Spring cleaning

1


The past couple of weeks – since the weather picked up and it seems spring is finally arriving – I have started clearing out some of my papers, clothes and clutter.

It made me feel good, removing things that I haven’t used, looked at or worn in a long time, and make room for, well, just to have room really! I haven’t replaced anything with anything else, which feels good.

I can’t see myself going minimalist at any point soon but I am minimising many of my things. It makes sense, both space wise and mental health wise.

Other things I’ve reviewed recently:

  • business plan for the next few months – simplified so I am not trying to be everything to everyone and do everything at once… that will never work and I will burn out or give up and I don’t want to do either!
  • Weekly schedule and the amount and length of tasks I assign myself for my life and businesses.
  • Getting ready for new GDPR legislation led to the ridding of paperwork from a few years ago, and things that I don’t really need anymore. Going electronic now with most of my business contracts and communications, so everything is encrypted and password protected and that feels much better.

Anyway, enough about me…


1


Spring cleaning relates mainly to cleaning the house, dusting, getting rid of things we don’t use.

But…how can this impact our mental state?

Well, firstly, the fact that we have clutter lying around might be a sign that our mental health is not at its best.

Secondly, the clutter might be causing our mental health to suffer.

Either way, something needs to be done so our physical space matches our mental health in a positive way.


3Clutter might affect

  • Energy levels
  • Concentration levels
  • Motivation levels
  • And lead us to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with everyday life and other demands
  • It might reminds us of the past, which might lead to depression, or
  • It might make us anxious about the future
  • Which means we are not living in the present.

 

 

 


5Clearing out will have these effects:

  • You will limit the fire hazards, dust and mould accumulating
  • You will be more likely to live in the present rather than in the past or the future.
  • You will feel proud of your surroundings
  • You will know where everything you need is, and have got rid of those things that you really didn’t need.
  • You will create space to, well, create more things in your life, in the here and now.

 

 


When I talk about getting depressed or anxious due to clutter, I am not diminishing anyone’s symptoms of depression or anxiety.

All I’m saying is have a look around, check what stuff is cluttering your physical space that might be having an impact on your mental health.

Some things we keep out of nostalgia, but that nostalgia might not be good for our mental health. It might keep us in the past and not able to see the good in the present and expecting positives in the future.

 See what you need to keep in your life and what you don’t.

4Get rid of stuff and then see how this feels within yourself.

Are you feeling better? Is there a “spring” in your step that wasn’t there before?

Is your energy and motivation coming back?


What has changed for you since decluttering?

Let me know, leave a message in the comments section at the bottom of the page, or the form below.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Creating and Living a more compassionate life (part2)

1


Welcome to this week’s In Therapy post.

Last week we spoke about what compassion is and what it might do for us to develop more self compassion as well as compassion for others.

This week I want to leave you with some helpful tips for developing that compassionate life.


1


How can we start practicing compassion for self and others in our daily lives?

Here are some tips on how you can start and get into the habit of living a compassionate life:

  • Develop self-awareness and reflect on your day as it is happening.
    • A therapist might be able to help with this, or find a good self-help book on the topic and make it your own.
    • At the start of the day you can be thankful for what you’ve got, for waking up and having the job, family, friends, food, home that you have.
    • Throughout the day you can think about how something you did for someone might have changed the outlook of their day.
    • You could also think of something someone did for you that made you happier.
    • At the end of the day you could reflect on what went well and what could have been different in regards to self-compassion, compassion for others, or how others are compassionate towards you.

 

  • Change your thinking
    • You don’t have to be perfect
    • Others don’t have to be perfect
    • We are human, mistakes will happen.
      • Be understanding and kind when you and others make mistakes
      • Catch yourself being judgemental and critical and try your best to be more forgiving and kind.
        • Trying is key here. If you are upset with someone, don’t deny those feelings, but find ways to channel that emotion and work through it as well.
        • For more on working through different issues, read my posts on change and others on working through difficult emotions like anger

2


  • Consider the person’s story.
        • Maybe they are going through something really difficult and that’s why they said or did that.
        • People don’t exist in a vacuum and we might only know a little bit of their story. Giving the benefit of the doubt – without denying our own emotions about it – is compassionate living.

 

  • Change those negative thoughts you have about yourself
    • Replace them with kindness, forgiveness, understanding.
    • Replace them with more positive ones that you know are true!

 

  • Remember: you are no alone in your suffering.

 

  • Letting others know they are not alone might also help them.

 

  • Us humans have more in common than we have differences.
    • We all suffer with sadness, anger, loss, and others throughout our lives.
    • We might deal with the in slightly different ways but the feelings are the same.

3


  • Give to charities or work for one
    • We talked above about alleviating suffering.
    • Giving to charities that help others we can relate to or want to help is a good way of being and showing compassion to others.
    • I give to the A21 campaign which deals with human trafficking and rescues women from very dark situations. I am not working directly with these women (I would love to though!) but I am making a difference with what I send every month.

 

  • It doesn’t all have to be about charities – giving can also be about offering someone a helping hand, smiling at someone, buying lunch for a colleague, or just sitting next to someone who seems in need of company.

 

  • Find a therapist to work through this and develop self-compassion and compassion for others.

 

  • Re-evaluate your values
    • We talked about at the start about how our upbringing can affect how compassionate we can be. Is it time to think about these again?
    • Are the ones you grew up with not helpful to a happy and compassionate life?
    • Replace them with ones that match who you really are and how you want to treat yourself and others.

4


  • Tell your inner critic to “shush”
    • If we understand our inner critic better, then we can talk to him/her and make them quieter.
    • We can use the inner critic to our advantage once we’ve got a handle on him/her. It can become our radar for when we need to re-evaluate our thoughts about ourselves and others.

 

  • Self-awareness and understanding of what we have internalised from our parents, teachers, or come up with ourselves growing up can help find our self-compassion.

 

  • Develop a growth mindset.

 

  • Face your challenges and grow from them.

 

  • Find meaning in what’s happening at any moment in time, especially the hard times.

 

  • Find the right levels of generosity – meet your needs first and then see how much of others’ needs you want to meet and how.
    • Keep yourself safe.
    • Set clear and healty boundaries.
    • Give back but also give back to yourself.
    • Have fun doing it.

6


Some last thoughts…

  • Practice forgiveness.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Practice empathy.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Agree to disagree.
  • Practice acceptance.
  • Do kind things to self and others.
  • See the whole person not just the present behaviour.
    • People are not their behaviours.
  • Rely on your support system for compassion, understanding and kindness.

    Thoughts? Comments?

    Leave a message below!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



1

Creating and Living a more Compassionate Life (part 1)

1


Welcome to this week’s In Therapy post.

Thanks to those that messaged me about what they might want to see me write about, and here it is.

Do keep the feedback coming as it helps me know what material will be useful to you, my readers.


Let’s get right to it…


2


Compassion is a word we hear often, but do we know its real meaning and benefits for our lives?

What is it exactly?

Compassion means to suffer together. It is similar and close to empathy, but it’s not empathy. It’s not altruism either.

Compassion leads us to have empathy and be altruistic.

Compassion is not pity or self-pity (“woe is me”, “I’m the only one struggling with this”, “aww poor you”); it certainly isn’t self-indulgence (“I’m feeling sorry for myself so will curl up in a ball and watch tv all day”).

Compassion is about understanding, giving yourself -and others – a break from judgement and high expectations, or any expectations really.

Forgiveness is a big part of compassion.

Practicing it will lead to increased happiness in your life and relationships.


3


Compassion has physical and mental benefits – the release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters increases that “good” feeling in our bodies. (here is an article talking a bit more about this)

Being compassionate will allow us to be kinder to ourselves and others, and therefore change our perspective and thoughts about ourselves to more positive and understanding ones, hence increasing or keeping mental health in a good place.

We are human, we are not perfect and shouldn’t be expected to be – either by ourselves or by others.

Honour, accept and work with this lack of perfection.

Being human comes with a list of disappointments and a list of ‘unpredictables’.


4


Nature versus nurture comes into play with compassion, as it does with other learned or innate behaviours.

What were we born with?

Were some of us wired to be more compassionate than others?

How was this affected by our upbringing?

The way we were brought up might allow us to more easily access our self-compassion, or it might make it really difficult for us to even feel a smidge of self-compassion and be critical instead.

Have a think – which side of that coin are you in?

are you more halfway down that spectrum? Has anything changed since you left your family home?

Who has influenced you to be more compassionate to self and others?


5


If you find it difficult to turn off the critical voice in your mind, try to think about yourself as a third person and see how you would treat them under similar circumstances…

Would you be more understanding and kind and caring about their predicament or would you judge them critically like you do yourself?

Would your opinion of who they are as a whole person change or stay the same in spite of the current situation?

Would you be able to show forgiveness to them for what’s happened?


There are a lot of topics rolled into one in this post!

Here’s another one…


6What do you do when you are struggling with strong emotions and difficult situations?

Do you tell yourself to get on with it or do you find ways to work through it at your pace instead of rushing through it because we are told or pressured to not dwell on things for too long…

Being kind and understanding of where we are at this particular moment in our lives will allow us to re-think the judgement and the criticism and the punishing thoughts that might come more often than not…more often than thinking of forgiving ourselves or allowing ourselves to miss the mark and be less than perfect.

When we are compassionate with ourselves and others, we are more aware of the suffering that is happening.

We are more likely to embrace what is going on and work at it and work through it in a way that will allow growth and positive change in your life and the life of those you end up helping.

We can empathise with our and others’ suffering and want to do something about it, to relieve it in one way or another, instead of making it worse by judging or being unforgiving or unkind.


7


Compassion leads to healthier and a more balanced life and relationships.

Having self-compassion will mean our self-worth comes from within ourselves and not needing others to validate our worth.

Our boundaries – or lack of them – and the way we treat ourselves will show others how they can treat us.

Also, the way we treat ourselves will be reflected in the way we treat others – whether we are critical or kind.

I’d choose the latter.


I hope you have enjoyed reading the first part of this Mini-Series on Compassion.

Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



1

In Therapy: What can therapy do for you?

1


Welcome to this week’s In therapy post.

In past posts, I’ve talked about how therapy can help with specific issues and situations, as well as how to deal with certain things that happen in life – embracing change and societal imperatives.

Today I want to talk about what therapy can do for you in more general terms.


While you are in the therapy room trying to figure out how to work through your feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, grief, and others, other things will be happening at the same time.

These things might include learning to set boundaries, getting to know yourself a bit better or in a different light, and feeling better about your life.

Let’s look at a few of these changes that might happen – organically – while you work on your main reasons for consulting a therapist at this point in your life.


2


  1. Sharing your feelings and thoughts with someone impartial, non-judgemental and professional might help process whatever is going on in your life right now.

Your friends might mean well by offering advice and solutions that might work well for them, but that might not work quite the same for you.

A therapist will not tell you what or how to do things, rather they will help you come up with a solution that will work well for you, your personality, your relationships and your life in general.

A problem shared is a problem halved.

So the saying goes…but it’s true!

The relief I see in clients’ faces once they can disclose difficult feelings and thoughts they might have not been able to express to anyone else is amazing.

Knowing that someone else is there, understanding and listening without judgement is a great relief, and the start of working through the problem and healing.


3


  1. Increased self-awareness and understanding yourself better

By talking through your current problems, and delving deeper into the issues of the past that might have contributed to your thoughts and feelings about your life now, you will be able to understand yourself better.

You will be able to learn why you react in certain ways and either change that or just be able to explain where your reaction is coming from.

You will know what makes you tick a bit better and learn how to keep yourself safe in situations that are out of your liking or comfort zone.

Knowing what stuff is or was yours in certain situations and what is others’ responsibility, will help you release those burdens you’ve carried that don’t even belong to you.


4


3. Learn to set clear boundaries to keep yourself safe and have your needs met

This links well with the last two sentences about knowing what makes you tick and separating what’s your responsibility from what isn’t.

Voicing what your needs are and ensuring they are met – without walking over others of course – is something that I find an important result of therapy.

We are taught to look after others, and that looking after ourselves is selfish. But how can we look after others if we don’t look after ourselves first?

Boundaries will help you be happier and more comfortable in saying “no” when you don’t want to do something – fancy a night in? say no to going out with no guilt. And if people try to guilt you, then it’s their problem not yours, right?


5


  1. Understand what is going on in your life, why you behave or think in certain ways – make sense of things

Sometimes we might think that we react a certain way “just because”, but there might be reasons why we get into relationships with certain people or why we say certain things or react in particular ways.

It might be because we learned this behaviour from our parents or other significant adult models in our lives. it might be because it was a useful reaction in the past that helped you get through a particular situation.

There are reasons to our behaviours, and therapy helps uncover what they might be. Some we might not get to the bottom of, but at least we will be aware that we do them.


6


  1. Healing past hurts by making sense of them

Psychoanalytic theory says that the unprocessed feelings and situations of the past will remain as if they happened to us recently, unless we process them.

Having a look back at our childhood traumas or hurts with what we know now, will help us process those feelings we might not have understood because we were too young or told to not worry or to “man up”.

Healing past hurts will free up space and energy to focus on the here-and-now and to heal present hurts and move forward in life.


  1. Find and use your inner strengths and resources to cope with life better

We all have strengths and resources within us to help us cope and solve our problems.

We might just have them dormant due to either ourselves or others telling us that they are not good enough or that we shouldn’t use them.

Therapy – with me anyway – will include finding those inner resources and strengths and putting them into practice in the room and in real life.


7


  1. Compassion for others and more understanding of them

Therapy will allow us not only to understand ourselves better, but it will also help us understand others and give them the benefit or the doubt.

Thinking that someone is nasty to us because they have struggled in life might help us be more compassionate towards them – which doesn’t mean they won’t upset or anger us because of their behaviour! We can also practice our boundaries and keep them at a distance if we feel it’s better for us.

  1. Improve relationships

Knowing ourselves better will in turn help us voice our opinions, needs and preferences with those around us, and allow us to communicate better in general.

Better communication leads to better interactions and conflict resolution. This will also most likely be practiced in therapy as things arise throughout the sessions.


what can therapy do for you.png


  1. Feel better

Last but not least: the main aim of therapy is to help people feel better in their own skin, in their relationships, in their jobs, in their world.


Have you got any more to add to this list?

What has been your experience of therapy? Which one of these has been impacted the most in your life?

Leave me a message below.


Until next week…


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



1

In Therapy: Embracing change

1


Change…

….that word that most of us cringe at or just simply dislike because it means making adjustments that we might not have been ready for.

It might also mean being uncomfortable for a while until we get used to the new environment and everything change brings with it.

It’s ok to feel afraid, uneasy or just angry that changes happen in life.

Some changes come suddenly – an accident, for example – whilst with others we might be able to see them coming and prepare for them – moving to a different job or country in a few months’ time


2


The way we deal with change might give us some insight into our past – remote or more recent.

Our parents might have been change averse and taught us that change is bad and scary and to avoid it as much as we can, or they might have embraced change and taught us that it’s ok and even important to acknowledge that we are going through changes constantly in life.

Whichever side we are on, we will react in a similar way to the models we had in the past.

If we are unhappy with how change makes us feel and want to face it in a more positive way, or just a different way altogether, there are ways to achieve this.

It will mean more change is on the way though – change your mindset, change your thought process when things don’t go as they should or need adjusting, change the way you interact with certain people and in certain situations.


3


Change brings change.

Some ways our lives can change include events such as:

  • Loss of health
  • Death of a loved one
  • Starting on your first job, Change of job, loss of job
  • Starting your own business
  • Marriage or Divorce
  • Having children or deciding not to have children
  • Moving to a new house or country
  • Leaving school
  • Going to University
  • The list goes on…

Now, as much as we would like to get rid of change or pretend that it isn’t happening, it will keep creeping up on us, or remain a burden until we deal with it.

Change might also lead us to make decisions that we would otherwise have ignored or not made. Some other times change is inevitable and we must face it head on or it might do us more harm than good.


5


I leave you with a few tips on how to work through change.

If you have any more suggestions, leave me a message and I will add them to the list.

  • Stop and give yourself time to take in what is changing.
  • Regroup!
    • Give yourself time to understand what is going on.
    • Give yourself time to work through all the feelings and thoughts that are coming up because of the change.
    • Make a plan about how you are going to face this change and move forward with life.
  • Break the situation down into smaller steps that are more manageable and will get you to embrace the change and have an easier time working through everything the change brings with it.
  • Honour your feelings, however difficult they are. Working through them will help you move forward.
  • Remind yourself that this is temporary. It will pass and you will learn and grow from it.
  • Trust your gut feelings about what to do about each situation that brings change to your life.
  • Take responsibility for your part in the change/problem/opportunity.
  • Reassess your priorities, how you do things and how you want to live life.

I believe that after every life changing situation we go through, we can either grow from or get stuck in it. Both will mean we change as individuals. It is up to us to decide whether it’s positive change or if we remain stuck.


Choice and change go hand in hand.

Sometimes one comes before the other, the change we choose is nicer for us – choosing what life changes we make gives us control and encourages us to work towards our goals.

Other times change becomes something we can’t control but that at the same time can bring good things to us, maybe not immediately but eventually. It all depends on how we work through each situation.


Have you got any life situations that you might be struggling with that you want to talk through in a therapeutic environment – online or face to face?

Leave me a message and we can schedule a session.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


In Therapy: Catch up on past posts

NEW BLOG POST (1)


Dear readers,

In this week’s post, I would like to leave a quick link guide to the posts I’ve written so far, both for my In Therapy series and mini-series, and for my Self-Care series.

I hope you enjoy reading or re-reading these. Comments are welcome, I would love to hear from you!


blog series on self care pinSelf care is important, especially in these current times of being busy all the time, switched on to the world on tech all the time, leading us to forget ourselves sometimes.  (If I’m honest, that’s what I’ve been doing since last week – looking after myself due to some health issues).

My series on self-care focuses on the following topics, of course there are lots more and soon I will be completing an ebook with even more self-care ideas, so stay tuned!

***If you want to read the version in Spanish, click here. *** Si quieres leer la serie en Español, haz click aqui. ***



pinterest pins for self care blogsMy In Therapy series came about as an opportunity to support the general public about different mental health conditions, issues and situations, and give some insight and helpful tips into how to work through each of them, including attending therapy with someone like me.

Some topics have been easier to write about than others, as some touch my life personally.  But I’ve enjoyed the journey so far and hope to keep informing you in the following months and years.

So, without further ado, here is the list of my individual and mini-series posts on therapy issues.

***If you want to read the version in Spanish, click here. *** Si quieres leer la serie en Español, haz click aqui. ***


 


What haven’t I written about yet that you’d like to read about?

Leave a message below to let me know!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


56789pexels-photo.jpg

 

In Therapy: What to do with should do-s, have to-s and must do-s.

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this week’s In Therapy post. Where I discuss a variety of topics that can be worked through in therapy, and also give tips and insight into how you can do something whether you are in therapy or not.

In this post, I want to talk about a peeve of mine – society dictated to-do’s.


1


Have you ever wondered why we have certain unspoken rules that society asks us to follow? Examples of these are

  • This is what society expects
    • You are born, go to school, go to university (a gap year is out of the question, why waste time?), get a job and stay in it forever even if you are miserable, get married, buy a house, have children, retire, look after the grandchildren and then die (a hopefully peaceful death).
  • You should be perfect
  • You must achieve high marks in all your exams and courses
  • You should look after others and not be selfish
  • You have to have children

These are called “categorical imperatives”, which are unrealistic and very generalised ideas of how someone should live their lives.


2


Well, what about those of us that are naturally inclined to not fit into these societal expectations? What about those of us that want something different than the list I’ve described above?

Does it make her a bad woman because she’s chosen not to have children?

Does it make them less successful because they don’t own their own home?

Does he deserve to struggle in a job he doesn’t enjoy, just because it is the right thing to do to keep a job no matter what?

I am an advocate for rebelling and finding our own paths in life. I have done that with mine, and even though there’s been ups and downs – who doesn’t have ups and down in their lives? – I’ve enjoyed the journey more than I would have settling for a “traditional” job that pays more.

“You could be earning more doing this and that job” was something someone told me once. My answer? “I bet I would be earning more, but I would lose the will to live working in an office, in a job that relates vaguely to what I studied and what I am passionate about.”

“Why don’t you own your own home yet” is something I also hear – well it’s expensive to start with and it’s not really a priority. I like where we live, and when the time comes, we will look into it, but it’s not something I’m going to stress over. I shouldn’t have a home, I shouldn’t have to look into buying a home if I don’t want to!

This brings me to the next point.


3


We could rephrase some of those societal imperatives into questions that free us all to make the choice that works best for us, rather than what somebody somewhere in the ether decided was the be-all-and-end all of how-to-live-your-life.

Let’s go with the list above:

Being born – we don’t have much choice, so let’s make the best of life, eh!

Going to school – it’s something we can’t get out of and we should really listen to our parents in this one! It will be worth it in the end, and this is where we make our first friends and have our first social experiences, which could be the only thing some of us get out of school, and that is fine by me!

Going to University – In some countries, going to Uni is a necessity more than a luxury. But even in those cases, there are alternatives, like apprenticeships or learning a trade. Some people might frown at this but this is an important thing to remember:

They are not living your life, so it doesn’t matter if they frown or smile at your decisions!

Don’t even think of a gap year – why the heck not? There’s a lot someone can learn when going away to volunteer or just to travel around the world. It might be the best time to get to know yourself more and to figure out what you want out of life.

Get a job and stay in it forever – why? Why? Why? Whyyyyy!? If I’m not happy, then I won’t do it and plan my exit. Get a new job that suits your life better and give your notice. There’s nothing wrong with following your gut feeling and finding what’s right for you.

And besides, who says you need a job for life? What if you go into entrepreneurship or self-employment like I have? Very non-conventional but oh-so rewarding!


4


So when you get that gut-feeling of “oh I don’t like this” or “this isn’t for me” or “I feel pressured to do something I don’t want”, or if your inner critic kicks off and starts judging you and finding fault with everything you do that defies the general rules of society, stop and think why you are doing something and what you really want in relation to it.

Don’t allow guilt or shame to keep you in something that wasn’t meant for you in the first place! Staying in it might lead to mental health and physical health problems, and that’s not good for you or anyone around you!

If you feel you should, must or have to do something. Stop. Let go of the urge or pressure to be or do certain things. Sit with the uncertainty of where to go next, honour where you are in your life right now, and befriend the uncertainty. All of it is temporary and you will find your truth and what you really want through letting go and just being.

What is important to you is what matters, and if you are not affecting yourself or others negatively or in any way, then go with your gut feeling when it comes to the path you want to take in life.


5

Be brave. Defy the norm and be yourself at all costs!


Contact me with any comments, questions, or to book

a Counselling or Supervision session.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


In Therapy: Working through anger (part 2)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this week’s instalment of In Therapy.

This is part two of the mini-series dedicated to anger, one of the most difficult emotions for some of us to understand, feel and work through.

Last week we looked at what anger is, and how sometimes it is the only response to a person or situation. We also talked about anger as a communication, and how it is OK to express it and work through it.

This week I want to talk about how anger can be a motor for positive outcomes in your life, and how to work through anger.


1


Anger can be a motor for many positive things in life. We sometimes have to dig a bit deeper, or spend a bit of time in the angry phase in order to get to the positive outcomes of processing our anger.

Anger gives us energy – that adrenaline boost we get and all the bodily responses we have when we get angry, all are energy emerging from our minds and bodies that help us react to a particular person or situation. In cavemen times, these responses were vital for survival. Nowadays, it’s less important that we react like the caveman would to an imminent threat (a native from a different tribe or a wild animal), but we still carry those innate reactions within us.


2


One of the things that anger can do for us is help us be more creative. Here are a few things that working through our anger can help us achieve:

  • Has your manager told you to work harder or not paid enough attention to your work? Use the anger you might feel at this lack of recognition to generate more ideas for your manager
  • Think of creative solutions – problem solve in your job or in your every day life by thinking outside the box (anger can lead us to see the bigger picture as we will be less likely to think in our usual calm manner)
  • Find the motivation to do something new, something different, or something you’ve left on the side for a while.
    • That art project
    • That book you’ve wanted to write
    • That holiday you’ve wanted to take but haven’t yet
    • Apply for a new course or job
    • Make a lifestyle change
  • Find new ways of relating with people or situations that you know will make you angry
    • Use humour
    • Set clear boundaries
    • Remove yourself from some of those things that anger you and are no good for you
    • Keep a distance or get closer

Have you got any more ways in which anger can be helpful? Leave a message below!


3


Working through anger can be either easy or difficult, depending on the size of the problem or issue that made us angry in the first place. However, there are some things that might apply to most situations:

  • Acceptance is a first step in many situations, or one of the first steps anyway, to freeing yourself from the burden.
  • Talk to your anger, befriend it. I know, this sounds odd, right? Weren’t we trying to GET RID of it? Well, yes, but we can’t get rid of it unless we understand and give it the airtime it needs. You don’t decide if you want to be friends with someone by avoiding them and not even giving them a chance to present themselves as a potential friend, right?
  • Can you think about what is going on for you right now, at this point in your life when you are feeling angry? Might there be another emotion that is being masked by anger? (Anger is very clever and is good at hiding away other emotions that might be the real causes of your distress).
    • Have you been hurt by someone?
    • Are you feeling afraid about something or someone?
    • Are you feeling sad or depressed?
  • Placing the responsibility where it belongs is important, as it frees up space for you to forgive yourself for your involvement, to forgive others for their involvement and decide whether to continue the relationship or end it, as well as it allows you to work through the anger by pointing it at the right parties.
  • Be angry but also find the space to be compassionate and understanding towards those who have angered you, and even to yourself if you’ve angered yourself! (read my blog post on how I did this after making a mistake).
  • Explore present anger in the present but also in relation to the past – sometimes people or situations might remind us of something we were angry about in the past, and bring up the same or very similar reactions to these. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you to feel them, in fact it’s a great opportunity to re-visit them (maybe in the company of a counsellor) and work through any unresolved and unprocessed anger and other emotions from both the past and the present situation.
  • things you can do to work through it
    • writing in a journal
    • doing exercise
    • practice relaxation techniques (Breathing, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, quiet time)
    • talk to a counsellor, we are here to listen and help you work through those difficult feelings and thoughts.

I hope this mini-series has helped you get some more ideas on how to work through anger, how to understand this emotion and also how to channel its effects into positive outcomes for your life.

For more on anger, I recomment Nathan Gould’s blog, which has even more articles on the topic.


Do contact me if you want to schedule a session, or if you want to discuss what you’ve read in this post.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


In therapy: Working Through Anger

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this week’s instalment of In Therapy.

I have written a mini-series on working through anger, as I find this is an emotion that we as humans find difficult to understand, express and work through.

1Anger needs attention, and not just as the bad or naughty step-sister of the emotional world. There is a lot of positive to be said about anger, and in these two posts I’d like to show you what these things are.

 


What is anger?

The medical dictionary online defines anger as a feeling of tension and hostility, usually caused by anxiety aroused by a perceived threat to one’s self, posessions, rights, or values.

Anger, therefore is a response to a perceived threat. If someone insults us, hits us, breaks our things or something worse, we will probably not be the happiest and react accordingly. This would be understandable and acceptable, depending on how you decide to respond – with aggression or trying to talk to someone after a cooling off period, or taking the matter to the authorities.


2Anger is the emotion that people find the most difficult to manage, express and work through. In my practice, I like (for lack of a better word) to see people get angry when they have been wronged instead of blaming themselves or letting it eat at them from the inside.

It frees up that space and energy that has been taken over by the pent-up and unprocessed anger. It allows them to see things in a different light, and to see themselves and others with more compassion, understanding, and place responsibility where it belongs – whether some of it is theirs’ or totally someone else’s.


Sometimes anger is the only response!


We could be angry because we feel oppressed by an abusive family member or a work situation, or a change in circumstances (there are lots of examples of this – Rent goes up, Brexit, The Rohingha refugee crisis, the list goes on). We could be angry because we are trying to make a point or to ask for our needs to be met and our boundaries respected, and people are just not listening! Or we could be angry because someone cut in front of us in the queue, or there’s too much traffic and you are going to be late!

3Whatever the reason for our anger, it is reassuring to know that we can apply the same rule we apply with other emotions: it is valid and we should honour the presence of anger when it bubbles up.

Anger is telling us something. Yes, it is not a nice feeling but it is not there at random or for no real reason.

In my care job I have learned that behaviour is a communication – especially with non-verbal people and children, but it can be applied to everyone. Sometimes a child will lash out and hit, kick, scream, break things, because they are angry or upset about something and this is the only way they know how to communicate.

Anger works in a similar way to that: it is telling us something that we have no other way of processing. This is the way the discomfort with someone or something is coming out and paying attention to it is important if we want to move on with our day and lives.


4Anger can be scary, especially because of negative models – for example a father that got angry and hit furniture or family members shows a child that anger is a bad thing that is scary and shouldn’t be expressed because it hurts others.

Anger can also scare people because they might feel like they are going to lose control and do something they might regret. Even when there is no proof that this is the case – they’ve never been angry and lost control. In fact quite the opposite or it has just not been as bad as they imagine.

 

 


5


It’s ok to express anger. And here are some reasons why:

  • It helps your physical health, in that it prevents a range of medical conditions that could be triggered by anger (heart attacks, high blood pressure, etc.)

  • Expressing anger in a positive way (no aggression or vengeance), talking things through with those who we feel wronged by, will keep our relationships safe and increase the honesty and openness with the person or persons involved.

  • Expressing and figuring out what anger is telling us will help us process those things that aren’t quite right in our lives and relationships.

  • We will not accumulate anger and therefore won’t blow up down the line. Working things out in the here and now allows us to keep revenge and rage at bay.

  • Expressing our anger might allow us to figure out what other emotions anger is actually masking – for example children might seem irritable and angry but they might actually be feeling sad or upset.


In next week’s installment of this mini-series on anger, I want to talk about what channelling our anger can do for us, as well as how to work through our anger when it does show up.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


In Therapy: Working through our feelings when we make a mistake

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this week’s In Therapy post!

I usually have a clear idea of what I’m going to write about well before I sit down and write (usually a week before I post). This week I wasn’t sure. Until Wednesday morning when I was triggered in a big way by something I did. In summary, I made a mistake, and this led to an array of feelings that I had to work through.


1


This is what happened…


Back in December I booked a test and used an ID document that I thought was a valid one for it. I got to the test centre and was told that I would have to re-book as that document wasn’t valid for this test.


I made a mistake, and this led to an array of feelings that I had to work through.


My first feeling when the lady was telling me this was of disappointment in myself as well as embarrassment at such an oversight. As I left, without completing my test and hoping my phone would still have some charge to talk to my husband or facebook peeps for moral support, other feelings started arising inside of me.

So my phone decided to shut down, I was all on my own for at least an hour or so. Alone with my thoughts and feelings….

On the train journey back, I felt depressed and ashamed. It cost me a bit of money and time, so that brought up anger too. I was mentally punishing myself and critiquing myself so strongly, that I caught myself after 20min of sulking and self-deprecating self-talk.


3


When I say I caught myself, I mean I realise what I was telling myself with my thoughts and my bodily reactions of anger and general eek-iness. So I told myself what I would tell anyone else, especially my counselling clients, and what I’ve been writing about here: work through it! let those feelings come up and do what they need to do, however awkward and awful they feel.

So, I did. I continued to sulk. Continued to be angry, depressed, ashamed, embarrassed and self-criticising. Another 20 minutes passed and suddenly reason started to kick in. My more rational mind started talking to my emotional – valid – reactions.


4


I started telling myself that yes, you made a mistake, but think about it. What’s the worst thing that has come out of it? (apart from feeling all those things I’ve described, of course). So, I thought, ok the worst thing that has actually happened is that I lost the money for the train fare and the test, and will have to pay them again when I re-book and go back to take the test. It delays my application for which I need this test done and dusted, but I’m in no real rush so not a massive problem. Also, it is a pain to have to rebook it and make the journey again, but then I will have done it right and learned from my mistake, and can move on with my life!

What else has happened that’s worth you punishing yourself like this?

Erm, I thought…nothing much actually! Nobody else knows what happened, nobody else needs to know, and if they know surely they will be supportive and understanding – possibly more supportive and understanding than you have been to yourself the last 40 minutes! The lady that told me I’d made the mistake sees so many people every hour that I am a vague memory – if that! – and I don’t think she will remember me next time I come back, and if she does, well I can joke about it with her at the very least!


Then I started thinking what good things I got out of my outing. I was quite happy travelling to the city where my test was booked. It was a little bit of time to myself, self-care of sorts – me with my thoughts and just wandering around a place I hardly go to. Enjoying my surroundings and my own company. Oh! I also found a nice little place – it had a lovely name, and it was a mix of restaurant/pub/cocktail bar which I loved! Had a cuppa there before my test, and I am pretty sure I am going to go back once I pass this test in a couple of weeks for a well-deserved cocktail!


To sum up, my whole day was a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, some which were enjoyable, some that weren’t but that led me to make the best out of a bad situation.


5


I have a reason to be telling you this story, and now I want to tell you what I learned today that I can pass on to you:

  • Honour your feelings – all feelings are valid. Many of them might not be very nice to contend with or endure for long, but working through them will help clear the emotional air and allow you to move forward and see the positives in what might seem like a mostly negative situation at the start of the ordeal.
  • Work through your feelings and get to the other side – getting stuck with feelings that are left unprocessed might make us either mentally or physically ill (our mental energy will want to come out one way or another, and the brain is very clever in negotiating alternatives, like back pain, headaches and other mental or physical ailments)
  • There is at least one positive to every negative situation. Take the time to find it. – I didn’t get to thinking about the positives of my day until after I’d worked through my anger and shame and self-critique.
  • Some situations might take longer than a train journey to work through. It might take a few weeks, or even months, but with the right support – from family, friends or a mental health professional like myself – you will get to the other side and get back to feeling good about yourself and even about the situation itself!
  • Growth comes from unexpected places. – I wasn’t expecting to go through this emotional journey during my train journey home, but here we are, and it will possibly benefit you, my readers.

I hope my story and what I learned will help you when struggling with self-criticism and punishing yourself when you make a mistake, no matter how big or little. If there is anything you want to say about this, you can leave a comment below or you can message me via the contact form.


CollaborationsMy colleague, Josephine Hughes, has written a post on how to identify and soothe our inner critic, which complements what I’ve written above very well. I recommend you head over to her site and read it as well as watching her video on the same topic.

 


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



5

In Therapy: Working through your first counselling session (part 2)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this second instalment of working through your first counselling session. In this post, I will talk about what the counsellor will say to you and some questions they might ask you in the first session.

This is by no means a one-sided conversation, you should be able to ask any questions you have about counselling, the contract and anything else that might come up for you either before booking or during the first session itself.


1


There are two very important things to take into account when finding the right counsellor for yourself.

Firstly, you have to be comfortable with the person you will be working with. Some counsellors will call the first session an assessment session. I opt to take the first session as just that – the first session – but I am also conscious that I might not be the right counsellor for a client or they might not be the right client for me (I have to be honest with myself and you about the limits of my practice, otherwise I might do more harm than good, and that would be counterproductive for both of us). Take the initial session as an assessment of whether you can work together or whether you keep searching elsewhere. Maybe even ask the counsellor for other names you can consider. Don’t worry, we are used to these things and won’t feel bad or look at you in any negative light if you choose someone else or ask for referrals!

Second, you will most likely be nervous. You are meeting a new person after all, and you know that the things you will be talking about with them are not going to be easy. Just remember, the therapist is probably as nervous as you are – they are also meeting you for the first time!


2


Your therapist will not have any expectations for you to perform in any way. Especially if you haven’t been to counselling before, it will take a few sessions to get used to the dynamics and the way your counsellor works with you. Take your time and feel free to ask questions about the process. The counsellor will explain how they work – their main modality, their role in this relationship (in brief, to help you understand what is going on for you, and how to move forward using your already existent inner strengths and resources).

The counsellor will need to know a lot about you in order to help you, so speaking freely without censorship is the best way to help them and to help yourself. Having said that, nobody will rush you or push you into talking about anything you are not yet ready to discuss. The space is a safe space to talk and process your issues – at your pace! It is your session and your process, you can decide what is ok and what is too much. Your counsellor might point out how difficult things are and that you might want to get back to that at a later point. We can’t collude with not talking about what we might already see as the key to moving forward for you.


3


There are other bits that the counsellor might discuss in a first session, like endings, open-ended counselling versus time-limited counselling, and questions related to you directly.


Questions you might be asked


Have you had counselling before?

This question is important because it will give your counsellor a feel of the experience you might have had in the past. Was it a positive one? Was it helpful?

What are your expectations of counselling now?

Following from that previous question, this would be another question that would help the therapist know how to help you better and maybe clear some of the misunderstandings or negative feelings – if any – from your past therapy process(es), as well as explain how similar or different your relationship with them might be.

What brings you to counselling now?

Everything else discussed up to now will have been helpful to ease you into the therapeutic process and allow you and your therapist to get to know each other a bit better, before delving into what brings you to counselling at this point in your life. This is where you can begin to tell your story and start the healing process.

The end of the first session

The end of the first session might be tricky, as you might want to keep on talking or actually want to end the session a bit earlier as it might be too overwhelming. Using all of the time allocated is the best as it will help you build resilience from the start, and will allow you to experience your therapist’s abilities to contain your feelings of uncertainty and overwhelm. It might also give them insight into how you deal with endings, which will be important for each session and down the line when you decide to end the process altogether.


4


After the session, take time to breathe, and don’t rush into making any decisions from what you discussed. It will take time to work through anything you bring to therapy and the best thing to do is hold on to it, think about it, keep processing in your mind and heart, and discuss it with your therapist on your second session.


I hope this posts have been helpful to you and I wish you the best in your search for the right counsellor for you.


As mentioned before, what I write in these blogs comes from first hand experience of being a counsellor, as well as being a client myself.

If you think that I might be the right counsellor for you, don’t hesitate to drop me a line, or have a look at my website for further information on how I work.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


1

In Therapy: Working through your first counselling session (part 1)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this week’s blog post. I have decided to start the year with this topic, as I can imagine a lot of us might be thinking about changing some things right from the start of 2018.

I will spend the next couple of weeks on this, as there is much to say about a first counselling session!

If you have any questions about what you read, or anything else I haven’t written about yet, do comment or message me and I’ll add it to my next post.


1


There are many steps that take place before you even get to the counsellor’s office. All of them have their moments, some easier, others a bit trickier to work through.

From realising, and accepting, that things have got too much and that you need to reach out for  help, to going onto counselling directories to look for the right counsellor for you, to then finally making initial contact with a counsellor.

These are all potentially nerve-wracking tasks, but important ones to get your life back on track.


2


Let’s move forward to the day of your first session. You have arrived and are about to ring the doorbell and meet your counsellor for the very first time.

What should you expect?


bacp ethical framework picture for pageNow, this is a bit of a loaded question, as every counsellor will have their own ways of practicing, but we do have ethical frameworks that we adhere to, and these are in general terms, the same for all of us.

You should expect at least a couple of chairs, facing each other – mine are set up perpendicular to each other (like the title image above) so we can have eye contact but also allows you the space if you are not feeling like making too much eye contact whilst discussing a particular topic, or while you get comfortable with me and the therapy process.

Some counsellors will have a waiting room, whilst others – like myself – might work from home or smaller offices, so you might be asked to get there at the agreed starting time to avoid you waiting out in the cold, for example.

20170810_114447.jpgLighting and décor is up to each therapist, but generally there might be a bookshelf or at least some counselling related books and magazines, a desk, a clock. I have the main light on for some clients, but others prefer only the smaller lamps. Whatever is more comfortable and safe for them to speak and work through what brings them to see me.

Some counsellors have their diplomas hanging on the wall, this is a personal choice so some might have them available for you to check if you wish to do so and they are not in plain sight. I have candles in my room, which some people might or might not like, so I give a choice of putting it out or keeping it on and remember each client’s preference on this.


In regards to the initial conversations with your counsellor, they will also vary but in general you can expect the following (note: this list is non-exhaustive and I am going by how I work and general guidelines for all counsellors in the UK):

  • Contracting

  • Filling in Contact Details and other relevant information

  • The counsellor will explain how they work and other practical and process related details

  • The counsellor might ask you a few questions regarding your request for counselling

  • Next steps are discussed


Contracting and filling in contact details


The therapist will usually have a pre-written contract for you to read and agree to the terms so you can start working together. These will usually include the length of each session, the fee for each session and agreement on how you will pay (at the end of the session, bank transfer before the session, paypal, etc.), cancellation policy and the responsibilities held by the counsellor but also by yourself as a client.

You can have a look at my contract by clicking here.

The therapist will also ask you to fill in a form with your details and sign when you agree the contract terms and are ready to start therapy with this counsellor. With the internet available to us, I now prefer to send the contract and details form via email so you can read it at your leisure and in depth, so when we meet for the first time we can discuss anything that you might want to clarify or add to, and it then allows us more time to talk about what brings you to counselling now.


There are many steps that take place before you even get to the counsellor_s officeAdd heading

So far we have looked at the initial contact and possibly the first 5-10 minutes of the session.

Next week I want to delve a bit deeper into what the conversation might look like for the next 40-50 minutes during the first session.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, drop me a line below or in a message via the contact form.


Until next week..


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


1

In Therapy: Working Through loss and grief (part 3)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to the third edition of the mini-series on loss and grief.


In this edition, I would like to go through the possible reactions – feelings and behaviours – that we might go through when working through grief and loss. I will spend some time talking about how therapy can help work through grief and loss.


1


As with any symptom, grief symptoms are telling us something. Something is not right within ourselves after a loss, and our body and mind are working through the instability and trying to reach a balance again.

So allow yourself to feel the feelings, to grieve. It is a natural process. It is a normal process. It is your process so work through what comes up as it comes up.


2


Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are the five stage of grief, as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. These might appear in that order or in a different order and take turns creeping back up.

These might be accompanied by difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, dissociating, feeling numb or like you want to escape; you might also experience distressing thoughts, frustration and anxiety; you might want to be on your own all the time or wanting to escape; it might seem that people don’t understand you – or they might genuinely not understand what you are going through.

It is important to know that these are all part of the process, and that they will be less overwhelming as time goes on.

In the next few paragraphs, I will talk about how therapy can help work through the feelings described in the past few posts.


3


An integrative way of working might be the best approach to helping someone work through their loss. Grief is a process, and this process will be different for everyone. The aim is to experience the loss and all the feelings it might bring – pain, depression, isolation, anxiety, guilt – and get to the point where new meaning in the survivor’s life is reached.

They can then move on to living their lives with the memory of the person they lost, without being stuck in the grief and pain as it was when they first started the mourning process.

I would work within the psychodynamic, person-centred and cognitive modalities to support my client in their grief process.



Some of the areas I would work with would be:


  • Challenging irrational thinking

    • as a way to being able to manage the strong emotions that come up.
    • Developing more rational ways of thinking- develop healthy negatives.
      • For example – “I can’t live without the person”, can be challenged with the fact that they are still managing to be here without their loved one.
    • Challenge belief systems around the loss
      • Someone going through grief might be less positive about their lives and their self-worth, they might have more irrational thoughts than before the loss
    • Attachment theories would support the person in their natural reactions to the death of their loved one. The bonds created during the relationship need to be re-thought and processed.
      • How will the client carry on with their lives without their loved one present?
      • Will they ever have a relationship like this again?
    • Review the person’s life in regards to how they feel their life will be after the loss.
      • How does this change their character and identity?
    • Allowing for transitional periods where an item of clothing, a photograph or something else that belonged to the person, might be carried around as a temporary substitute for their loved one. They might give the item up once they are able to internalise the memory of their loved one and what it means that they are dead.

All in all, the therapist must trust that their client can find their own way through the grief process,  with their support, and come out the other side with a renewed sense of self as they adjust to life without their loved one.


If there is anything I can help you with, do contact me via this link.


Note: this is the last blog post I’m writing for the year. Don’t worry, I will still be sending you weekly emails for the last few weeks of December, they might be more festive ones. I hope you enjoy them, and enjoy the celebrations!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

In Therapy: Working through loss and grief (part 2)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this edition of my In Therapy mini-series on Loss and Grief, where I would like to touch on other types of loss and how we might work through them.

Last week, we spoke about sudden and predictable loss and grief. There are more types of grief, and this post will help you identify them (click here to read it).


1


Working through the breakup in a romantic relationship can take many shapes and forms, depending on the length and intensity of the relationship.

Questions such as: Will I be able to cope on my own? Why did this happen? How could I let him/her treat me like that for so long? Why didn’t I do this sooner?

Thoughts such as: I had the rest of my life with him/her planned, now I need to start again; I will never trust another man/woman ever again!; I will be sad and alone forever.

In practical terms, there are issues such as bumping into them at the shops and how to act or react; if you work together, how is that going to work now; what happens if you see them with someone else? What are they going through during this breakup, do they feel as bad as you? Have they found it easy to move on?

It gets more complicated if there are children or a mortgage involved. But if this doesn’t apply, then it’s just a matter of working through the pain of the breakup, whatever shape it takes, however long it takes.

I guess it depends on whether the breakup was as amicable as possible (you grew apart, you had different ideas of what your life was meant to look like, for example) or you left it in really bad terms (violence in the relationship, cheating, etc).

Re-thinking your life will start when you are ready, and you can then pick yourself up, take the things that remind you of that relationship and put them in a box and return them or give them to charity, or whatever you want to do with them.

You can start making new plans for your life without that relationship. Every relationship teaches us something. In time you can see what you can take from that relationship and use it to your advantage.

Talking through the breakup and everything it brings up in you with a counsellor might help you process the pain and move forward with your life.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has some great books on Life Lessons that might be helpful, both when working through relationship issues as well as when working through grief and loss.


2


Loss of health can be a frustrating time, whether it’s permanent or temporary.

I have worked as a support worker at a rehabilitation centre, where people go when discharged from hospital after a fall (usually older people), to recover, have physiotherapy, and heal before going back home.

They were usually over-confident in their abilities and angry at having to be looked after.

I had to hoist someone back into bed after telling him that if he wanted to get up he needed to call me. He looked at me like I was exaggerating. He didn’t after he tried to get up on his own and fell on the floor! That fall scared him and made him realise that I wasn’t patronising him, that we were both there for a reason – him to get support in doing what he used to do independently before his accident, and me to support him to do just that!

It can be such a shock to need someone to help do things that we used to do so easily, like getting up from bed, using the toilet, and other activities. It is understandable that they be cranky and upset when brought to this rehab centre! (nothing a bit of patience, compassion and humour can’t fix).

Being unable to speak can be highly frustrating to someone that used to talk normally before a stroke or an accident. Manoeuvring through the feelings of having to communicate in a different way, not being understood or wanting to express your anger and fears and being unable to.

These types of loss of health and more will be significant and will need to be worked through with patience and compassion on the side of the carers and family members. Imagine yourself losing your ability to walk, talk, be independent. Working through all the emotions that might arise after an accident or medical complication will take time and lots of adjusting.


3


Losing your job, your source of income and possibly career satisfaction, will bring its own complications.

How do you face yourself, your family and friends, and tell them that you lost your job due to redundancy, being fired, or quitting? What will you do for income now? Are benefits an option for you? How quickly will you get another job? Will you be homeless soon?

As with other life circumstances, we can learn from losing a job.

We can regroup and reorganise our lives so that we focus on what’s really important. We can prioritise what we spend our money on – budgeting might be necessary if you are relying on benefits or on your savings for a period of time.

Go through the feelings, see a therapist, work through what it all means and then pick yourself up and go get that job you want. Maybe it’s time for you to start your own business and this job loss is a blessing in disguise?


4


Losing a pet can be as hard as losing a family member or close friend.

Pets become part of the family and therefore losing them will bring up feelings similar to the ones described in the previous post.

So cry for your pet, miss them, talk about them, remember them. You are allowed and indeed important that you do process this loss.


5


Every change in life requires adjusting, working through the positive and negatives it might bring. Graduating highschool means you are ready for the big wide world, you can study what you want at University or you can go travelling for a year. Starting a new job means learning new skills, meeting new people and many new opportunities; it might also mean a raise in salary from your previous post. Moving to a new city is a challenge – it might be scary to be somewhere nobody knows us, we might feel lonely for a while, or we might enjoy the freedom of being anonymous!

Embrace change, but also honour your feelings of fear, anxiety, excitement at every life transition.


I hope you have enjoyed this edition and have found helpful tips and ideas to help you work through loss and grief.

If you need to talk, contact me here.


Until next week…


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

In Therapy: Working through loss and grief

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this new mini-series on loss and grief – part of my series In Therapy: Working Through…


1


I’ve been thinking about the colder winter months, and everything that it entails: less sunlight and therefore Seasonal affective disorder or just feeling low, sad and melancholic; celebrations and anniversaries that might remind us of things to be grateful for, but also remind us of our loved ones that we might have lost.

So, as a way to provide information and support to you, my readers, through some difficult times, I thought I would touch on the topic of loss and grief.


2


The main type of loss that comes to mind when we talk of grief is the death of a loved one.

Other types of loss that affect us but – can be remedied – include job loss, the end of a relationship, moving city or house, graduation from school, amongst other changes that might require adjusting to. There are lots more, but I will focus on these for the next few weeks.


Some of us might have been visited by loss more than others, and therefore this topic and the feelings and process that follow are a “normal” or familiar part of our lives.

I have lost many people in my life – sister, best friend, grandparents, and others – through accidents, old age, crime, and suicide. It is not easy to write that here, but it is part of my life, and one I can’t ignore or avoid.

The feelings arise suddenly and randomly. The memories come in the same way. Some are good memories, but the worst is remembering exactly where I was when I received the calls and everything that moved inside my mind, soul and body as I tried to understand and process each loss.

I am sure many of you reading this can relate to what I’ve written. It is painful but important to understand what we go through when we lose a loved one and how to work through grief.

It never goes away as loss by death is permanent.

But the way we cope with it and the resilience we develop helps us to carry on with our lives, in spite of the heartache and in spite of missing our loved ones throughout the year – anniversaries, birthdays, yearly celebrations, bring them back to our memory and yet another grief cycle takes place. But each year it gets easier, even if only 0.001%.

It does get easier, but it needs to do so in our own time, and each of us will process the death of a loved one in a different way.


3


Death due to crimes, accidents or suicide can be some of the most traumatic losses. I speak from personal experience here.

There is no time to prepare. You couldn’t be there to help or save them. You weren’t there to talk them out of harming themselves to the point of death. You couldn’t have prevented that stray bullet to hit them; you can’t stop crimes from happening.

It is becoming more and more common to hear of terror attacks in Europe, and people with mental health and other problems committing crimes where dozens or thousands of people are killed without real reason.

Budget cuts like the oned that might have led to fires such as Grenfell Tower and other avoidable situations. The trauma that comes with these sudden attacks and catastrophes is unbelievable and unbearable. It is so difficult to understand that it complicates the process of grief.


4


There is a slight difference when loss is predictable – for example when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a few months or years to live.

The difference is that we have plenty of warning to prepare, even if it’s just a week. We can start to work through how life will be like without them, what to do to make their last days more bearable. There is time to make a few more memories with them before they go.

You can prepare for the imminent death. The rest of the grieving process will take its own form, and most likely will be very similar to the process described in previous paragraphs.


5


Before I end the post for this week, I would like to leave you with a few ways to think about grief and process it in a way that makes sense to you.

– It is important to keep in mind that every feeling that we experience after the loss of a loved one is valid.

– Don’t let anyone tell you that your grief is not normal, or that you should be “over it” by now. How are you expected to get over something so final?

– You are the owner of your feelings and therefore also your grief when it hits.

– Work through it at your pace and as it comes up, however, whenever and wherever it comes up.


Next week we will talk about the typical grief reactions and about what happens when we end a relationship, when we lose our health, a job, our financial security, and what grief might look like in these cases. I will also give you more ways to think about grief and how to process it.


If you need to talk about what I’ve written about here, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Until next week….


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


In Therapy- Working Through...

In Therapy: Working through anxiety (part 3)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to the third edition of In therapy: Working through anxiety.

In this post, I would like to talk about how therapy can help work through anxiety. As mentioned before, I will write from the perspective of what I do in the counselling room, what feels congruent and most helpful to my clients.

In another post, I’ve described the focus and goals of each of the main approaches I use – psychodynamic, person-centred and cognitive-behavioural – and mentioned other techniques and modalities that I might use.


Let’s get right to it…


As we talked about in the first post in this mini-series, anxiety is a response to danger, which was essential for survival in the times of cavemen. These responses still remain in us as fellow human beings, but are now triggered by different situations – not imminent danger, but still perceived as such.

My aim in working through anxiety with a client is

  • to understand the problem and how it came about

  • to trust in my client’s inner strengths and resources to work through what brings them to therapy

  • to challenge the thoughts and feelings that are expressing themselves in the form of anxiety


2

A psychodynamic approach will focus on understanding the roots of the problem. These roots are usually unconscious and originated in the client’s past. These past situations might have happened in the client’s childhood, or due to a trauma.

In brief, the thoughts and feelings linked to the situation that caused distress in the past, are most likely hidden – or repressed – in the client’s unconscious mind. This means that these thoughts and feelings are outside of the client’s awareness, and would cause the same or greater distress as when originally experienced.

The Ego acts as the guardian of the person’s consciousness, and when the unconscious tries to bring up the repressed material, the Ego will make a sort of deal with it and say “you can’t come out like this, it will be too much for the client, come out like this instead”. And the alternative way is where symptoms come about – in this case, anxiety symptoms.

Maybe the individual didn’t have a chance to develop good affect regulation skills due to neglect or other parental deficiencies, including insecure attachments; maybe the client didn’t have good models on how to deal with different situations in life. Therapy is a way of re-learning some of the things that the client might have not developed growing up.

It might take time to get to the origin of the anxious symptoms, but once it is reached, the change that I see in my clients is organic, and long-lasting. It is by processing the unconscious causes of anxiety that therapy can restore or develop better ways of dealing with situations – past, present and future.


3Therapy doesn’t give us amnesia, so what we experienced will still be present in our minds, but we will have built up our resilience, our coping mechanisms and our understanding of what we are experiencing in the present as anxiety. We will be able to work through anxiety and be better equipped to carry on with life much quicker than before therapy helped us understand and process our thoughts and feelings.

I work in a Person centred, in that I believe in the client’s ability to self-actualise and to build the resilience and skills needed to live a happy life, in spite of the situations that might be leaving them feeling stuck at present.


4

In regards to cognitive-behavioural techniques (CBT), I believe it’s important to challenge negative thoughts that the client might bring. CBT sees anxiety as an exte
rnal stimulus, and therefore works with the client’s environment which might be the cause of their symptoms.

I take from CBT the fact that the client might need to:

  • reframe the risk that they might be under – are they in any real danger or can we work on the perceived danger and what the real consequences of the anxiety-provoking situation might be;

  • be able to work through the situation as it is happening – through developing breathing techniques, self-soothing talk, talking themselves away to regroup, and others I have written as tips in the past two posts.


Challenging the client’s thoughts and behaviours regarding anxiety-provoking situations, together with understanding the origin of the problem, are an effective way of working through anxiety.


Finally, using prescription drugs such as anxiolitics and mood stabilisers is a good, temporary solution, but ONLY IF used as a way to help the client be more present and able to think about their issues in therapy. I don’t believe that drugs in themselves can solve the internal conflict that leads the client to anxiety. I believe they help but not long-term. And not on their own.


If you have any questions or comments about what you’ve read, you can leave them below or message me privately.


Next week look out for a new topic in the series In Therapy: Working Through…


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

In Therapy: Working through…Anxiety (part 1)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to In Therapy: Working through…

In the next few posts, we will be discussing anxiety, what it is, its causes, consequences, and therapies that help work through anxiety issues.

I will also be leaving you with some tips on how to work through anxiety in daily life.


1


Anxiety can be defined as a feeling of worry or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It is something that happens to all of us at different points of our lives. It can be triggered by a variety of situations, both external (social or life situations) and internal (thoughts, feelings).

Anxiety has a history. In the days of cave-people, anxiety was helpful in keeping our fellow man alive. If there was danger, the person would get an increase in adrenaline, which would allow him to run faster or to defend himself from that danger.

Nowadays we don’t have the same kinds of dangers, but our bodies are still very similar to that of the caveman. Adrenaline still kicks in when we are in a situation we might consider frightful or dangerous, and our fight or flight (others include freeze, flop) mechanisms might kick in.

We might not have a cheetah looking at us like we’re their next dinner, but seeing that person that has bullied us in the past might give us the same feeling. Sometimes we might feel anxious over every day events, such as taking a test or going for a job interview.

Anxiety is normal, even though sometimes distressing. There are ways to work through it and find the coping mechanisms that will make it more manageable and less debilitating.


2


As with self-esteem, which we looked at in the past few blog posts, the symptoms of anxiety might be physical, psychological or behavioural.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Increased heart rate and palpitations

  • Increased muscle tension

  • Feeling wobbly on the legs

  • Breathing more quickly or having difficulty breathing

  • Feeling the need to use the toilet more often

  • Feeling sick

  • Feeling tight chested

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Increased sweating

  • Feeling flushed or blushing

  • Dry mouth

  • Shaking

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Thoughts

    • “I am losing control”
    • “I am going mad”
    • “I am going to die”
    • “I am ill”
    • “I am going to have a heart attack”
    • “I am going to be sick”
    • “I am going to faint”
  • Feelings

    • “Why are people looking at me”

    • “People know I’m anxious”

    • Feeling surreal – detached from their surroundings

    • Feeling like things are going much slower or faster than they actually are

    • Flight

    • Feeling tense, restless, high-strung, hyper

       Behavioural

      • Avoidance of situations and people that we believe cause us anxiety. This might be real or imagined causes.


3


The list of anxiety disorders is extensive, and we won’t have time to go through them all individually. If you want to find out more, please go the Anxiety UK Website (the list below is taken from this website). If you would like me to write more in depth about any of these, and how I might work with them in session, please leave me a comment below or send me an email and I will include this in future blog posts.

  • Agoraphobia
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Claustrophobia
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Trichotillomania
  • Health anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias
  • Depersonalisation disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Separation anxiety disorder

4


  • One way of working through anxiety when it gets overwhelming, or even to prevent it, is looking after yourself in different ways. Click here for my series on self-care, which might give you some ideas into how to do this.
    • Have a bath
    • Spend time with friends and family
    • Find time to be on your own
    • Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy
    • Keeping fit
    • Get in touch with nature
    • Honour your feelings and set healthy boundaries
  • Meditation techniques might also be helpful
    • Breathing
    • Yoga/pilates
    • Mindfulness
  • When the thoughts or feelings that cause anxiety show up, challenge them with different, more positive ones. This might take a lot of work, depending on how anxious you get. We will discuss a bit more in the next few blog posts.

Until next week….


parents reading this. banner (1)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

In Therapy: Working through self-esteem issues (part 3)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to part 3 of the Self Esteem posts

In this final part, I would like to give some insight as to what might take place in a therapy session when working through self-esteem issues.

The way I’ve decide to do it is to pick a few therapy modalities and tell you a bit about what they might focus on, what they might consider a goal for their client, as well as what methods – the words, activities, challenges – they might use.

If you are interested in reading more about the vast variety of therapies that exist at present, please visit this post from GoodTherapy.Org.

So, without further ado, let’s see what therapy looks like when working through self-esteem issues…


1.png

Focus:

  • This therapy draws on the importance of play in the child’s development in all areas (social, emotional, cognitive, physical).
  • Therapy with children might be different than that with adults, as children are still developing their emotional language, and possibly their language skills in general, depending on their age.
  • It might therefore be easier for a young person to communicate their feelings and thoughts through the medium of play.

Goals:

  • To help the child express themselves.
  • Through play, the child will make sense of what they might be going through or struggling with.
  • To develop the child’s trust in the therapist so that effective work can take place.
  • The specific goals when working on self-esteem issues might relate to
    • reducing anxiety about their abilities, being rejected, being good enough or being sociable
    • improve confidence in their abilities and their personality and individual choices.
    • To sum up, a decrease in the consequences mentioned in part 2 and an increase in the kind of things mentioned as part of the tips throughout these posts.

Methods:

      • turn taking games;
      • teaching autonomy by allowing the child choose what they want to do during the session;
        drawing or colouring;
      • visualisation;
      • reading stories or telling stories related to the child’s presenting issue.
      • For example, in the case of self-esteem, they might read a book about a child, like this one on the right.

2

Focus:

  • Unconscious processes – these happen outside of consciousness, so we might not be aware of them. We might have put them in the back of our minds as they are too overwhelming to even think about.
  • Psychodynamic therapy will focus in the origins of low self-esteem.
  • Depending on the client’s age, it will delve further back in life or delve to the more recent past.
  • In the case of children, it might be working through issues that the young person is going through at present. These were mentioned in the causes of low self-esteem in part 2.

Goals:

  • The aim is to develop a trusting and positive relationship with the counsellor in order to replay, in the sessions, those experiences that left them feeling negatively about themselves and struggling with their relationships, careers, and with themselves.
  • The side effects of low self-esteem (depression, loss of hope, anxiety), might need to be worked through as a means to the end of increasing their self-esteem.
  • With children, the process might be similar but I might include play therapy in order to understand my young client, and therefore help them understand what they are going through and help them work through it.
  • Learning to rely on the therapist will allow them to develop a sense of trust in others in their world.

Methods: 

  • To give the client the skills they might be lacking due to neglect, bullying or other life issues that might have impacted on their development.
  • Play therapy might be one of the methods used, especially when working with children.
  • Teaching the child to be assertive by working through examples that the therapist might give or from a book.
  • If the child is able to talk about their issues verbally, then use the child’s own stories as they can work through how they can tackle this situation or similar situations in the future.

3

Focus:

  • This approach focuses on the here-and-now.
  • The therapist is warm, genuine and empathic.
  • The therapist trusts its client’s ability to work through the issues they bring, and to bring about the strengths that might have been quietened or neglected due to their life issues.
  • This is facilitated by the therapeutic relationship.

Goals:

  • The therapist’s trust in the capabilities and strengths that already exist within the client, and the belief that they just need to be brought back to action; They might have been neglected or put away due to low self-esteem, and by working through this, the client’s strengths become stronger and their self esteem therefore increases.

Methods:

  • To match self-concept with reality;
  • the therapist is there to encourage and listen, and facilitate the client’s search for their truth.
  • To increase the person’ss self-worth, and help the client become a more fully functioning person.
  • All of this is achieved through the therapist being congruent with the client, being unconditionally accepting of the client and being empathic toward their client.

4

Focus:

  • It focuses on behavioural and thought patterns that might keep the child or adult stuck.

Goals:

  • To restructure and change those thoughts that keep the client feeling not good enough, unlovable, and acting or feeling defeated.
  • If the client learns to act more confidently, they will be come more confident.
  • CBT uses homework and charts to challenge the behaviours and thoughts and to come up with new, more helpful and positive ones.

                               Methods:

  • cognitive restructuring is used to identify unhelpful patterns of thinking and learning new more helpful ways;
  • for self-esteem issues the target might be changing the negative assumptions the child has of himself;
  • I would challenge and ask for proof that they are unlovable or whatever their negative pattern of thinking might be – usually there is little or no proof, and more evidence that they are indeed loved by lots of people!
  • I also use problem solving with my young and older clients, in order to empower them to successfully work through their problems, and stop feeling like the victim in life.

Note:

  • I also use techniques from Transactional Analysis (Ego States; scripts; strokes) and Gestalt therapies (chair work, role play), as a complement to the three mentioned above. These two therapies are grounded on elements from psychodynamic, cognitive and person-centred.

  • The chosen modalities are some of the ones I draw on to work with my clients. They make sense to me and my style of working, and they have proven effective when I’ve been in the client seat, as well as when using them with my clients.

  • This list is by no means exhaustive. Do have a look at the link mentioned at the beginning for a more exhaustive link.


New topic for this series coming up next monday! See you then!


parents reading this. banner (1)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


***this post contains affiliate links***

In Therapy: Working through low self-esteem issues (part 2)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to part 2 of the Self-Esteem series-in-a-series!

This week I want to briefly touch on some of the causes and consequences of self-esteem. More information can be found by visiting this NHS link as well as The Self-Esteem Institute website.


1.pngSome of the causes of low self-esteem might be internal to the child or individual, such as thoughts and beliefs they might have of themselves. Others might be related to their family or social environment and other life circumstances.

  • Internal thoughts and beliefs
    • Feeling like their feelings or thoughts don’t matter and aren’t valuable

    • Feeling like others don’t value their feelings or thoughts

    • Negative self-messages like “you’re not good enough”

    • Unrealistic expectations the child puts on him/herself

  • Family environment
    • Parents might be distracted by other things going on in their lives, inadvertently neglecting their child’s needs. This could be due to a parent’s preoccupation with their career, with relationship issues, mental health or substance misuse issues.

    • Unrealistic expectations are put on the child

  • Social environment
    • Being bullied at school

    • Being disrespected by their peers

    • Feeling pressured to do things that they don’t really want to do

    • School stress and anxiety

  • Life circumstances
    • Bereavement

    • Illness – their own or a loved one’s

    • Disability

    • Learning difficulties like dyslexia

    • Suffering trauma or abuse and the shame and guilt that comes with it


  • Struggling with daily life-Need someone to talk to-I can help you.Click here to find out more. (1)A child’s personality might also influence their self-esteem as they might be more prone to
    • negative thinking

    • setting unrealistic goals and expectations

    • having a negative body image

2


There are cognitive, emotional and behavioural consequences of having low self-esteem.

Cognitive consequences might include

  • a feeling of being unlovable, unworthy of anything positive or good in life. The person might feel incompetent and inadequate.

  • The child might be unable to know whether they can trust themselves or others’ thoughts and actions.

  • They might have internal dialogues that are mainly made up of negative statements, as well as thinking that everyone is looking and talking about them in a negative way.

  • Their confidence might be very low and be very critical of themselves.

  • They might develop unreasonable expectations of themselves that will lead them to the vicious cycle of being critical and putting themselves down.

  • They might also develop obsessive-compulsive and/or addictive behaviours to numb down their feelings of inadequacy and to try and control negative thoughts.

Emotional consequences might include

  • Feeling discouraged and fearful of making mistakes.

  • Feeling anxious in social situations or when performing tasks.

  • Feeling fearful of rejection and of making mistakes.

  • Shutting down their emotions altogether, and having “self-esteem” attacks.

Lastly, low self-esteem might show up as behavioural issues such as

  • Defensiveness or aggressiveness

  • Eating disorders

  • Hypervigilance

  • Perfectionism

  • Being a harsh judge of him/herself

  • Self-sabotaging

  • Not being him/herself – putting on a persona or a mask to hide away their feeling of inadequacy and unworthiness.

All of the above can be worked through, and with the right interventions, the child or adult with low self-esteem will learn to be more assertive with themselves and others, and have a more positive outlook on life and on their abilities. This will be the topic of next week’s blog post: how therapy can help and how different modalities might help someone work through their self-esteem issues.


parents reading this. banner


3

For now, I leave you with a few more tips on how to help your child overcome their low self-esteem.

  • Accept the things you can’t change, and play to your strengths!

    • Model this for your child.

    • Sometimes we might want to do something that is outside of our range – for example, I would love to be able to play tennis professionally, but after attempting it a few times, I know that’s an unrealistic expectation of myself. I look like I’m hitting piñata and it is a bit embarrassing to say the least! I am happy to no be a professional tennis player though, and will find something else I am good at – professional bowling was something I did in the past, and would love to do that again. I enjoyed it and was really good at it!

  • Focus on the positives

    • As in my example above, focusing on what I can do – play bowling well – helps me build a positive self-image of myself and not put myself down for being awful at Tennis! I am allowed to be awful at some things and that is absolutely fine by me!

  • Help your child function in the real world

    • Teach your child that their actions have consequences, whether positive or negative.

      • They have a responsibility for their actions, whether good or bad ones.
    • Allow space for your child to think about their actions, and maybe even model your thinking about a decision or choice you made recently and how that affected you and others around you.

  • Challenge negative thoughts and behaviours

    • Your child might be telling you how they feel about themselves either verbally or through things they are doing.

    • Talking to your child about what you are seeing, in a caring and empathetic manner, will help them think differently about their negative views of themselves and slowly begin to see that if you don’t believe that about them, it might not actually be true.

    • Help your child change their behaviours by pointing out alternatives, for example, when learning to ride a bike, your child might have an unrealistic expectation that they will master this skill on the first try. They will most likely fall without training wheels or help, won’t they? You can tell your child about putting training wheels and asking for help to start with, like you did when you were a kid. Asking for help is a good thing! But they need to believe that it’s Ok to ask for help and not be perfect all the time. Small steps, more realistic expectations, will lead to success and increased self-esteem.


Until next week….


parents reading this. banner (1)

In Therapy: Working through low self-esteem issues (part 1)

In Therapy- Working Through...


Welcome to this week’s In Therapy post!

I have decided to start with an important issue that parents might face. The idea to start with a topic related to children came up when I saw a post in a Facebook group – Parenting kids with Dyslexia/Dyspraxia/SPD/ADHD Sussex.

I work with children on the Autism Spectrum, Down’s Syndrome, and other Learning 3Disabilities, and I can see the stress – and distress – that parents sometimes go through due to their children’s health and additional needs. So working through issues with young people and children, and of course their families,  is right up my street!

I shall address topics around Autism in a future post. For today, and the following weeks, I want to focus on children with learning difficulties such as the ones the parents in the Facebook group above might be living with.


parents reading this. banner


So let’s get right into the topic of self-esteem.


2

What is self-esteem?

The dictionary defines self-esteem as a confidence and satisfaction in oneself; self-respect. It is how we judge ourselves and how we feel about ourselves.

When our self-esteem is at a positive level, we are motivated to achieve, to be ourselves out in the world, to look after ourselves and use all our resources to grow and get what we want out of life. People with healthy self-esteem have a good opinion of themselves. They know they have accomplished in the past (be it in school exams, in making their friends laugh, and in other areas of their lives), which tells them they can do it again.

On the other hand, when our self-esteem is low, we might feel unworthy, incapable, and stop doing those things that would benefit us, like having a shower as a way of self-care, or going out with our friends. Low self-esteem might be a result of other mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, which need to be paid attention to when working through this issue.


1So what happens when your child has low self-esteem related to ADHD, SPD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia?

How does neurodiversity – neurological differences – affect your child’s self-esteem?

How do we work through low self-esteem issues in children that struggle with “mainstream” ways of doing things, like staying in their seats for most of the day, or their way of learning is different and they need extra support, or they perceive things differently from others?

What is going on emotionally for them? Are they seeing their differences as a negative? Have they been bullied because of their needs?

Children with ADHD might be corrected and/or punished more than others due to the challenging behaviours they might present as a result of the frustration at having to follow certain rules at school or other social situations. These corrections and punishments slowly lead the child to believe they are not good enough, incapable of doing school work or even incapable of being loved.

4Children with dyslexia, dyspraxia or SPD might be in a similar boat – they process things in a different way and in different timeframes than mainstream children. They also might need one-to-one support which might make them feel “different”. They might also get frustrated and display challenging behaviours as a result, leading to being reprimanded in some way.


Parents and teachers can do a lot to help their children, and it doesn’t have to be too taxing or difficult. Below I leave you with a couple of tips. More to come next week!


A couple of practical tips to work through your child’s low self-esteem:

  • Show your child that they are loved by
    • Praising what seem like small accomplishments – they add up!
    • Physical touch – hugs, kisses, pats on the back openly show your child that they’re loved and safe
    • Support your child in making decisions for themselves – being autonomous and successful at it will help develop a good image of their abilities
  • Model the fact that we won’t be right or know everything all the time
    • Show your child that you make mistakes and that you can work through it and still be confident in who you are
    • If you don’t know the answer to something, be honest and accept that you don’t know, and that it’s ok not to – grab a book or Google and research it with your child

I hope you have enjoyed the first instalment of In Therapy: Working through low self-esteem issues. Next week I will be adding some more tips to the list on how to help your child increase their self-esteem.I will also discuss the causes and consequences of having low self-esteem.  Finally, in a third and final post on Self-Esteem, I will talk about how different therapies might work through this issue with their clients.


parents reading this. banner (1)

New Series: Introduction to “In Therapy: working through…”

In Therapy- Working Through...

Hello, and welcome to the new series In Therapy: working through… where we will be talking about what therapy is like, and how it helps with dealing with particular issues.

I am passionate about seeing people work through their present problems, unresolved past feelings and thoughts, and having this space to give a bit of insight into what happens in a counselling session – with me, as I will be speaking from my experience as a counsellor – feels important, especially in this day and age where we are trying to raise awareness of mental health.

I believe mental health awareness is important, but it is also important to have awareness of what counselling is: it is not one thing to all, which makes it tricky for clients and even for professionals such as GPs or even psychiatrist to refer clients to particular therapeutic modalities; it also makes it tricky to find the right modality that will work for you.

I use a variety of techniques from a variety of modalities, using psychodynamic theory as a base for understanding what is going on, so I hope you can get a flavour or more than one modality when I discuss particular topics throughout the series.
Struggling with daily life-Need someone to talk to-I can help you.Click here to find out more. (1)I will explicitly say what modality the intervention might be taken from, and if I forget to do so, do ask me and I will explain further!

Here are some of the topics I will be starting the series off with, there will be more to come. The order of the list below might change and grow as the series goes on.

Working through anxiety

Working through depression

 

Working through bereavement

Working through relationship problems

Working through job loss

Working through dealing with autism

Working through difficult diagnoses

Please send me topics that you might want to learn more about and I will happily incorporate them into my posts:

I hope this series will be helpful and insightful to you, whether you are a counselling trainee, a qualified counsellor, someone seeking counselling or someone seeking an alternative to a counselling modality you might have experienced in the past.

Leave me a message below with comments, questions, or contact me via email or the

contact form for sessions or anything you might not want to post in public here.

In Therapy: looking after yourself

I hope you are enjoying the Looking after yourself Blog Series

Tomorrow, I will be posting on how to look after yourself by spending time with family and friends.

Next week will be the last post of the series, so I thought I would start by thanking you for reading and following so far!

I hope you will stay with me for the next series on dealing with Mental Health Issues: “In Therapy: working through…” and tell your friends, family, and colleagues about it!

In this new series (Mondays), I want to talk about particular Mental Health issues and how to work through them in therapy and also giving some tips on what you can do on your own, some food for thought, and signposting to services that could be of help.

Do contact me if you have any particular topics you would like me to discuss – anxiety, depression, relationship issues, shame, loss, will be some of the topics but there are so many more!

As information is a bit low sometimes, or at the very least confusing! I am also going to post mid-week (possibly every week or every fortnight!) about Counselling and Psychotherapy modalities — how they work, why they work that way, and how they can help with the Mental Health issues discussed above.

Don’t forget you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Connect with me on LinkedIn!

If you want to collaborate with the series in any way – maybe with a guest post of your own in a related topic, or to make an appearance in one of the topics I’m posting about, drop me a line and I will be more than happy to have a conversation with you and come up with great content for everyone to read and get something out of!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

 

%d bloggers like this: