Onpsych Blog

Onpsych is a forum for Mental Health Care Users and other interested parties.

March 4, 2019

What is BWRT (BrainWorking Recursive Therapy)?

BWRT (BrainWorking Recursive Therapy) is a completely unique, highly effective form of psychotherapy that was created by Terence Watts in 2011.   He was inspired to develop this therapy by scientific research showing that our day to day reactions and decisions are made and acted upon before we become consciously aware of them. This can often be to our benefit when we have mastered a skill, such as driving or typing so thoroughly that we are able to do it easily and automatically without having to consciously think ourselves through each stage of the process. However, it also explains why it is often so difficult to overcome unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviours. These automatic reactions are continuously taking place before we become aware of them, so we have only limited power to change them. This accounts for the experience that so many of us have had of doing or saying something regrettable and then asking ourselves:...

April 15, 2018

Fighting panic is not a good idea, however if you detect the early symptoms there are a number of strategies that you can use before panic gets out of control

1. Retreat – exit the panic-provoking situation if possible until the anxiety subsides, for example if you are driving, slow down then pull over – nb retreat is temporary with the intention of returning, not escaping or avoiding

2. Distraction – divert your attention away from your bodily symptoms by:

  • Talk to another person – express your feelings to them, it will help you get your mind off the panic symptoms

  • Engage in a simple repetitive activity – eg count backwards, count the money in your wallet, count the number of red cars if you are driving

  • Do something that requires focused attention – read a magazine, do a puzzle, calculate, play a musical instrument, paint etc.  These activities use more complex executive skills that force your thinking brain to take over

  • Move around or engage in physical activity – this...

January 28, 2018

You have a sudden sense of impending doom together with uncontrollable anxiety.  Your chest feels tight, your heart starts pounding, you are dizzy, have shortness of breath and nausea.   You may interpret these symptoms as signs of a heart attack or fear you are dying.  You make late night calls to the doctor and visit the emergency room.  Often the test results reveal nothing.  You may however have had a panic attack.  By educating yourself about panic attack symptoms you can decrease those fearful thoughts and begin to gain control of your problem.

Recognizing the symptoms

An abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes, and during which time four (or more) of the following symptoms occur according to DSM-V:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering

  • Feelings of choking

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • ...

September 8, 2017

Eating disorders are fairly common during the adolescent stage of development.  Concerns with body image and weight control may lead to the development of disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.  This is due to the determination not to become obese.


  • Obesity (excess body fat) itself is not considered a mental disorder (DSM-5) as a range of genetic, physiological, behavioural and environmental factors contribute towards its development.

  • People are considered obese if they weigh 20% more than normal weight-for-height or weight for age.

  • Obesity is about three times more common in adolescence than childhood.

  • Medical Research Council of SA reports SA as one of highest of obesity in world (40% population).

  • Factors that influence increase in weight in the adolescent are genetic factors, metabolic disturbances, hormonal imbalances and variations in the number of fat cells in the underlying tissue.

  • Some adolescents are overweight due to their physiqu...

June 29, 2017

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an event that is experienced as:

  • outside the range of normal human experience

  • causes emotional/physical distress

  •  involves a threat to the life of the person or others and

  •  feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror

*not breaking your nail or spilling a drink on your designer outfit before going out to a black tie function!

What is the difference between trauma and crisis:

  •   trauma is the incident, the event whilst

  •   crisis is the process of emotional turmoil the individual is subjected to following the trauma (nb individual’s perception defines the crisis)

Examples of Traumatic Events common in South Africa:

  • witnessing someone being killed

  •  surviving sexual assault

  •  surviving natural disasters (floods, major storm, bush fires)

  •  motor vehicle accident

  •  armed robbery or hijacking

  •  physical/ threatened violence (war, politically-motivated marches etc)

Types of Traumatic Exposure:

For many o...

February 17, 2017

Adolescence can be a difficult period that is often characterised by some degree of emotional instability.  Rapid developmental changes, struggling with conflicting identities and unrealistic social expectations, may lead to uncertainty over role behaviour and feelings of inferiority.  With all this turmoil and confusion, it may not be easy to differentiate between depression and normal adolescent “mood swings” or what is referred to as labile mood.  However, depression in adolescence goes beyond “moodiness”.  It is a serious mental health problem that can impact on every aspect of the adolescent’s life.  It should also be noted that depression is a major risk factor for adolescent suicide.


It is important to have an understanding of what depression is and to recognize the warning signs.  These signs are not always obvious.  Adolescents with depression do not necessarily appear sad. Irritability...

January 23, 2017

Has your last child grown up and ready to leave home or perhaps already moved out?  If so you may be experiencing some mixed emotions.  Find out why the empty nest syndrome happens and what you can do about it.

Just what is the “Empty Nest” Syndrome?

  • The “Empty Nest” Syndrome is not a clinical condition but a useful “label” for the general feeling of grief or loneliness that parents may feel when their children leave home

  • The syndrome takes it name from young birds flying out of their nests once they are old enough to fly, leaving their parents behind

  • It is an important transition in the family life cycle when children “leave the nest” and parents have to adjust their lives accordingly

  • The “Empty Nest” phase has both positive and negative potential, therefore it is important to have an understanding and be aware of factors that may affect adjustment to this transition

Emotions and reactions associated with the “Empty Nest” Syndrome:

  • It is normal for parents t...

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BWRT: One of the most exciting and highly effective forms of psychotherapy

March 4, 2019

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