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Keep the Change

Posted on October 14, 2015 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (241)

Do you ever feel like something’s coming? And after it happens, your life will never be the same? It’s my last year at Uni, and I’m getting to the point where all the “adult” figures in my life (am I an adult yet?) are asking about my graduation plans, and I’m about ready to give up and do another four years.



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Here are some reasons why change is scary, but why it might not be so bad after all.


1. Change is new

When we have to deal with new circumstances, we’re often put out of our comfort zones. Humans LOVE comfort zones! It’s where anxiety is lowest, we don’t have to put in much effort, and our brains can coast on autopilot because we know what we’re doing. But once you leave it, you’ll start to grow your skills and take a more active part in shaping your life. By breaking the routines you have in place right now, you’ll have the chance to do all of the exciting things that you never would’ve imagined. By leaving behind familiar people and places, you create space for the better things that are waiting just beyond that comfort zone.


2. Change is constant

Let’s face it, change is happening. It’s natural, it’s normal, and it’s a part of life. It takes a lot of energy to resist change, but none to embrace it. By accepting that things are going to change, you’ll free up so much mental energy! You’ll be more relaxed, more flexible, and ready to take on the challenges that life presents.


3. Change means loss

Any time we lose something, there’s a grieving process. Grief consists of denial, rage, depression, bargaining, and acceptance (not necessarily in that order). It’s hard to lose something that we’ve become attached to, and part of personal growth is being willing to go through that full process and to let go of the attachment.


4. Change is opportunity

So you’ve changed. So what? If you’re not who you used to be, you can literally be anything. Once you let go of the past, the future is open to everything you’ve always wanted to be. If you can dream it, you can do it. While the unknown can be scary, it’s important to keep moving forward to see what the world has in store! Instead of looking at the closed door, turn to the ones that have opened.



It was really hard to make this list without repeating the same thing over and over! A lot of the resources I found said the same thing a few times, so I tried to make each of these items distinct. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments, and check out these other resources about changing it up.


Keep your heads up, loves! xx

Six Strategies for Self-Care

Posted on September 4, 2015 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Whether it’s a day that’s been particularly stressful, a series of events that suddenly pile up, or a chronic illness that just seems like too much today, it’s important to have options to make life more manageable. As you might tell from the name, self-care is a method of taking care of yourself! It’s not an elaborate plan, just a list of options that you can do to make yourself feel better. For those days when you’re sore, tired, achey, or just plain feel like you can’t even, here’s some little things that you can do.



1. Have a hot drink

Tea isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and the caffeine in coffee can make some people feel even more stressed out, but any kind of hot drink can be soothing. Plus it’s a good way to hydrate! Not enough water can lead to headaches, lack of concentration, and a working memory that isn’t fully functional – which means anything else you’re doing becomes infinitely more difficult. Some of my favourite hot drinks are honey citron drink, hot chocolate, or heated apple cider. Also check out Wikipedia’s


2. Go for a walk

This is a classic way to get your consciousness thinking about other things. If you’re stuck on a problem, walking forces you to physically distance yourself from it and gives you space to think. If your neighborhood isn’t ideal for walking, you can pace your flat, or go to a park nearby.


3. Take a (short) nap

The incubation theory says that sleeping on a problem can help your mind relax its constraints and think about the problem in a new way. Whether you actually dream up a solution or not, a 20-30 minute nap can recharge your brain, clear out toxins, and leave you feeling ready to tackle the problem again from a new angle. A word of warning if you choose this approach, do remember to set an alarm – self-care should be something that prepares you to do other things, and if you sleep away the afternoon you could wake up feeling even more stressed!


4. Write it out

Keeping a diary isn’t something that works for everyone, but jotting down your feelings or thoughts on a piece of paper can be a way to clarify what exactly you’re feeling. Free associate with the things that are bothering you – why are they bothering you? What about this situation is overwhelming? Is there something that you do can to solve or manage this with the right steps? If not, what are some things in the present that you can do to make it less harmful to your mental health? Check out our last post on harm reduction for some ideas.


5. Get in touch with a friend

I talk to my friends through so many ways that it’s easier to say “communicate” than anything else! Whether it’s a snap on snapchat, a Facebook message, or a good old-fashioned phone call, it can be great to get in touch with someone who knows you really well.


6. Take a stretch break

There are so many easy stretches to relieve tension, which also can reduce stress! Because physical symptoms can be misinterpreted by the brain and attributed to the wrong causes, tension in your body can make you feel more stressed than you actually are. Get up! Lean down and reach for the floor, then lean back and reach your arms behind your head. If you can, sit down and stretch out anything that feels tight or sore. Give yourself time! Don’t rush it, take 10-15 minutes to really get into it and feel the results.


The most important part of your self-care is that it’s tailored to YOU! I’m more of an introvert, which means that even though I love being around people, I recharge by being alone (meditating, reading a book, going to the park). For extroverts, recharging can come from being around and engaging with others (talking, dancing, cuddling with a trusted person or a pet). It’s all about what’s right for you and your head.


Also, try to come up with self-care that you can do the moment you need it. While getting a massage is a great way to relax and de-stress, it’s hard to get yourself out to a massage place when your head is spinning! Try and think of 5 easy things that you can do wherever, whenever.

What do you think of our list? What’s on yours? Let us know in the comments!


[Inspired by]


Article on Changing Relationship Structures

Posted on July 7, 2015 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (2)

Hello all!

Just a quick link to an article on polyamory and changing relationship structures that features some comments and information about Imanadari from Nina, as well as some comments from Anne Hunter, a relationships coach from Melbourne. 

The article can be found here.

Robot Hugs on Harm Reduction

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (1)

This Robot Hugs cartoon does an excellent job of explaining what harm reduction is, and how a person can use harm reduction techniques when they are trying to limit harmful behaviour. Harm reducation emphasises that we don't have to perfect straight away when we are trying to stop or limit harmful behaviours, that these things take time and it's important to put safety procedures in place while we are still learning to reduce the dangerous behaviour.

The comic below is from Robot Hugs at

Active Consent Workshop

Posted on September 10, 2014 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Below are the handouts from a workshop on Active Content at the University of Sydney run by Nina Melksham.


Please note: You are welcome to opt out of any activity at any time, and Jo is available to help you if need to speak to somebody immediately.

Why is active consent important?

  • We live in a “coercion culture” - a culture that normalises and makes invisible many forms of coercive behaviour. The biggest norm that we have been taught that plays into this thinking is “no means no”.

  • This assumption does not account for the large proportion of people who may have difficulty identifying their emotions or with verbal communication.

  • In many cultural contexts, giving a direct no is considered to be rude or abrasive. People are taught that when you say no, you don’t actually use the word no. Instead, you provide non verbal cues, ums and ahs, and you provide an excuse of why you “can’t” do something, rather than saying you don’t want to.

Power imbalances – awareness of privilege and intersectionality


“That’s how privilege works – privilege is invisible to those who have it”

– Michael Kimmel

We cannot discuss active consent without a discussion about privilege. At its core, true consent is about people making informed decisions free from coercion. Negotiations where there is a power imbalance between parties is not impossible, but the power imbalances need to be acknowledged, discussed and made visible.

Coersion norms

(These “coercion norms” were taken from a study from Burkett and Hamilton that asked women specifically about sex that they engaged in that they did not say no to, but that they did not want.)

  • Consent is assumed - “Coercion culture” assumes that from the moment that a man and a woman begin to interact sexually, the woman is consenting to other kinds of sexual activity as well.

  • Consent is only about words - “Coercion culture” teaches women that the only way they can withdraw this assumed consent is by saying the word “no”.

  • Physical coercion is the only form of coercion - “Coercion culture” portrays rape as a man physically forcing a woman to have sex with him.

  • It wasn’t rape – I just didn’t want it - “Coercion culture” ignores the fact that sex can be coercive, even when women don’t experience a sexual activity as rape.

  • Empowered women don’t get coerced

What do we know about coercion and consent in same sex relationships, and coercion from women to men?

The majority of coercion is experienced from men towards their sexual partners, both male and female. That does not discount the existence of coercion from women to women, or from women to men, which is a real phenomenon, but simply points towards the statistical majority of coercion that is occurring.

Within both heterosexual and same sex relationships, the majority of coercion fell into a non physical category.


Setting and timing - When is the right time to start negotiating? My personal preference is to begin talking about consent early, and to be very up front about it. Why? Because of the way that the brain is wired, people become less capable of making ethical choices when they are highly aroused.

Verbal negotiation - The first step towards practicing better active consent is simply to verbally ask the person about whatever you intend to do. This can be as simple as “Can I give you a hug?” or “May I kiss you?” A good rule of thumb is to ask before any new physical activity, even socially “expected” physical activities like hugging or pecking on the cheek.

Blanket consent - It does get tiring (and at times downright unsexy) to need to ask someone every time before you do anything. You can give (or ask for) blanket consent once you feel comfortable with something happening all the time.

Phrasing of questions/statements/opinions - There is a big difference between “you don’t really want to do that do you?” vs. “is that something you would want to do?”. Avoid using negatives in this way – when you ask like this, you are not really asking a question, you are expressing a veiled preference.

  • Also remember that an explanation of “I can’t” is often a disguised no. “I would love to, but I can’t” is often actually lack of consent, phrased in an indirect/polite way. Although this is not always the case, it is best to see this as a likely no. How to tell?

Providing the experience of no being ok

Many people have had the experience of no being ok. Even if you explicitly state, several times, that no is ok you are going against years of cultural and experiential conditioning. When your partner does say no to something, especially for the first time, if you react in a negative way you will completely undermine the idea that saying no is ok.




An Alternative History of 90's Music

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello all! 

It's been a while since the blog has been updated. Why I hear you ask? Because we have been too busy doing interviews and writing for some other publications!

The lovely Jo MacDonald recently contributed to this brilliant article in the Sydney Morning Herald about 90's music, adding a much needed alternative feminist perspective to the piece. 

Check it out here - "Kurt Cobain's Legacy Lives On" by Bernard Zuel

Mardi Gras Caption Contest!

Posted on January 13, 2014 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (3)

Mardi Gras is coming and we need your help! We need some same sex and poly themed postcards to let the world know that Imanadari Counselling is a fun (and safe) space for same sex attracted couples and poly peeps.

Help us caption our post cards with some same sex attracted and poly misunderstandings.

For example -

"And then I realised... I was caught in the lesbian web of death."

"And then I realised...that's not what drag racing means"

"No, no, my husband's partner is lovely - it's just her girlfriend I can't stand!"

Leave your best caption in the comments. Our favourite caption will receive a $50 gift voucher from Max Black and will go on our new postcards to be used at Mardi Gras Fair Day and beyond.

Emotions and facial expressions may not be related

Posted on August 4, 2013 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow, an educational and fascinating article about the research of Professor Lisa Barrett, who believes that there may not be a universal facial expression for emotions such as disgust, anger or surprise.

Why is this such a big deal? Well, if you've ever been a client of mine, I'm sure you'll remember me asking you to communicate using "basic" emotions (anger, sadness, fear, happiness and in love). For a long time, psychological research has stated that all human beings display certain facial expressions to communicate these feelings, regardless of cultural background. 

Professor Barrett believes that the best we can do is make a guess at whether someone is happy, sad or frightened. But apart from that, we're pretty much in the dark.

I can tell you from personal experience, I side very much with Professor Barrett on this one. While you can guess at the way the someone else may be feeling, assuming how they are feeling (or worse, telling them how they are feeling) has the potential to be extremely invalidating. 

It can also serve as a useful reminder that your partner (or friends, or housemates) may need regular "weather reports" on your feelings - because they might not be able to see your internal world. 

The difference between being a "fat man" and a "fat woman"

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This fantastic article by Michael Young on "The Rainbow Hub" helps to hilight an all too common issue for people who identify or are perceived as women who may also struggle with their weight. 

Sterotypes about people whose bodies do not fit into the idealised norm abound. If you weigh more than the average person (or sometimes, even when you ARE the average person) your body becomes "public property". It is considered acceptable for others to leer, pass judgement and make comments about your personality and your appearance, based purely on what they see.

This is particulalry difficult when other people ascribe a morality to a persons weight or appearance, deciding that somehow it is a "moral duty" for women to remain young, thin and beautiful at all times, and woe betide anyone who may choose (or be forced via their biology) to appear otherwise. 

It is important to note that Michael still experiences size-ism when passing as a man. However, when it is robbed of it's societal backing, Michael finds that it is nowhere near as "vehment" or as "pervasive" as it once was. 

The "lived experience" of sex and gender diversity

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Wanted to share this blog entry from "Head Above Water". Tommy spent three days dressing in women's clothing to see what kind of reactions he would get. His experience is a perfect example of a phenomenon called "Minority Stress Theory". 

I have been wanting to write about this for a while, and will hopefully have the chance to write a full blog entry on this eventually. In brief, minority Stress Theory is the theory that sexual minorities have higher rates of physical and mental illness because they face extra stress every day, just by existing.

This stress can be subtle and overt, like reading a magazine and seeing yet another example of heteronormativity, or being harassed on your way to work.

Tommy's experience showcases this experience beautifully. He felt ready to give up and give in after only three days. Imagine needing to deal with this for an entire lifetime!