doi: 10.1002/per.698

Jonason, P. K., Wee, S., & Lee, N. P. (2014). Thinking bigger and better about “bad apples”: Evolutionary industrial-organizational psychology and the Dark Triad. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 7, 117-121. doi: 10.1111/iops.12118

Kiazad, K., Restubog, S. L. D., Zagenczyk, T. J., Kiewitz, C., & Tang, R. (2010). In pursuit of power: The role of authoritarian leadership in the relationship between supervisors’ Machiavellianism and subordinates’ perceptions of abusive supervisory behavior. Journal of Research in Personality, 1, xx. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2010.06.004

Linton, D. K., & Power, J. L. . (2013). The personality traits of workplace bullies are often shared by their victims: Is there a dark side to victims? Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 738-743. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.11.026

O’Boyle, E. H. J., Forsyth, D. R., Banks, G. C., & McDaniel, M. A. (2012). A meta-analysis of the Dark Triad and work behavior: A social exchange perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 557-579. doi: 10.1037/a0025679

Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personlity, 36, 556-563. doi: 10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00505-6

Rauthmann, J. F., & Kolar, G. P. (2013). The perceived attractiveness and traits of the Dark Triad: Narcissists are perceived as hot, Machiavellians and psychopaths not. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 582-586. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.11.005.

Teven, J. J., McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (2006). Communication correlates of perceived machiavellianism of supervisors: Communication orientations and outcomes. Communication Quarterly, 54, 127-142. doi: 10.1080/01463370600650829

Gina Huisy, 2014. (MAPS).

Christopher Howland, 2014.

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Mental illness carries too much stigma

People with mental illness put up with a lot more than their illness. Mental illness carries depressiontoo much stigma. While there is no shame taking time off work to recover from tonsillitis or pneumonia, sharing that you have a mental illness is still an act of profound courage. As you are reading this, it’s likely that you know someone who suffers from some form of mental illness. You may even experience a mental condition yourself.

If you’re struggling with mental illness and have suicidal thoughts, contact the Mental Health Triage Service on 13 14 65 (available 24 hours, seven days a week).

For more information regarding mental illness, please refer to the following links:

Beyond Blue

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

Lifeline Australia

Mental Health

Image Source

Mental health image obtained from

Gina Huisy MAPS (2014).

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