Kara Connect

Running out of small talk in the office? Prepping some fun facts for Christmas gatherings- in person or online? You’re in luck.

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In the run up to the holidays, we at Kara have been rounding up fun and interesting research around Christmas. Here’s what we found:

We have an area in our brains dedicated to Christmas spirit

In participants that celebrate Christmas and have positive associations with it, a team of researchers in Copenhagen have found significant clusters of brain activity in several cortical areas of the brain (dubbed ‘The Christmas Spirit Network’) that are related to spirituality, somatic senses and facial emotion recognition. …


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There is a certain cliché about Christmas that we’re all familiar with, especially in films: there’s a lot of fairy lights, far too much family, stress and drama and cooking disasters, if you’re lucky Hugh Grant shows up on your doorstep to see the local nativity, and it’s either an awful or an amazing time. …


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For when you’re starting to feel like an extension of your computer, here are our tips for safe ways to rebalance your online presence as we cope with continuing restrictions.

In a matter of a few months, we’ve seen almost every single social event in our life moved online. Work, school, university, parents evenings, drinks with friends, bingo night at the local county hall, study groups, therapy, shopping, interviews, doctor’s appointments, vet visits… if it involves contact with a living system, it’s highly likely to be happening right now on an online platform somewhere.

At a time where limiting face-to-face interaction is saving lives, switching on online is helping us stay involved and connected with society, and in many ways maintaining our mental health. But have you ever found yourself at 10pm on a weeknight realising you’ve effectively been to the gym, work, a class, meeting, met a friend, done the weekly grocery shop and checked in on your family without so much as leaving your chair (and the desk is slightly cluttered, your eyes feel dry and you have a mysterious, pounding headache?). …


A question sometimes asked by professionals about online services are, why does a client need an account, as opposed to being sent a direct link to a session?

When using the Kara system, there are two ways to register a client to a service in order to book sessions and host remote meetings.

  1. A professional invites a client through Kara. The client receives an email to confirm their registration.
  2. A client requests a service with the professional using a link, provided by the professional (for example on their website).

In both of these cases, clients create an account in Kara. They register their information and can log into this account anytime, even if there isn’t a session booked. …


Despite significant changes in recent years to access to mental health services, open discussions about mental health and various campaigns to raise awareness of mental health issues, many still experience stigma when considering seeking help.

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What is stigma?

Stigma is one of the greatest barriers when it comes to seeking mental health services and can be broadly divided into two categories:

External or public stigma is the harm that occurs when a population or community endorses negative attitudes and beliefs about a group leading to stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.

Internal or self stigma is what happens when an individual applies these prejudices and stereotypes to themselves and internalises them, leading to lowered self-esteem, health issues, social withdrawal and shame.

Research has indicated that both external and internal stigma have an effect on people’s willingness to seek help.

How does it affect help-seeking?

Many people with serious mental illnesses may refuse to seek help in order to escape stigma labels. …


During the COVID-19 lockdown, therapy services have largely moved online in order to accommodate for people not being able to leave their homes. We look at Thorbjorg’s top tips for clients for maintaining privacy despite these changes.

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COVID-19 restrictions in recent months have seen many services such as therapy moving online. These changes are leading to more professionals choosing to adopt an online approach going forward, which can greatly increase accessibility to treatment for many who are unable to leave their homes due to various reasons. However, often clients must attend their sessions from home, which can in some cases compromise clients‘ ability to talk freely: relationships and living situations are usually the most common topics for discussion.

Thorbjorg, psychologist, CEO and founder of Kara Connect, shared with us her tips for keeping these sessions private in order to continue with quality therapy sessions while at home. …


We’ve had a look at some research on seasonality in psychiatric disorders and patterns in therapy seeking.

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Autumn is nearing, and here at Kara most of us are returning to work after a well-deserved summer break. We’re digging up schoolbags for our little ones and searching for slightly thicker coats, accepting that the sunnier days are fewer and further between, and settling in for a long winter. For some, this is a time of new beginnings, cozy afternoons indoors and quality time with family. But for many, the winter can be a difficult time.

Our mental health suffers during the colder, darker months.

Studies have indicated that 95% of individuals report experiencing some degree of mood fluctuations across seasons, and an estimated 10–20% of all mood disorders have seasonal patterns (Bartko & Kasper., 1989; Magnusson, 2000). Perhaps the most well-known contributor to dips in mental health in the winter is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Typically occurring in winter, SAD involves recurrent depressive epsiodes of mild-moderate severity which can lead to impaired functioning in everyday life (Partonen & Lönnqvist, 1998). SAD is more common in the northern latitudes, and in Iceland the prevalence of SAD is estimated at 3.8% of the population (Magnússon & Stefánsson, 1993). A study by Gardarsdottir et al (2010) found a 5–35% increase in patients initiating antidepressant use during the winter than in the summer. …


Whether you’re looking to go fully online with your service, introduce a blended approach of in-person and remote meetings, or setting up for an occasional remote meeting as an exception, here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your clinic to offer remote therapy.

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Prepare your tech

You’ll need to equip yourself or your professionals with the correct technology in order to have successful sessions. Here are the most essential things to consider:


The implementation and use of telehealth solutions can greatly improve accessibility to mental health services, and recent research shows that common psychotherapies such as CBT can be just as effective when delivered remotely.

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Recent research on telehealth solutions in a variety of clinical contexts supports the idea that telehealth could be just as effective as in-person treatment when correctly implemented. For many, in-person treatment is difficult to access, whether this is due to work commitments, travel times and costs, childcare, or personal health. As conditions become more complicated, interventions become more specialised and therefore less widely available. Being able to access treatment from one’s home, or at least close to it, can make a world of difference to individuals. …


Telehealth has seen a recent surge as secure, technological solutions become more widely available to professionals and healthcare providers. Recent studies have indicated that telehealth in various forms can be more cost-effective and convenient than in-person treatment.

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Cheaper for the institution

Allowing professionals in EMT care to assess urgency remotely and divert ambulances saves emergency department visit costs significantly.

About

Kara Connect

Kara Connect is a virtual office for counselors and therapists and professionals in healthcare, educational and beyond. Sign up free today!

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