GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude

Educational and Psychological Counselling,
Positive Education in Mathematics

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Photos from GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude's post 18/06/2023

In therapy and life, many life-enhancing experiences such as exercise, mindfulness, prayer, dance, art, music, and immersion in nature can be explored and adapted in a variety of ways to help us release negative emotions in favor of more joyful ones.

This week-end I implemented a few such steps to emotional freedom, while enjoying the gardens of roses in the charming city of Rapperswil. I kindly suggest you to regularly replenish your mental and spiritual gardens with new emotional roses that will flourish to your benefit. As you’ll become less inhibited, you will find more strength to cultivate your new emotions based on reason, ethics, and love.

Photos from GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude's post 19/02/2023

As teachers, parents, or counsellors we need to realize the wealth of creativity, generosity, sympathy hidden in the soul of any child. I truly believe that the efforts of true education, not only schooling and memorizing formulas, should be to unlock these treasures.

I have been lucky to have amazing teachers who helped me to be the master of my own destiny and who inspired me to become a teacher. Consequently, I have been working with teenagers and young adults for more than 30 years, as a teacher, researcher, coach, mentor, counsellor, and private tutor, in Europe and in Asia.

In 2010 I decided to embark in more studies related to education, psychology, neurosciences, mental health, and professional counselling (Master degrees at Bristol University, King's College London, and Monash University) in order to help better my students and their parents. Consequently, I have got a holistic approach to teaching mathematics, as I apply positive psychology into mathematics education.

On the other hand, I have a scientific-based approach when I work as a psychological and educational counsellor. I do wish to bring my contribution as an international educator and psychological counselor and to help many people to reach their potential. I love helping people to flourish and to reach their full potential.

These are my professional links for psychological and educational counseling:
https://wepractice.ch/en/unsere-therapeuten/liliana-gratie
https://www.psychologytoday.com/en-ch/therapists/gratie-therapy-zurich-zh/987797

The first photo was taken on the first day I went to school, a long time ago. The second photo shows the gratitude of my students when I was their teacher in Hong Kong.

And my favorite quotes on teaching are the following ones:

“If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If you plan for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people.” Kuan Chung

“By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.” Latin Proverb

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” Socrates

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Ward

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl Jung

05/02/2023

Be gentle with yourself. Live, love, laugh, let it go, let it be.
There is absolutely nothing in the past that you can change. That’s basic physics. Understand that thoughts are just thoughts, not facts. If they are unreasonable, reason with them. You are the observer of your mind, not its victim.
Don’t worry about things that probably won’t happen. No drug in the universe will make you feel better, at the deepest level, than being kind to other people. Just when you feel you have no time to relax, know that this is the moment you most need to make time to relax. Minds have their own weather systems. You could be sometimes in a hurricane. Hurricanes run out of energy eventually, so hold on.
Read many books. Read anything you want. Just read. Books are possibilities. They are escape routes. They give you options when you have none. Each one can be a home for an uprooted mind.
(Edited from the books by Matt Haig)

Photos from GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude's post 25/11/2022

The month of November has been recently known as “Movember”, which is a movement highlighting men’s health issues. We know that men generally delay seeking medical assistance for any type of health issues. In particular, there is a dangerous stigma surrounding mental health struggles. Masculinity is defined by strengths, by unbreakable bodies and minds. In fact, 12,5% of men live with mental disorders. Life is never a straight line y=mx+n. Let’s take positive action now by being open about our fears, anxiety, depression, burn out, and encourage people in our lives to ask for professional help.

Influenced by the myth that “boys don’t cry”, so many men feel like they need to hide their feelings or negative emotions, otherwise they could be labelled as weak. The truth is that embracing those feelings and seeking out for assistance is the bravest thing a person can do. On the conscious level, we are independent adults living our lives, but deep inside, on that enigmatic unconscious level, our inner child influences our perception, emotions, and behavior. In psychotherapy sessions, you meet and befriend your inner child, you begin to heal and your self-esteem grows.

As November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, I would like to encourage you to consider psychological counselling and psycho-education. You always have a choice. Take ownership of it. Allow people to help you, because what we resist persists. Giving men a safe space to talk openly about their concerns, without fear of judgement or stigma is so important! In this sense, I would be happy to help and organize for you some therapy sessions online or in person:
https://wepractice.ch/en/unsere-therapeuten/liliana-gratie
https://www.psychologytoday.com/en-ch/therapists/gratie-therapy-zurich-zh/987797

Photos from GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude's post 10/10/2022

Today is the International Day of Mental Health.
Stay happy and healthy with your body and your mind!
Release negative emotions in favor of more joyful ones, through good nutrition, exercise, music, art, immersion in nature, and taking photos of the colorful autumn landscapes.

Photos from GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude's post 12/09/2022

Practice Art Therapy:

“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” John Lubbock in The Pleasures of Life

and Dance Therapy:

"Dance first, think later. It's the natural order" Samuel Beckett.

14/08/2022

A simple way to begin creating positive energy around yourself is by becoming “impeccable with your word”. This means saying what you mean and obviously, meaning what you say. It also means never criticizing yourself or anyone else and never gossiping. It is amazing how this exercise of controlling your tongue could help you to create loving, honest, and trusting relationships in your life. This effective rule comes from the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
We are on holidays. Why not try to say only nice things about yourself and others for the next ten days? You will be amazed by the profound results. What you focus on becomes your reality.

The photo was taken some years ago during our summer holidays in Bangkok, Thailand.

Photos from GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude's post 19/07/2022

Our Gratitude Journal:

Maintaining a gratitude journal makes it easy to get into the habit of focusing on the positives in our life, while also reaping the benefits of journaling. Developing an attitude of gratitude towards the people, things and events in our life is an effective way to strengthen our emotional resilience and reduce stress.

We can write long, descriptive paragraphs about what we appreciate in our daily life, or our gratitude journal could consist entirely of lists. The main idea is to get ourselves into a place of reflection and gratitude.

An important aspect of the long-term success of our gratitude journal is the frequency with which we use it. It's usually best to aim for once a day in the beginning, or several times per week. Many people find that their whole attitude changes once they've been keeping a gratitude journal for a while. They tend to notice things throughout the day that they may want to include in the journal, things they wouldn't have otherwise noticed.

Gratitude journals tend to be most effective when we write about three items at the end of each day. And remember that you may want to read over your journal entries in the future. This can be a great pick-me-up when you're feeling stressed or depressed. All gratitude doesn't need to be saved for the journal. Tell the people in your life how much you appreciate them and their positive reactions can help put you in a positive mood, too.

13/06/2022

Today, I would like to promote the self-help protocol from the World Health Organization to help people suffering from trauma:

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240003927

“Doing What Matters in Times of Stress” will equip you with practical skills for coping with stress. It is translated in 24 languages, including Chinese, French, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. This is a kind of psychological vaccine for ailments as stress.

Are you the prisoner of your own thoughts? Please, keep in mind this axiom: Thoughts are not facts. In all situations, no matter how desperate they may appear or actually be, you always have the ultimate freedom to choose your attitude and your next step. Indeed, you have choices. Commit authentically to meaningful values and goals that only you can actualize and fulfill. Continue living your life conform your ideals. What we do is more important then our automatic negative thoughts or negative emotions. Action matters more than emotion. Transform Hopelessness into Hopefulness. Change Helplessness into Helpfulness. Starting now.

The purple orchid in the photo is a colorful memory from Flower Market, Mong Kok, Kowloon.

01/06/2022

Happy International Day of Children!
Make your own Inner Child happy every day!

We all have an “inner child” as a part of our subconscious. It holds beliefs, emotions, and memories from the past, as well as hopes or dreams for the future. Our inner child always communicates with us.

Start today to offer healing, support, and genuine kindness to your inner child! I highly recommend the book “The Child in You: The breakthrough method for bringing out your authentic self” by Stephanie Stahl.

La multi ani de ziua internationala a copiilor!
Va recomand cu caldura cartea “Vindecarea copilului interior” de Stephanie Stahl.

This photo was taken a few years ago on Clear Water Bay in Hong Kong.

22/05/2022

Emotions affect all our reactions as parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, or neighbors! Having good social emotional intelligence involves improving a lot of skills. Sincerely, I am still working on building emotionally intelligent relationships. The most difficult part for me as a teacher, psychological counsellor, or friend is active listening, because I am eager to offer advice or share my own perspective. Good interpersonal skills are built over a lifetime. In any relationship, there is an urgent need to be more aware of our own strengths, prejudices and the impression we give.

In his famous book, Daniel Goleman stated that emotional intelligence is based on two critical dimensions: self-discipline and empathy. There is an old-fashioned word for the body of skills that emotional intelligence represents: character. In my opinion, being able to put aside one’s self-centered focus and impulses has social and managerial benefits: it opens the way to empathy, to real listening, to caring, altruism and compassion. Seeing from another’s perspective (be it a teacher, a parent, a colleague, a support staff, or a student) it breaks down biased stereotypes, and so, in a multicultural educational environment, it breeds tolerance and acceptance of differences.

How do you feel as an active listener? Did you notice the benefits of active listening in your work or in your personal life?

10/05/2022

CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM

Communicate your thoughts, feelings and needs.
Open yourself up to ideas and new experiences.
Negotiate - be fair but keep sight of your own needs.
Fight for your rights and face up to your responsibilities.
Influence people rather than trying to control them.
Dare to be yourself.
Expect the best of yourself and of situations.
Nurture the child in you.
Change what you can change; accept what you can't change.
Enjoy being yourself.

Exercise : "I am a valuable human being with strengths and weaknesses and I will become more confident by caring for myself and learning strategies to build my confidence".
Look in a mirror, give yourself a smile, hold your head up, take a deep breath, and speak these words.

Self-esteem affects our relationship with ourselves and also with others. When we are confident we feel good about ourselves and we don't feel intimidated by other people because we have a realistic, healthy measure of our own self-worth.

05/05/2022

As a teacher and counsellor who worked from home during the past two years, I have appreciated the healing companionship that my garden offered me. Many of my friends also told me that their gardens taught them a lot about patience, tolerance, and resilience. According to the great Positive Psychology Professor Tal Ben-Shahar, gardening can boost mood, self-esteem, and overall happiness.
Here is a useful link on the connections between therapeutic horticulture and positive emotions:
https://www.thrive.org.uk/how-we-help/what-we-do/why-gardening-is-good-for-our-health/why-gardening-is-good-for-your-mental-wellbeing

Looking forward to your comments and photos of your own garden, I attach a pic taken some summers ago, before the pandemic stroke, from the garden of Le Château de la Bussière in France, with hydrangea hortensia “Forever Pink” and a Chinese proverb:

If you wish to be happy for one hour, enjoy a good meal,
If you wish to be happy for three hours, get drunk,
If you wish to be happy for one year, get married,
If you wish to be happy during your whole life, become a gardener.

Photos from GratieTherapy: Grace and Gratitude's post 30/04/2022

When was the last time that you wrote a personal handwritten letter? Nowadays, communicating by letters is almost a lost art and many people prefer to use e-mail, texting, or the phone. However, there are blessed occasions when nothing can beat a handwritten thank you note, a gratitude letter, or a birthday card.

In my Mathematics classes, I did encourage my students, at French International School of Hong Kong or at City University of Hong Kong, to write gratitude letters to people they care about. In this way, they learned how to savor good memories, how to overcome negativity bias and how not to take for granted, love and care.

A gratitude letter represents a thoughtful examination of a meaningful and joyful relationship, or it may describe shared dreams or specific pleasurable life experiences. This simple exercise has deep effects on the writer, on the receiver, and obviously on the relationship.

Therefore, I kindly suggest that you write a gratitude letter to someone important in your life whom you never properly thanked: it could be addressed to your parents, your grandparents, one of your teachers, one of your friends, one of your neighbors, or your domestic helper (for people living in Hong Kong). If you are a teacher, spend 15 minutes during one of your classes to practice with your students the art of writing a gratitude letter and you will be amazed by the resulting magic atmosphere. After you send the letter, please feel free and safe to share through your comments how you felt and what was the reaction of the receiver.

Make it a ritual to write two letters a month to people you care about, so as to cultivate gratitude as an enduring thankfulness with a beneficial impact on your well-being.

28/04/2022

Let's talk about the feeling and the state-of-mind of true gratitude.

"To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude." Albert Schweitzer

"Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good
spirituality." Alfred Painter

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." Cicero

"Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy, because we will always want to have something else or something more." David Steindl-Rast

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude." Denis Waitley

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." Eric Hoffer

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." Marcel Proust

27/04/2022

This month, I launched my own educational and counselling practice built up on 30+ years of teaching, counselling, and research experience across Europe and Asia. Now I am located in Zürich and I work internationally as a modern digital nomad.
I use a variety of multi-culturally informed and evidence-based treatments to suit my clients’ specific needs. As a counsellor and teacher, I go that extra mile to ensure that my clients receive empathetic and effective interventions. I take a person-centred approach to educational counselling, so as to understand the needs of each unique human being.

Professional memberships:
International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA)
Swiss Positive Psychology Association (SWIPPA)
Association of Psychologists in Romania (APR)
International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (IGPME)
The Scientific and Medical Network (SMN), London
Psychotherapy Society of Hong Kong (PSHK)

My Education:
Master of Counselling (Monash University)
Master in Education Management (University of Bristol, Faculty of Social Sciences and Law)
Diploma in Neurosciences and Psychology of Mental Health (King’s College London; Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience)
PhD in Applied Mathematics (University of Constantza)

Certificates:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Online Training with Professor Steven Hayes from University of Nevada, USA.
Essentials of CBT and CBT for Anxiety, Online Training Program with Professor Judith Beck from Beck Institute, USA.
Certificate of Continuing Professional Development in “Building Strengths and Creativity” from Institute of Child Education and Psychology (ICEP Europe).
Certificate of “Positive Discipline in the Classroom”, from Hong Kong Positive Discipline Association.
Certified Practitioner of NLP by The American Board of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (ABNLP), Hypnotist Practitioner Certification by The American Board of Hypnotherapy (ABH), Certified Practitioner of Time Line Therapy, Evolution-U, Hong Kong.
Certificates in “Positive Psychology: Coaching” and “Introduction to Positive Psychology”, Whole-being Institute, USA.
Certificates in “Body Talk Access” and “Mind-Scape System” by International Body-Talk Association, Hong Kong.

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