Supervising counsellors and therapists

The second of my short videos where I am speaking about how I think about supervision.  Counsellors and therapists who are not yet qualified are at an interesting stage in their development.  They are building experience and working effectively with clients and developing a sense of themselves as a practitioner. In this Vlog I’m describing how I approach supervision, the importance of learning in supervision and the role I take.

Cold, wet and miserable?

Gloomy and threatening or dramatic and wild?

Gloomy and threatening or dramatic and wild?

My morning’s dog walk could have been cold wet, dark and miserable. It was 7am, still very dark, raining, with quite a cold breeze.

Change Perception

Yet, it was really quite ok.  As I made way around one of my usual routes I found myself thinking about how much our perception can change our feelings about an event or experience. If I had been feeling grumpy and determined to experience my walk this morning as cold, wet, dark and miserable then that is undoubtedly what it would have been.  Instead,  it was enjoyable walking the streets in the half-light as the sun was coming up. I enjoyed seeing who was also out and about. The rain felt refreshing.   The air crisp and wintry.

Traumatic Experience

Unfortunately some experiences we are faced with my be too difficult or traumatic for us to shift our perception of them. The recent floods in many parts of the UK, brought on by similar rain to that I enjoyed this morning, will be an example of this.  Some people’s lives will have been dramatically impacted by what has happened.

Therapy for difficult memories

Sometimes experiences in the present can be too evocative of painful experience in the past.  We may be unable to move past the significance of certain events without professional help of therapy.  For example, significant anniversaries may be triggering past losses,  day to day events may trigger anxieties about past traumas.  If you have had an experience where shifting how you perceive it might be useful, therapy can often be very helpful in that process.

But this morning was happily one of those days when what could have been cold wet and miserable was refreshing energising and connecting.

Christmas Stress

Christmas StressIn the midst of the celebrations and holidays, whether religious or otherwise, I hope that you have had the opportunity for good times spent with people you love and care about.  Unfortunately for some people Christmas will  have meant a host of family arguments, relationship problems, disappointments, painful memories, losses and grief.

Stress at Christmas

There is a tremendous amount of expectation put on us at this time of year.  Expectations about spending time with people that we might actually not get on that well with for the rest of the year.  Along with eating too much, possibly drinking too much and spending too much money.  It undoubtedly can be one of the most stressful times of the year – Christmas stress.   As a therapist I have spent several weeks in the run up to December 25th talking to many of my clients about Christmas.  How they were feeling about it.  What meaning did they attach to the event.  Were they having the kind of Christmas they wanted?  Or were they under pressure to meet other’s needs.  How they might take care of themselves in the face of spending time with people where relationships might be difficult. Or deal with painful memories of events or of loved ones who are no longer here.

Improve your life

I’m also expecting an influx of calls following Christmas as many people reach the point of “this can’t carry on.” This is often the result of a miserable few days spending an intense amount of time perhaps with a partner or family member where things are not going well at all.  Where with the stress of Christmas all the problems in the relationship become heightened.

I invite you to give yourself permission to do what you need to do to take care of yourself.  This might begin by not adding extra pressure by thinking “but it’s Christmas, everything should be different.”  Although Christmas is heralded as a time of year of goodwill, for some people in some situations that is not feasible or even desirable.  If you need to do something different with your situation to improve your life then please don’t let the time of year stop you from taking action to change your situation.

It might also might mean contacting someone you’ve not been in touch with for a long time.  Telling someone something important. Deciding not to spend next Christmas with family.  Seeking out counselling for help with a relationship problem.

Christmas 2016

Stress at ChristmasThese last few days at the end of December can be lovely; with time for resting, celebrating in ways that are healthy and enjoyable, being with people you love and who love you.  Making meaning and finding ways to mark the changing of the seasons and the time of year that aligns with your beliefs and values.  If that hasn’t been your experience this year my encouragement to you is to reflect how you might have this for yourself next year.

Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes for 2016

 

Quote of the Week Nine

Quote 9

R. Buckminster Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor.  I like what he says about a focus on need and on original purposes.

And an example of the design of the universe at its best with a photograph of the Dolomites.

Quote of the Week Eight

Ischia

Ischia

Slightly late for last week, but some interesting thoughts from about how important it is to have sense of the direction.  It reminds me of the tension many transactional analysts experience between developing a clear contract for therapy when  working with clients and allowing the space for other areas of work to emerge that have not yet been considered.

And it seemed appropriate to use Roman font along with a picture from Italy.

Bereavement

Bereavement Counselling WilmslowHave you experienced a loss or bereavement recently, or know someone who has.? A beloved friend or relative? A parent or child? We can feel lost and not know how to express our condolences when we meet someone who has recently experienced a bereavement.  It can help to talk.

I provide bereavement counselling as part of my therapy practice.  In this post I wanted to provide some information on what you might experience if you are the person who has experienced the loss.  I also though it might be helpful if you know someone who is going through this experience.

When someone you know has recently died the world can suddenly be a very confusing and difficult place. You might find that you cannot stop thinking about the person who has gone.  Eating and sleeping may be difficult.  You might feel exhausted one minute and restless and agitated the next. You may think you should be coping better and be worried that you are not.

Thoughts, Feelings and Physical Sensations

It is quite normal to experience feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and helplessness when someone you know has died.  Along with these feelings people often find themselves experiencing anxiety, loneliness and fatigue. Sometimes the experience of losing someone can be shocking and traumatic so that the person may feel numb.

You may also find yourself feeling confused, being unable to believe the person is dead, or alternatively find yourself feeling a sense of their presence or hallucinations.  Repetitive and intrusive thoughts about the person and the way they died are also very common.

Difficulties with eating or sleeping and feeling restless are also normal, along with other physical symptoms such as a lack of energy, muscle weakness, tightness in the chest, hollowness in the stomach, dry mouth and sensitivity to noise.

All of these thoughts, feelings and sensations are  normal part of the grieving process.  Experiencing bereavement can be very difficult.  Each person’s response will be different, each person mourns in a different way.  Although it is a cliché time will bring relief from the intensity of the feeling.

Mourning

There is no time limit to the grieving process.  William Worden writes of there being tasks of mourning.  The first being begin to accept the reality of the person’s death – that the person you knew is gone and will not return.

The second task is to work through the pain of the grief.  Even though it may feel incredibly painful over time it is important to allow yourself time to think and feel about the death, to recognise and experience your feelings which will allow you to move forward.

The third task is to adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing. This is not about “getting over” or replacing but about adjustment to the changes in the person’s daily life.

Finally the last task is to find an enduring connection to the deceased while moving on with a new life.

Anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays important events will most likely be a time of remembrance and sadness.  Moving on with a new life does not mean forgetting – it mean being able to engage with living again and a moderation of the grief from it’s raw intensity.

Bereavement Counselling Wilmslow

I provide bereavement counselling in Wilmslow and in working with people I know that support through this painful process is very important.  For many people having family and friends available can be support enough.  Not everyone has this though and some deaths are difficult, possibly very unexpected, traumatic or difficult in some way. In these situations it can helpful to talk to a counsellor or therapist to help the person move through the grieving process.

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