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Today is National Depression Screening Day

Posted on 9 October, 2014 at 12:49 Comments comments (0)
Today is National Depression Screening Day in the USA. What a great idea!

To my knowledge, I don't think we have this event in the UK, but maybe you know if we do? What about my regular blog readers, do they have this day in your country?

Depression is a common mental health issue and no doubt you may have suffered with this illness or know someone close to you who has had or has depression?

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has an excellent website and a link to test yourself to see if you might have depression...try it if you think you do. Copy and Paste this into your browser.



The website test is very quick and can also check for Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar, PTSD, Alcohol Misuse and Adolescent Depression.

At the end of the screening the site can put you in touch with useful resources and advice on what to do next.

If you do have a score which indicates that you may have a mental illness then do seek help from a medical practitioner (GP) or contact a counsellor or therapist who is trained to help you.








More on Perfectionism: The Be Perfect Balloon

Posted on 23 August, 2014 at 11:38 Comments comments (11)
Perfectionism is a hard task master, so where does this personality trait come from?

Why do some have this trait and others don't?
What can I do about my perfectionism?

As with all personality traits there is a dark and bright side perfectionists well know.

We develop perfectionism early in life, the Be Perfect Driver is one of a few others. Be Strong, Hurry Up, Please Others and Try Hard (Kahler, 1975) are the other 4 drivers.
The 5 Drivers may be described as antidotes to injunctions, or decisions we make in childhood. This illustration (below) shows how the drivers, as balloons, hold us above the water, whilst the injunctions (shown as weights tied to our legs) pull us down.

The "Be Perfect" Driver Characteristics
Imperative
  • I must be perfect, wonderful, correct in every way.
  • I must succeed in everything I do.
  • I must get top marks and win.

Identification
  • Exact language, including qualification when they are not sure, such as 'probably', and absolutes when they are, such as 'absolutely'.
  • Always neat and well-groomed.
  • Never completely satisfied with what they do.

Benefits
  • Hard-working, with excellent quality output. Attention to detail. High standards.
  • May achieve great things.

Problems
  • Fears of failure and losing control, and subsequent over-compensation.
  • Over-work. Not finishing things for fear of criticism. Prevarication
  • Expecting others to be perfect too.

Treatment
  • Laughter.
  • Praise, including for less-than-perfect work.
  • Reframing of what 'perfect' really means to 'good enough'.
  • Be very specific with criticism (and praise).
Recognize these drivers in yourself and others and treat them accordingly.
See also
 
Kahler, T. (1975). Drivers—The Key to the Process Script.  Transactional Analysis Journal,5:3
 



























Kahler, T. (1975) Drivers-The Key to the Process Script.  Transactional Analysis Journal,5:3

Stress, Anxiety and Depression: The benefits of "Talking Therapies"

Posted on 23 June, 2014 at 15:16 Comments comments (0)

NHS Choices website includes a section called Moodzone. A very useful site to have bookmarked as one of your favourites if you have anxiety, depression, suffer with stress or have an enduring mental health illness.

This is the link and it's well worth a look:


They include a 4 minute video on the benefits of talking therapies with counsellors, psychotherapist and other mental health professionals.

There's no doubt talking therapies work for most people, having someone listen, not give advice, but support you through difficulties and help you find ways to help yourself.

The website gives very helpful signposting to other useful resources and free online self-directed courses taking you through ways to self-help.

The internet and respected sites such as the NHS give research and evidence based information.

Give it a go and if you decide to contact me I can talk with you about your issue and how I might help you.

A Quiet and Peaceful Place

Posted on 21 June, 2014 at 14:35 Comments comments (3)
In the St Andrews Counselling and Psychotherapy blog I have covered a number of different topics which I work with clients, how I work and some basic information on Transactional Analysis. 
In this blog I wanted to share with you the environment in which I work. I decided to work from my own consultation room over 2 years ago. I wanted to provide a comfortable, reassuring and peaceful place in which to support the client's healing process.
My consultation room is situated in a quiet, rural environment with ample parking and a confidential way to access and leave without encountering other people.
The photo here shows how the décor and furnishings are both comfortable, practical and easy on the eye. I choose neutral pastel colours for the wall and carpet which contrast with the sofa and chair in bright blues and reds. Wall art provides seascapes and panoramic views and natural life. Across the hall is a private bathroom and toilet.
Behind the sofa is a large bright window which illuminates the whole room and looks out onto gardens, then across fields with the sea on the horizon. There are no other buildings for half a mile and so not overlooked by other homes or offices.

This is the view from my consulting room window. In the distance the sea can be seen and we have great views of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

This room has been designed to be a peaceful, tranquil haven from the outside world where clients can relax and talk about what's troubling them. This setting supports the development of the therapeutic relationship and balances the concept of a counselling and psychotherapy consultation room with a relaxed and informal space, with few distractions.

My clients have all commented on how warm, welcoming and comfortable the consulting room is and quickly relax into the session. We often share a tea or coffee together whilst we get to know one another.

If you would like to know more about where I work and what I do and if you would like to meet me to discuss what's bothering you, then give me a ring on 07824700980.




What do I look for in a counsellor or therapist? The client's perspective.

Posted on 6 June, 2014 at 12:03 Comments comments (6)
When looking for counselling or psychotherapy, there is no shortage of adverts and websites on the internet nowadays.

Why not shop around and put together a shortlist of counsellors who meet your criteria? There are a few practical considerations in choosing a counsellor such as how far away from you do they live? You might need to choose someone close by within walking or a short bus ride, or if you live in a small close community and have access to a car you may want to see a counsellor who lives some distance away.

How might you feel about bumping into them if they live in your community might be another issue to think about?

Research has shown, time and time again, that successful outcomes to therapy depend on the relationship between therapist and client and feeling there is a connection between you. So phone a few before you make a decision, arrange to meet for a no obligation initial appointment with the therapists you feel you connect with on the phone.


There is also the financial cost of therapy to be weighed up against other commitments you might have. Therapy/ counselling can be a sound financial investment as improvements in your mental health and emotional well being impact on your home life, close relationships and work/career prospects. Good therapists will be open to explore initial short term contracts over a 6 to 8 week period to evaluate your progress and for you to decide whether to leave things there or go on.

To get the best from therapy you should ask yourself "What do I want from therapy"? Being clear about your expectations and how will you know when you get what you want from therapy?

There are of course the other issues to think about:

1. Are they a member of a reputable professional body, have insurance and have regular robust clinical supervision?

2. Do they have knowledge and experience in working with your issues?

3. Do you feel you will be listened to, heard and understood?

4. Do you feel confident that the therapist is open and non-judgemental?

5. Are they bold, confident, have integrity, empathy, genuine warmth and humanity?

6. What can they offer you in the way that they work, ask them to explain this to you and how this would be helpful for your issues?

I hope you have found this short guide on "What to look for in a counsellor or therapist" useful?

If you would like to know more or have a no obligation telephone conversation then give me a ring on 0782 4700980




Anger Management

Posted on 28 May, 2014 at 9:54 Comments comments (2)
I see client's regularly, who, when they make initial contact to make an appointment with me, tell me that they have "an anger problem".

Frequently they have been told by their partner"if you don't do something about your anger then the relationship is over. I can't live like this anymore".

The client's next step is to try and find someone, a professional counsellor, to get help.

I guess if you are reading this then some of what's been written has touched a chord with you?

Often when they do contact me this problem has gone on for sometime and the client is confused about how they feel.

They can shrug this off with......."I don't see what all the fuss is about, I don't have a problem with anger. If she stopped nagging me things would be fine".

Or realise their partner gets fearful when they are angry......" She told me how scared she gets when I get angry, half the time I don't even realise I am coming across as being that way".

"Sometimes I get so angry and raging I am frightened I will hurt myself or other people I love".

Does this sound familiar to you?

The good news is if you have had this conversation with your partner/family and they have suggested you get help and you have got as far as reading this then you have made an important step. You have listened to what they said and taken action. There maybe a part of you that realises you have a problem or perhaps that your relationship has run into difficulty.

Often when I start to work with client's they begin to realise that they have encountered similar difficulties in previous relationships. They may have been brought up in very strict families where physical and emotional abuse was routine. As a child in this environment had learned this behaviour from an early age and had very little awareness of how this had impacted on them and their relationship with others.

Client's who work with me may decide and contract with me to work on a short-term or long-term basis either one to one or as a couple, after one to one work.

If you would like to know more or to have a 15 minute, no obligation, telephone call then please phone me on 07824700980.







Counselling Survey

Posted on 6 April, 2014 at 12:50 Comments comments (0)
Hello There!
 
Thank-you or taking the time to look at my blog. I hope you have found something of interest to you?
 
Do you have a few moments to complete a quick survey about my website and services please?
 
This will help me get feedbackon how you have found us and what we are doing well and what could be improved upon?
 
Please just click on this link
 
 
Thank-you for your help
 
 

SELF-ESTEEM AND DISCOVERY WORKSHOPS

Posted on 30 March, 2014 at 16:12 Comments comments (3)
I can offer you an exciting opportunity to join my self-esteem and self-discovery workshops starting soon in St Andrews Counselling and Psychotherapy.
 
The programme is designed for you to learn more about yourself and others (partners, family, friends and work colleagues) in a supportive and relaxed environment.
 
We will meet on a Tuesday evening 6-8pm for 12 sessions.
 
The workshop places are limited to ensure small supportive group size.
 
This voyage of discovery of self and others will work to learn; how we feel about ourselves and others close to us, and how you can learn to raise your self-esteem.
 
To book a place please contact me personally 07824700980 (Carol)
 
Course fee: £20 per session (concessions are available please contact me beforehand to discuss)
 
 

Rape Survivors Workshop

Posted on 28 February, 2014 at 7:34 Comments comments (0)
Part of my advanced training requires me to gain group/workshop experience and I have been so fortunate to have had the support of The Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre's support to offer this innovative way to provide services to female rape survivors.
 
Transactional Analysis therapy was originally delivered within groups, the therapist facilitated the therapy, working with each member in turn. The participants would be educated in TA as the group formed.
 
Planning the group with the WRASAC women took careful consideration. WRASAC also supports women who have survived, childhood, physical, sexual and emotional abuse. To have a combined group of childhood abuse and rape survivors together would risk vicarious retraumatisation as disclosure emerged during the group process.
 
Survivors of childhood abuse are also a diverse and complex group often with ongoing issues regarding their trauma and the decision was made to hold a single topic group of survivors of gender based violence to facilitate a heightened sense of "holding" and boundaries for the women. There was also the need to apply inclusion and exclusion criteria
Woman would have to have been in one to one support for at least 6 months to have begun to work through the trauma and have experienced the counselling process. The 1 to 1 support would continue throughout the life of the group to ensure the women would have access to their support worker.
 
Woman with active and untreated severe and enduring mental health problems would not be included given their vulnerability is likely to impact on their ability to participate in a group (Koss and Harvey, 1991).
 
The group programme would run for 12 weeks, the first 6 weeks would be to introduce TA concepts in an interactive way. This includes the core principles and philosophy of TA, Ego States, Communication, Stroke economy, Psychological Games (relationship patterns), Script ( life patterns) and Emotional expression (Rackets).
 
The final 6 weeks would then use the TA concepts learnt within the group to increase and improve the functioning of their Adult ego state, improve their communication skills, a tool to explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, to begin to focus on aspects of their relationship with themselves and others and to change their stroke economy.
 
The final 6 weeks would then be audiotaped to fulfil requirements around evaluation and my training. each session would also be evaluated utilising CORE outcome measures to track the impact of the sessions on each woman.
 
If you would like to know more about the workshops or have experienced gender based violence and would like to see if I can help you then please contact me on 07824700980.
 

On Being a Client in Counselling & Psychotherapy

Posted on 22 January, 2014 at 15:02 Comments comments (3)
I have been reflecting on this situation for a few days and recalling my own experience on beginning therapy over 4 years ago. As a trainee psychotherapist part of the course requirement was to complete 4 years of psychotherapy as a client.

I started to look for a Transactional Analyst who worked nearby and found the closest to be 45 minutes away. I had no idea where to find her, despite a map, but set off in plenty of time, feeling nervous, this was to be the start of a long relationship.

I had completed an induction form with questions about myself and what I wanted from therapy and how I might sabotage myself from getting what I needed from therapy.

My therapist was good at putting me at ease initially and going through the contract of how she worked, how long the sessions were, her cancellation policy, the business contract, her fees and arrangements for our 1 hour sessions weekly.

At first I wondered what on earth I would find to say about myself for 60 minutes and thinking about what I might be revealing about myself. My therapist could put me at ease but at the same time encourage me to look at my thinking patterns, my life script and early decisions I had made as a child and how this had influenced my life. She developed my self-awareness around my ego states and my reflective abilities about my thoughts, feeling and subsequent behaviours.

There's no doubt that my therapy is an intense experience and a voyage of discovery into my past, which sometimes has been hard and painful. There' s no doubt I am changed by the process and the relationship we shared for over 4 years.

There were times when I would rather be anywhere else than in the therapy room. Usually there was a good reason for this feeling, when stuff coming up from the subconscious was being met with resistance outside my consciousness.

I do understand how anxious clients get before the 1st session, and even later on, and how much hard work its is to slog on through. Therapy is not an easy process, but then changing and developing awareness of ones self deserves the attention and effort involved.

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