Advantages of online counselling: Anonymity

Welcome to the 3rd post of our joint series with Natalia from Chat2Us.

On this post, we will continue with the advantages of online counselling, focusing on Anonymity.

What are the benefits of people feeling anonymous when speaking – or typing – about the things that worry them or that they’re struggling with at the moment?

We might feel comfortable talking to friends and family about our current situation.

We don’t need to be anonymous to do so. They know us better than anyone else!

But sometimes we get to the point where they might not be the best people to talk in depth to about the issues we are going through.

Maybe because we don’t want to worry them, or simply because, let’s face it, we all have problems we deal with on a daily basis.

There’s also the other aspect of not being able to get a neutral response to what we are telling our friends, by no fault of their own.

After all, they’re not our therapist!

This is why seeking the support of a counsellor will help you process your current situation in a way that is limited when talking to a friend.

By all means, use your support system to vent and get help. This is one of the first questions we ask clients when starting therapy.

A good support system in place will help you through the tougher times – and will be there to enjoy the happier ones too!

Now, let’s go back to the anonymity issue…

You might be lucky to feel comfortable in sharing your issues openly, and talking about how you deal with them, with people you know; but you may be like so many others who simply are not as comfortable.

This might be remedied to a greater or lesser extent by seeking one of the many forms of online therapy.

Text-based therapy would provide the most anonymity, and might be ideal for some of us, but others might still prefer to see someone that lives miles away from us, and speak to them via video link.

It’s all about what works best for you!

Choosing to seek therapy online might reduce the chances of you feeling socially stigmatised if you wanted to keep the fact that you’re attending therapy between you and your therapist, and maybe a handful of trusted friends or family.

Unfortunately the social stigma attached to therapy is still alive and well.

Bumping into a friend at the therapist’s waiting room and feeling like you might have to explain why you are there might be an inconvenience and make both of you feel awkward (or it might just be absolutely fine! – there are more and more people accepting the fact that attending therapy is good for us, for many reasons!)

This inconvenience can be solved with online counselling.

You will save your energy for self-care and focusing on the process of therapy you’ve started, saving yourself the potentiality of having to explain why you are going to a counsellor’s office.

Once the social stigma attached to it vanishes, it will eventually reduce the hesitation to seek assistance.

Natalia, Chat2Us

Through online counselling, you can keep your privacy protected and engage easier with your therapist from home, even in the comfort of your pyjamas.

If we look at the different age brackets of people that are seeking therapy, younger clients may prefer the online version as most of them are very good with IT and may embrace the efficiency and convenience of using their devices to look after their mental wellbeing. 

Whereas older clients may prefer to opt for face-to-face therapy, as they might not be too literate with computers (although many do surprise us and are very tech-savvy!).

There are alternatives to online therapy that would also work well for someone that’s not very tech-savvy.

For example, a phone call might be great to retain a degree of anonymity but still access good therapy, with similar benefits to online counselling.

Something to take into account with online therapy, and something that happens more in this type of therapy, is the dis-inhibition effect.

Face-to-face social interaction may get in the way of the client fully opening up in a counselling session.

Some factors that can interfere with the client’s involvement in the therapy process might be paying attention to the therapist’s, and their own, body language; they might also get distracted by room furniture and other aspects of the face-to-face set-up.

Some clients do get inhibited by these things.

Think about autistic clients, for example, where feeling like there is too much sensory stimulation, which might distract them or not allow them to focus on dealing with their emotions, as they might feel overwhelmed by everything else going on around them.

– Karin

Choosing online therapy can therefore allow the person to focus more on the therapy than the surrounding interference.

It will also allow them to talk about sensitive issues quicker and with more detail than they would in a different setting.

Both online and face-to-face therapy are equally effective, but the real question is this: where will you be able to work through your issues the best?

As we are talking about anonymity, the online option seems to keep any interfering factors in check, allowing you to focus on the things that you need to work through.

Finally, we hope that you have gathered from what we’ve said in this post, that online therapy allows for a greater openness for some clients.

The absence of face to face contact can also prompt clients to communicate more openly without concerns for a bias of race, gender, age, size or physical appearance.

This may lead to an increased level of honesty with themselves, and therefore greater and quicker self-disclosure.

This might not be the case for everyone, and we do advise that if you’re more comfortable with face-to-face counselling, then please do follow what’s best for you.

We offer both face to face and online counselling, but seeking to work more online as time goes on.

Until next week…

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Causes and Consequences of Hoarding

Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post, which is a continuation of last week’s post (focusing on the individual).

In this post, we will focus on the possible causes (and consequences) for hoarding and understanding that everybody is different and there could be many reasons as to why the person is hoarding.

Different people will have different explanations for their own experiences and causes for hoarding and it is likely that there is a a combination of reasons.

These reasons are not clear-cut and they might be influencing one another, at different points of the individual’s life.

According to the Mental Health Charity Mind, the following could be the possible causes for hoarding (click on each of the links for more on those particular issues):

According to healthline:

“A person may begin to hoard because they believe an item that they have collected, or are considering collecting, may be valuable or useful at some point in time. They may also connect the item with a person or significant event that they don’t want to forget.”

This quote points towards the person’s reasons for hoarding, which might be something as reasonable as “I might need it later”, even though they don’t really ever use it.

Other times it might be the way a person grieves the loss of a loved one. Collecting items they might have liked or that they link to their loved one is a way to keep them a part of their lives.

Mind mention that, through working with a therapist in sessions, a person may be able to link the start of their hoarding to a stressful event or period in their life, such as:

  • being abused or attacked
  • breaking up with a partner
  • becoming very unwell
  • someone close to you dying
  • feeling extremely lonely.

For some people, experiences like these can also lead to an increase in existing hoarding, when hoarding has already begun.

Also, hoarding might have started with a trauma or another untreated mental health problem, but it might also bring up other mental health issues that will need to be addressed.

Some of these are:

In these situations, hoarding is usually seen as a symptom and acts as a coping mechanism and is not the main diagnosis.

As we mentioned above, it’s not as clear-cut as it seems.

Sometimes hoarding can be the symptom, other times it’s the mental health issue or traumatic event that take precedence.

Listening to the client’s story, paying attention to the triggers of hoarding AND of the mental health issues will help us deal with them in a timely fashion, addressing all the aspects of the individual’s life that need our support, in order to get the client back to living as healthy a life as possible.

With our collaboration, we will focus on understanding the person as an individual, getting to the root cause as to why they are hoarding, through in-depth therapeutic support, as well as providing thorough practical help in order to help to create a safer environment, both physically and mentally.

If you or your loved one need support, don’t hesitate to contact Stacey Sabido from Serenity for You, to start the process.

Declutter & donate your unwanted items to Shelter.

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

Contact Stacey for more info! 

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3 consequences of hoarding on the person’s well-being

Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post on hoarding.

In this post Stacey and I will be focusing on 3 consequences of hoarding on the person’s well-being.

Many aspects of well-being can be impacted when someone has too much clutter and keeps acquiring material belongings to meet a partly unconscious need.

We’ll start by defining well-being from three perspectives, then we’ll give some tips into how you can support yourself as a hoarder, or your loved one who’s hoarding.

What is well-being?

There are many ways to define the meaning of well-being, a few examples are below:

Physical well-being

A person’s lifestyle and behaviour (making sure that you eat and sleep well.)

What we do (or not do) to look after our physical bodies can have an impact on our mental health.

If we exercise, we will be releasing endorphins, dopamine, and other hormones that make us feel good. The opposite will happen if we don’t exercise.

If we get enough sleep, we are allowing our mind to repair and process what went on throughout our day, allowing us to wake up refreshed and ready for what the next day will bring.

Physical well-being also refers to our environment. Where we live and how we organise our space can mean we are thinking clearly or otherwise have “cluttered” thinking, which will mirror the way our home is filled with clutter.

Clearing the clutter will help clear your mind. It’s a parallel process!

Emotional well-being

Being in control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

When we are in control of our emotions and behaviours, we feel good and we can function in our daily lives.

When things start getting on top of us, we can’t manage simple requests or make decisions that used to be easy for us.

Finding a therapist to work through these things will be helpful in figuring out what’s going on and how to get back on track.

Social well-being

Low social support can also lead to health consequences such as depression and high blood pressure.

Healthy relationships are really important.

A good support system means we have people to turn to in our times of need.

We might turn to family or friends, or professionals such as doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, or people at day centres and other health-improving environments.

All 3 types of well-being mentioned above can be affected if you are a hoarder.

To have positive well-being we might need to start seeing life positively and therefore feel good about yourself, your life and relationships.

We would prefer to have the presence of emotions and moods such as happiness and feeling content as opposed to feeling anger, depression and anxiety.

All emotions are valid. All emotions are human.

If we experience our emotions, whatever they are, when they happen, we have a better chance of being happy than if we bottle them up or ignore them.

Hoarding can have a serious negative impact on your well-being.

It can cause anger, resentment and depression within the family and relationships thus affecting your emotional and social well-being.

The negative impact of hoarding can be remedied.

It might take time, effort, mindset change and lots of courage and support from your loved ones, but there is a way to make things better for your life and your relationships.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, quotes the following example of a person that is suffering from hoarding and it shows that it is having a negative impact on her emotional and social well-being.

Ive always had trouble throwing things away. Magazines, newspapers, old clothes What if I need them one day? I dont want to risk throwing something out that might be valuable. The large piles of stuff in our house keep growing so its difficult to move around and sit or eat together as a family.

My husband is upset and embarrassed, and we get into horrible fights. I
m scared when he threatens to leave me. My children wont invite friends over, and I feel guilty that the clutter makes them cry. But I get so anxious when I try to throw anything away. I dont know whats wrong with me, and I dont know what to do.

This lady is suffering from hoarding and this could consequentially lead to her husband divorcing her. It is already causes great stress to her children. Therefore, this is seriously affecting the emotional and social well-being for not just her but also her family.

Her social well-being is being affected due to the fact that her husband is not showing any support and her condition is affecting their relationship. This then leads to a negative impact on her emotional well-being as this will cause depression and she already mentions feeling anxious at the thought of throwing anything away. She clearly needs a strong support system around her.

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

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Private Practice Mini Series — Ghosted: the private therapist initiation rite

Hi, and welcome to the third post in my Private Practice mini series aimed at practitioners in private practice, and anyone who works one-to-one with clients.

In the first post of this series, I wrote about creating the mental space that leads clients to find us.

Last week I wrote about calling things into being.

This week I want to talk about those difficult times when we book clients and they either don’t show up, or they have their first session and never contact again.

This is a very tricky situation, that can leave practitioners feeling insecure about their capacity as therapists, or bringing that impostor syndrome to the forefront…or even more, wondering what it is they did that made the client “ghost” them.

I am speaking from personal experience here.

As someone that also had a start in private practice and all that entails, I can say that ghosting happened to me too.

As a supervisor, I really like Scaife’s model (read my post on that here). He talks about responsibility and gives the supervisor, the therapist and the client a set of responsibilities.

I will start with what I’ve experienced as a therapist starting out in private practice and generalise it to other practitioners. Then I will discuss what I think happens from a client’s perspective (some not all possibilities).

In regard to the therapist, I would say that our responsibility is to hold the space for the client, where it’s safe to process and work through difficult stuff.

When we are starting, we are “desperate” (my own words, not calling anyone that although I’m sure some of you reading this can relate) – urged might be a better word, to retain and find clients to fill our time slots and help us start earning an income from what we trained so hard to do.

This urge might communicate over to the client. Unconsciously of course.

I am psychodynamically trained (now working integratively) so I believe that the unconscious to unconscious communications are very powerful.

We might not verbally be saying to the client “please keep me as your therapist, I need you”, but that’s what we might be communicating in many other ways we’re not aware of.

Now, just being aware of this is a great starting point to not put that burden on our clients.

A burden that might lead them to leave.

Apart from this, I don’t think there’s anything else that I can say right now to point the responsibility of a client ghosting a therapist, on the therapist themselves.

Let’s turn to the client’s responsibility.

Sometimes a client books a first session and never shows up.

It might have taken all of their energy and might to contact and book the appointment, but might have realised that they’re not ready yet, or that it’s too scary to attend, or something might have happened that led them to not need therapy anymore.

Sometimes they let us know, other times they don’t. It can be enfuriating, but we can’t take it personally. We might never find out what happened. We might have to live with the “not knowing” of why we were forgotten by our new potential client.

I find that as we spend more time as private practitioners, we get better at setting boundaries and trusting ourselves, and valuing ourselves as practitioners, and this happens less and less.

But when we are beginning, these things might not communicate as much through our contract, or our verbal and non-verbal communications. It’s an art and it’s developed slowly and gently, as we work with more clients and spend more time acclimatising to the realm of private practice.

Other times, a client arrives for their first session, it seems to have gone well, and they never book another session again.

For some clients, the catharsis that happens in a first session might have been enough.

Or it might have been too much to start talking about something that was only in their minds up to the point they started talking about it with their new therapist.

Ideally they’d let us know. But as above, sometimes they don’t.

We must err on the side of trusting our abilities and capacity as qualified and experienced therapists (we have, after all completed quite a few hours in placements before setting up our private practice!), and consider what is our responsibility and what is our clients.

Taking it to supervision and getting reassurance and clarity about what happens when we’re ghosted by clients will build us up, help us set clearer boundaries, possibly rewrite our contracts (I’ve rewritten mine many times, mainly adding stuff as time goes on!) and work on our initial contacts with clients, and how we feel about ourselves as therapists.

I hope this post has been helpful, or at least food for thought. I welcome your feedback and comments.

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Private Practice Mini Series: Calling things into being by speaking them out.

Hi, and welcome to the second post in my Private Practice mini series aimed at practitioners in private practice, and anyone who works one-to-one with clients.

Last week I spoke about creating the mental space that leads clients to find us.

Next week I want to talk about something that I see happens a lot when we start private practice: clients “ghosting” practitioners.

This week I want to focus on something that I see as “working in the background”, in our favour.

I was chatting to a colleague once and I said something about a plan I had for the next year.

Now taking into account that this colleague didn’t know me for long, what he said marked me.

These are almost his words, verbatim: “yes, I am sure you will achieve that. Everything else you’ve said you’d do, you’ve accomplished so far.”

That got me thinking…

What is it that I’m doing – apart from taking steps towards fulfilling what I’ve said I wanted to do in the first place – that is getting me to achieve that goal?

In having conversations with other people, I started to piece things together and realised a very valuable lesson:

When we call things out….when we name the things we want in life…they will come to us, sooner or later!

Everything we do gets us closer to our goals.

Everything we say gets us closer to our goals.

There is a lot of power in what we say and confess to ourselves and to our friends, family and colleagues!

I really do believe that trusting that what we want to happen will happen is a great way to achieve our goals and live more fulfilling lives.

This is how I’ve been building my practice.

I guess it’s been discussed before in books like The Secret an the Law of Attraction, and such. But until you experience it yourself, it won’t mean much.

This goes hand in hand with what I wrote to you about last week – if we create space and name the things that we want to pass, they will most likely happen.

Another thing I live by is this “what I’m doing now, will help in the future, somehow”.

A clear example is a colleague I’ll be partnering with soon. I met her nearly 7 years ago now at a training session, and she remembered me from that, and now we will be working together!

Yes it’s 7 years later, but the point it, we plant seeds and they grow and flourish when it’s their time to do so.

The key is to plant the seeds, either by doing something, saying something, while taking the steps and planning towards what we want for our lives and businesses.

So get talking, get confessing openly with yourself or with your tribe, those things that are dear to your heart, that will bring your goals to fruition, and your lives to be more fulfilling and more like how you want them to be.

Whether that means having 5 clients, 10 clients, 20 clients…working only 2 days a week…having various sources of income and ways of supporting people with your business…whatever it is…speak up and see it happen!

Until next time…

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Private Practice Mini-Series: Creating the mental space that leads clients to find us

Hi, and welcome to this mini series aimed at practitioners in private practice, and anyone who works one-to-one with clients.

This will be a three-post series where I’ll be talking about

1. Creating the mental space that leads clients to find us

2. Calling things out so that they become a reality in our lives and businesses

3. Ghosting: a private practitioner’s initiation rite of passage

I’ve been in private practice for nearly 7 years now, and I’ve learned a lot.

Some things I wished I’d learned when I’d started, but that’s not always possible.

It is because of this that I’ve launched some services (free and paid), like this blog, to support practitioners that are just starting out now, to know about things that will get them started with more knowledge than I had when I started.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like how things have panned out. I love how my practice and life are going. But I know this might not be the case for everyone.

Keep reading if you want to find out about this week’s topic and what I mean by creating mental space.

I’ll write a bit about how I started out and how I got to where I am today.

In 2013, I decided to launch my website and get online on directories so I could get clients. I was also working 37+ hours at a care job (which I enjoyed, but my sights were changing more towards full time private practice, only a dream at this point!).

From that point onward, I had started to lower my hours at that job and spending more time on counselling.

The first two years I didn’t have that many clients. Which was fine because I was renting a room and finding it difficult to find the right times to fit clients anyway.

In 2015 I got a Senior Care Officer contract at a children’s home, which was temporary until November. When that contract finished, it gave me the freedom to work as relief staff, which meant I could choose what days to work and what days to dedicate to my private practice.

This is where it starts to get good!

A month or so before my Senior contract ended, I started thinking more and more about dedicating Mondays and Thursdays to private practice. Just thinking about it did something…

It was almost magic!

By the time my contract ended, I had quite a few more enquiries.

I booked them in, and by the end of the year I’d gone from 1-2 regular clients to 4-8 regular clients!

I got a contract as a support worker in the same children’s home on February 2016, but took only 16hrs per week, which meant I could still dedicate Mondays and Thursdays to counselling and building my business.

My manager there has always been kind enough to accommodate my other responsibilities outside of that job. And as I was working very part time only, it was all good.

That year I did my last waking night shift. That’s how I started letting go of doing extra shifts and focusing more on my private work. By mid 2017 I stopped doing extra shift.

Another dramatic shift came about when I decided to finally give blogging a good chance and take it seriously. This meant taking promoting my blog seriously as well.

And this in turn meant posting regularly and consistently on social media.

I was still counselling Mondays and Thursdays, but decided to start offering sessions on Wednesdays as well.

I got more clients. I also started offering supervision.

I created the mental space for those clients and supervisees, and lo and behold, they contacted and booked!

My last two years at the care job were spent daydreaming about only running my own business.

I planned for it.

I made the mental space for the clients that I needed – a mix of counselling, supervisees, coaching and tutoring clients.

I also started thinking about other services and products to offer.

I wrote 20 Self-Care Habits, which came from a series of blogs I wrote.

I began planning other avenues of income and work.

In July 2019, I left the care job. I miss the social aspects of it and the young people I worked with.

But it wasn’t for me anymore.

I worked 11 years as a support worker in different areas. It gave me lots of knowledge that includes being able to offer counselling to autistic and other neurodiverse people.

My practice is now full to the brim. My products and services are being created slowly but surely.

More books are in the pipeline, as well as collaborations with colleagues and companies to create more mental space to help more clients and colleagues with their lives and careers.

Those who know me will know that I didn’t write this to brag. I’m more in awe of how things are going than anyone else!

I wrote this to show my fellow colleagues what is possible when we work hard, when we get the training, CPD, support from one another, and put ourselves out there.

I hope this post has been helpful to those starting out, and allowed those more seasoned practitioner to reflect on the amazing journey we’re all in…

…doing what we love, whilst at the same time helping our clients and colleagues get back on track, or get their businesses going.

I look forward to writing to you next week.

Until then…

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20 Self-Care Habits – Colleague Collaboration (Book Review)

Hi everyone!

I’ve just been given a brilliant review for my book, 20 Self-Care Habits, which was published 31st July 2018.

It’s been quite a journey and it’s always nice to hear how someone is benefiting from what I’ve written.

Everything I do is aimed at helping people. Helping them get a head start, learning from what I’ve learned in the past, from personal experiences but also from others’ experiences of putting my suggestions into practice.

In this occasion, my colleague, Pat Capel, reviewed my book for his website, and I’d love you to read it.

I think it’s better to hear feedback from others than from the author themselves sometimes – cause I would be biased to say it is a good book 😉

Anyway, I trust that you’ll enjoy reading Pat’s review and other stuff on his page – it’s really good stuff! (see, now I’m giving you feedback on Pat’s stuff, which is really good to be honest!)

If you haven’t read 20 Self-Care Habits, or my other reviews on my website, then have a look at Pat’s take on the book.

Here’s a snippet of what Pat had to say…

“If you are someone who is wondering what “self care” is or what you can do to take better care of yourself, I would suggest giving this book a read.  In this book, Karin explains and guides you through what it means to take care of yourself.  Our modern world can be tricky and yet she explains simple and practical strategies that you can start your new self care regime immediately. “

Pat Capel,

Enjoy reading the review and spend some time exploring Pat’s page, and my own book page, reading even more reviews on the book.

I look forward to hearing your feedback after you’ve read 20 Self-Care Habits.

For more on Pat, follow him on Social Media:

Pat CapelPsychotherapist and Counsellor






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