Posted May 2018: Setting Boundaries
We all use the word boundaries a lot, without really thinking of its implications and what it truly means. Brené Brown says that boundaries are simply “What is ok for you and what isn’t”. This appeals to me because it helps me analyse what boundaries I need in my life and which I need to really express.
Because, as we all know, it’s when we need to express what isn’t ok for us to others, that is often becomes a real challenge!
In therapy we often work with this issue, to help clients find out what they need to make things ok for them and express what they need. I often practice on the small things, I ask myself how this is making me feel? Often I feel a bit of anxiety or nervous in my stomach and this tells me that something may be testing my boundaries! So then I ask myself what do I need to make it ok, it often comes up that I need to let someone else know what boundaries I have.
An example is, I have a dear friend who is consistently late for our meetings, they are informal and supposed to be fun so I felt awkward saying anything. I try not to be late and for me it is a boundary I put in place, as I feel it is disrespectful to others to waste their time. This is my boundary and I know others may not agree, but it feels an important value to me. So I spoke up kindly and with compassion saying this is what I felt.
It wasn’t a boundary she shared, but she understood and we agreed to try hard to be on time. It took courage to do this, putting in place boundaries can be scary but to be truly ourselves we need to show others, with love and compassion, what is ok for us and what isn’t.
Posted April 2018: Building inner resource and resilience
This image really struck me as the tree seems to be thriving, despite its very precarious home! Some people also seem to be able to bounce back from difficult situations with no trouble at all, for most of us though, its much more challenging.
Building resilience is a big theme in psychotherapy, we work with clients who may have have suffered difficult and challenging events in life. As a result they may have lost the ability to cope and ultimately their trust in the world and others. Their ‘Inner Critical’ voice may be unduly harsh, undermining self confidence and making them withdraw.
So how do we develop our resilience and restore our ability to cope? It is a slow and very gentle process, we notice the language we use with ourselves, softening our attitudes and giving ourselves a break. We listen to our needs and act on what makes us feel good, slowly we can emerge from this dark place. In a way building resilience is not about building strength, is it about building flexibility and acceptance.
Instead of saying to ourselves, “Its time to pull yourself together”, its about saying “You have been in tough places before and it has passed, the time will come again, let’s hang on in there!”. Resilience is about knowing your qualities and strengths and calling on them and being in counselling can help, as your therapist can remind you of them.
Posted March 2018: Why Hope helps.
I was really drawn to this simple image of a stone with Hope on it, it feels like you could just pick it up and hold on to it, like a talisman. If only hope was really so easy to find, many clients have lost their ability to hope and feel mired in sadness and loss.
In therapy we often hold the hope for our clients, my old supervisor used to say it was like holding a candle in the dark. When our clients are ready we hand the candle back to them, which is an image I love to think about.
Entering therapy is a very hopeful thing to do, it means we believe we don’t have to suffer and could live another way. So look for hope in small ways, the kindness of a stranger, a great chat with a friend, hug from your child, it is there if we look but we need to tune in to see it. I hope you find some hope this month, with every passing day Spring is on its way, here’s hoping!
Posted February 2018; Why Nature is the best Therapy!
I often get asked what clients can do when things become overwhelming and I always say, go outside, find a tree you love and lean against it. It really works, give it a try!
Human beings are naturally drawn to nature and the colour green is calming, but for me its secrets lie in how it changes every day, embracing the day whatever the weather and season, it is a great reminder that change is constant and resisting it saps our energies.
When I need a boost I walk mindfully, feeling each step on the path and fully grounding myself. Slowly my circling thoughts ease and I focus on the clouds and feel of the wind.
As the first buds of Spring appear I feel true hope returning, I hope you do too!
Posted January 2018; Grow Your Potential in the New Year
One of my clients recently asked me why my practice was called Grow Your Potential. I explained to her that potential is really fundamental to the drive behind our work together in therapy. As a Transpersonal Psychotherapist, I am specifically looking for the qualities that make my clients unique that so often go unrecognised and unnoticed.
Even when things in our lives our truly awful and we loose sight of ourselves, it is often these qualities that give us resilience and strength to overcome them. It is our role as therapists to mirror these qualities and help our clients see themselves more clearly. When we begin to see our complexities, we can be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves, even begin to love who we are. In therapy we often hold the qualities of our clients close, my old supervisor used to say it was like holding a candle in the dark. When our clients are ready we hand the light to them, which is an image I love to think about.
As we enter the new year, I like to believe we could all see some of our great qualities if we could stop judging ourselves. This is why my resolution this year is to be kinder to myself and to watch how I speak to myself.
Have a great New Year!
December 31st 2017