Thought for the Day: The therapist’s intuition


Intuition is something that we might forget to take out as an important tool in our day to day lives.

As a therapist, I’ve learned how to hone in on my natural intuition in order to sense and perceive things happening in the counselling room with my clients, and between myself and my clients.

There is always unconscious and conscious communication going on between two people – more if outside the therapy room.

There might be different things that arise in the therapist that they might recognise as “not theirs”.

This is where intuition comes in – listening to those things that “aren’t theirs”, therapists are honing in on what might be going on for the client in their lives outside the counselling room.

This is important as it might be shedding light into something that needs to be worked on – in a similar way that dream analysis can be helpful when a client brings their dreams to the therapy room.

Creative work arises from intuition, dreams, and unconscious communication.

Of course there’s more to it than that, but I’ll leave you to consider how you use your intuition in every day life, or in the counselling room if you’re a therapist.


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Thought of the Day: About the Therapeutic Relationship


This is a quote taken from my post on working creatively in the therapy room.

What do you think?


The therapeutic relationship is a safe space that allows both the client and the therapist to express themselves freely, sometimes in a playful and humorous manner, in order to explore the client’s curiosity about themselves, their dreams, the issues that bring them to therapy now, as well as finding a different, new – creative – way of getting their lives back on track.

– Karin Brauner

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Blog Post Showcase: Angela Tulloch: Grief and Loss Poetry (Part 3)


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 speaks to us about Grief in the form of 3 lovely poems.

Make sure you check out Parts 1 and 2 as she gives us more insight into what grief and loss looks like, and gives some solace into different aspects of grief we might be struggling with, like “how long should we be grieving for”, and other important questions (an advance hint – there’s no set time for grief, it’s an ongoing process that changes as time goes by).

I’ve also written some blog posts on grief if you want to read those here.


The grief cake



1 Bucket of tears
1 Bucket of pain
and a bucket of regret

Then add

1 Bucket of pity
1 Bucket of denial
1 Bucket of shock
1 Bucket of guilt

Mix together in a large bowel of memories.
Empty in a tin of strength.
Bake in a hot oven of forgiveness
and decorate with a thick coating of love.


It still hurts


It still hurts to look at your grave.

It still hurts to put flowers in your place

It still hurts to wish you happy birthday

It still hurts to not hearing your voice on the telephone.

It still hurts.


Sweet peace


I am reassured to know you are somewhere safe

Safe you are in heaven

You are not alone, and it takes away the pain

Your last words were, we will meet again

Yes, I believe we will meet again.


Grief bus station


Grief got on at grief bus station in 2010 and again in 2012.


The journey was long and tiring.

I stopped at Shock Station in disbelief. 

I quickly arrived at denial stop where I was disoriented.

I got off for a while, then caught the number 9 bus to Pain Street. 

There the driver picked up weepy-in an uncontrollable state.


Weepy got off for a rest at I Cannot Bear It Avenue,

 before arriving at Reality Gardens.


Pain got on and sat next to a group of memories.

They chatted for a while and dared to smile. 

Just then guilt got on with blame. 

They talked about neglect,

short time spend and how things could have been.


When the grief bus arrived at the station,

grief was met by a glimmer of Hope holding the sign ‘Your journey starts here’


Need help working through a recent bereavement?

Why not give Angela a call or send her a message via this page.


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Blog Post Showcase: Angela Tulloch: Grief and Loss Poetry Part 2


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 speaks to us about Grief, make sure you read part 1, in which Angela gave us a beautiful poem she wrote.

Part 3 will be out on Monday 13th July, which will be another few beautiful poems.


Grief and loss


Grief is something that we all will experience at some point in our life. 

Grief does not discriminate, and sometimes takes us unawares.

Some common symptoms to loss may include:

  • Shock and numbness, overwhelming sadness, crying, tiredness or exhaustion. 
  • You might express anger towards the person you have lost or the reason for your loss.
  • You might feel guilty about feeling angry, guilty about something you might have said during a disagreement, or not said, or not been able to stop your loved one from dying. 
  • You might have not been present when your loved one died.
  • You might feel guilty for not feeling anything at all. You might feel guilty for not crying or being sad.

These feelings may not be there all the time and may come in waves unexpectedly.



How do I grieve my loved ones?

There is no right or wrong way to grieve a loss.  We all cope differently.  How you grieve will depend on your personality, your faith, life experiences and how significant the loss was to you.  There is no time limit placed on grief.


Is there a time limit on how long I should grieve?


Healing from grief will take place over time, but it is a process that should not be rushed.  There is no time limit or fixed end when one should stop feeling the pain. 

 There may be days when you feel better and then a sudden memory is triggered by something someone said, a song, a smell or a visit to a memorable place, or you might just be deep in your thoughts.

Take grief at your own pace, be patient and don’t rush, everyone is different. 

 For some people it may be weeks or months, for others it is years. Sometimes you might feel guilty for not grieving your loss for the period expected by others. Sometimes you might feel guilty for feeling a little happier than the day before.

People may say words or comment, some might be unexpected or even hurt.  Things like;



Be strong


The loss of a loved one is an emotional time of deep pain. It often brings reflection of how things could have been. The plan of retirement or grandchildren, of a future together. What you are feeling is normal. You do not need to pretend or keep in your emotions.  Being able to show your true feelings will help you to cope better.



You have not cried since the death?


This does not mean you do not feel the pain deep inside, that keeps you awake late at night.  Yes, crying is a normal response to sadness, but it is not the only way to express sadness.



Are you still grieving after all these years?


There is no specific time on how long one should grieve.  How long it takes will depend on each person. There is a healing process taking place.


It has not been that long, and he is moved on already?


This is often difficult for those left behind, and you might feel guilty.  Moving on does not mean you have forgotten the person you love.  The memories will always be there but may not be as frequent.  There will always be an empty space in your life, but you will have learned ways to cope.  You have come to a place of acceptance, and able to build a life around your loss.

By Angela Tulloch

References: HelpGuide.org 


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Thought of the Day: Creativity and Therapy Work


Creativity is something that we might take for granted in our busy lives.

There is something powerful in stopping and considering doing creative work in one way or another.

This could be writing a poem, a short story, colouring, drawing, painting, or just taking in the impressive world of nature.

All of these things help shift things inside of us.

They help us reflect, renew our minds and souls, revisit things with a new perspective.

They help us move forward with life in a way we might not have thought about before.


Creativity comes in many forms, and so does self-discovery.

Working with a counsellor in the therapy room will allow you to work on the things I mentioned above, in a non-judgemental, safe space where you can say anything without fear.

This will help you explore further those things that might have you stuck, overwhelmed, or simply wondering.


Have you tried counselling before?

If so, what’s been helpful.

If you haven’t, what’s stopping you?

Remember, you’ll be ready to work on yourself creatively in therapy or otherwise, when the time is right.

Everyone’s timing is different.


Read A Creative Space to Grow from…The Therapeutic Relationship.


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Blog Post Showcase: Angela Tulloch: Grief and Loss Poetry


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 speaks to us about Grief in the form of a poem. There are two more blogs to come after this one, so keep an eye out and make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss them. They’re really good!


Grief and loss

The journey without an end.


Is what I’m feeling normal?


This emotional suffering I am feeling is overwhelming. 

 I am told it is a natural response to loss. 

My emotions come and go, like waves on a rough sea.   

Sometimes together, sometimes on their own. 

Shock, anger, disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness.

They appear suddenly.

Sometimes they stay awhile.

I struggle to get the thoughts out of my head.


They say it is a normal reaction to loss.


 My health and sleep are often disturbed.

 Sometimes I struggle to fall asleep

And struggle to get out of bed.

My appetite is not what it used to be.


They say it is a normal reaction to loss.


I do not know how I am really supposed to feel,

but it does not feel normal to me. 

I have lost that sparkle,

I do not smile or laugh anymore,

and people are noticing. 


They say it is a normal reaction to loss.


I sometimes lose my patience over the smallest of things,

and rather be on my own. 

My body feels weak, my head like it does not belong.

I want to scream, but I dare not in case I cannot stop. 


They say it is a normal reaction to loss.


I noticed couples, I noticed mothers and fathers,

Sisters and brothers, children, babies and grandparents. 

I noticed people are happy and having fun.  The smallest of things seems to magnify my loss.


They say it is a normal reaction to loss.


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Thought of the Day – Mini Blog Series (Intro)

Hi everyone!

I know, I’ve been quiet for a while, but I hope you’ve been enjoying the Practical Steps to Blogging posts from colleagues that have completed my workshop with onlinevents.

In this post, I’d like to introduce a new series, possibly ongoing for the next few months to a year. Maybe longer, let’s see how this goes!

My thinking with this series is that I’ve written over 200 blog posts since July 31st 2017, and there’s a lot of content there to expand on and explore further.

So, I’m going to be digging into each blog post, from the first one to the last one, and write some “thoughts for the day” to help me and whoever reads these posts to reflect on self-care, mental wellbeing, supervision, and other topics (thanks to my followers by email and on social media by the way, your support is fully appreciated and so are your comments!).

I do hope you enjoy these mini-blogs.

I look forward to your comments on social media or at the bottom of the posts.

I’d also like to welcome suggestions on topics you might want me to discuss in these mini blogs.

I’m not sure yet of the frequency, I’m going to test it out for every other day, we’ll see what happens!

For now, I leave you with my blog subscription form so you can continue to receive these in your inbox as they are published.

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Blog Post Showcase: Thoughts from Kalpna Hirani

Kalpna Psychology Today Profile – Click Image Above

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.

Today I’ll be sharing Kalpna’s social media posts, so you can find her on social media and follow her for more great content!


Facebook post – Click the Banner

Kalpna urges us to reflect on our thinking and why it matters when responding to what goes on around us, what people tell us, what we hear, and what we perceive.

Kalpna’s Facebook Page

Kalpna’s LinkedIn Profile


LinkedIn Post – click the banner

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Blog Post Showcase: Is trouble sleeping keeping you up at night? – 5 Practical Tips for getting a good night’s sleep, written by: Haley Ruth


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, Haley gives us some helpful tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.



Haley goes straight into the five tips in this post.

She’s quick to remind us that everyone is different, and it’s important that you find the things that will help you as an individual.

Perhaps these 5 tips will prompt you to think about how you can help yourself get a better night’s sleep?

I hope so. Enjoy the post!



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Blog Post Showcase: 5 reasons why you’re not into self-care; Written by Lizandra Leigertwood


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, Lizandra talks about a topic that’s very dear to my heart. I’ve got a series of blog posts on this topic, as well as a book, which you can find in my blogsite and in my amazon author page.



Lizandra starts out reframing the true meaning of self-care, rather than sticking with the cliche that it’s become, “diluting” it’s purpose in our lives.

Read on to find out the real meaning behind self-care, and how forgetting to look after yourself might impact on your psychological, physical and relational life.

Finally, Lizandra gives us 5 reasons why we’re not into self-care.

I hope this post helps you reflect on how you look after yourself, and that you might be able to allow yourself some more time, time that you deserve!



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Video post showcase: why do you self-sabotage potential relationships, Vlog by Ryan Grey.


Hello everyone, and welcome to this 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, I’m sharing Ryan Grey’s Vlog titled “why do you self-sabotage potential relationships”.

You can find out more about Ryan Grey’s counselling practice via this link.



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Blog Post Showcase – Low self esteem: a self help guide, written by Kathy Shaw


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 week’s post, Katy talks to us about low self-esteem, and gives us a self-help guide to working through this particular issue.



Katy gently takes us through the different aspects of self-esteem: what is it? what affects it? how does it affect us?

Then Katy gives us some tips to improve our self-esteem, breaking it down into 8 different things we can do to help ourselves.

Have a read of the full post here.



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Blog post showcase: whose space is it anyway? by: Manda Glanfield


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’s post comes from Manda Glandfield, and is all about how we manage our physical and personal space, especially in light of the social distancing guidance.

I love the title, as it’s similar to one of mine – mine is about relationships. You can read it here.

Manda, through a personal anecdote, shows us how she went from anxious to finding her peace in a busy street, and helps us explore how we can find that for ourselves as well, in whatever way works best for us.

She sets a balance between being separated from others, and our human need for connection. She leaves us with a question about how to move forward…



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Blog Post Showcase – Hayley Ruth: Re-thinking our new normal (Dealing with the anxiety of coming out of lock-down)


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, Haley talks to us about re-thinking our “new normal” as we start coming out of lockdown.

This post was written originally on May 11th, so things are moving a big more as we start the month of June.

Haley challenges us with considering what parts of “normal” we’d like to get back to, after experiencing a bit more quiet and contemplation maybe, or a different kind of relating with those in our household, or even working from home!

Finally, Haley runs us through an exercise that can help deal with uncertainty and plan for the future.


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Blogpost Showcase: Date night – do you make time? by Joanne Mander

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 week’s post, Joanne introduces her post about making time in relationships, particularly setting up a date night with our partner.

She helps us reflect and think about our busy lives, and how to take back some of our busy time to have in-depth conversations and quality time with our partner in life.

I’ll be updating these posts as I receive links to colleague’s blog posts. Keep an eye out for these!

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Blog Post Showcase – Eight areas for focused attention for more peaceful and fulfilled lives, for our generation and those that follow – by: Sarah Jayne Buchanan from Sarah’s Prayers

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, Sarah writes about eight areas for focused attention for more peaceful and fulfilled lives, for our generation and those that follow.

Sarah talks to us about the importance of having a place to set down roots, as well as how to nurture and look after our bodies.

She’ll also remind us about synergy, telling and recalling our story, remembering our purpose and our ability to be creative.

Finally, Sarah will show us how to live a balanced life, particularly speaking to mothers, and how this is an ever-evolving process in life.

You can read Sarah’s post here.

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Blog Post Showcase “My life should be fine; why should I have counselling?” – Because counselling can make you stronger, by Tonia Higgins

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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, Tonia introduces her final blog post in her new series, which leads us to think about counselling in a different way.


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In this post, Tonia talks to us about some things that you can continue to explore in therapy, as they arise.

Some of these are:

guilt

shame

people-pleasing

boundaries

self-compassion

negative self-talk

Thank you Tonia for this insightful blog post series!


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A message for you in this time of crisis. Regular blog posts will resume at a later time.

On behalf of Stacey Sabido from Serenity for you and Karin Brauner from KB Bilingual Services, we’d like to offer our support through these hard times.

We will continue our work online, and we hope that you’ll reach out if you need us.

We have decided to halt our regular blog series on hoarding as things progress.

Here is Stacey’s message to everyone:

“During this current situation we would like to offer you our words of support.
Please remember to stay safe & although these are difficult times, we can use it to appreciate our loved ones, appreciate life & focus on what we would like to achieve.
Let’s spend quality time with our kids, get more involved with their learning.
Do things that we never had the time to do before like decluttering the house, meditating, working on unfinished projects.
Together we can get through this 💛

Stay safe, stay in touch via mobile devices, keep eating as well as possible, exercise at home, practice mindfulness and meditation or anything that will help you get through this difficult time.

Take care one and all.

Karin and Stacey.

Blog Post Showcase “My life should be fine; why should I have counselling?” – Because stress can creep up on you, by Tonia Higgins

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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, Tonia introduces her third blog post in her new series, which leads us to think about counselling in a different way.


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In this post, Tonia gives us a scenario with a variety of reasons why someone might be struggling with every day life.

Nothing dramatic is happening, life goes on as usual, but there are slight changes in you, and they’re becoming more noticeable.

Tonia tells us how she’d approach the client in the scenario and how she works with her clients in the therapy room.


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Business Mindset for Private Practitioners


Hi, and welcome to this new series that I’ll be publishing once a month on Mondays.

I have a few reasons for posting this series now.

The first one is that over a year ago, I started supporting private practitioners to get into the marketing mindset, so they can get the clients they want and that need their support.

The second reason is that I’m reading a book called The Business Book, in which I’m learning how to grow my business further, and thought I’d share my learning with everyone.

I’ve also joined an Author Academy that has given me a new tribe to rely on and lots of resources to develop my products and services further.


If you’d like to find out about these, click the affiliate links below:

6-figure Author 5 day challenge

Author: Create 18 streams of income out of your book

Set fire to your business and brand

Become Unhackable


It all starts with an Idea


Do you sit sometimes and think things like:

“I know a lot about this topic, I could offer some services around that”

“Ah that’s a great idea, but how can I get that idea to help others and bring me income in the process?”

“I want to do A, B, C ….. Z, but just thinking of all the work it requires, and all the ideas I have, I’m already overwhelmed”

I have had these thoughts, and some of them have required a mindset change on my part.

Patience and perseverance have also played their part.

I still have many ideas that haven’t come to fruition. I’m working on them.

If you’re like me, you have lots of things to do on the side of your self-employment / entrepreneurial life. Sometimes these things help, other times they make us stop, take stock, regroup and figure out how we’re going to move forward.


Every new idea comes with a risk.

It’s scary to put ourselves out there and either succeed or hear crickets (note I didn’t say fail).

Succeeding is just as scary as hearing crickets or seeing hay bales go across your screen…

According to the authors, we must combine our idea with entrepreneurial spirit.

This basically means that we are willing to take a risk by developing our idea and creating great products and services with it.


Development of a new product or service means we might have to start learning new skills, how to use new tech, do some research on the things already on offer, as well as plan, plan, plan!

This takes time and effort.

If you’ve got life stuff going on – health issues, physical or mental, people to look after, another part time job to help pay the bills – it might mean that it will take longer to develop this idea.

I know I’m struggling with regrouping right now and realising that my time is limited and I need to look after myself.

My priority as ever are my clients – counselling, supervision, tutoring, coaching and content. My energies are invested in them on the days I offer these sessions.

The rest of my time is for admin and rest. Depending on how I’m feeling, rest might take precedent over admin. I might do the bare minimum some weeks.

When we have limited time, but a willingness to support more people than we can in our one-to-one sessions, it feels like everything is urgent.


Prioritise and Be Realistic


The authors propose to have realistic propositions, which includes having an idea and then thinking “finance”.

Now I’ve grown my one-to-one service in a very frugal way. I’ve tried the Facebook Ads and Wordads, but I did those at a time where I didn’t have an audience and it flopped. I might give them a go in the near future, when I have courses and other products on offer and have the capital to spend on them.

Social media is a great way to market yourself for free, and I’ve taken advantage of that possibility. It’s meant that I can put content out there and support the general public and colleagues with great content.

So, the authors suggest we consider whether we need a lot or a little capital, or maybe we don’t need much to start with.

Consider what you need. For example, counsellors might want to pay to be a member of BACP or UKCP, NCS, or any of the others out there. Also being a part of directories will help them get clients. Networking events might cost some money as well.

Start with what you can afford without getting into money worries, and grow your capital for these activities as you grow your business.


If you’re going to the bank to ask for a loan, you’ve got to have a good business plan.

It is easier to get a loan if you’re employed (I know this from personal experience – I got a loan when I was on a 30hr permanent contract, without much fuss…but got denied a loan a couple of years later as I was part employed, part self-employed). Check with your bank what the requirements are if you’re self-employed!

Financial backers will look at your idea and figure out if it’s profitable.

If you don’t require much money to get started, then go for it! If you’ve thought it’s a valuable idea and will benefit others, then why not try it out!


Do something different to stand out – see what’s already out there


Finding out what’s already out there and what will make your products or services different is key.

I say this to people attending my Practical Steps to Blogging Online Workshops:

Nobody knows what you know, how you know it or present it to them. It will be valuable to the people that need to hear your message.

You will already have an edge because of that.

How else can you make yourself stand out?

There is lots of advice out there from business coaches and it can get confusing and daunting as some will say do A B C and others will say definitely don’t do A B C, it doesn’t work!

My best advice on this is, read what they have to say, and do what feels congruent for you.

What works for them might work for you too, or something else might come up that really helps you build your offering reach.

An important thing to develop is the Know, Like, Trust Factor. You can do this in many ways, but the key thing is: (metaphorically) shout that you exist!

For example, if you create an amazing website, but nobody knows about it, you’ll never sell or get clients. You have to guide people to your site to get the business you want.

That is a subject for another post, but promoting yourself is key!


The authors suggest that, once you’ve established yourself and your product or service, it’s time to maintain sales and figure out how you’re going to grow your business in the short and long term.

Don’t allow your business to get stale. Keep innovating, finding new ways to do things.

I’m in the process of starting podcasts, vlogs. It will take time but I’ll get there. I’m pacing myself but I have an idea of where I want to get to.

I am also starting to do workshops online and offering other things like courses (also will take time but I will get there!)

All of this has meant a huge mindset change and re-adjustment.

I’m being kind to myself whilst I readjust and figure out how to do this and grow my business offerings further.


The authors also talk about hiring people.

Now, I got into private practice to work by myself, be my own boss. But I’ve become so busy that I couldn’t do something that I enjoyed any longer, but needed to keep doing in order to keep “top of mind” on social media.

I’ve hired a VA that schedules my social media posts. I have the final say whether I want to change an image or some of the text, but in general she’s doing most of the work. I only spend like 10min (rather than 3hrs) a week on these posts.

It’s freed so much time!


I’m sure she could be doing so much more for me. It’s a mindset change to have someone do stuff for you, so I’m working on that at the moment.

For now I’m happy to keep my social media posts going!


A final note on all I’ve said above.

Self-Care should be key when building and developing your business.

If we don’t look after ourselves, we won’t be able to do any of the work we are dreaming of.

If you want to find out more, I’ve got a very practical book called 20 Self-Care Habits, which comes together with a free Facebook Group, coaching sessions (paid), and in the future some new products and services.


Reference: The Business Book: Sam Atkinson et al. (2014). Big Ideas Simply Explained. Dorling Kindersley Limited, pages 18-19


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Blog Post Showcase “My life should be fine; why should I have counselling?” – Because prevention is Better Than Cure, by Tonia Higgins

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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, Tonia introduces her second blog post in her new series, which leads us to think about counselling in a different way.


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In this post, Tonia challenges us to think about counselling as something more than a cure for ill-mental health.

It can also be a preventative measure to ensure we keep mentally healthy.

Therapy can be about so much more, and the things affecting our lives can be very subtle, as Tonia mentions in her post.

She also talks about a topic dear to my heart – self-care. There are subtle things we tell ourselves that hinder our lives in small or great ways.

Have a read of Tonia’s post to find out how counselling can help with these.


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I’ll be updating these Wednesday posts as I receive links to colleague’s blog posts. Keep an eye out for these!

You can also subscribe in the form below if you want to get them straight in your inbox as they are published.


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Ethical Considerations in Online Counselling: Social Media


Hi, and welcome to this blog post where I’ll be discussing a few topics that might come up when working online.

If you’ve missed any of my other posts on online counselling, you can read them here.


When a counselling client is working with me face to face, it is usually because they live in the same town as myself, or in a nearby town.

This might lead to us bumping into one another on the street, at a shop, sometimes even at a pub or party.

There have been many conversations about how to deal with this when it happens.

One of the best moments to deal with this is at the start of therapy, or in the therapist’s written contract.


BACP has guidance on this for practitioners, as well as information for the general public. Their ethical framework is also helpful to make decisions about how to deal with this in private practice.


Different practitioners and clients alike might be more or less comfortable with the possibility of meeting outside the sessions in this manner. It is just something that might become a reality at any point.

We can agree to acknowledge each other with a nod and carry on.

Some of us might be comfortable with saying hello to our clients and even having a short conversation about general stuff – the weather for example.

Generally, we would be with others, so the nature of our counselling relationship is bound by confidentiality – on the therapist’s side. The client can disclose this if they so wish.

I personally wouldn’t see this as a major issue, and more importantly, it could give important information for following sessions.


How was that for you, seeing me outside of the therapy room?

What did it bring up for you?

What could either of us have done differently?

What shall we do next time we see each other in public?


Let’s now tackle the same topic but from an online perspective.

More and more counsellors are offering online counselling, and this is becoming a popular way for people to get access to counselling, whether it is because they live in rural areas, are not able to travel to a therapist’s office, or for convenience in other ways.


Social media is a great way to work and market our practices online. It’s one of the main ways I do networking and give out information about my services, about counselling topics and other topics I’m passionate about (just like this blog!)

Rather than see Social Media as a hindrance, I see it as a great opportunity to offer information and support to more people than the ones I can see in my private practice.

Resources on mental health, self-care, and realted topics are important as they might be a source of solace and support for those considering counselling but not quite ready to take that step just yet.


Having online profiles on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and others means that anyone can find us and follow us.


Just like we did with meeting in town, we must decide what is OK, and ethical, for us as therapists when it comes to our clients finding us online.

There’s also the possibility that Facebook might “suggest friends” to us that just happen to be our clients.

The most strict thing to do in this case would be to block the client, but I’d like to offer some other options.


I’ll give the example of my own facebook use. My personal profile is private, I check settings often and limit posts every few months.

The only things public on my profile are my cover photo, my profile pic, and public posts which are mainly business related. I’ve got the “followers” mode on because colleagues or people interested in my content might want to catch up on that platform.

Some of those might be clients.

All the content that I share that is public, including my cover photo, relate to my business. Nothing that is shared for friends and family is public.


This keeps the boundaries clear, and keeps me safe from feeling like I’m inadvertently self-disclosing to clients or potential clients.


If a previous or current client wants to follow me on my other social media platforms, I won’t worry as they are business profiles.

If I had a personal profile on instagram, for example, I’d have the option of making that profile private and people would need to request access to it.


There are many ways to keep our private lives confidential online. They don’t have to be too strict or too lenient.

The key is that we want our counselling relationships with clients to be safe and contained.

Keeping up to date with encryption, GDPR legislation, security of each social media platform, and having conversations with clients about this topic will keep everyone safe. Also, reading up on guidance from our membership bodies can also be helpful.


Have you got any further suggestions, or questions regarding finding your client or therapist in public or online?

Drop me a line in the comments and I’ll be happy to add it to this post.

Until next week…


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Blog Post Showcase “My life should be fine; why should I have counselling?” – Introduction by Tonia Higgins

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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, Tonia introduces her latest blog post series, where she’ll talk to us about why counselling is important as a preventative resource, rather than only to be accessed in times of crisis or difficulty.


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Our mental health is important all the time, and not only when we’re not feeling well.

We might think that we are fine, but still be struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship issues or something else.

It’s OK to not be OK and ask for help from a therapist like Tonia or myself.

Tonia introduces 3 further blog posts with reasons why we can attend counselling when things seem fine.

I’ll be sharing these in following Wednesdays.


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I’ll be updating these Wednesday posts as I receive links to colleague’s blog posts. Keep an eye out for these!

You can also subscribe in the form below if you want to get them straight in your inbox as they are published.


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Hoarding: Practical Steps to Staging an Intervention


Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post on our series on Hoarding.

The last couple of posts, we have been preparing you for taking this important step to support your loved one.

In the second post, we talked about planning the steps before staging the intervention, and making sure it is the right way to go with your particular hoarder in mind.

Checking other avenues before staging an intervention might be key as it might not actually be necessary – this will depend on the hoarders’ state of mind and openness to conversations about their current situation.


Let’s get right to the steps we might need to take into account when working towards the date you’ve scheduled your intervention for.


The main thing to keep in mind, we believe, is to back up everything you say and do during the intervention.

This will build up your confidence before and during the meeting, and ensure the best results possible.

Of course, we can’t guarantee your loved one’s reactions or whether they’ll take your support.

All you can do is try, and trying will be appreciated, now or later.


Another thing to be mindful of is that they might not say “yes” to your support straight away.

They might need some time to think about it, and work through any feelings that might come up for them during the session (anger, sadness, guilt, shame, resentment, and other strong emotions might come up for your loved one during the sessions, and this is OK.)


Be prepared for those strong emotions, and be ready to sit with these as they come up.


Finding ways to keep everyone safe is key and a therapist will help you get strategies and ideas in place so you can build up your resilience and anticipate these strong emotions and your responses to them as they arise.

This is where having a session with a therapist, like myself, might be helpful.


I (Karin) have trained to be able to sit with a variety of different situations that bring up strong emotions in my clients, and an intervention will certainly bring a lot of stuff up!

Through Stacey’s website, you can book an initial call with her, and then she’ll put you in touch with me (or you can contact me directly, and I’ll liaise with Stacey in order to support you in the best and most holistic way possible).


Having spoken to a professional organiser and therapist will give you more tools to prepare what you’ll say.

Having a team behind you will show your loved one that you’re serious about helping them, and that you’ve done your homework before addressing this directly with them.


During your planning, take into account the personal experience and situation of your loved one, as well as their personality and the ways they respond to difficult conversations and situations in their lives.


You know them best, and this will help you plan your words carefully, in a way that will be compassionate, caring, and aware of their autonomy and right to make decisions that, to everyone else, might seem like “wrong” decisions.


Writing down what you want to say will be important.

We’ve all been there, we have all the things planned out in our minds, and when it comes to the moment of having the conversation, we get diverted, or emotions get the best of us and we miss out saying all we wanted to say.


We might also get nervous and forget half of the stuff we wanted to say that might have been helpful.

Getting together to plan this will make your intervention more fruitful.

Again, it will also build your confidence in what you are tackling, and build the team’s trust and confidence in one another.

Each member can take up one item on the list of things you want to run through with the hoarder, lightening the load for everyone.


Even though Stacey and I are available online as well as in person, we can’t be available to everyone, especially if in a different part of the country, so get in touch us for conversations about your particular situation, and we’ll do our best to help out with as much as we can.

In the case where Stacey can’t travel to your location to help with the decluttering process, we recommend you get in touch with local businesses that help with decluttering, and places where your loved one can donate their belongings.

Stacey works with Shelter, which is a great charity to work with!


By mentioning donation, your loved one might also be given food for thought regarding making a difference in someone else’s life, by giving their unwanted clutter to someone who will benefit from it once they’ve taken the step to get rid of it.

Finally there are two more steps to take to ensure your intervention runs as smoothly as possible:


Trial run!

Get together with the team that will be present during the intervention – friends, family, professionals – and plan for as many eventualities as possible.

Putting your heads together to figure out how to tackle each arising challenge, and writing down (as mentioned above) what you want to talk about, will be key.


Summary sheet

Providing a summary of what the meeting was about, and what you spoke about, as well as including services and people you’ve contacted to enquire about hoarding support, will allow your loved one to go away and think about these things.

You can include our blog post links if you’d like.

A summary sheet will allow them to read the content and spend time thinking about what they want to do about their hoarding issue.

This sheet might also be a great starting point for them to get the help they need, both psychological and practical.


If anything has come up for you while reading this post, do get in touch to discuss this. Stacey and Karin will be happy to help!



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Hoarding Intervention: Step 2, Planning


Hi, welcome to this week’s blog post on hoarding. We are focusing on staging an intervention, and to keep it simple, we will be breaking it down into 4 simple steps.

We have previously discussed (in step 1) how as a family member or as a friend, you can prepare for the intervention.

The second step is to start planning the intervention.


First of all, we must determine whether an intervention is actually necessary.

It all depends on the level of hoarding, but also on the communication skills of both yourself and the hoarder.


If the hoarding is at a level where they might harm themselves or others due to being unable to find their way out in case of an emergency, for example, you might be in a place where there is no other choice.

Even so, if your loved one is someone that can be reached with a one-to-one conversation, then that might be the best thing to try first.

Exhaust all posibilities before planning an intervention, but don’t be afraid of planning one anyway.


If it is felt that an intervention is necessary, as discussed in step 1, you could all meet as a family/friends support group and discuss what you are going to say to the person and how.


Planning out your approach is very important to ensure that you are fully prepared for the reactions and questions from your loved one.

Be prepared for a variety of emotions:

Anger – why are you doing this to me? Why can’t you just leave me alone?!

Guilt – I am so sorry I’m putting you through this.

Denial – Everything is fine, I don’t know what you’re talking about!

They might just not want your help.

Other emotions and reactions might come up.


You know your loved one best, and predicting possible behaviours will help keep things safe for everyone, no matter how heated things get.


As part of your plan, you might need to show the hoarder the extent of the problem.

You can use the Clutter image rating to determine the level of clutter in each room.

This will show the severity of the problem in the home.

This might be enough for the hoarder to realise what’s going on, what they might have become accustomed to living in.


Realising that others talk about this and there is help for their situation, might be a relief.

It might also make them sad or even depressed to realise what they’ve been doing.


Having a plan for continued support for your loved one will be important. Have a list of therapists specialising on this topic, and make sure you provide a safe environment, with support from the person’s network (including you and the people staging the intervention), so the hoarder feels like they can do this.


A critical element of the intervention is building trust between the family members/friends (and especially mental health service providers).


According to Evidence Exchange Network for Mental Health and Addictions, “this can be done using a motivational approach that focuses on harm reduction (rather than solely symptom reduction), promoting safety, minimizing loneliness, empowering the individual, and providing education.”

To get to this motivational stage, you’ll need to provide as much information as possible in a short space of time.

This information will need to include:

  • patience, perseverance, and the knowledge that this isn’t going to be necessarily a calm conversation, in fact it might be the opposite
  • why you’ve decided to talk to your loved one in this way
  • evidence for their need for your support and the support of professionals that can help declutter and also help with the mental health aspects of the hoarding behaviours
  • visuals like the rating scale described above
  • short lists of professionals that can help with this – Stacey and myself can help with both the practical and psychological aspects of hoarding.

As you can tell from the way we’ve written this post, we believe it is very important to emphasise the positives of carrying out an intervention.

Even though it might be uncomfortable to do something like this, there are a lot of benefits it can bring to your loved ones life.

If you’ve got further questions, don’t hesitate to visit either of our sites and send us a message, or reply to this post in the comment section below.


If you are living in a similar situation or know anybody that is, please do not hesitate to contact us today so that we can provide you with the support that is needed.


Declutter & donate your unwanted items to Shelter.

You can make a difference to improving someone’s life.

Contact Stacey for more info!


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The variety and versatility of Online Counselling


Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post on the advantages of online counselling.

We are living in a day and age of high tech. It keeps changing and being “smarter” and more accessible and affordable to all of us.

I remember when the internet started. I was a teenager and it was exciting to meet people on the other side of the world, even keep up with music from over the Atlantic!

I never felt that those friendships I built online were very different from my face-to-face, local friendships.

Maybe that’s why I feel that online counselling makes sense, and is no different than face-to-face counselling in many aspects.

Of course, there are some things that I’ve needed to do to work online – further training, and thinking about some obvious differences, like less non-verbal cues to work with, but adjustments can be made and I’m pleased to say I’ve helped lots of clients through online counselling, and hope to continue to do so.


What do you think of when I say “online counselling”?

Maybe you think video calls.

That would be my first guess if I didn’t know about the other ways of working online!

There are many ways to work online with your therapist.

The way that works for you, and possibly the online therapist you choose to work with, will depend on your personality, lifestyle, available free time to attend sessions, and other aspects of your life that might get in the way of accessing face-to-face or synchronous (“live”) sessions.

Let’s go through a few creative ways in which you can look after your mental health through online counselling…


A live video call means you schedule a time with your chosen therapist, and try to meet regularly (usually every week), at the same time and using the same secure platform.

I use Zoom and Instahelp for private clients, but there are other safe platforms that keep your conversations encrypted and completely confidential.

If you prefer to see your counsellor, almost in the same way you would if you went to their physical office, then this might be the best way to work on your current situation.


Live audio calls happen in a similar way as described above, except you’d only be hearing each other’s voices.

This can be done using the same platforms, but with video turned off, or using the telephone.

If it’s easier for you to speak without being seen, then this might be the best way for you to have therapy.

Sometimes, internet connections might fail, and turning video off might be the only solution so the session can continue. These are things to discuss with your therapist – they would probably bring this up – in case technology fails and you have to adjust to using audio or telephone, or rescheduling.

Completing further training in the differences between seeing and not seeing my clients has really helped me when working with audio calls.


In this type of counselling, you and your therapist are using the same chat room, and are messaging back and forth, at the same time.

This would be for an agreed period of time – 20min, 40min, and hour.

If you’re a millenial or really enjoy using text-based communications in your daily life, then text-based messaging might be the best option for you right now.

Usually, therapists that offer this type of service can offer the other ways of working alongside text-based counselling.

Working online is so versatile!


I’ve used this type of therapy before, and it’s really helped me.

I didn’t feel I was missing out on anything, in fact, because I’m a fast typist and love to write anyway, I could get a lot out in one go.

My therapist was very good at catching what I was writing and replying sensitively and in a timely way. I felt really held by her, even when I’d only ever seen a photo of her and her text responses.

The great way about asynchronous messaging is that you can do it at anytime from anywhere.

Of course, you will have to wait for your therapist to log on and read your message, but you’ll usually have a good idea of what times they work and when you are most likely to expect a reply.


This is similar to text-based counselling, except you are going to be using email for this.

I would use a password protected word document to exchange your messages with your therapist, so nobody can open it except you two.

The responses would happen in a similar way to asynchronous messaging, as you can send emails at any time from anywhere, and wait for your therapist to reply at agreed times.


As you can see, online counselling opens up lots of possibilities for people to access good therapy, in a way that works for them.

Distance is not an issue any longer, and neither are some of the other barriers that might stop us from getting in touch with a counsellor – shame, fear, time, “what will people think”, amongst other things.


If you’d like to catch up on past posts, click the links below:

Accessibility

No Commute, Free resources

Anonymity

Confidentiality and Risk

Guest post: Would chronic illness benefit from online counselling? – By Olivia Djoudadi


See you next week!


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Would chronic illness benefit from online counselling? – By Olivia Djoudadi

Hi and welcome to this blog post collab with Olivia Djoudadi.

I’ve had a couple of collaborations through the years from people living with chronic illnesses or therapists that work with these.

You can read these here:

Self Care When Living With a Chronic Illness

Living with a Chronic Illness and Working as a Therapist

In this post, Olivia answers the question of whether online counselling can help people with chronic illness.

I think you know my answer will be a resounding “yes!”

Over to you, Olivia


When first diagnosed with a chronic condition it can be quite a shock for some people.

It may need medications, a newer type focus on the foods people eat and a shift on how life is lived.

This isn’t always realised until later as obvious affects on the person or family take time to realise.

Lets take a look at a fairly common condition like diabetes; the statistics show 63% of people with it may have either anxiety or depression.

That statistic can have quite an affect on how someone with diabetes looks after their medical care needs.

One might feel a doctor is the person that deals with the medical needs however psychotherapy or counselling can really help as well.


Dealing with a chronic illness and going out even to weekly therapy appointments can take its toll however there are options such as online counselling.

You can see your therapist online by either email, IM or video sessions.

Some therapists work online because they also have a chronic condition just like you.

Some conditions may be painful or cause a lot of fatigue making getting out to counselling much harder.

Research on the person you may see to see if they have worked with chronic illness before as that can help with trust.


How many medical conditions are there in the population of the UK? Do all conditions need therapy?

In the UK according to chronicconditions.co.uk over 15 million people in the UK live with a chronic condition yet not all need emotional support.

Some may have family support or don’t go through shock that accompanies some conditions.

Not every illness is obvious so people may assume that someone is completely fine when they actually have a condition that raises their likelihood of say a medical crisis.

If medication is not used then people can get incredibly unwell or even die and that can have quite a big effect on one’s mental wellbeing.

They may go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance; some reading may realise that these are actually the 5 points to the Kübler-Ross grief model.

People may lean towards one of those or have a mixture of all or as one clinician noted as a Munchian Scream which is a painting depicting a screaming man by Edvard Munch.

It may seem like its awful to get any kind of condition but the truth is that many people cope very well living with a diagnosis.

So, one may ask why that is the case.


According to Harvard Medical School dealing with a chronic condition can improve by:

  • Beware of depression or anxiety. These can occur when someone is newly diagnosed or when they have lived with a condition for a long time and see the ongoing effects on self or family.
  • Build a team. This can be medical as well as psychological to help keep you at your best, keep in mind to include yourself as part of the team.
  • Coordinate your care. You may need to be cared for by a number of medical staff and access to each other’s notes may not always happen. You may need to highlight what has changed so your doctor is aware. Yes, they may have the notes from other departments but a five-minute appointment with a GP may not have realised changes.
  • Get a prescription for information. It can help to know what side effects medication may cause so you know what is normal. Use information from a site that has a medical reputation so you don’t get scared by other information then discuss with your doctor what is your normal on that medication. It can be useful to discuss in therapy how to handle these changes or the effect it has on you or others.
  • Make a healthy investment in yourself. Treatment for almost any chronic condition involves changes to lifestyle. A doctor may ask you to eat healthier, stop smoking or drinking, exercise more or seek counselling if you are having trouble coping. As well as taking care of your medical needs it may help to have selfcare times such as walking in the park or having tea with a friend, some people find support groups helpful.
  • Make it a family affair. When learning about your own condition it can be helpful to include family members as they may need to assist at times even if it’s to pick up a prescription or adjust to a healthier way of eating meals. Some maybe quite active and others maybe distressed so talking with a therapist may help them as well as the person with the condition.
  • Make your doctor a partner in care. When you leave the doctor’s office you are the one who needs to track changes such as symptoms or medical input. You may also need to assist the doctor by saying your finding it hard to cope.
  • Manage your medications. One may need an adjusted eating plan, pills, injections or medical devices so one can function well. Knowing about the drugs you take can be helpful as they may cause other noticeable issues such as tiredness and that’s important for your medical team to know.
  • Reach out. Medical input can be really helpful but so can therapy and support groups so it may help to seek online or face to face counselling.

I’ve learned quite a lot from reading this post by Olivia.

If you’d like to contact her for therapy sessions, or read more of her great blog posts, do follow her blog at this site.


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Hoarding Intervention: Step 1: Get yourself prepared


Hi, welcome to this week’s blog post on hoarding. Our next topic is about staging an intervention and we will be breaking it down into 4 steps.

This post is dedicated to the relatives and friends of hoarders, which are usually the ones that are aware of the problem, sometimes a long time before the hoarder realises what they’re doing.


The first step which we will be focusing on is getting yourself prepared for an intervention as a family member or friend of the hoarder.

Do please take the time out to learn more about hoarding, what it is, the possible consequences that hoarding can have on the person and how hoarding can be used as a coping mechanism for an underlying issue. Please read our previous blog posts, we cover all of those topics.  


Betterhelp mentions that TV shows about hoarding may spread awareness about the disorder, but many experts say these shows paint an incorrect picture about hoarding and how to help a person who hoards.

Don’t get us wrong. Awareness is great, but these shows only show a part of the process.

We imagine that there’s a lot of psychological and other support for the hoarder and the family behind the scenes.

Look for credible sources like the charity Mind. https://www.mind.org.uk/ and other websites.

You can also contact Stacey directly for more on how we work together to provide both practical and psychological support for you and your loved one.


Betterhelp also advise not to enable the hoarders behaviour.

While taking items against a person’s will is not helpful, adding to their clutter by buying or giving them things or taking them on shopping trips is just as bad.


Let’s be honest, nobody likes their stuff taken away without their permission. This is no exception, no matter how hard it is to watch what it’s doing to them.

Take it step by step. You’ll all get there!

Avoid adding to the clutter by showing your love in other ways and spending time doing activities not related to consumption.


Engaging in activities that have nothing to do with buying or adding to their stuff will deepen your relationship, allowing the upcoming intervention to be received in a better light, as you’ll be a trusted individual in the life of your hoarding loved one.


According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) at a prearranged time, family members should approach the hoarder to talk about the effect of clutter on their lives and explain that help and support are available.

This is something we’ll be talking about in the next posts.

For now, let’s focus on preparing you for the day of the intervention.


Perhaps for now, just meeting as a group and practising with each other how you are going to approach the person and rehearsing what you are going to say and how will be helpful.


We understand that this intervention will be a big step for everyone involved, and we’re not sure how your hoarding loved one will respond yet.

Managing that anxiety with lots of preparation and possibly input from professionals such as Stacey and Karin will help.


Every step you take, whether they’re aware of it or not, is you showing them you care.

You are showing them in subtle ways that you care and they can receive help if they are open to it.


If you are living in a similar situation or know anybody that is, please do not hesitate to contact us today so that we can provide you with the support that is needed.


Declutter & donate your unwanted items to Shelter.

You can make a difference to improving someone’s life.

Contact Stacey for more info!


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Confidentiality in Online Counselling


Hi, and welcome to this week’s post on online counselling.

Natalia and I are both passionate about offering alternatives to face to face counselling. Her platform, Chat2Us, aims to grow its list of counsellors available for you to choose from, including myself.

I also work in private practice, and the focus of my practice is now going towards offering online counselling through different mediums – live or asynchronous messaging, Zoom video call, Zoom/Telephone voice call, and soon also email.

If you’d like to know more about Chat2Us or my private practice online services, click on the hyperlinks or message us to find out more.


In this week’s post, we’ll be talking about confidentiality.

When we talk about personal matters, confidentiality is a must.

This rule applies to online counselling too. Especially online counselling, with all the safety issues that might compromise the content of our sessions.

Before we start offering online counselling therapists need to make sure we can provide a safe and confidential online space.

We do this by using very high-end protocols.

These days, where technology offers unlimited options, finding the best way to provide safety and confidentiality should be straight forward.

Let’s go through the most known options.


Skype

It’s easy to use. Many of us use it to keep in touch with friends and family. with a handset, microphone and speaker we are ready to go.

I (Karin) still use Skype for some sessions, but am aiming to move everyone over to Zoom.

There is a major issue with Skype, that is enough to warrant moving to a more GDPR/HIPPA compliant platform, like Zoom or VSee (there are many others that are good to!)

The Issue: Skype is encrypted, but once you’ve signed the terms and conditions, you give up the rights to your sessions’ content.

Zoom

An alternative to Skype, but safer as it’s encrypted and your content is secure.

It’s great for one-to-one meetings, which have unlimited time, so it’s great for individual counselling sessions.

If you have a group meeting, the free version only allows 40 minutes per meeting.


Another great thing about zoom is that it can be used to record video conferences, present webinars and share your screen to show a powerpoint presentation and others (This is something that Karin has been doing alongside counselling and supervision!)


There are lots of other applications out there that could offer the encryption required to secure the confidentiality, but we won’t go into all of them here.


As a provider of a mental health service, such as online counselling, confidentiality is an ethical concern (Read BACP’s guidance here).

The fundamental intent is to protect a client’s right to privacy by ensuring that matters disclosed to a professional are not relayed to others without the informed consent of the client.

Of course, there are exceptions as to where confidentiality could be broken or not applied (risk to self or others for example).

This is easier to establish with face-to-face clients, but is also necessary to establish the boundaries with online clients.

Sometimes, we might not have the information necessary to call emergency services and direct them to the client’s premises.

We might even be in different countries!


Some online services don’t take more than email and client’s name.

Online therapists might have an online counselling clause that states the limitations of how they can support their clients, providing information on services that might be able to support them in case of crisis or additional support.

Keeping ourselves safe as therapists is important. It keeps clients safe as a direct consequence. Which is a great thing!


Online counselling should offer the same frame of security, confidentiality and trust as face-to-face counselling.

And more.

There are so many more things to take into account regarding confidentiality and client safety when working online.

By providing anonymity to the client, the disclosure of emotional content and thoughts could be easier, but this disinhibition effect might mean the client might be opening up to a lot more than they would face-to-face, and in a very short period of time, with the potential risk increasing.


Before starting any online sessions with a new client, therapists should check that the client is a good candidate for online counselling at this point in time.

This means checking for risk, which is important because we won’t have as many details from the client if they want to keep their anonymity.

This limits our chance to keep them safe from a distance.

We might need to refer on to someone in their local area.


As you can see from this post, we back up our claims that online counselling is a great alternative to face-to-face counselling, but there are limitations to the work we can do when it comes to assessing risk and considering confidentiality issues.

Hopefully our options for platforms and ethical suggestions will help you with your search for an online counsellor; for therapists, we hope this gives you more insights into how the counselling therapy world works.

Make sure you sign up to this blog to get updates when we post a new blog about this topic, as well as catch up with previous posts.


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Hoarding as a coping mechanism


Hi, and welcome to our series on Hoarding – practical and psychological support.

In this week’s blog post we will be looking at other mental health problems which were mentioned here: possible causes (and consequences) for hoarding.


Mental health issues aren’t straighforward to spot, and neither is it straightforward to pinpoint their causes, consequences, or what might have triggered particular behaviours or conditions.

Dealing with the topic of hoarding is a sensitive issue, as it’s not just about “the stuff.”

It’s about the trauma, the life story, the way the individual is dealing with their past and current life issues, and how thing might have gotten out of hand and overwhelming for them and their loved ones.


The mental health charity Mind mentions that a person might start hoarding due to another mental health problem, for example:

In these situations, hoarding is usually seen as a symptom and acts as a coping mechanism and is not the main or “precipitating” issue.

Note: Diagnosing is good in some cases, but we work with the individual as a whole. A diagnosis is helpful to frame the work somewhat, but the main issues discussed in the therapeutic work are the issues the client brings. The client leads the work, and this means we are addressing the aspects of hoarding and their current life situation that need to be worked through.


According to Jo Cooke of Hoarding Disorders UK

“Hoarding is a coping mechanism.

There can be a number of reasons, but it’s about filling a void, an emptiness, with stuff.

Bereavement is one of the biggest triggers.

It acts as a sort of nest, a security blanket, a form of emotional insulation.

You can’t just put a skip outside someone’s house and tell them to get rid of stuff.

You need to work in a sensitive way, because it’s very much anxiety-based.”


Dr. Jessica Grisham (University of New South Wales) has found that the link between hoarding behaviour and traumatic events – such as losing a spouse or child – is especially important to consider in individuals exhibiting a late onset of hoarding symptoms.

This is especially important if those symptoms first appeared at the time of the event or shortly thereafter.

It’s also important to note that people react to different events at different paces, so there might be a delayed reaction to a life event that might mean the link to hoarding might not always be as clear as mentioned above.

Still, looking at the immediate aftermath of a life event will still help us start to pin-point a possible cause.


Accumulating “stuff” fills the emotional hole left by the trauma and allows individuals to avoid dealing with the pain.

Later removal of these items can trigger high levels of anxiety, especially if someone else gets rid of these items without the hoarder’s permission.

When discussing their behaviours, many hoarders describe the “rush” they experience when purchasing new items, especially if the item is free or on sale

They can also go to great lengths to justify purchases when questioned by friends or family members.

This reinforces the fact that hoarding as a coping mechanism is a complex issue that requires time and working through different aspects of the hoarding experience so that they are replaced with healthier habits.


It’s important to understand the things mentioned above are very sensitive and personal to each individual hoarder.

Removing items without the person’s permission are a breach of their autonomy – even if we believe their decisions to keep seemingly useless or value-less things aren’t the right ones.

Something I learned during my (Karin) time in care work, was that we can’t stop people from carrying out actions or making decisions just because they might not seem like the best for us, or just because we know the consequences will affect them negatively.

We all take risks every day in our lives. Some result in positive things, others we might regret or want to amend or take back somehow. But we still go ahead and test them out without anyone stopping us.


Hoarders deserve the same courtesy, even if it’s harming them – the work might take a long time, while the hoarder comes to terms with the reality in front of them, and the imminent dangers they might be putting themselves into by not having clear paths to leave the house, or a safe place to sleep or relax, or even do work.

Be patient, as you support your loved one through the hard process of coming up with better coping mechanisms than hoarding and it’s consequences.


If you are living in a similar situation or know anybody that is, please do not hesitate to contact us today so that we can provide you with the support that is needed.

Declutter & donate your unwanted items to Shelter.

You can make a difference to improving someone’s life.

Contact Stacey for more info! 


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