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About Me

 

Welcome!

Let me tell you a bit about myself…

I was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where I lived for the first 25 years of my life. As you can probably tell by my name, it sounds very German! I am the descendant of a German great-grandfather who moved to Guatemala in the early 1900’s. So I have influence of both Latin American and German styles of thinking, feeling and being (you will see what I mean when you meet me and spend some time with me!).

The German/European influence is probably what brought me back to Europe in 2006. I have lived in the South of England, in many towns, doing many jobs, since then.

I am now settled  in Brighton and Hove, which I love – I have access to the countryside, the city, the sea, and a melting pot of cultures and activities. This is where I have started my journey into Counselling Private Practice, as well as delving deeper into my love of languages and teaching – Spanish, English, Psychology, Counselling/Psychotherapy.

I really enjoy everything that I do, and I never do anything or continue doing something that I don’t enjoy and might cause me unhappiness or frustration. Of course I will see it through to the end and complete what I’ve started.

I don’t think I will ever get unhappy or frustrated with Counselling or Teaching, there is always something new to learn from books, training, but more importantly from my clients themselves.

It is such an honour to be allowed into people’s worlds and be there for the realisations – sometimes good, sometimes not so good – about themselves, their upbringing, their experiences, and see lasting change happen – gradually – so they can continue a happier, healthier life, with a more robust approach to challenges and whatever else life might bring.

I hope this allowed you to get to know me a bit better…do contact me if you want to know more or are looking for a Counsellor, Supervisor, Spanish/English Teacher!

 

Human Rights Day – Monday 10th

human rights day


Today is #HumanRightsDay and I’d like to talk about some rights that I believe should be respected in the realm of our personal and professional relationships.

I found this quote in the United Nations Human Rights Day page, and thought I’d share it with you here:

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This quote talks about the exact thing I was thinking about before sitting down to write this post.

It’s in the small places, close to home, that we most need our humanity and our rights respected.


Here are five rights to consider upholding for yourself in your relationships, and possibly helping others enforce them in their own lives.


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1. The right to set boundaries 

If you’ve been following my posts, you will know boundaries are a big topic for me.

We sometimes have to learn to set them after a major incident with someone.

Other times we are better at setting them because we had a good example through our relationships growing up.

The main thing is that we learn to set them and stick to them. In my book, I talk about how to set clear boundaries and plan ahead when someone challenges us.

It’s important to stick to what we know is right for us, and what will help us have good realtionships with ourselves and others.


42. The right to personal space

We all have different ways of measuring a safe physical and emotional distance from others.

We also gauge this as each relationship develops. We might enjoy being closer to some people, but might want to put a bit more distance with others.

We need to respect this fact within ourselves so others will also respect it. If we set the example, we will communicate clearly what our boundaries are in regard to personal space, and we will be listened to.

If we’re not, then we can decide whether to set an ever bigger distance with some people.

If we are, then we know we can feel safe being close to some others.


53. The right to shelter and food

I walk past so many homeless people. I sometimes ask them if they want some food and get it for them.

Other times, I might not have enough time or money. But walking past them, I feel a sense of anger and feel that it’s so unfair that they are in that situation.

I’ve spoken to some homeless people and they are fantastic, profesionals and creatives that find themselves in a horrid situation due to relationship breakdowns, losing a job due to mental health issues, and more.

I find it appalling that this is happening in a First World Country. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it should happen in any country, but it is a reality.

These lovely people still have the right to shelter and food. There are things to do to remedy this (I won’t get into politics, you know where this was gonna go if I did!).

I do know that there are cafe’s and churches and other places that support and provide food and shelter to rough sleepers and homeless people, which is great as they are acknowledging these people’s basic needs.6

Nobody should be denied the right to a warm bed or a warm meal.


4. The right to healthy and safe relationships

We all have the right to healthy relationships where we feel loved, appreciated, respected, safe and understood.

We also have the choice to leave a relationship when it’s not healthy for us.

Sometimes this is made difficult as the person we’re trying to get away from is toxic, aggressive, and we might be scared to leave.

It might feel like you are trapped in a relationship, but there are lots of places that help you find refuge and support. You don’t have to suffer any longer!


75. The right to happiness and preserving our wellbeing

We all have the right to pursue happiness in any way we find works for us, as long as it doesn’t break any laws or impinge on the rights of those around us.

One aspect of this that is very important to me is doing what I love to do as my profession and job.

I’ve never stayed in a job that I didn’t enjoy anymore. I defy the idea of staying in the same job for the rest of your life even if you’re miserable.

We spend a lot of time at work so it makes sense to enjoy what we do. I love being self-employed and working in my businesses. I wouldn’t change them for the world!

Another way in which we can pursue happiness is by keeping those people in our lives that are good for us. Those that provide positive vibes and those that support us when we need it most (it works the other way around as well!).

Having hobbies and likes that make us smile is also a way to pursue happiness and keep us feeling well.

Finally, exercisng and eating healthy meals is also something that will help us keep healthy, well, and happy.


What other ways can you think of to keep your (and others’) human rights?


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What to expect from Supervision – Challenge how you work

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As therapists, it is vital that we have a good support system in place for our professional and confidential work.

Personal therapy is one way in which we can get this support. Supervision is another, and it will be the focus of these posts.

In the next few months, I will talk a bit about 18 ways in which we should expect supervision to work for us.


I will discuss 18 things we should expect from our supervisory relationship in order to be accountable and working to a professional standard, for the sake of our practice, our profession, and most importantly, for the sake of our clients


Missed my previous posts?

Catch up here:

Containment and Holding Reflective Practice  * Autonomous Practice

Theoretical Grounding * Develop Self-Awareness * Working through tough times


Click here to visit my main supervision page.

Are you starting out in private practice?

Are you an experienced therapist looking for a new supervisory relationship?

To book supervision with me, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to set up an initial meeting.


In this post, I want to talk about how trusting our supervisor can provide a safe space to challenge our practice.


One of the purposes of supervision is to help us grow as practitioners.

In order to grow, we need to be able to talk about anything and everything that comes up for us in our work with clients and supervisees.

The supervisor needs to be able to challenge the supervisee’s practice in a constructive, non-judgemental manner.

If this is achieved in the supervisory relationship, the supervisee should be able to discuss their fears, doubts and dilemmas without censorship.

This will allow the supervisee to open up and therefore make the most out of supervision, keeping his clients safe, keeping themselves safe and working to a professional and ethical standard.

Supervision can also challenge the supervisee when they feel out of their comfort zone. The supervisor should reassure the supervisee that they don’t have to know anything, and provide support when a new client issue or client presentation arises, and is baffling the supervisee a bit.

I find that sometimes just talking through a particular topic that happened in session with a client will help me gain distance and clarity, and get me back on track to help my client to the best of my ability in the next session.

We are all human even though we might have a better understanding of human behaviour. This doesn’t remove any blind spots we might have, and it’s important to work these out in personal therapy, but also in supervision, as both spaces will deal with the same thing in very different ways.

Exploring ethical dilemmas and testing out new therapeutic techniques are a few other ways a safe and trusting supervisory relationship can be used, to the advantage of both supervisee and their clients.

In what other ways do you use your supervision space? Leave your comments below!


watch video for this post - supervisionFollow this link for a video describing this process.

Feel free to share it with your colleagues, supervisees, supervisors and others.


The more we talk about what supervision should be about, what it should cover, and how it should support therapists in their private practice, the better equipped we all will be, and we will provide the a better service to our clients


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How to avoid breaking the bank this Christmas!

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Hi, and welcome to this latest entry, where I’ll be talking about Christmas and how to keep safe and within budget.

I won’t be giving you number-crunching ideas, or maybe I will a bit – I do love an Excel Spreadsheet!


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What I want to focus on is on giving you some food-for-thought about the usual societal expectations and how to break them without feeling guilty, or break them and have a better time this holiday season!

If you’ve read some of my past posts, I do love to challenge society and the unrealistic and sometimes unachievable expectations they place on us.

I like to free myself and those around me from those impositions… or at least prompt some thoughts so people can make up their mind!


Book Cover

You can read these previous posts here:

Blog Series: Looking after yourself

What to do with the should/must/have-to’s

A Don’t Do List

 


This Christmas, don’t break the bank. Avoid yourself some heartache by trying out some of the following:


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  • Think of your priorities

It’s tricky to get the balance right when we are bombarded with adverts to buy the latest phone or gadget.

There’s also adverts selling you yummy looking food and drinks.

What I want you to think about is:

Do I really need this and that?

Can I afford this or that?

Will they get upset if I don’t get this or that?

Can I live with their reactions?

Will I thank or resent myself for buying stuff that is neither necessary or a priority?

Do I want to treat myself and splurge with this one thing? 

Think about the answers that came up for you as you read them.

If you get that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, you have your answer.

You might also get an excited, nice feeling. There’s your alternative answer!

Go with your gut and your priorities.


  • Keep track of your spending 4

One of the easiest ways to keep within budget is to keep track of your spending.

You don’t have to be fantastic at Excel to use it, or you can just tally your totals on a sheet of paper.

Whatever works for you, as long as you know how much you’ve got going out and how much you’ve got to last you until the end of January (we generally get paid at the end of the month if we are employed; if you are self-employed, consider the gap in earnings for the holiday period and keep that amount on the side or in your savings, just in case).

It would be great to hear what you do to keep track of your spending, leave your comments in this post or if you found it through social media, retweet or comment in that post. Or both!


How to avoid breaking the bank this christmas.jpg

  • Come up with creative ways of giving gifts

In order to keep with the “don’t break the bank” theme, using your creativity to your advantage will work well for your budget and your bank account.

My husband and I love to travel and have meals out so we tend to save up our money for that.

They are great rewards for us after working hard for a while. It gives us a bit of a break from cooking or work life, and we can reconnect with each other without any distractions or responsibilities.

For Christmas we tend to get each other presents within a budget of £10, £15 or £20. We then pick a street in our town, or the shopping centre, and stick to that area to find the presents within one hour.

We meet after to exchange (no waste on wrapping paper!) and have lunch or dinner together.

As you can imagine, not many things cost these amounts these days, so it’s a great opportunity to get each other fun and quirky stuff that we wouldn’t usually get for ourselves.

I’ve got a Pirate Umbrella (I fit right in in Brighton – I’ve actually seen someone wearing a pirate outfit and there was no obvious reason for it. love it!), a Bauble Pillow, a Harmonica (no idea how to play it!) a book holder, and other bits that make me smile.

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So, think about whether this is something you can do with your family members (maybe change the rules a bit if there’s many of you, or lower the maximum price…)


  • Say no to societal, family and friends’ demands when you feel like saying no.

I am big on setting boundaries as you might have read in other posts or in my Self Care Book.

Saying no to people is hard enough outside of the Christmas holidays, but it seems to get harder during this time of the year.

We are bombarded with requests to attend parties and other social activities, all which cost money.

Now I am not saying don’t go to any of them. What I’m saying is: listen to your gut.

Your gut will tell you whether you’ll feel good about going or whether you’ll later regret going.

If you do go, consider your budget and see what you can afford without feeling embarrased or put on the spot if questioned.

6You are the only one in charge of your finances, and therefore you decide what to do with them!

Same goes for your time.

Saying no when you feel like saying no will help you stay happy with yourself and your relationships with those that accept your “no” will be better.

Saying no keeps resentment and regret at bay.


  • Do what feels right for you – Celebrate  your way (or don’t celebrate at all)

Christmas is not necessarily a happy time for everyone.

We might have lost loved ones around this time, and it therefore makes it hard to celebrate.

If this is you, it might be an idea to process the loss in therapy or with someone you can talk openly with.

I find that when I work with grief in my sessions, clients usually benefit from finding a way to keep the memory of their loved one at the forefront rather than the pain of the loss.

They also learn to acknowledge when that pain is there, and befriend it. This helps them work through it and move forward without feeling guilty of doing so without their lost loved one.

Another think you could do is save on decorations!

Who are you competing with? Are you decorating because you enjoy it and enjoy seeing the faces of relatives and friends when they come to your house? Or are you decorating because it’s the done thing?

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Think about it and decide whether you’re going all out, or keeping it low-key this Christmas. The choice is all yours!

I don’t decorate out of personal choice, but it doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate Christmas in my own way.

Watch out for my Christmas post on the 24th of December to get some more insight in what I believe Christmas is all about.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do leave comments about what your savings ideas are at this time of year!


 

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What to expect from Supervision – Working through tough times

new supervision blog post banner


As therapists, it is vital that we have a good support system in place for our professional and confidential work.

Personal therapy is one way in which we can get this support. Supervision is another, and it will be the focus of these posts.

In the next few months, I will talk a bit about 18 ways in which we should expect supervision to work for us.


I will discuss 18 things we should expect from our supervisory relationship in order to be accountable and working to a professional standard, for the sake of our practice, our profession, and most importantly, for the sake of our clients


Missed my previous posts?

Catch up here:

Containment and Holding

Reflective Practice

Autonomous Practice

Theoretical Grounding

Develop Self-Awareness


Click here to visit my main supervision page.

Are you starting out in private practice?

Are you an experienced therapist looking for a new supervisory relationship?

To book supervision with me, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to set up an initial meeting.


In this post, I want to talk about how supervision can help us work through difficult times.

As therapists, we deal with very strong emotions when in session with our clients.
It’s important we have a safe space to talk about these things and manage the effects of sessions on us.

Sometimes we might just need clarification or understanding our reactions better and what is going on in the therapeutic relationship.

This is what the supervision space is mainly used for.

But it isn’t the only emotional stuff that can be worked through.

It is in supervision where we can also debrief about personal stuff that might be affecting us and possibly impacting on our work (Personal therapy is advisable for ongoing work on these arising issues).

Therapists are human too and allowing ourselves to own our emotions and reactions with the support of our supervisor will help us regroup and therefore help our clients better.


Follow this link for a video describing this process.

Feel free to share it with your colleagues, supervisees, supervisors and others.


The more we talk about what supervision should be about, what it should cover, and how it should support therapists in their private practice, the better equipped we all will be, and we will provide the a better service to our clients


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Join 4,391 other followers

Blog en Español: Queridas canas, quereros es quererme

Blog en Español


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Hola y bienvenidos a esta nueva entrada de mis blogs en Español.

Esta semana, Lara nos habla de las canas.

Hablar de canas puede sonar algo superficial, pero en realidad es un tema que toca a lo profundo de nuestro ser.


(Yo he decidido dejarme el pelo tal y como es…tengo muchas canas – si vez de cerca puedes ver algunas raices en mi foto. Me gusta como se ven ahora que ha crecido más mi pelo, y si alguien me cuestiona, soy honesta y les digo que así soy feliz. Además me sale gratis dejarme el pelo natural y no preocuparme por mis arrugas – por suerte no las veo aún).


La sociedad en la que vivimos nos dice que debemos lucir de cierta forma, y no mostrar canas o arrugas es parte de esto.

editada

Lo que nos dicta la sociedad puede afectar nuestra autoestima si no logramos alcanzar sus estándares de belleza. Si no nos conformamos a lo que esta dictado desde hace mucho tiempo.

En este blog post, Lara nos ayuda a encontrar formas de recuperar nuestra autoestima y a valorar y aceptar los cambios en nuestra vida.

 


Haz click aquí para leer el blog post en su totalidad.


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Blog en Español

Why do we need black friday?

Why do we need black friday.png


Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post, where I want to explore the “madness” that is Black Friday, and give you some food for thought.

I’ll leave you with some tips and take-home message at the end.

(Other opinions also available! Don’t kill the messenger…)


2I am not a big shopper, I buy what I need when I need it, and am sensible about how I spend my money – my downfall is when my favourite band is on tour, but also then I curb my enthusiasm and give myself a limit.

I prefer shopping on a weekday when it’s quieter and avoid the shops on weekends when it’s busier.

I can’t deal with it all!

…And I don’t need to deal with any of it, so I don’t…


The title for this post is a bit of a play on words.

My title question should have the emphasis on the word “do” – why DO we need this day in our lives?

Let me rephrase: Do we really need Black Friday?


Let’s look at some positives and negatives of Black Friday


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Positives

  • It’s a social activity that everyone can comment on and join in with (read on for the counterpart of this social activity)

  • We can get good deals on some things

  • If you are a business – it might boost your sales!


Negatives

  • Social activity gone-wrong: it can bring the worst out in people – aggression is part of it as people fight over the same TV set or pair of shoes!

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    Discounts are not really discounts – they just change the tag to make it look like you’re getting a great deal, but in reality you are paying the usual price or more!

  • Pressure to buy stuff that you might not really need – shopping guilt might set in, or you might have needed the money for something else more pressing.

  • Stress, anxiety and other “symptoms” might arise from trying to get there first and get the items we are after – they are most likely on a limited time or quantity.


5It is within each of us to decide what is best for us. If Black Friday works for you, then go for it and enjoy it!

I will stay within the quiet, calm and safety of my home and assess when I need things and whether they are absoulutely necessary right now, or can I wait to get them when I’ve saved up for them.

I prefer to save my hard-earned cash to go on holidays and meals out with my husband.

Making memories and eating good food is my priority over shopping for the latest gadget or joining on on popular shopping days like Black Friday.

Black Friday can work for some people, but not for others (like me!)


6The take-home message I would like to leave you with in this post can be summed up in these bullet points:

  • Do what feels right for you.

  • Look after yourself by having your priorities clear and acting accordingly.

  • Curb your enthusiasm in regard to “shiny objects”, but if you really want said shiny object, then go get it! You only answer to yourself.

  • Have a budget.

  • Set boundaries with others but also with yourself, this will keep you from resenting yourself for an unnecessary purchase or doing something that you don’t want – learn to say no!


To end this post, I’d like to leave you with some articles to read about Black Friday. I found these interesting and light reading!


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Blog en Español: El cuerpo necesita amor


Hola y bienvenidos a este blog post en español.

Esta semana, Lara nos habla del autocuidado en relación a nuestro cuerpo.

 

El cuerpo es una parte esencial de nuestro ser. Somos mente, cuerpo y espiritu.

 

Lara nos anima a cuidar nuestro cuerpo, y como consecuencia, como cuidar nuestra salud mental y espiritual.

 

Nos da algunos ejemplos de como lograrlo sin volverse una obligación o exigencia, sino más bien algo que hacemos de manera más natural.

Haz click aquí para leer el blog post en su totalidad.

Espero que les guste el tema de esta semana.

Nos vemos pronto!



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