Perspective

Every individual has perspective which is their own way of looking at the world. Perspective gets developed over time which is why someone cannot change their perspective overnight. It gets developed through interactions and experiences with significant people in your life. Such as parents, extended family and friends.

Early experiences with the wold begin to shape how you see the world and what you expect or do not expect from the world. Whatever your individual perspective is, it often informs how you relate to the world and other people.

Being a minority and dealing with mental health

Being a minority myself I know all too well the stigma and pressures that minorities face when dealing with mental health or trying to access help. Going to therapy has been associated with white middle class people whilst everyone else just has to get on with it. But this simply is not true.

Everyone can benefit from therapy no matter race or class. So why do so few minorities access therapy? Within certain cultures suffering from psychological distress is not accepted. You have to be strong and get on with things otherwise you won’t have the same chances as everybody else.

This idea of being strong and tough makes many people feel as though they are failing somehow if they admit they need help. The whole ‘get on with it’ attitude has been passed down through generations and then becomes engrained especially in male minorities. More recently certain footballers such as Danny Rose and Rio Ferdinand have gone public with their own battle with mental health which I feel does increase awareness.

Does therapy change your relationships?

Sometimes people can come to therapy with the view to change their relationships. When an individual enters therapy it is themselves that change. It is not possible to change another person but what does happen is that you begin to change.

As you begin to develop emotionally you may begin to see your relationships around you in a different perspective. You may start wanting things from the relationship that you did not realise you wanted. Other people around you will not change but they may very well have opinions and feelings towards these changes. So it is not therapy that changes your relationships it you who begins to change and alter relationships if you want to.

Experiencing bullying as an adult pt.2 (workplace)

Identifying bulling in the workplace can be extremely difficult as there are many hierarchal dynamics that exist. Bullying can take place between co-workers and managers. The drive to want to be good at ones job and to get promoted or recognised for their hardwork can deter someone from taking action against bullying.

Some people are scared they will be seen as weak or a troublemaker. This results in an overwhelming amount of people suffering in silence because they believe it is part of being an employee. Bullying happens in many different disguises. Humiliation is very common in the work place because it uses humour to cover an insult. For example a employee often gets jokes made about their attire. Other employees laugh at the jokes and the employee also feels that they have to laugh when in reality it actually hurts them.

Experiencing bullying as an adult

Most people have experienced bullying on some level. Typically bullying is associated with school. We think of name calling, trolling, being picked on for being different or just not fitting in.

When your an adult bullying can be harder to recognise. There might be bullying in work place, amongst friends, socially and in the family. Being picked on when your an adult can feel shameful and is often not talked about. There is a pressure amongst adults to be strong capable individuals that can overcome and handle any situation. This is not the case.

Panic Attack Pt.2

Step 1: Try to sit down. If you are having a panic attack and your breathing becomes rapid and shallow you may begin to feel light headed so try and sit down. If there is no seat near you and you are in a public place try and alert a member of staff. They may be able to offer you a stool.

Step 2: Try to focus on your breath, this will help your breathing to slow down. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. For example: Breathe in for 3 counts and breathe out for 3 counts . Repeat this until your breath has returned to normal. 3 counts is good because it is easy to manage.

Step 3: Take your time. If you have just experienced a panic attack try not to rush around too soon. If you have obligations like work, school run or class. The best thing is to ring them and say your running a little late. It will take time for your heart rate to return back to normal if you rush back into something you could have another panic attack that may feel even worse.

Step 4: Have some juice. The sugar in juice will help your body to recover. Having a panic attack is a tiny trauma for your body. The sugar will help your body with replacing some energy in a short amount of time.

Panic Attack Pt.1

A panic attack can happen to anyone at any time and any where. Panic attacks are usually a symptom of some kind of underlying psychological distress. During a panic attack an individual can feel overwhelmed and there is no space to think or to stop yourself from feeling overwhelmed.

A physical response to a panic attack usually results in an accelerated heat rate and breathing becomes shallow and fast. A light headedness or dizziness can also be felt. Unfortunately there is not much you can do to prepare for a panic attack because they are so unpredictable but there are a few steps to take when you have a panic attack. Please see upcoming blog post.

Dissociation

Dissociation can vary from mild, moderate to severe. It is a feeling of being detached from ones self as though the world and our experiences are not real. Often an emotional numbness can manifest and at times a lack of identity can be felt.

Dissociation can brought on by stress or trauma as a way of defending against painful feelings. Dissociation can be helpful when it is in response to trauma however if it is prolonged then it can result in a difficulty to form relationships.

What to expect from a therapy session (Short term)

My short term counselling model consists of 12 sessions. I always agree a set focus with the client, this is done in the initial assessment. I let the client know that whatever comes up during the sessions I will always bring it back to the agreed focus as that is what we will be resolving.

If something comes up during the counselling that does not relate to the focus, I acknowledge that we cannot explore that and bring the counselling back to the focus. The reason for having a focus in short term counselling is to be able to resolve anything in a short amount of time there needs to be a focus. 


What to expect from a therapy session (Long Term)

When you come to a session we will explore what ever you bring to a session. Unlike other modalities such as CBT there are no pre agreed objectives for the session. At first some clients find this daunting as they are unsure what to talk about. But this process becomes more familiar over time.

It is up to the client to bring what ever they feel they want to talk about. Some clients worry about the relevance of what they are talking about however everything a client says is relevant and it is up to me to help you to make sense of what your saying and to gain a deeper understanding of yourself.

Sometimes there will be silences in the session and that is ok. At first there maybe a degree of discomfort for the client to sit in silence but it is important that the client is allowed to feel safe in the silence and not feel they have to talk for the whole 50 minutes if they do not want to. There is no right or wrong way to be in a session.

How talking about your feelings can help!

As humans we experience an array of different emotional states. These differing states can take us by surprise or we can expect them. We are very complex creatures with the ability to feel more than one emotion at any given time. Just think how many times you have felt angry and sad at the time towards the same issue.

Emotions play such an important part in our lives but it is often the part of ourselves that is least talked about. Experiencing different emotional states can feel overwhelming and cause anxiety. Talking about what you are feeling is vital in order to move forward and to gain some understanding about what your emotions are trying to tell you.

What is the unconscious?

The unconscious is a state of mind that is different from the conscious. Your unconscious is something that you are not aware of. Whereas you are aware of what happens in your conscious for example making dinner.

What lies in our unconscious ultimately influences how we behave to ourselves, other people and how we view the world. Things that are too traumatic or frightening to process usually get pushed into the unconscious (repression).

What to expect from psychodynamic therapy?

Most people who start seeking therapeutic help are unaware of the different modalities that exist and as a result misconceptions can be made. Psychodynamic therapy consists mainly of exploring and understanding your feelings towards yourself and others.

Some people believe that they will be forced to explore their past in detail. This is not the case, the past will only be explored if the client chooses to bring it up. The sessions consist of exploring what ever material the client chooses to bring up.

I understand that many people who seek therapy want help to fix their problems. However in psychodynamic work it is through an understanding and exploration into the clients psyche that will lead the client to be autonomous enough to fix their problems. Psychodynamic therapy can also put you in touch with feelings that you had tried to avoid or push away, this can be an uncomfortable experience but a necessary one.

Therapy is not relaxing or easy nor is it a kin to a spa treatment. It is hard, uncomfortable and painful. But it is the duty of the therapist to make sure that they are providing a safe and secure place and that the therapist is containing and ethical at all times.

Change pt2.

In my previous post I spoke about change being both good and bad. I gave an example of two friends. One friend changed which was good for them however it changed the dynamic of the friendship and the other friend perceived the change as bad.

Ultimately change causes disruption and that can put people of changing. An individual may be aware of the changes they need to make but may feel put off due to the ripples it will cause to their nearest and dearest.

Change

Change is a word that gets thrown around a lot. In society we talk about change in our jobs, relationships and families. We can often think of change in a very concrete way. Ie: thats a good change or thats a bad change. But change can be good and bad.

For example, you may have a friend who is very emotionally taxing we will call them friend A. They always come to you for emotional support, they off load on you and they don’t see anything wrong with that. However you are unable to look to others for any support. If the friend who is unable to ask for support for themselves begins to recognise this and begins to ask for help this can be seen as a good change.

On the other hand friend A who is happy of continually off load may see this change as bad because they were happy with the dynamic that had been created. Now friend A can no longer use their friend in that way.

Complicated grief pt2.

As I said in a previous post that sadness is not the only reaction to loss. It is however the expected response. When someone has suffered a bereavement and does not immediately feel sad they will often judge themselves or feel that others will judge them for not being upset enough or at all.

Many people feel like they do not know how to grieve and can go years before processing a death of a loved one. Grieving is a very uncomfortable process and unexpected emotions can surface. Anger and guilt are common feelings to have towards death but in society sadness is the most expected and tolerated response to loss.

Complicated Grief

There are many people who experience loss and do not know how to process it. There is no right or wrong way that loss should be processed. However there is a straight forward way and a complicated way. Both are equally painful and people cannot choose how they deal with a loss.

So why do people process loss differently? Depending on your experiences and how you relate to people around you will determine your response towards loss. A person who is more connected to their emotions may have an emotional response straight away towards a loss.

Whereas someone who has more difficulty with their emotions may not feel any emotion towards the loss. It may take sometime before they begin to feel anything. This can be described as a complicated reaction to loss.

Death/grief

Grief is an extreme sadness associated with death. There is a lot of social awareness around grieving after suffering a loss. It is understood that if one has suffered a loss it is going to be a very difficult time for them. They will need time of work or school, they may not be themselves for a while. However where society lacks awareness is in those people that suffer from a complicated grieving process.

Most people will expect someone who has suffered loss to be very sad but what about the people who suffer a loss and don’t know how to feel sad. Instead they might feel angry, guilty or they may not feel much at all. These aspects of grief are less talked about. Please see my upcoming post on complicated grief.

Endings pt. 2

All endings are painful to some degree some much larger than others. Have you ever noticed that most toddlers all of a sudden become very shy when they are told to say goodbye someone. Saying goodbye is a tiny ending but will cause some difficult feeling. Think about when you’ve gone out and had a great time, you don’t want it to end but eventually it has to.

Depending on ones emotional landscape some people will find it easier than others to manage endings. For some the vast amount of anxiety an ending brings up can stop or hinder being able to start something new.

Endings

Life is full of endings, even as children we are exposed to endings. Whenever we leave a year group and say good bye to a form tutor. Changing from primary school to high school, going to college. Many of which I have just described are beginnings but before you begin something you will be ending something else.

A beginning of a new job will mean the end of a previous job or an end to having no job at all. Endings are difficult and painful. It is saying goodbye to something that has become familiar and saying hello to something that is unfamiliar.

At times an ending can go unprocessed until much later this can be especially true for painful endings. Avoidance might be applied as a defence against those painful feelings. Think about how many times you’ve heard someone say ‘i’m not that bothered’ or ‘you know what, I don’t even care anymore’ in relation to being fired, loosing a friend or a break up.