Keeping your Sense of Ease

Sebastian’s Events Fall 2019

Explore my upcoming events and programs for personal growth.

Expand your skillset of dealing with people, politics, pressure, moods, depression and anxiety.

Exude prudence, Sebastian

FREE Orientation MBCT

Find out what the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy program is about. Get to know the benefits, scientific research and program structure. Familiarise with the venue and fellow travellers.

Mindful Men’s Group

This group program empowers men in their journey through life. Choosing a path of greater self-awareness and ownership. Beginning or deepening the practice of mindfulness. Leaning into the challenges of masculine and feminine energy.

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Training

MBCT is a solid evidence-based program with an expansive body of scientific research. It combines Mindfulness Practices, as a way of being present in a non-judging manner, with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a way of becoming aware of and to prevent downward spirals and negative thinking patterns.


Expecting a baby or recently became a Dad? Do you have questions about labour, birth & life with a new baby? Join us for a casual yet informative Urban Dads event. Bringing expecting and new Dads together, over a drink to discuss typical and specific challenges.

Mixed Group anyone?

I have been approached a few too many times about facilitating a group of like-minded men and women in Hong Kong. This group will follow a similar setting and topics to my men’s groups.

Here I want to know if you were interested to join?
contact Sebastian directly

Free Lunchtime Practice

Weekly meditation practice session with teacher-guided exercises. This group is open to the community of mindfulness programme graduates as well as beginners interested in mindfulness practice.

The Friday weekly sessions are offered free of charge.
No reservations are required

Marital Analysis – self-test intended

In my counselling work with individuals and couples my clients often address their closest committed relationships. Amongst them are typically marriage, parent/children, partnerships, siblings and friendships. When I ask people to describe the way they relate to each other, I hear for example “loving”, “explosive”, “happy”, “disciplined”, “authoritarian” or “caring”. And while we could leave it at that, I often wonder if those are really descriptions of the relationship or rather characterising the style, behaviour and personality of one or both persons involved.

It is much more difficult to hone in on the qualities of the connection or disconnection that we have with one another. In particular in couples counselling and marriage therapy it is absolutely worth to invest some thinking effort and to carve out and define what we have created with the other person. How we relate, how relations shift over time and the difference in relationships we form provides valuable insight into our live patterns, struggles and worn-out comfort zones.

A deeper analysis and understanding of the qualities and nature of a relationship with another person helps us to better manage dynamics and boundaries. Taking marriage for example: describing the marital state as “broken”, “dysfunctional, “close”, “intimate”, “illicit” or “unhealthy” seems to be valid, as neither of the partners has to be “unhealthy” or physically close to be in a close or unhealthy relationship. Or take “platonic” for that matter. Your relationship might not be sexual but rather friendly close, but that does not mean YOU are not sexual about the very same relationship.

Most adjectives are broad and remain superficial with regard to their level of information gained. Think “healthy”, “troublesome”, “beautiful” or “committed”. However! We start to gain value and insight exactly here. By asking further questions and allowing ourselves to be curious with an open heart. Can you allow yourself to be that way?

Besides the validity of your description, how precise is it? I like to think of any relationship as a bridge and when I look at my own bridges, I am often describing them very visually and in technical terms. That doesn’t mean a bridge can’t be symbolic, metaphoric or even poetic in your own words. Check for yourself from the following list of pairs and decide in each case towards which side you are leaning to.

absorbing – unforgiving

balanced – imbalanced

close – distant

natural – high-maintenance

heavy-travelled – via ferrata

historical – modern

longstanding – makeshift

romantic – functional

stable – shaking

solid – troublesome

weatherproof – season

Here are a few of my favorites (also thinking of real bridges)

convenient – life-saving

enabling – risky

exciting – boring

reciprocal – unilateral

safe – dangerous

symbiotic – differentiated

Dealing with grief and bereavement beyond counselling

If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that sooner or later, we’ll all have to come to terms with losing a loved one. Here is a source to tap into and brace yourself for such an unavoidable and profoundly difficult inevitability.

Griefcast, as their tagline clearly states, it’s a podcast about grief and death. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a first glance it sounds like a podcast that you want to stay well away from, but it’s actually presented by comedians, so it’s much more fun and uplifting than it is depressing. Every week, it’s a funny, tender and very human discussion about the pain, confusion, and often downright weird and awkwardness of death.

So why should you listen? Grief is isolating. It’s scary, disorientating, and can take many years to come to terms with. Hearing relatable stories and experiences that may very well sound familiar to you is a beautiful reminder that you’re not alone, there is no right or wrong way to feel, there’s definitely no time frame, you’re allowed to relapse, and say you’re doing just fine.

Of course, everyone’s process of losing a loved one and grieving is unique, but there are common threads, as host Cariad explores. Having lost her father as a teenager, she often talks and finds common ground with guests about the anger, and sometimes even annoyance they feel. A key take-home message, make sure someone has your online passwords and banking details! As well as things that they feel guilty about, and why that’s okay. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable and almost rude the first time you laugh after losing a loved one, or especially whilst a loved one is gravely ill. The host and her guests often talk about the strange limbo between receiving a terminal diagnosis and dying. The nervous anxiety, time standing still, and the one night you go out and forget everything for a few hours.

As well as sharing experiences about grief, the podcast explores the, if anything, even less discussed topic of dying. What it’s like to live with someone undergoing invasive medical treatment, and how it can take a while for the reality to dawn that someone isn’t going to get better. It’s packed with practical advice, not from doctors, instead from normal people who have been there. Things like the physically demanding nature of taking care of someone at home, the difficulty of communicating with doctors, and some things you might actually need to expect in your loved one’s final moments.

A podcast does not replace significant ways of healing and caring in times of loss and bereavement – like talking and social contact. Individual counselling supports people going through the grief process with a professional understanding of each of the phases that require specific care. The counsellor or psychotherapist offers kindness, compassion and empathy. Unfortunately in Hong Kong’s fast paced environment the aggrieved often receive sympathy instead and find it less helpful.

Griefcast helps to develop acceptance, by taking a scary subject that you’ve probably seldom taken time to consider, and making it normal. Coming to terms with your own mortality and the mortality of your friends and family is never going to be easy, but avoiding the topic entirely makes it far harder. Whether you’re dealing with a terminal diagnosis, the loss of a loved one or you’re not yet ‘in the club’ this podcast elegantly and sensitively lets you know what you might expect, reassures you that you’re not alone and opens the door to further healing conversations.

You can listen to Griefcast on


Apple Podcasts

BBC Sounds

You can also follow them and join the discussion on Twitter by following @thegriefcast.

Men Hong Kong

Lost connections: Male bonds.

An article in Time caught my attention last week. The headline reads “Men Are More Satisfied By ‘Bromances’ Than Their Romantic Relationships”.  We read about a study that finds that every man surveyed has a friend he’s closer with than with his girlfriend. All but one of the men surveyed have cuddled with their bromantic partner and every single man surveyed had engaged in ‘no boundaries’ activities, like swapping secrets and even sharing a bed. They talk about feeling more comfortable sharing worries with their bromantic partner than with their girlfriends. They’d even rather move in with their bromantic partners than their girlfriends! The bottom line is they find these relationships to be more emotionally fulfilling than romantic relationships.

The study in question focuses on young, mainly white men, in college, studying a sports-related subject. Can the attitudes and experiences of this group of men be extrapolated to apply to the male population as a whole? No, of course not. This study tells us what’s typical of young men, more than likely all with incredibly similar values and cultures, there’s simply not enough data to know whether this applies to men more generally. It might, it might not, either way, it’s still interesting to consider.

The first issue that jumps out to me is that these men are of college age, that’s usually somewhere between 18 and 22. It begs the question, how comparable is a relationship between college students in their late teens or early twenties to a marriage of 30 years? This is, of course, speculative, but there’s every chance that the sports-mad college students of this study don’t yet have the confidence to be emotionally vulnerable with their romantic partners, simply because they’re young.  They likely have priorities other than building romantic relationships, not because they’re men but because they’re students.

Let’s look into the phenomenon. Bromance isn’t a new concept. It’s a new word to make close male friendships, and mutual emotional support, seem more palatable in a society with increasingly prescriptive ideals of what masculinity is, and how men ought to present themselves. And on balance, we think it’s great!

Men can be a bit guilty of not taking care of their emotional health. To many men, being masculine means never being afraid, never being upset, never being vulnerable. It’s not healthy, men’s mental health is suffering because of it. Let’s never forget that suicide is one of the leading causes of death in men under 50.

Men opening up, discussing their worries and finding emotional support amongst men and building friendships is essentially healthy behaviour. There are plenty of topics that we would expect a woman to discuss with her friends as well as her romantic partner, and there are topics we wouldn’t be surprised to hear she discusses with her friends and NOT her partner. Is this a cause for concern? Of course not. Relying on your romantic partner for all your emotional support is unhealthy and unrealistic, regardless of gender.

Investing your time in a men’s group can be a great step to reconnect with yourself and other men – outside your usual circles. Sebastian’s new mindfulness-based men’s group starts on Wednesday 16th May at 8pm in Central Hong Kong. Read more …

Relationship Trauma. Reliving your parents’ issues.

Witnessing a parent being unfaithful can be deeply traumatic for a child. There can be feelings of betrayal and guilt, and often these feelings can be carried into adulthood, regardless of whether or not the parents reconcile their relationship or go onto divorce. It is likely that issues with trust and trusting manifest and take a toll on long-term committed relationships.

The trauma of witnessing infidelity in your parent’s marriage may have left you with the tendency to project your feelings of blame onto your own spouse or partner. Perhaps you see many of their actions as selfish, perhaps you are suspicious of them without good reason, or perhaps the whole idea of forming a deep attachment fills you with anxiety.  You might even recognise that your behaviour is unreasonable and has no foundation in reality, but still feel powerless to stop it. 

One catch with these behaviours is, that they may generate emotional damage in themselves: The great trouble with the kinds of behaviour associated with trust issues and anxiety around attachments is that they’re self fulfilling. These issues can often cause you to be jealous and untrusting of your spouse or partner and lead to controlling behaviour, or even punishing behaviour. Actions like withholding affection and shutting down communication are common. As a result of this, you alienate your partner and might even push them further away. 

couples acts of kindness

Like so many things, the first step to recreate a secure bond in the marriage is to recognise that a problem is there. Reading this blog is a great indication that you are enquiring into the sources of your dissatisfaction. Once you are aware and acknowledge the underlying feelings, you can begin to move towards healing. Ultimately, you can take ownership of the trauma you faced in your past, and accept that it’s truly in your past. From there, you can allow yourself to experience whatever strong emotions may show up, like jealousy, anxiety, insecurity. They are reflecting on your partner and on your relationship, but they can be dealt with in many more helpful ways.

It’s easy enough to see it written down in a neat paragraph, but making these changes in your own life and your own relationship is often easier said than done. Consider the support of a counsellor to guide you and your partner through the process of rediscovering the trust and happiness in your relationship. We speak with lots of couples struggling with issues surrounding trust, communication and overcoming traumas. Our approach is to help you identify where troubles arise, and overcome challenges together. 

Brexit Yoga: Feel the stretch

Mindful Movement practices allow us to bring awareness to body experience in stillness and in motion. Take a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to indulge in a spot of yoga with a difference. Make sure you work within your limitations. Please decide for yourself how far you can go and step out of the practice if pain becomes overwhelming.

Let me introduce you to Brexit Yoga, an unnervingly accurate summary of the delicate political situation in the UK told through a soothing yoga class. It will make you smile!

Is there a serious message to be learnt? Yes, we think there’s something here that can be applied to our everyday lives. Movement is a wonderful way to anchor yourself in the present moment. Whilst this yoga class was designed with humour and pokes a bit of fun at the current trendiness of yoga, it does demonstrate that by slowing down and moving intentionally, you can bring a calm to any situation.

The ancient practice of yoga aligns breath, body and mind with the movements and poses acting as vehicles to direct attention to inner experience remaining aware of the outside world, taking you deeper into meditation and being more mindful of your actions.

What benefits does yoga and mindfulness have?

Both practices have been linked to a huge range of health benefits, both physical and psychological. As well as the obvious fitness benefits of yoga, like increased core strength and flexibility. Yoga and mindfulness may also help increase levels of serotonin and lower cortisol levels, as shown in a 2014 study at the University of Wisconsin by Richard Davidson, PhD Center for Healthy Minds (Front. Psychol., 24 October 2014). Mindful Movement is part and parcel of the successful standard Mindfulness programs such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Training (MBCT).

So, what does this means for you? You may find yourself feeling happier and dealing with stress better by simply allowing yourself to connect with the present moment. The present holds rich information about what is going on in and around you. In Body, Mind, Emotion and Behaviour.

Ultimately, making time to take a yoga class or a mindful break is making time for self-care. Whether you’re mulling over a serious topic, or worrying about your children, you can use the concept of the Brexit Yoga to slow down your movements, pause and be mindful of you next move, whether that be a yoga pose, a difficult discussion, or making the choice to spend quality time with your family. Whatever it is, you’ll be taking a step in the right direction.

Movie Nature versus Nurture Triplets

Three Identical Strangers – movie tip

The Movie THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS tell the shocking story of three brothers that were born as triplets and separated at birth. In a documentary style it is told how the life of the triplets and unfolds after they reunite as young adults by coincidence and the spellbinding and ethically challenging surprises they are about to find out about their circumstances.

Statistical Data about triplets

A 2010 study by Tandberg et al. published in BJOG from the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen found that there are trends showing since assistive reproductive technologies have an influence on pregnancies. The total triplet incidence rate increased over 40 years. In Norway it has more than doubled. The risk of perinatal death is ten times higher (10x) relative to singletons and has not changed during the period.

The course of the film mainly illustrates the life and destiny of the three men in their personal experience and with retrospectives told by some of their relatives and friends. However, the film also introduces bigger topics of scientific, moral and societal importance. Namely parenting /adoption and the thirst for scientific evidence and progress with regard to heredity of intelligence, character, personality and mental illness.

Was the movie good?

YES. ABSOLUTELY. The story is told throughout in an emotionally captivating manner and leads the viewer through puzzle piece by puzzle piece. The information is prepared and fed to the audience in a way

What was good?

Apart from the impressive and touching storytelling the movie touches on one of the fundamental riddles of life, biology and psychology. The question of nature versus nurture with regard to the development and expression of who we become throughout a lifetime. Are we becoming us due to our genes or do we develop due to our upbringing, parenting and environment?

What was missing?

The narrative pointed at the bigger questions and possible answers without revealing more of that truly fascinating topic. And rightly so. Here the story ends without the full picture of what was actually going on, only guesswork would have been done. Also, the film did well staying aloof of diving deeper into controversial scientific research and thereby turning academic in itself.

Should you watch it?

The movie does cater for several audiences with different interests.

You will benefit from watching it:

1. If you want to be pulled into the dramatic unfolding of the triplets as they were headlining the front pages of their time

2. If you want to engage your mind with ethical and psycho-biological topics and take this film as an opportunity to open up discourses around nature vs. nurture and parenting vs. individual development

traps of life in hong kong

5 most typical psycho-traps for men in Hong Kong

Working for almost a decade with male and female individuals, couples and groups Counselling Psychologist Sebastian Droesler understands the challenges of modern city lives.

With his male clients he typically sees five dangerous traps. To be caught in these traps often leads to unhealthy lifestyles and behavioural patterns that lead to unhappiness, stress, anxiety and bleakness.

1. Fear of Missing Out

FOMO is a state of unrestfulness and often leads to unhealthy, unbalanced and unreasonable choices. So you go out instead of swimming. You stay out too long when you actually wanted to go home. You go to bed late, absorbed in games or surfing the net. You take business trips and events as welcome opportunities to drift and to slip.

2. Bargaining with life

Many men are trying to do what is demanded of them while leering at a future of independence and loosing themselves in the process. They might hold on to a job or a role telling themselves that they just need “to make it through” and then paying the price: loss of pleasure and increased anxiety.

3. Forgetting the inside

Portraying our selfs is often as much a bad habit as it is nowadays a necessity instagated by social media

. For many men authentically showing up is difficult and risky. Showing off is easier and yields some short term gain. Playfulness and manhood often get redirected to no good.

4. Not living fully present

Having a plan is good and needed. Constantly planning the next thing is not good. Men are prone to leap forward any moment in time. Thereby forgetting to be present. Connecting with loved ones and finding people to respect is a choice. If you don’t know what a good day looks like – you might not live it!

5. Knowing but not acting

Many men freeze when change is most needed. The phenomenon of paralysis under stress comes in many shapes and forms and is often expressed in procrastination. Taking action seems to be the obvious and simple recipe to dodge adversity at work, in health and relationships. However, often something deeper and darker stands in the way.

More and more men want to author their own well-being and become a better version of themselves. In order to address the above mentioned challenges Sebastian offers Men’s Groups and Men’s Retreats to enable men to steer clear of the pitfalls of their culture.

Improve your emotional balance in the New Year!

You can improve your emotional balance in the New Year by joining the MBCT program in a boutique group setting.

Pig practice in yoga

There are 2 slots left to join Sebastian’s Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program in February.

This solidly composed program was particularly designed for people who know themselves having periods of depressed mood, downward spirals of anxiety and recurring negative thinking patterns.

Mindfulness-based programs have become more and more popular and are often held in large spaces with a mass atmosphere. However, I will keep the group size below 10 participants for a more boutique-like learning.

Please register asap.

Oh Please!

An interesting new thought was introduced to me the other day. My client declared “I am a people pleaser”. I was curious to hear more and asked her what she meant by that and why she brouhght up the label. It turned out, that she held a rather positive understanding of her behaviour of pleasing the people around her. On many occasions and in many different areas of her life, she would make extra efforts to accomodate others oftentimes in an unneccessarily hasty manner.

For her, the meaning of doing this was control. She stated confidently “I can control situations and people when I’m in charge and can influence the turn of events”. I was puzzled and needed a moment to reflect. “Ok” I said, “give me an example”. She said “For example in the office before Christmas, my boss asked all of us in the team to come up with ideas to plan a dinner event with a group activity afterwards. I quickly got to draft a proposal with 5 restaurants and 5 activities as an online poll and sent out the link for everyone to vote. Took me under 20’ tops!”

“And?” I asked “that seems to be a nice gesture and good team spirit. But where is your element of control here and your influencing the turn of events?” She replied impatiently “Isn’t that obvious? Of course I only proposed restaurants I like and activities I wanted to do. Genius, don’t you think?”. No, I did not think. “Genius” did not occur on the list of things in my mind about her behaviour and her underlying mindset.

I wanted to know how her proposal and online poll was received and she said “I got quite some good feedback – people like it when they don’t have to think”. “And how do you feel about doing all that?” She looked down and said “I think it is great that I help everyone to save time and at the same time be able to do the things I want to do.” Having had known her for a while, I was not so sure about this being her true motivation for acting in such immediate and overpowering manner – pausing all other tasks in her role as a business manager which demanded acting in a timely manner on much more relevant matters.

I was intrigued to enquire more about what she had anticipated the outcome would have been without her “people pleasing”. First we needed to reframe her language a bit: It transpired that “restaurants I like” rather meant “restaurants I feel safe going to” (being very much afraid of food poisoning) and “activities I want to do” more clearly meant “activites that allow me to hide in the crowd without being exposed” (being socially anxious of redicule and judgement by others).

Anxiety and Phobia was the driving force behind her acting. Her immediate and overarching behaviour allowed her to not even get close to experiencing any. She had developed a very sensitve strategy to avoid emotion, physiological symptoms and she made sure early on to not having to deal with any anxious mindgames – the fearful thoughts and images of anticipation leading up to a dreaded event.

Moreover, she managed to deny her strategy of avoidance with a mental self-campaign of “control” and “pleasing people” – as in doing good for others and for herself. Was that really clever? I wondered how much hypersensitivity, effort, tension and sacrifice she must have constantly been putting in, in order to maintain this shield of energy that protected her from experiencing anxiety and fear.

I also wondered if she had ever thought about facing her demons with the same stamina she demonstrated day in day out? I wanted her to be happy and well.