Sick of Brexit?

You wouldn’t expect me to tell you my views on Brexit. Therapists are notoriously tight-lipped about their own opinions – after all, it’s not about us! However, both sides of the current debate appear to have something to teach us about psychological helath. The ‘leave’ side emphasises autonomy and self-determination, and of course an appropriate level of independance and control over our own lives is very important for mental well-being. On the ‘remain’ side it’s all about co-operating and being stronger together, values which are equally crucial for emotional health.

A balance of the two feels important. Too much individualism can leave us isolated. Too much connection can be suffocating. But from a secure, independent sense of ourselves we can make fulfilling connections with others and the world.

And my views? I guess I can see both sides…


‘Bodyguard’ gets therapy?

The therapy profession got a boost from an unlikely source this week when the BBC’s smash hit drama ‘Bodyguard’ ended with tough-but-tender hero, David Budd, going into therapy. David, an ex-serviceman, is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and whilst this doesn’t stop him uncovering a high-level conspiriacy it has damaged his marriage and his mental health. PTSD is real problem for veterans and other survivors of traumatic events and counselling can really help, but there’s still a lot of stigma around ‘talking about your feelings’, particularly among men. However, distressing or disturbing experiences don’t just sort themselves out on their own. In fact, bottling up our feelings about what’s happened to us can lead to our emotions ‘leaking’ out in the form of anger, drinking, self-harm or depression. It’s a brave step to see a counsellor and deal with stress and trauma; but if David Budd can do it perhaps you can too?

Sept 24th 2018

GCSEs – what really matters?

Did you, or someone you know, get their GCSE results today? And how has this affected your self-esteem? Are you judging yourself according to your grades, or comparing yourself with friends and siblings? If so, then you’re a normal human, but why do we take such a critical attitude to ourselves? Some of us are good at exams and some of us are rubbish at them but for the sake of our mental health we could consider all the other things about ourselves that are important – the effort we make, the challenges we face, the small kindnesses we show. Self-esteem isn’t about doing well in exams, it’s about knowing that who we are, whether we got a 3 or an 8 in GCSE maths, is acceptable and ok.

What do you want?

What kind of therapy would you like when you see a counsellor? Would you like the therapist to be smiley or formal, smart or casual, talkative or quiet? Are you needing help giving up an addictive behaviour, or hoping to finally be able to talk about something deeply painful? Would you like a male or a female counsellor, or does it not matter so long as they care? All counsellors are different and some work in very specific ways, but what you should get from any therapist is a really attentive listener who will try hard to understand the world from your perspective.

It’s our job to create this space for you.

Hats off to single-parents

Being a single-parent is hard. You have to be there to lay down the rules, and there to give the cuddles – bad cop and good cop at the same time. Some single-parents are doing this job without the support of their ex or an extended family and hats off to them. I’m aware as a counsellor that any love given to children, even in really hard circumstances, is so important because it is laid down in the neural pathways of their brains as something secure to call on. Don’t give up single-parents – you may be under-appreciated but you are doing an amazing job.

What’s going on out there?

What can a therapist learn as s/he is out and about in the world? What might I understand better about my clients and about my work? How is the mental health landscape out there? What is worrying people right now, and what is giving us joy? I’ll let you know what I find out…