Counselling Psychotherapy London


Getting the Wheels Moving Again

January 5, 2019

I’ve let the blog page on my website languish unattended for a very long time, so long, in fact, that it started to feel really difficult to get back to it.  So then I began to wonder, why is it that, once we get out of the habit of doing something regularly, it can feel so difficult to take it up again?  What are the obstacles that seem to stop us, and what do we need to do to overcome them?  At the beginning of a new year, it seemed especially relevant to think about this. 
One of the things that I do in my private life, outside being a therapist, is to volunteer for a community project which encourages women to cycle.  I spend quite a lot of time supporting women in building confidence riding a bike, something which they’ve often done as children or teenagers, and then drifted away from in later life.  So I have a lot of conversations about not doing something that you used to enjoy, losing confidence in your abilities, feeling that the world has changed since you last did this, and exploring what the obstacles are that make it feel daunting now.  
A lot of those obstacles- and this applies to so many things, from riding a bike to writing a blog and many others between- derive from the ways we talk to ourselves in our own minds.  When something is unfamiliar to us, we are likely to feel apprehensive and we might be inclined to think first of all the things that might go wrong or all the ways in which we might not succeed.   That’s actually quite a helpful exercise, if we draw on it to make some plans for how we might deal with difficulties along the way.  But it’s not so helpful if we move from this assessment to frightening ourselves or assuming that everything than can go wrong, will go wrong.  So we need to pay attention to the good things that might happen too, and maybe remind ourselves of our reasons for wanting to do this activity. 
If we discover that we get so caught up in our fears and negative “what if’s” that we are limiting our lives in ways that aren’t helpful for us, then it might be time to have a more serious think about what’s going on.   Perhaps we have been brought up to think of the world as a fearful place, or maybe we’ve experienced a traumatic event in the past, or been surrounded by other people who have experienced traumas and have communicated their fearfulness to us. Maybe we’ve experienced a lot of setbacks in our lives, and so have come to expect defeat or failure whatever we do.  Or maybe we just have a general sense of not being good at things, not very capable, or even not deserving to succeed; and we’re not even quite sure where those thoughts or feelings have come from. 
Really exploring our deeply held beliefs about ourselves, how we’ve come to have beliefs which hold us back or might even be unkind to us, who in our lives has contributed to our inner beliefs, and what we might need to do to make some changes in our internal landscape…  none of that is easy and can be painful.  But it might just be what we need to do if we want to take that ride in the park. 

 

Choosing Something New

April 30, 2012


(Source of photo: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/uploads/authors/adrienne-rich/448x/adrienne-rich.jpg)

What is the place of our feelings in our lives?  That might seem a strange question for a counsellor to be asking, but it’s one that is less straightforward than it might seem at first sight.  Even within the world of counselling and psychotherapy, there are different views about the place of feelings.  Some therapists strongly encourage the expression of feelings and believe that...


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Facing Difficult Choices

September 27, 2011

I’ve recently read two novels- coincidentally, both by Irish writers- which have explored how we make significant personal choices in our lives.  In both Love And Summer by William Trevor and Brooklyn by Colm Toibín, the main character finds herself at a crossroads, forced to decide between radically different courses of action. All options involve conflicts of love, relationship...


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Memory, Loss & Trauma

September 6, 2011

There’s a lot in the news at the moment about the approaching tenth anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001.  I was fortunate in that no one I knew personally was affected.  For many people, this is an anniversary of immense personal grief as well as a public occasion for remembrance.

Like most people, I can still remember where I was and what I was doi...


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Comedy and Cruelty: looking under the surface

August 31, 2011

Many insights into aspects of human experience can be found in literature, theatre, cinema and other art forms.  A few weeks ago I saw a play at the Young Vic, The Beauty Queen of Lenane (www.youngvic.org/whats-on/the-beauty-queen-of-leenane) which left me with a lot of feelings and thoughts.

I was actually quite irritated by the first half of the play as I felt it was drawing on ...


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Anxiety, Excitement & the Challenge of New Experiences

August 22, 2011

I’m new to blogging and I noticed that I felt quite anxious when I posted up my very first blog entry last week. 

It made me think about how I, and other people, tackle things which are unfamiliar, especially when it seems like everyone else has been doing this forever and is totally at ease with it.  Sometimes it is just a matter of taking a deep breath and plunging right in, tru...


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