How does that make you feel?

One of the things that people who come for counselling most frequently want is a strategy or technique to help them to cope with whatever it is they’re finding difficult. Of course they do; that’s why they’ve turned to a counsellor for help. One of the more challenging but ultimately rewarding aspects of counselling is […]

‘On Wednesdays we wear pink’: being and belonging

Having a sense that you don’t belong is profoundly isolating. For many of us, our childhood and particularly our teenage years may have been dominated by a need to fit in, to work out and conform to the rules of whichever group we were trying to belong to. The cost of not doing so was […]

Swedish houses and Sylvanian families: decluttering and loss

Along with the exhortations to ‘lose weight’, ‘dry out’, ‘get fit’, ‘save up’, which assail us from every direction at this time of year, come the calls to ‘clear out’. Declutter. Spring clean. To paraphrase William Morris, if it’s not beautiful or useful, dispense with it. If you haven’t worn it for a year, pass […]

‘Listen without prejudice’: What’s different about the counselling conversation?

  Counselling is referred to by the medical profession as ‘talking therapy’, harking back to the Freudian ‘talking cure’ and, presumably, to distinguish it from drug-based therapies or more directive, technique-based approaches like CBT. Certainly, having the space to talk is part of the therapeutic benefit of counselling. Counsellors, however, while far from silent partners […]

‘Look for the helpers’: The public place of empathy

The last few months have been traumatic for the UK population. Terror, tragedy and a political process which is throwing into relief division upon division, has left us shaken and grief-stricken. ‘Look for the helpers’, we’re told, to console ourselves in the face of each new wave of grief. And there are many helpers. Like […]

Feeling the strain: how counselling works to reduce stress

A recent episode of the BBC series ‘The Truth About…’ dealt with what it and the World Health Organisation called a 21st century health epidemic: stress (4th May, 2017). Stress, it told us, is a primal emergency reaction to a perceived threat. It is a physiological and neurological reaction in which a part of the […]

‘The change’: what does menopause mean to you?

Are you menopausal? If so, how do you know and how do you feel about answering yes to that question? Or if you’re not yet, how do you feel about menopause as part of your future? As a fifty-ish year old woman, I assume I’m ‘in the change’ as my mother (and Marie Stopes, Germaine […]

The emotion of politics

How old does Jeremy Corbyn make you feel? It’s an odd question, but it’s the sort that might come up in counselling; you might make an emotional timeline to help you to understand why you feel as you do in a particular situation or relationship. I resigned from the Labour Party a couple of weeks […]

When a relationship ends

Suddenly the shops are full of hearts and flowers: Valentine’s Day will soon be here. For many people who are on their own or in an unhappy relationship, it’s not a day of celebration. It can be particularly hard for those whose partner has left them. When I work with people whose partner has left […]

Are you sitting comfortably? Bodily distress and its meanings

  Are you happy with your body? Happy with your body as it is now, with how it functions, how it looks, how it feels? If the answer is yes, that’s brilliant, read no further. If you answered with a resounding ‘no’ or had to have a think about it, you are far from unusual. […]