Quick relationship check – Blog Post Showcase by Julia Greer

Hi all, and welcome to this week’s blog post showcase, written and created by one of my Practical Steps to Blogging and the Images and Video Experiential Workshops, ran with Onlinevents.

In this occasion, Julia Greer is inviting us to do a quick relationship check-up.

I hope these insights will help you on your relationship journey and what you need to decide – it’s not easy but sometimes necessary.

The way that Julia has set up her blog post is very nice, as she’s used Canva, which we learned in one of the workshops I offer.

Let us know what you think either in the comments to this post, or directly via Julia’s website.

Enjoy!



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4 Ways to Succeed as an Entrepreneur – Guest post by Andy Beck

Hi everyone, and welcome to this Wednesday’s guest post, by our very own Andy Beck!

Before I pass this post over to Andy, let me tell you a bit about how I got here. It’s nice to reminisce on where we started and how far we’ve come, but also how much of the path is still in the future…

I hope Andy’s and my words are encouraging and helpful to those reading them.


I started my journey into entrepreneurship by starting my private counselling practice back in 2013, which has grown to encompass supervision since 2016 and coaching as well in the past year.

I’ve also begun a journey into furthering my entrepreneurial skills by publishing my first book in 2018 – 20 Self-Care Habits – and writing a novel which will be published in the next few months through Author Academy Elite (affiliate link), so watch out for that!

I’ve also figured out how to fill my practice through content marketing, which includes blogging, and have started to teach colleagues how to use these tools to their advantage, by showcasing their knowledge and putting themselves out there so the clients that need them can find them.

I’m currently working on finishing my fiction novel based on things that have happened in my own therapy and dream life, and creating a brand new website for new products and services, so stay tuned!


In tune with this week’s post – I have to say, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my colleagues, and more recently my fellow London Chapter Igniters, which includes Andy of course!


Anyway, without further ado, let’s get into what Andy wants to tell us today, It’s very insightful and important, especially if you want to join us in the entrepreneur world!

Don’t forget to check out his book Folk Springs Eternal, the intro to his new course, This is my name, and his blog!


“Look for the things and people that will help you achieve your wellbeing goals, and support each other.”

That’s a nugget of wisdom from our host, the estimable Karin Brauner, and it’s a wisdom that I can attest to. 


When you’re any kind of entrepreneur—especially one just starting out—the uphill battle before you can look unwelcoming, unrewarding, unpaid…you know, [insert negative adjective here]. 

Often we are counselled by society to expect money in return for our time.

I, for one, know that every office job I’ve ever had has cemented that belief, or tried to. 

As such, when you’re attempting to get your own gig off the ground, you’ll likely find yourself investing plenty of time, but not seeing much return.

How do you keep going?

How do you retain momentum?

The momentum you’ll need to smash through the roadblocks ahead, and start seeing results both financial and spiritual in nature? 

In this post, I give you four methods that have helped me so far.

Now I may not yet be earning enough money to live from my Celtic folk music and novels.

But damn it, come hell or high water, I’m going to get there. 



Let’s return to Karin’s aforementioned quote: “Look for the things and people that will help you achieve your goals.”

When you walk away from the beaten path to strike out on your own, you will most likely encounter criticism.

It will come from bosses, colleagues, family and friends, the people who know you well.

But it can also come from strangers.

There’s always gonna be people who don’t get us,” says Guthrie ‘Gus’ Ward, the rat-bag hero of my debut novel Folk Springs Eternal .

“They don’t understand us and they don’t wanna understand. Ignoring them can be hard, but that’s why we don’t walk alone.” 

Re-read that last bit. 

That’s why we don’t walk alone.

Nobody with a dream for better should be forced to suffer alone, whether it’s under the weight of criticism, or the burden of forging that path all by oneself.

Start by surrounding yourself with positive, passionate people.

I really think the late American entrepreneur Scott Dinsmore was right when he gave that advice in his famous TED talk How to find and do work you love .

I’m unashamed to admit that it was through Scott’s videos, and the worldwide Live Your Legend movement that he founded, that my own understanding of the world (and my place in it) was first turned on its head.

The message that Scott lived and breathed was, “find and do the work you love”.

I heard that message, loved it, attended the Live Your Legend meetups in London, and even ended up co-hosting them. 

What did I learn along the way?

Simply put, you should spend your time with people who inspire you, and who are already succeeding.

This will help you cultivate the belief that it can be done, that your dream isn’t impossible.

Conversely, spend time hanging around people who don’t take you seriously, or perhaps even exhibit signs of resentment and jealousy, and that will only sap you of your energy.

Worse still, it may frighten you back into the fold with the other statistical 80% who don’t enjoy their work. 

So when I said “damn it, come hell or high water, I’m going to get there”, I meant it.

Scary as it sounds, what waits on the other side is a life of success, strength and euphoria that you never imagined.

Something that looks and feels a little like this:

Something not to be feared. 



The final part of Karin’s aforementioned quote was, “support each other”. 

So here’s a challenge for ya, dear reader 😉 

Write down the names of 2-3 people who believe in you, and believe in what you do.

They could be close friends, colleagues you get on well with, or people you’ll meet at a networking event advertised on the likes of Meetup.com.

Basically, someone who’s told you that you’re good at what you do, and should try to do more with it.

Ask one such person if they’ll be happy to check in with you once a week, to ask you for an update on your progress against your weekly goals. 

Sounds motivating? 

😊 Good. This approach is called Accountability, and speaking from experience, it’s a powerful weapon in the inventory of the entrepreneur.

The likelihood of you motivating yourself to achieve a goal is 65% higher if you’ve promised that goal to someone.

Book an appointment to check in with that person, and the stat goes up to a staggering 95% . 


The most beneficial Accountability partnerships are, of course, reciprocal in nature, where the other person holds you accountable and you return the favour.

Small groups of three or four can work too, allowing for different feedback that two people alone may not have thought of.

Whatever you do, remember to keep those goals SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

I would particularly emphasise the third of these.

Break that mountain of your dreams down into more realistic, bitesize goals, and soon you’ll find yourself climbing up, edging slowly closer to the peak that previously you’d only been able to revere from the very bottom.



Another avenue via which you may find an Accountability partner, or just the direction you need, is the ever-popular self-help course.

I’ve bought and followed courses by Leah McHenry for my music, and Kary Oberbrunner for my writing.

In Folk Springs Eternal, Austrian-born mandolinist Herman enrols in a music marketing course too, offered by a Leah McHenry-esque figure helping bands to get the maximum out of their online efforts.

While it’s not a five-minute job, Herman makes some serious progress, and slowly I, too, can feel the momentum building in my favour. 

Without a doubt, the biggest change that Leah and Kary have stirred in me is a mindset shift.

In 2016, I suffered from a lot of self-doubt, telling myself things like, “Well I’m not an entrepreneur”, or “I just wasn’t made to succeed on my own terms”.

Fast-forward to 2020, and I’ve cast off a considerable chunk of that yoke.

My own Accountability partners have noted the change in my self-confidence and self-projection over the past four years, and I’ve started to make some sales, with 50 books sold since the novel came out in September. My next target is 50 more by the close of 2020, this most unusual of years. 

Such is the power of the self-help course to give people a sense of direction, and to bring like-minded people together, that I’m in the process of setting up my own course.

Entitled This Is My Name, there’s a lot of work to be done on it yet, but I’m excited for the positive changes that I’ll inspire in others, reflecting the same growth that I myself have experienced over the past few years. 




If you’re not keen on going all-in on personal development courses, some of which come at a hefty price, then one-on-one coaching sessions may be better suited to your situation.

Speaking again from experience, I have worked with one or two newer performance coaches who were looking for testimonials, and agreed to a fixed number of free coaching sessions in exchange for a positive review. So start by asking around.

Alternatively, keep an eye out for whatever deals performance coaches may be offering at the moment, given the craziness of COVID-19 and its pretty devastating effects on the economy.
 

But COVID aside…

just like having a private tutor for learning a musical instrument or a foreign language, having a counsellor to guide you on your personal journey to success can be an invaluable asset.

Again, nobody should have to walk the road less travelled alone, and who better to take you and your ambitions seriously than a certified coach with some glowing reviews in the bag? 

So tell me…

what do you think?

Which of these four approaches resonates most with you?

Is there perhaps a fifth approach that we should have factored in?



You can contact Andy through this contact form.

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The Calmer Waters of Meditation – By Guest Blogger Andrew Beck (part 3)


Hi, and welcome to part 3 of this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.

Welcome to part 3 of Andy’s guest posts.

In this post, Andy talks to us about how mindfulness works.


So, how does mindfulness work?


Mindfulness teaches you to let go.

Unlike other forms of therapy, which teach you to analyse whatever is troubling you, MBCT takes the opposite approach. “I can let it go,” is one of the most powerful statements I’ve come across.

When I catch my mind starting to run away with itself, I can let that negative thought or feeling go.

Of course, it’s perfectly natural to worry when bad things happen in the world.

That terrible crime reported on the news, the gang violence rife in some cities, the political and financial corruption pervading much of the world.

BUT: all your worrying and fretting will not change the way the world is.

It won’t reverse any of the examples I’ve just given, and it won’t stop people from being pricks to each other. But what you can control, and change, is how you deal with it all. 


Two of the most common mental health problems in the world are depression and anxiety.


I’ve had both, as confirmed by my own self-diagnosis on e.g. the NHS website.

Now depression is rooted in the past; you can’t be depressed over something unless it’s already happened.

Meanwhile, anxiety is rooted in the future; you can’t be anxious
about something unless you’re afraid it might happen.

The reason Mindfulness works is because it knocks both of these bastards out.

By engaging us in exercises where we’re forced to live in the present, Mindfulness stops us from dwelling too much on the past, or fretting too much about the future. 

I think this logic is genius.

And the result?

Both depression and anxiety have had the wind knocked out of their sails, their arms removed. 


Change the song

One weird thing about my mind is how it’s sometimes like a broken record. 

Quite literally.

I think about music so much that I can barely get through a day without 3 or 4 songs being stuck in my head, the same snippet repeating over and over again in my head for a good 45 minutes.


It could be any song, by any band; Biffy Clyro, Julie Fowlis, INXS and Sir Reg are all recent examples. 

Gus, being the male protagonist in Folk Springs Eternal, is in exactly the same boat.

A sure sign of how much we both love music?

Yep.
Enough to drive anyone mad?

Again, yep!


 Fortunately, over time I’ve started to noticed the trend.

I’ve noticed how the music in my head can and does affect my mood.

Sometimes, when I’m on auto-pilot, with that broken record spinning, my mind starts to run away with itself. This is what the professionals call “ruminating”.

Now, thanks to MBCT, if I can feel that mental fog starting to gather, I just
notice it (“Ah!”) and then change the song.

One of my go-to pieces of music for keeping a clear head is Aphex Twin’s “Parallel Stripes”, which makes me feel like I’m floating through space.

 A great piece to relax to. 

Changing the song is a life-altering habit that Mindfulness has helped me
cultivate, one that in turn cultivates calm and composure in my mind and heart.

It helps me keep on top of things mentally, to prevent that ol’ rumination
from happening and dragging my heart down.


My challenge to you, then…


Like life, music is about the highs and the lows.

The euphoria and the grief.

The tears of joy and those of sadness.

In this post, I have focused on the lows—and what one might do about them.

I encourage you to give MBCT a try, starting with Mark Williams’ audiobook.

See what it can do for you.

And by all means, let Karin and me know. 

It is true that bad things will happen in life.

No matter what we entrepreneurs do, negative experiences and events will rock us.

But we can still prepare ourselves mentally, so that such moments don’t drag us down for any longer than necessary.

For me, Mindfulness meditation makes that clear.

I hope the same will be true for you, too. 

Love,

Andy x

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.

We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.


 

We’ll have a new post series by Andy starting next Wednesday, all about how to survive as an entrepreneur.

Watch out for it at 10am GMT Next week!

 


 

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Be the change you want to see, by Helen Cruthers (Collaboration/Blog Post Showcase)

Hi and welcome to today’s blog post.

As some of my Practical Steps to Blogging workshop attendees have asked me to publish their blogs in full on my blog post, I thought I’d do what I do with my guest posts and share them as such – guest posts!

I’ll be adding links to Helen’s lovely website throughout so you can get in touch with her, and follow her blog directly from her website as well!

I hope you enjoy this blog post she’s beautifully created in Canva, using the skills she learned in my workshop, Practical steps to Canva and Lumen5!




Don’t forget to sign up to Helen’s blog via this link, and mine via the form below:

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The Calmer Waters of Meditation – By Guest Blogger Andrew Beck (part 2)


Hi, and welcome to part 2 of this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.

In this post, Andy will tell us about how he found Minfulness based cognitive therapy, and how it’s worked for him.


It’s not a one off

First things first…MBCT is not a one-off. It’s not a one-time form of therapy that “fixes” you, so you can just carry on like before.

No—with Mindfulness meditation, we walk away with a practice for life.

Something we can engage in for 5-10 minutes (or longer) every day.

Far from being burdensome, this keeps you on the straight and narrow, mentally speaking, from day to day. 

So what is it? 

Basically, Mindfulness meditation involves simple breathing exercises. These bring your mind under control, gently.

This reduces the stress, the panic, the moodiness etc. of your daily life.

The more you practice it, the better you’ll get at keeping your mind cool, calm and collected

Is it hard? 

Nope.

Mindfulness is very easy, and almost anyone can practice it.

Think it’s some guy up a mountain somewhere, sitting cross-legged with his arms outstretched humming to himself?

Think again.

All you need, in order to get started, is a comfortable chair to sit on, 10 minutes to yourself, and e.g. this video

Is it expensive? 

Nope.

All I’ve ever spent on MBCT was £10.49 on the aforementioned Audible book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman .

The best investment of £10 I’ve ever made!

The only other thing you need to invest is time, so that you’ll understand both the theory and the practice. 

Is it genuine?

Yep.

Mindfulness techniques have been around for several decades in the West, and have been developed by leading researchers and professors working at some of the best universities in the world. 

So in other words, it ain’t fake. 

Is it scary?

Not in my experience.

Mark Williams might not be the only MBCT guru out there, but he has one hell of a relaxing voice (here’s another example video).

The form of therapy he teaches doesn’t freak me out or make me feel unpleasant in the slightest, and it never has. 

Is there an app for it?

Of course!

I’ve used Insight Timer a fair bit, though Headspace also gets a very good write-up.

Other apps are available too. 

Synctuition, while not strictly related to Mindfulness, is an interesting one to try before bedtime, though the free option is limited. 

Is it effective? 

Yes.

Not only has it turned my life around, but check out the following example case study.

At Exeter University in 2008, a group of individuals who had each suffered from a major episode of depression were split into two groups.

One group was given anti-depressants, the other got MBCT.

After a year’s worth of monitoring, both groups had recovered to the same extent.

Meaning that Mindfulness is just as effective as taking medication, perhaps even more so. 

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath at the University of California explains more about the study here (Applying Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Treatment).

I can recommend the whole video. 


I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.

We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.


In next week’s post, Andy will tell us a bit more about how mindfulness works, from his personal experience with it.

A disclaimer as a therapist: there are lots of great and useful tools out there to help you in your daily life, including mindfulness apps, and related books like Andy’s, mine, and others.

These resources will help you tackle those things that have had you stuck for a long time, but I have to add one thing that I’ve learned through my training and experience as a counsellor:

I am a firm believer in the power of the therapeutic relationship in the healing process, so finding a nice balance between the resources mentioned in this post, and finding a therapist to talk through some of these things will be of great benefit.

Until next week….


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Labels of Love, by Helen Cruthers (Collaboration/Blog Post Showcase)

Hi and welcome to today’s blog post.

As some of my Practical Steps to Blogging workshop attendees have asked me to publish their blogs in full on my blog post, I thought I’d do what I do with my guest posts and share them as such – guest posts!

I’ll be adding links to Helen’s lovely website throughout so you can get in touch with her, and follow her blog directly from her website as well!

I hope you enjoy this blog post she’s written, I know I have!


‘to diagnose or not to diagnose – that is the question’


When I became aware that Shula was ‘different’ my instinct was to ask for professionals to assess and to explore.

This could be because I am from a medical background, or because she was not terribly happy much of the time, and definitely because I felt out of my depth as a parent having felt pretty competent with my first two.

helenpinkcrop.jpg

I often felt chastened by what I perceived as others’ more unconditional acceptance of her as a being. Her lovely nursery didn’t raise any issues (despite her struggle with wearing clothes and interacting with peers) and were great at supporting her being her.

Her dad was worried that a diagnosis would limit her – that she would be seen as ‘autism first’, ‘Shula second’.

There was also a sense that I could be ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’ -especially as some of her challenges were more subtle, and she rarely presented as ‘typically autistic’.

And yet my instinct parenting her closely as a full-time mum – backed up by my professional experience of working with families – eventually led us to seeking assessment. 

My educated guess was that she was on the autistic spectrum, and my fear was that I’d be letting her down if I didn’t explore that option – even if only to rule it out.

My view was that if I was wrong then there would be no harm done and I would be able to adjust my perceptions accordingly (after perhaps eating a bit of humble pie).

I so wanted to be the mum she needed me to be. If she had a neurodevelopmental difference, I wanted to know.

If she didn’t – I would improve my parenting according to how she presented as an individual, without so much wondering about:

is it? isn’t it?… something seems amiss…but maybe I’m just a judgy bad mum who isn’t unconditionally accepting her child’.

Too much ‘beating myself up’ or ‘ruminating’ like this isn’t good for anyone -and could definitely undermine my capacity to enjoy her to the full or make the best of my strengths as a parent.

She was diagnosed with ‘childhood autism’, later changed to ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ which now officially doesn’t exist as a diagnosis any more. This can be another reason for resisting ‘labelling’ a child – the field is constantly evolving and changing – and how much do ‘experts’ really know anyway?

For me – and I believe for Shula – it was a gamechanger.

As well as shock, fear, and grief, I felt that I had ‘seen’ her and had started my journey of understanding her better.

I read books, went on courses, and adapted my expectations and parenting according to my developing knowledge and skillset.

I became more able to see her amazing strengths and more able to accept the parenting challenges she presented to me.

I felt ‘lighter’ and brought more humour to our interactions.

I felt less inadequate.

I became more compassionate to her and to myself.

I learned so much from her and I learned more about myself, about neurotypical assumptions, and about diversity.

Supporting parents to understand, support and enjoy their children is a key part of my work and my passion.

I believe the right diagnosis can be incredibly helpful in this process.

It may be too obvious to state that the wrong diagnosis is not helpful.


Just because a child is different, challenging, or not what we expected doesn’t mean there is ‘something wrong’ or they have a diagnosable condition.


Looking at ourselves as parents is key – we need to work hard to be receptive to our children’s individuality, challenge our assumptions, and be willing to adapt our relating according to their needs.

Many of the children I work with have complex developmental trauma, and the autistic-type or adhd-type traits they present with can be more ‘nurture’ than ‘nature’.

Skilful exploration is needed to see if assessment for a comorbid neurodevelopmental condition would be helpful or not.

When children do have a condition such as autism or adhd, as we currently understand them, my belief and experience is that assessment and subsequent diagnosis can be incredibly helpful.

A label can have many benefits including:

  • signposting better ways to meet the child’s needs
  • being a ‘shortcut’ communication to others – we should all be thoughtful and kind to everybody – but sometimes it helps us to be accepting if we understand a little of why someone might be struggling
  • helping a child and their family access crucial services – such as additional support at school
  • supporting the individual to understand themselves in a more compassionate way – ‘oh…I have Asperger’s – that’s why some things are so hard for me – I’m not just wrong’  and help them ‘voice’ their needs to others
  • introducing us to communities of other families who are having some similar experiences and we can feel less alone and more connected
  • putting us in touch with professionals who can offer crucial input advice and advocacy
  • meaning that a child gets appropriate support and intervention earlier rather than later which research shows leads to more positive outcomes
  • being a positive part of a young person’s identity

My advice, therefore, would be – keep an open mind.

I firmly believe that I am closer to Shula, enjoy her more, support her better, have more fun with her, and respect her difference more than if we hadn’t sought diagnosis.

At 15, I am so proud of who she is as a young person.

This is enhanced by my strong understanding of how hard life can be for her sometimes.


I asked Shula to read this blog and comment –  

 Love it! I think it’s amazing Mum.

I asked for her opinion on having a diagnosis/label:

‘Being diagnosed with autism has definitely helped me a lot, if it wasn’t for my amazing mother my life would be very very different and a lot worse.’

Well I wasn’t expecting quite such glowing praise but am impressed by the social skills and very touched by the sentiment!


I recently attended my first Cork Autism Conference – on Zoom.

In a future post I will be reflecting on developments in the field of autism and my new learnings.


Don’t forget to sign up to Helen’s blog via this link, and mine via the form below:

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The Calmer Waters of Meditation – By Guest Blogger Andrew Beck (part 1)


Hi, and welcome to this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.

We met through an autor programme called Author Academy Elite, which is based in The United States and offers a lot of programmes for self and professional development. More specifically, we met through the Igniting Souls London group, led by yours truly, and we’ve become accountable to each other and a third member who I will be featuring here once her book is published, as she touches on a topic close to my heart as well – Autism.

It’s safe to say that we both would recommend Kary Oberbrunner and his programmes! You can test out the free versions first and then decide for yourself.

Let me now tell you a bit about what the next few posts will be about…


Andy has recently published his new book FOLK SPRINGS ETERNAL, which follows four talented musicians playing Irish and Scottish music with a punk twist.

So, why is Andy talking to us about mindfulness and meditation if his book is about music?


Folk music, a passion of Andy’s, as well as Self-care, are at the heart of this book.

In a nutshell (as revealed in the Amazon summary of this book), the book talks about how these four individuals navigate through life to get where they want, finding the tools they need to find success among the criticism, the busyness of life, and every obstacle that is placed among them.

Sound familiar? We all go through similar things, so this book is very relatable whether you’re into folk music or not.

At the end of the book, Andy offers coaching and other services that will help guide you to find success and to withstand setbacks and failures.

Without further ado, I’ll let Andy talk directly to you guys about what he’s found through writing this novel, his own life journey and his discovery of meditation as a means to reach his goals and do what he’s passionate about.


“You should be a priority in your life at all times,” said my author friend Karin Brauner when introducing her book “20 Self Care Habits”.

Get that right, and pandemic or no pandemic, all of life’s other obligations will be less of a strain. 

I know what that strain feels like…


My wife and I spent a week in the Inner Hebrides in 2017.

Yes, we were on holiday in Scotland, one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. And I felt dreadful.

Far too much time to think, not enough control over my thoughts to stop them spiralling out of control. 



This is just one example.

Fortunately, my breakthrough came that same year; having suffered from depression and anxiety on and off since my mid-teens, I finally discovered Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), or Mindfulness meditation.

And it worked.

This is something of a miracle, given that I was convinced I was beyond help, that my mind was some incomprehensible maze. 



And I’m not the only one to feel this way. 

Even Lin, the heroine in my recent novel Folk Springs Eternal, struggles not only as an Irish folk musician but also with her own state of mind: 

[S]he needed to control her temper. The irascible attitude, the raised voice, the profanity, definitely the way she’d behaved towards Gus and Herman that morning. None of it had helped; more to the point, it was embarrassing, both to her and to her friends. 

But what could she do to address her aggression issues?

She had no idea where to start, and her only inkling was defeatist. 

Maybe I can’t change.


Do you recognise yourself in any of the above?

Feel like demons are stalking you, and you don’t have much of a defence?

Then this post is for you.

Lin chooses to embrace the calmer waters of meditation, and just like me three years ago, it turns her life around.

She goes from being verbally and physically abusive towards those closest to her, to showing them the respect and affection they deserve (and quitting nicotine).


Even if the world is not much different, her world certainly is.

And so is mine.

Now, we can both show the world the best versions of ourselves, and try to leave the positive mark on it that we want to be remembered for. 


While I can’t say that Mindfulness will be THE answer for you (as different therapies work for different people), my mental health advice is as follows:

“Never stop searching for answers.”

Thus, knowing about MBCT can’t hurt; it at least gives you the chance to try it out, to see whether it will benefit you. 


I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.

We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.


In next week’s post, Andy will continue talking to us about mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

Just a note from the therapist in me: if you’d like to know more about other therapies also available, you can have a look at my website in the “how I work” section.

Until next week….


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Blog Post Showcase: Who is Chloe Foster? A series.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In today’s post, I’m sharing Chloe Foster’s series entitled “Who am I?” where she tells us about her journey before becoming a counsellor, what led her to train and open her practice in 2016.

You can find my story in my about me and how I work pages.

I hope you enjoy Chloe’s mini-series, which I’ll leave links for below:

Part 1 – Who am I?

Part 2 – Who am I?

Part 3 – Who am I?


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Blog Post Showcase: Email Counselling Series. By Chloe Foster.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


Today I’d like to share a series that Chloe Foster has written about email counselling.

As you can probably tell, email counselling requires a different set of skills, as we are not live with the client in a session.

It is usually asynchronous, and is sent at any point via the client, and the response comes when the therapist has agreed to take time and write back to the client.

The boundaries are different and there are things that happen, such as the disinhibition effect, as well as misunderstandings due to the written nature of the messages, without body language or tone of voice.

In spite of these, email counselling is an important offering that more and more therapists are embracing, with great benefits to their clients.

There are also other platforms like betterhelp and instahelp (I work with them and it’s been great so far!) that provide asyncrhronous and synchronous messaging, as well as audio and video sessions.

Here are the links to Chloe’s series, and here’s also one of mine, where I discuss the variety of online counselling.

Part 1 – What is Email Counselling?

Part 2 – What is the disinhibition effect?

Part 3 – Boundaries in email counselling

Part 4 – Misunderstandings in Email counselling


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Blog Post Showcase: Is online counselling second best? . By Chloe Foster.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In today’s post, Chloe talks to us about how valuable online counselling can be.

Like Chloe, I believe that online counselling is just as effective as face-to-face counselling, and that it has lots of benefits, which I’ve talked about in my series on online counselling (You can find all of those blogs here).

I’ll let Chloe tell us her experience when working online, and the doors it opens for her practice and her potential and current clients.


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Practical Steps to Blogging – part 2


Hi, and welcome to part 2 of this mini-series on blogging!

Last week and this week I’ll be talking to wellbeing professionals, including coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists, and anyone that looks after the wellbeing of their clients in one way or another.

click on any of the images in this post to go to the workshop page

This week I’ll focus on the scheduling and timing aspects of blogging.


 Here are some top tips on scheduling and getting your writing done:


Make it easy for yourself

As human beings, we like to over-complicate ourselves.

I say simple is better! Review regularly how you’re doing and how your writing is helping or making things more difficult for you, and plan your next writing sessions accordingly.

I’ll talk a bit more about this in the workshops.

Consistency is key!

More than the length and the amount of posts it is all about showing up regularly for your audience!

Figure out what length your posts will have and how often they’ll appear on your feeds, and stick with it.

It’s ok to reassess, I’ve done that so many times I’ve lost track!

Pick your battles

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time writing and plenty of time to look after yourself

Ideal times to do each aspect of our work and personal lives is important.

During the workshops...

I’ll be delving in deeper in to the above aspects.

We’ll also be talking about what else to do with your blog post apart from writing it and posting it.

Plus! You’ll get a chance to ask questions and work together with like-minded colleagues who are starting or continuing their blog writing journey.


Getting your message out there can be fun (I particularly love writing!) and it’s a great way to get yourself known to your colleagues and potential clients.

There’s so much to learn from you. Let’s get that message out!


See you at the workshops!


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Practical Steps to Blogging – part 1


Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post!

Today and next week I’ll be talking to wellbeing professionals, including coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists, and anyone that looks after the wellbeing of their clients in one way or another.


There are a few reasons for me writing this blog post mini-series now.


1. Blogging revolutionised my practice, and I am eager to teach more people how to blog to revolutionise their practices by following practical, simple steps.

2. I’m presenting a series of workshops via onlinevents.co.uk, which launch with a two-part blogging workshop broken down in two days. If you want to know how to make your blog posts go further, I’ve created with onlinevents a one-day workshop on using Canva and Lumen5 to create images and videos to promote your blogs and keep them alive for longer!

click here or any of the images in this post to go to the workshop page

3. I am a content creator and am now offering that as a service. Now, I don’t write blog posts for people, but I am offering helping out with outlines and other aspects of blogging as part of my Content Creation service.


This week I’ll talk a little bit about what to expect in the workshop, and some tips on how to start blogging. Next week I’ll focus on the scheduling and timing aspects of blogging.


 Here are some top tips to get you going:


Get your head around blogging

As with anything, having the right mindset before starting a task is important.

Don’t worry, your mindset will change as you start. Just get started and things will start making more sense!

Have a “thinking” session

Sitting down and coming up with things you want to write about is always a good idea.

Putting things down on paper will release those ideas into the real world and you will be able to see things more clearly, as you’ve made room in your mind for further thinking about these things.

There are lots more things to consider in a thinking session, but starting out with this will be a good starting point!

Practical aspects

When getting down to the nitty gritty of writing a blog post, considering the why, what, when, where, who and how are important.

Knowing exactly where you stand with your reasoning behind blogging will get you closer to becoming more at ease with writing and getting your message out.

During the workshops…

I’ll be delving in deeper in to the above aspects.

Plus! You’ll get a chance to ask questions and work together with like-minded colleagues who are starting or continuing their blog writing journey.


Getting your message out there can be fun (I particularly love writing!) and it’s a great way to get yourself known to your colleagues and potential clients.

There’s so much to learn from you. Let’s get that message out!


Until next week…


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Blog Post Showcase: Is Online CPD the future? . By Chloe Foster.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


Today I’d like to share a series that Chloe Foster has written about online CPD.

We have both been working online with the onlinevents team, providing training on the topics that we’re both passionate about.

It has been a great experience and amazing especially during these difficult times where going to face-to-face conference has been difficult if not impossible.

In her post, Chloe reflects on her experience as a participant of my online workshop on blogging (there’s a new date coming up in October, so if you’d like to join, click here!) there’s also a part 2 for this course, which will help you promote your blogs even further through using images and video on social media. Click here to read more on that one day workshop).

Have a read about her experience, particularly with my workshop, but also her experience of running workshops both privately and with onlinevents.

At the end of the post, Chloe mentions the workshops she runs and how you can join them.

I am so pleased to read this post and Chloe’s experience with writing since completing my workshop, and hope to be posting more of Chloe’s blogs in the near future!


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Blog Post Showcase: Understanding various ways of working in the therapy Room. Blogs by Dilnia Noori.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


Today I’d like to share a series that Dilnia has created to inform us about the different therapies and how she works in the therapy room.

Creative Therapies

Mindfulness

Psychodynamic Counselling

Person-Centred Counselling

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

If you’d like to find out a bit more after reading Dilnia’s posts, you can follow this link to read my how I work pages.


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Blog Post Showcase: Self-care is often a very un-beautiful thing. By Dilnia Noori.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In today’s post, Dilnia talks to us about self-care and how it can be a bit messy or sometimes boring and mundane.

It depends on what we need to do to help ourselves and give ourselves peace of mind and feel better about our life and ourselves.

Click here to read what Dilnia has to say about self-care and how to go about it.

If you want to read more on self-care, you can also look for my self-care series and my book 20 Self-Care Habits.


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Blog Post Showcase: Three strategies to help us manage and overcome unwanted cravings and urges. By Bradley Riddell


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In today’s post, Bradley gives us three strategies to manage and overcome urges and cravings when fighting an addiction.

These three strategies include the 4Rs, the MIQs and thought labelling.

To find out what these are, click here.


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Blog Post Showcase: Tiger! By Kalpna Hirani.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In this post, Kalpna discusses the things we might be doing during a crisis or turbo-anxious times as she calls them.

Kalpna gently guides us to what happens when we experience fear or an imminent and present danger.

She talks about how in past times, human reaction to the tiger in front of us had to be quick, in order to survive via fight or flight, or other means.

Now we don’t need that but as we’re the same humans, we are still responding in a similar way, even though the tiger is no longer in front of us about to eat us.

Read Kalpna’s post for tips on what to do when the virtual tiger is in front of you.

Enjoy!


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Blog Post Showcase: Imago Dialogue: couples counselling in a nutshell . By Bradley Riddell


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In Today’s post, Bradley talks to us about the imago dialogue in couples counselling.

I agree with Bradley and have written about it in my Relationship Success series if you want further reading, that communication is important to resolve any issues, be it in couples therapy or when an individual comes to therapy seeking help with their relationship – romantic or otherwise.

Bradley leaves us with some protocols in how to communicate better with your partner, as well as how communication works.

Finally he talks about the Imago Dialogue.

I hope you enjoy this post and share it with the people around you.


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Blog Post Showcase: Tempering A Craving – calming the storm. By Bradley Riddell


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In today’s post, Bradley talks to us about how to temper a craving through a technique he uses with his client to ward of urges when we feel emotionally overwhelmed and how our brain is affected by this overwhelm.

Bradley also encourages his readers to be kind to themselves, and to keep trying and practicing.

Enjoy!


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Blog Post Showcase: Emotional Wellbeing during the CV19 Crisis. By Kalpna Hirani.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In today’s post, Kalpna talks to us about how we can best look after ourselves during the Covid19 crisis.

As we head into the Autumn and the cold weather hits, we might start seeing an increase in cold or flu symptoms, along with the possibility of catching cv19.

Read this post for some information about how to look after yourself, as well as 25 things you can do during this time, such as writing a journal, keeping in touch with others via video chat sessions, and more.

Enjoy this post that Kalpna has written with a lot of care for her clients and audience.


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Thought of the Day: Fear or Faith?

Hi and welcome to this week’s Thought of the Day post.

As you have probably noticed, I’ve been quieter than usual. Just to reassure you, all is well over here!

I’ve just taken some time to take stock of all that 2020 has brought to us. A sort-of “sabatical” from regular blogging and social media.

I’m sure you’ve had your own version of this throughout the virus crisis and the riots and other things that we see happening around the world this year.

What else could happen? Who knows!

But what I will decide for myself, and I hope this allows you to think about your own decisions around the virus and other crises going on right now.

I don’t want to live in fear.

Fear affects our immune systems, it makes them weaker and what we need when there’s something that threatens it, is to strengthen it, and not to make it more prone to catching any illnesses that might be around us in any way (in any time really, but it’s at the forefront of our minds now).

I want to live by faith.

I am a Christian, and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I speak with Him regularly, and think about Him often. Not as often as I’d liked before all this pandemic stuff started to happen.

I realise this post will not be as popular as others, but I’m sure it will help some people that read this. I will not apologise for my faith, and this period of time has led me to be more bold with my beliefs in the one True God (am sure that last phrase won’t help my case either, what can I do).

The realisation of the things that are happening have made me think that these times require lots of faith and belief in the fact that no matter what happens, God wins in the end.

One of my favourite Bible verses is this one:

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

Isaias 54:17

I feel it really applies to these times we’re living in. No matter what happens, illness, wars, plagues, riots, etc., won’t succeed. They will try but they will not succeed.

I encourage you to consider whether you want to continue 2020 and onward living in fear, or in faith, whatever shape that might take for you.

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Blog Post Showcase: The Ten Pillars For Sex and Porn Addiction. By Bradley Riddell

click the image or any of the highlighted words to access the full blog post.

Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.


In today’s post, Bradley talks to us about ten pillars that can help an individual work through a sex or porn addiction.

He gives the ten points in a bullet point list, but follows it up with a bit of text you can read three times a day until you finish with the ten pillars.

Bradley mentions this should take about ten months to achieve.

This is the thing with therapy, it is not straightforward or a quick fix, especially if you want deep and permanent change within yourself.

I think these affirmations might be helpful to more people than just the people that Bradley aimed this post at originally, maybe with a few modifications, or keeping the topic that’s our issue in mind.

What do you think? Let Bradley know!


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Blog Post Showcase: Hypercapitalism: The Growth Hormone In Addiction . By Bradley Riddell

click the image or any of the highlighted words to access the full blog post.

Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In today’s post, Bradley talks to us about how addiction has become globalised.

He also talks about the comparison between addiction and dogmatism, which I found very interesting.

There is a lot to think about in this blog post, which I recommend you have a look at.

If you have any questions, I’m sure Bradley would be happy to answer them for you, or write another blog post about it.


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Blog Post Showcase: Angela Tulloch: Grief and Loss Poetry Part 7


Hello everyone, and welcome to Wednesday’s new ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In Today’s post, Angela shares another lovely poem about grief.

Make sure you read part 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5 and 6.


Just one more time


Let me look into your eyes and

Stroke your face.

Let me lay beside you

And whisper softly

Let me take your hands

And kissed them gently

Let me have those moments just one more time.

Let me hear your laugh fill the room

Let silence speaks when two hearts meet.

Let me have those moments one more time.


By Angela Tulloch


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Blog Post Showcase: The Miracle Question. By Bradley Riddell

click the image or any of the highlighted words to access the full blog post.

Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In today’s post, Bradley talks to us about the Miracle Question.

This is a therapeutic technique usually attributed to Solution-Focused therapy, which is very useful as it allows the individual to think about their current situation and where they’d rather be, in a very particular and impactful way.

Bradley reminds us to be kind to ourselves as we endeavour to find answers to the miracle question, and find a way to reinvent our lives, starting with our thinking.

There’s a lot of food for thought in Bradley’s post. I hope you enjoy it and leave him some comments!


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Blog Post Showcase: Once an Addict always an Addict? By Bradley Riddell

click the image or any of the highlighted words to access the full blog post.

Hello everyone, and welcome to this ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In today’s post, Bradley talks to us about addiction, how it begins, what might trigger it, and how we can work with it in therapy.

A great point is that the individual must be ready to work on healing from the addiction and the underlying factors around it, in order to be able to get through this difficult time.

I hope you enjoy reading Bradley’s post, and his other posts I’ll be sharing on a regular basis.


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Blog Post Showcase: Angela Tulloch: Grief and Loss Poetry Part 6


Hello everyone, and welcome to Wednesday’s new ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In Today’s post, Angela shares another lovely poem about grief, particularly in regard to boundaries and meeting our needs, which is also one of my favourite topics.

Make sure you read part 1, 2 , 3, 4 and 5.


Grief and Boundaries


You might find it difficult to express what you really want to say.  You mind pretend in order to please others.

Here’s a poem to encourage you in your personal and very individual journey with grief and loss.


What I really want


Is for you to stop saying it will be okay.

Things will get better.

At least he is not suffering.

At least she is in a better place.

Time is a healer.


What I really want to do


Is burst out of this bubble of fear and pretence.

Open my window, scream and shout.

I want to be angry.

I want to stay in bed all day.

That’s what I really want to do.


By Angela Tulloch


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Blog Post Showcase: Angela Tulloch: Grief and Loss Poetry Part 5


Hello everyone, and welcome to Wednesday’s new ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In Today’s post, Angela shares another lovely poem about grief, particularly in regard to grief and culture.

Make sure you read part 1, 2 , 3, and 4.


Grief and Culture


We all grieve in different ways depending on your culture, religion and experiences.

Here’s a poem to encourage you in your personal and very individual journey with grief and loss.


Who said it should be this way?


Don’t judge me if I don’t wear black

Don’t judge me if I’m not sad

Don’t judge me if for that moment I smile when others cry.

Don’t judge me if I dare to dance again.

Don’t judge me if I dare to sing again.

Don’t judge me if I dare to love again.

Don’t judge me if I dare to live again.


By Angela Tulloch


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Blog Post Showcase: The Cycle of Addiction, written by: Bradley Riddell


Hello everyone, and welcome to Wednesday’s new ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In this week’s post, Bradley gives us an in depth look at the cycle of addiction.

In order to understand it, we need to get acquainted by the four parts of this cycle.

Once we’ve done this, we can start the change process, starting with the way we relate to our own thoughts and what to do when the cravings and difficult times arise.

Another important topic that Bradley touches on is instant gratification. We live in a day and age where getting things immediately is king. We have forgotten how to wait for things, but in regards to addiction, this can become even more precarious when trying to stop the cycle.

Bradley also speaks about making the unconscious stuff conscious. Knowing what is in our unconscious will helps us break the cycle.

If you need any help with addictions, get in touch with Bradley through his website here.

I’ll let Bradley tell you a bit more about this topic now in his full post.



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Blog Post Showcase: Maintaining your emotional wellbeing the Shinrin-Yoku way, written by: Kalpna Hirani


Hello everyone, and welcome to Wednesday’s new ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.

In this week’s blog post, Kalpna talks to us about Shinrin-Yoku, which is all about getting out in nature to help us keep mentally healthy.

Throughout the post, Kalpna guides us through the benefits of being outside and how these impact on our neurotransmitters, as their presence or absence also impacts our mental health.

Enjoy!



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