Benjamin Gerrard is part of Hey Lemonade’s in-house psychology team who oversee and advise the content and writing of our pep talks. Benjamin is a published researcher in psychology, specialising in the benefits of solution-focused coaching, a theory that is used as the basis of our pep talks to help reframe perspective and mindset before or during a stressful moment. Benjamin has completed a Masters of Research in psychology and is currently undertaking the course work to complete a Masters of Forensic Psychology.
Read below for a Q& A with Benjamin including an explanation of solution-focused therapy. Hey Lemonade are extremely honoured to have Benjamin in team Hey Lemonade.
What is your area of expertise?
I have conducted and published research on the benefits of solution-focused coaching and also on issues involving gender and status. Currently, however, I am training as an intern psychologist – working with offenders within forensic placements.
Can you tell us a little bit about Solution Focussed Therapy?
The chief premise of being ‘solution-focused’ is that, while it is tempting to ruminate and dwell on problems, the key to positive change is more about redirecting our attention to where we actually want to go. Solution-focused therapy invites clients to get ‘specific’ about goals and to identify the realistic baby steps required to get there. A focus on barriers and obstacles is actively avoided in favour of acknowledging strengths and resources. A proactive approach to ’empowerment’ or ‘up-skilling’ is also encouraged where required.
Why is Solution Focussed Therapy good for in the moment stress intervention?
Research has shown that focussing on solutions has a significant positive impact on mood. People feel happier (even when they are prone to dysfunctional attitudes) if they actively redirect their attention from obstacles and problems toward their strengths, resources and plans toward meaningful goals.
What appealed to you about becoming involved with Hey Lemonade?
This app has been developed with attention to evidence and with great care to be inclusive and accessible.
What surprised you about working on Hey Lemonade?
It made me appreciate the power of humour to inspire and uplift.
Why do you think in-the-moment stress interventions such as Hey Lemonade are useful?
In a fast-paced modern world – it’s not always possible for people to feel like they have access to little bursts of self-care throughout their day. The great positive of modern technology is that apps give us the power to gift ourselves mental health breaks even on the run.
Why do you think the Hey Lemonade pep talks are effective?
Hey Lemonade pep talks are like a friend in your pocket. They tap into universally shared concerns and anxieties. They inspire and remind us we are not alone.
What helps you re-set or pull it together in times of stress?
Haha trick question? HEY LEMONADE!
What are you looking forward to today and what are you worried about?
I have a two show day [side note: Ben also is a film and theatre actor ], a research proposal due and gym so I will definitely be squeezing in some meditation to stay calm, confident and grateful throughout!
You have spent time working with and studying a broad section of the community including children and families, the LGBTQI community, the arts community, and clients of the court system, what is a theme you have learnt about people during your journey as a researcher, coach and provisional psychologist?
That everyone is more similar than they are different. We are all on a journey and that everyone is striving in their own way to grow.
Thank you Benjamin, good luck with the two show day. You’ve got this!
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