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Human Rights Day – Monday 10th

human rights day


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

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

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

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


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


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1. The right to set boundaries 

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

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

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

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

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


42. The right to personal space

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

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

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

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

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


53. The right to shelter and food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. The right to healthy and safe relationships

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

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

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

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


75. The right to happiness and preserving our wellbeing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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How to avoid breaking the bank this Christmas!

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

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


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

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

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


Book Cover

You can read these previous posts here:

Blog Series: Looking after yourself

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

A Don’t Do List

 


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


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  • Think of your priorities

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

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

What I want you to think about is:

Do I really need this and that?

Can I afford this or that?

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

Can I live with their reactions?

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

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

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

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

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

Go with your gut and your priorities.


  • Keep track of your spending 4

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

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

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

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


How to avoid breaking the bank this christmas.jpg

  • Come up with creative ways of giving gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Same goes for your time.

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

Saying no keeps resentment and regret at bay.


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

Christmas is not necessarily a happy time for everyone.

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

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

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

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

Another think you could do is save on decorations!

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

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

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

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

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


 

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Why do we need black friday?

Why do we need black friday.png


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

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

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


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

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

I can’t deal with it all!

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


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

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

Let me rephrase: Do we really need Black Friday?


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


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Positives

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

  • We can get good deals on some things

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


Negatives

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

  • Do what feels right for you.

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

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

  • Have a budget.

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


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


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What to expect from Supervision – Develop Self-Awareness

new supervision blog post banner


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

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

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


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


Missed my previous posts?

Catch up here:

Containment and Holding

Reflective Practice

Autonomous Practice

Theoretical Grounding


Click here to visit my main supervision page.

Are you starting out in private practice?

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

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

 

 


In this post, I want to talk about how you can develop self-awareness in supervision.


As you might or might not have noticed, this was meant to be last week’s post, but instead of apologising I am going to say that I am going to use it to the advantage of this post’s topic: self-awareness.

Because i’m so aware of my present physical health issues, I know that one or two weeks of the month my energy levels are low and therefore I need to “lower expectations” of myself and what I can achieve (I am getting this sorted, but it takes time to get everything done, in the meantime this is the plan!). 

This self-awareness allows me to be honest with myself and lower expectations – some things are just going to have to wait. I prioritise my work with my clients and my students and rest in between sessions so I have energy to see them. I sometimes need to cancel a session or two if it gets really bad. 

This just means I’m human, I’m aware of my limitations when exhaustion hits, and I keep myself and my clients and students safe by letting them know what’s going on. 

My supervisor is aware of these issues and checks in every week (we meet for 30min every week) and we discuss what it was like to work like this, what it feels like to be struggling and still needing to work, the positive impact of helping my counselling clients, supervisees and teaching my students, has on my health (I do feel much better after each session! I love what I do!)

Self awareness is key. If I didn’t have this, I would probably continue scheduling all my social media posts (I spend at least 3-4 hours a week doing this!) and writing all the blog posts I have scheduled myself to write and publish every week, and so on. I haven’t done that this week as it would mean a headache and making myself more exhausted. 

I am writing this today because I’m feeling a tiny bit better, and am making time for a meeting.

Anyway, enough of me, my ailments and working practices!

(I do hope it was even a slight bit helpful, an insight into the real life of a therapist and supervisor. We are human too and we shouldn’t shy away from being open and honest – to a degree of course – about these things, note you still don’t know what my ailments are and it’s not necessary for you to know, in order to empathise or understand where I’m coming from!)


Here are a few things that will improve in your practice and your relationship with your clients and your supervisor when you allow self-awareness to develop in every step of your work:

  • when we are open and honest with ourselves and speak openly and honestly with our supervisor, we are allowing ourselves to
    • understand ourselves better
    • decide how we want to run our practice
    • what is acceptable for us and what isn’t
    • what makes us happy
    • what upsets us
    • what boundaries we need to tighten or put into place
    • what are our strengths and weaknesses
    • what areas we need to develop or improve so our interventions are more varied and helpful
    • what we need to study a bit more through reading or CPD
    • what happens when we are faced with difference or similarities between us and clients
    • choosing a niche
      • what clients we can see and which ones we choose not to (we are human, we might not like to work with a particular group and enjoy working with another)

5Follow this link for a video describing this process.

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


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


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What to expect from Supervision – Developing self-awareness

I am a bit delayed with today’s supervision blog post.

This week I want to write about the importance of self-awareness.

I will publish the blog post tomorrow.

I’m taking some self-care time off today – I really need it!

In the meantime here is a video introducing the topic.

Enjoy!

developing self-awareness in supervision

New General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Update to my blog and website privacy terms

Dear readers,

This week I want to talk about new data protection legislation that will come into force this month.


There is a lot of buzz going around about GDPR and the changes that businesses have to make to their privacy, cookie and contracting policies.

I am working hard behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and that you are not affected by any changes to legislation.


From May 25th, I will need to let you know how I use

your information and details, which I have started writing in my

draft Privacy and Cookies Policy.


In regards to subscribing to this blog, there will be no changes to how I use your email details when you signed up.

In brief, your details are kept in the WordPress subscriber log and won’t be passed on to any other parties.

I will continue to send blog posts in the same way, so you don’t need to change anything.


I do need to give you the option, through this post, to keep your subscription as it is, or remove yourself from the list if you wish to do so – I will miss you if you decide the latter.

I will possibly be sending another post to remind you of this before the 25th of May. I am still working on what I need to have in place. I am nearly there but want to cover all my bases! 


Here is the Information Commissioner’s link to the GDPR guidance, and the link to my draft Privacy and Cookies Policy.

As a member of BACP, I also leave you this link – Article by Peter Jenkins and how new GDPR legislation will affect those of us in private practice.


***I am a member of the ICO, as I hold data on

clients for my counselling practice, as well as subscribers to this blog***


Please send me any questions you might have, and I will do my best to answer them.

Be patient with me though, I am also learning as I go!


World Autism Month

This month is World Autism Month, and to honour the amazing people that live with Autism Spectrum conditions, I am dedicating this post to them.

I first started working with people with disabilities — different abilities — back in 2004 when I worked as a volunteer, training people with physical disabilities so they could get into the workforce, in Guatemala.

This was very rewarding as I could use both my teaching (IT programmes) and counselling skills (support group), and get to speak to people and hear their experiences first hand.

Supporting people has been something I’ve always wanted to do, and this opportunity was great to start my journey in supporting people with disabilities.


Read more about my journey on my post in support of Common Hope,

and do give if you feel moved to, it’s a great cause!


Move forward to 2008, I started my journey into the world of Autism. I got hired to work as a supported living support worker for people that lived at home with their families.

This job gave me a chance to work with some amazing individuals, some of whom I still keep in touch now – a couple of them came to my Wedding, which was lovely!

I am now crossing over to working with people on the Spectrum not only as a support worker but also as a counsellor.


I’ve learned so much from every person on the Spectrum I’ve met and supported.

  • Taking time to self-care.

    • Something as simple as having a bath to help relax and ease pain and stress.
  • Finding creative and new ways to communicate.

    • Many of the people I’ve supported are non-verbal.
    • Learning Makaton and other communication skills has been part of the journey.
    • Reading non-verbal cues and paying attention to the small nuances and eye-gazes has become routine in my work. I love it.
  • Counselling people on the Spectrum – Aspergers mostly so far, is so rewarding.

    • It’s a chance to bring me – a neurotypical – a deeper understanding of how the “Aspie” mind works, and therefore how to best support someone work through their issues in therapy.


Meeting one’s needs and setting clear boundaries is something I am big on, and it is a great duty of care, responsibility and honour to be able to support people with this.

Part of working with ASD and other disabilities is helping the clients/service users to live in this world as it is – easier said than done!…

….but I also believe a great part of working with this group of people, and getting them out in the community (Social Inclusion) is getting us “neurotypicals” and the general public to understand and accept that there are people among us that deserve the same rights and their needs being met as everyone else.

Understanding and acceptance of difference is a great first step to take, to realise how wonderful each person with disabilities and ASDs is. Everyone is an individual, and this applies here as well.


We forget that we are all individuals. “They are all individuals”.

There is a lot to learn from people on the Spectrum and with other varied disabilities…

The struggles each one faces, and yet they are smiling and enjoying life as best they can.

Autism has its ups and downs, it’s not all smiles and fun.

There are meltdowns and medical emergencies (to say the least!).

There are frustrated, confused and sometimes depressed parents and carers.


The world of Autism is really incredible.

I wouldn’t change any of the people I’ve met, for anything in the world.

They are great as they are. They have a purpose as they are.


let’s embrace the differences each person on the Spectrum brings to society…

let’s embrace the greatness that is within those differently-functioning brains and bodies….

let’s learn from the way they are, the way they themselves embrace life and make the most of it…


Let’s accept and understand rather than stigmatise and isolate.


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