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Julie Dawn Jones from JDJCounselling was recently interviewed by Bernadette Bruckner on WRS MRS Radio Station. 

It’s the station where we can open up meaningful, helpful and constructive conversation. 

See what Julie has to say by clicking the image below

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s perfectly human to be concerned about your health and safety during the first major pandemic in recent history. With cases of the new coronavirus racing across the world, schools closed and events cancelled, more people going into enforced or self-quarantine, and shift workers suddenly out of a job because their industry relies on the presence of other people, it can be hard not to stress over what comes next.

But if your concern snowballs into excessive worry or panic that prevents you from carrying out daily functions or interferes with relationships at home or elsewhere, then your state of mind may be worth some closer attention.

As an accredited counsellor, I regularly help people deal with anxiety and other mental health issues. But with the uncertainty of this unprecedented crisis, I've seen increasing levels of anxiety in people who are typically able to cope with challenges in a level-headed manner.

They’re letting their worst fears guide them instead of their best thinking. My job is to help people figure out how to stay thoughtful, calm, and able to solve problems as the news about COVID-19 changes daily, and often hourly.

To help you better cope, I am offering a free 10-minute phone consultation for you to access guidance and support, and to talk over therapy and how this can help you support yourself and your loved ones through these troubling times.

Use my contact form and start to invest in your self care at this challenging time.

 

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I’ve been working with couples for nearly 20 years. One of the powerful techniques I use is called EFT (Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy). I’ve found this to produce extraordinary results. Why? Couples work together with me to identify and move on from the deeply rooted emotional causes of their disconnections. We call these ‘raw spots’.

We identify, share and work through these raw spots that drive the way each of us behaves and communicates with our partners. With this comes a deeper understanding, empathy and compassion between us and helps us to avoid misinterpretation. You become better attuned, and together, we break the negative cycle.

Why is EFT so powerful?

EFT is based on the last 50 years of scientific research on bonding: bonding between mother and child and romantic bonds between partners. EFT for couples is a short to medium term (usually around 12-20 sessions) structured therapy. EFT is underpinned by the belief that emotions have an inherently adaptive potential which, if activated, can help the couple change their difficult emotional states and experiences. Researchers have found that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and that the gains are sustained for months to years following the end of treatment.

Interactions between distressed couples are usually characterised by negative cycles where one partner is pursuing while the other withdraws. These can soon become stuck in rigid, dysfunctional patterns and stay that way until the underlying need for secure attachment is identified and addressed.

One of my key tasks is to help the couples become aware of, identify, understand and better manage the underlying emotions that keep them stuck in those negative cycles. Once these have been identified, I them to develop of a different kind of interaction within the session – which progressively leads to replacing reactive emotions with positive ones that elicit compassion and connection, promote soothing, and help clients deal with unstated and unmet attachment needs.

What happens in the initial sessions?

The first session is a joint session dedicated to exploring the couple’s background history and presenting problem. This is then followed by an individual session with each partner, which will give me and each partner the opportunity to talk about the issues experienced in the relationship more freely, without the other partner present.

Then the partners resume couple therapy together and start identifying the negative cycles they get caught up in. With my help they work towards changing their patterns of interaction and emotional responses to each other, with the aim of re-establishing emotional intimacy and connection in their relationship.

As a support to the couple therapy process, I recommend that clients in treatment read Dr Sue Johnson’s book, Hold Me Tight, and use it as a source of conversations and reflections at home. Other valuable sources of help are the book Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies by Dr Brent Bradley and Dr James Furrow, and Dr Sue Johnson's The Love Secret.

My training in EFT

I started my EFT training in 2019, by attending an Externship in London. It was the beginning of an on-going journey to develop and grow professionally in this field, which lead me to eventually become Certified as Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist. I’m now part of a very active international online community of EFT couple therapists dedicated to professional development and mutual professional support. Through it, I have been keeping abreast of exciting developments in the field of couple therapy.

For a short introduction on EFT by the founder, Dr Sue Johnson, see video below. For more information regarding EFT by the founder, Sue Johnson, please view the video below:

www.drsuejohnson.com / www.iceeft.com

 

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I recently completed an Emotional-Focused Couples Therapy course (EFT). For me, it was a new way of working with couples and it’s produced some remarkable results in just a few short weeks.

What is EFT?

Couples have relationship problems when they are feeling emotionally disconnected at important moments, which leads to judgement and anger and negative cycles like ‘pursue-withdraw’ and ‘criticise-defend’.

EFT is a therapy that focuses on the development of emotional intelligence and the importance of secure relationships. Rather than seeing emotions as something to be controlled, EFT sees emotions as something to be explored and experienced. It also helps to guide us to what we need or want that will lead us towards personal growth for ourselves and our relationships.

What are the Goals of Emotionally Focused Therapy?

The primary goal of EFT is to explore important emotional responses within a relationship and to understand them. For example, fighting about who loads the dishwasher is a disorganised emotion, because the conflict is inevitably about something else entirely. Secondly, the goal is to identify the positions that are being taken within the relationship (he’s irresponsible, I’m the victim, etc) and to shift these habitual positions to new, positive and supportive ways of interacting with each other. The final goal is to encourage a secure bond within the relationship.

The result? In the words of one couple in EFT therapy with me: “We now recognise the cycle (the disfunction) as being the problem and we’ve been able to move beyond it and it has given us a new beginning.”

If you feel that EFT Couples Therapy could be of use to you and your partner, you can contact me on: 07541 872 474 to book an appointment and begin a new journey of understanding within your relationship.

 

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These are challenging times for our mental health. The Coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty around our health, our loved ones, a change to our routine and job insecurity has left many of us feeling anxious. Last week, health experts at the United Nations warned there could be a mental illness crisis on the horizon.

Paradoxically, being in lockdown has also given us the chance to face our mental health head-on, with some of us reaching out for professional help, perhaps for the first time. Mental health services have largely shifted to online. Current figures show that the number of therapists offering online services has grown, perhaps in response to lockdown.

It is natural for our emotions to feel up and down in the uncertain times we are living in. You will most probably be worried about the long term affects too, so practical tips to look after yourself could be an essential way forward.

In Mental Health Awareness Week, I have compiled 5 ways that YOU can boost your wellbeing while staying indoors:

1: Connect with others. By design, we are social creatures and relationships are key to our mental health. There are obvious ways to connect with others such as phone, social media, WhatApp etc. However, it can be worth thinking about other sources such as a Netflix Watch Party, Bingo evenings on Zoom. There are also e-walking and online catch ups with the group.

You can use your imagination and make things happen for you. Some clients have told me that they have set up a Facebook live session and teach people to knit or draw. If you, or someone you know, don’t like using social media, make an agreement to write a letter or email to each other once a week.

2. Be physically active. Our physical and mental health and undeniably linked, so it is important to stay active – even if we do not feel like it! Now the government are advising that we can still go out to exercise once per day. If you do this, please remember to still practice social distancing. If you are lucky enough to have outdoor space, you can use it as a gym. There are lots of YouTube videos that you can use to help you exercise either in the home or in your garden. Many yoga and fitness classes are now being run online; you could go to a ‘virtual class’ with your friends. This has the added benefit of keeping connected with people. Maybe spend this time learning about a new form of exercise, like Pilates or Tai Chi. There are many options to choose from. Why not make a start today and see how YOU can improve your overall health.

3. Be mentally active. The current situation can make us feel quite anxious and stressed, and it is easy to allow our thoughts to spiral into thinking about ‘what if’s’. Physical exercise can certainly help take our minds off these thoughts. But it is important to keep mentally active as well. Board games are a good way of keeping mentally active. Many of us have family favourites, which can be used to keep children entertained. But there has been an explosion in board games for adults over recent years. Games like Scrabble etc are making a comeback! Many of these games are also good for children. And there are lots of websites which teach you how to play games too. If you have children at home, you can also help them with their work for your own benefit too. There are lots of resources being posted online to help parents. Many parents would be grateful for a bit of help and this can always be done via apps like Skype or WhatsApp.

4. Learn a new skill. There are lots of skills you can learn online. Crafts such as knitting and crochet, drawing and painting all help us to be more focused on the moment. Which has been shown to help with our mental wellbeing. Talk to your friends. Do any of them have a skill that you would like to learn? By getting a group of you to learn together this can be a brilliant way of connecting. Not only will you learn a new skill, but you will have lots of fun! Or think about all those DIY jobs you have in the house but do not know how to tackle. There is a YouTube video online that will show you!

5. Mindfulness. Research shows that paying more attention to the present moment can improve our mental wellbeing. The NHS are using mindfulness more and more in their approach to things like stress, anxiety, and depression. Here are some short starter choices:

• 1 minute Breathing Space (Breathworks)

• 90 Second Mini meditation (Finding Peace in a Frantic World)

• 3 Minute Breathing Space audio or video (MiSP/Oxford Mindfulness Centre)

• 3 Minute Coping with Difficulties (Bangor Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice)

• 4 Minute Breathing Practice (Oxford Mindfulness Centre)

• 4 Minutes Feeling as Safe as You Reasonably Can (Dr Rick Hanson)

• 5 Minute Tension Release & other meditations (Breathworks)

• 5 Minute Chocolate Meditation (BBC Mind Set Meditations)

• 9 Minute Befriending and Compassion for Self and Others (Finding Peace in a Frantic World)

• 7 Minute Mountain Meditation, 15 Minute Body Scan & other meditations (Free Mindfulness)

COVID-19 specific videos and podcasts

Dr Jud Brewer daily videos on Corona Virus Anxiety & why short mindfulness practices create our mental health hygiene.

I hope that my 5 tips have been helpful to you. If you need additional help, please just contact me through my website form.

 

 

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There is a movement in positive psychology toward what’s called “radical acceptance”. That means focusing on gratitude, and resonating with the positive. And with good reason: it works! People are improving their quality of life because of these techniques.

Beginning with acceptance, is probably is not what you might expect to hear. However, entire therapies have been developed with acceptance as the focus.

An example of this is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT helps train mindfulness: an awareness of the present moment without judgment. The individual is then better able to tolerate negative thoughts and feelings.

Acceptance has been a key to happiness since Buddhism was born. The Second Noble Truth of Buddhism (of The Four Noble Truths) is that “desire (or craving) is the root of all suffering”. This is interpreted as wanting reality to be anything but what it is, in other words, a lack of acceptance.

Often when teaching I discuss acceptance with my learners, a common argument emerged: “How can I possible accept bad things”. “It is passive and accepting things as they are is giving up”. “It is resignation to something unpalatable”.

ACCEPTANCE TAKES STRENGTH AND MOTIVATION

But that is not the real meaning of acceptance. “Acceptance doesn’t mean passive resignation. Quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of strength and motivation to accept what is- especially when you don’t like it-and then work wisely and effectively as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources at your disposal, both inner and outer, to heal, redirect, and change what can be changed.”

In other words, desiring the world to be something it is not and ruminating thoughts about how things “should be” are put aside. Then change what can be changed.is a way forward in opening the door to acceptance.

Acceptance helps reduce what people experience as a negative. That is only half of the solution to improving one’s quality of life, however. It has been suggested that it takes five positive experiences to counter one negative or, more generally, your brain responds to positive events.

So, the new goal is to allow the positive to resonate, to be prolonged, not in a desperate grasping fashion, but instead through mindfulness and allowing it to permeate one’s attention. This helps counter the balance, and swing experience to the positive.

SEEK OUT THE POSITIVITY ON YOUR LIFE

People often do not notice how much positivity there is in their lives. As such, a movement in the psychology of happiness is to look for what one is grateful for. In “The Mindful Way Through Depression” a suggestion is made to note things you enjoy while going through your day.

In an excellent TED Talk, “Want to be happy? Be grateful”, David Steindl-Rast – a renowned expert on the subject of gratitude – suggests we simply need to stop, look, and then go to see all of what we have been missing that we have to be grateful for. This all relates to slowing down and resonating with enjoyable moments, rather than running from one thing to the next.

Some people find change hard to accept and slip into a spiral of negativity. It is at these times

therapy can focus on defence mechanisms and how change is strenuous work and often staying the same is easier (even if painful).

TIPS TO FEELING BETTER

David Steindl-Rast suggests that we simply do not slow down enough to appreciate. We are running from our problems and running from ourselves.

That is not working. Slowing down, being mindful, and experiencing and expressing appreciation will work. By doing it and focusing on it, neuroscience demonstrates new neural connections are made and strengthened. This makes it more likely to occur in the future.

· Think about what you appreciate, write them down if necessary.

· Slow your life down and appreciate all that you have. Even in the worst scenarios there can be appreciation. For instance, having a long bath, shower, the sun setting or rising, the taste of your favourite food, reaching out to people and conversing with others. There are many ways you could feel a little bit more appreciative.

As neuropsychologists are fond of saying, “Neurons that fire together, wire together”. Over time, you will find yourself happier, calmer, and experiencing more joy. And that is science!

References:

Hanson, R; 2009; Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom; New Harbinger Publications;

Steindl-Rast, D; 2013; TED Talk: Want to be happy? Be grateful; Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_gratefu...

 

 

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Problem drinkers are consuming far more alcohol than usual because they are so stressed at being isolated and deprived of support under the lockdown, say doctors. Yet they are struggling to get help because the NHS is so busy dealing with patients with Covid-19, and because specialist treatment services for addicts have been cut.

“Alcohol services across the UK are seeing that some of their clients are drinking much more and becoming even more chaotic in their lifestyles,” said Dr Emily Finch, an NHS addiction psychiatrist and the vice-chair of the addictions faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Online support groups for alcoholics on the rise during lockdown

Upset at no longer being able to see relatives and friends, people in their 40s, 50s and 60s are drinking even larger quantities of cheap alcohol, such as white cider, strong lager and wine, than they consumed in pre-Covid times, she added. Plunging into such dangerous habit’s risks damaging both their physical and mental health.

Doctors fear that people could be drinking so much alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown that a ‘second health crisis’ is on the way.

There are an estimated 587,000 dependent drinkers in England.

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth have launched a study to understand how many people are turning to alcohol to handle the stress, anxiety, and boredom of being isolated at home. The research comes after data suggested that sales of alcohol have increased by 291% during the pandemic.

Eight tips to help you cut your drinking during lockdown

1. Go for smaller sizes

Instead of having a large glass of wine, have a small glass instead.

2. Consider different drink options

Opt to have a non-alcoholic, or low-alcohol drink. You can also stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water, juices, and smoothies.

3. Speak to friends, families, or someone that you trust

Let your friends and family know (via telephone or other means of communication if they do not live with you) that you are trying to reduce your alcohol consumption, so that they can support you.

4. Be mindful when drinking

Sip a drink slowly so it lasts longer. Also, consider the reasons why you are drinking. If it is related to stress, worry and anxiety then it is important you seek support from friends and families or from alcohol support services.

5. Reduce intake of snacks high in salt

Snacks high in salt like crisps and salted nuts can make you feel thirstier and you may feel like having an alcoholic beverage. Instead, opt to have foods that have high-water content like fruits (watermelon, melon, strawberries, and blueberries) and soups, juices, and smoothies

6. Change your environment

Consider getting rid of alcoholic drinks in your house so that it is out of sight, or buy less of it so that you can consume less.

7. Do something else

Consider fun and healthier ways to get yourself active and busy so that you are not thinking about alcohol. This may be going for a jog, workout indoors, dance around the house or choose a new hobby.

8. Challenge yourself

To take a break from regularly drinking alcohol. Challenge yourself to have at least two or three alcohol-free days each week.

I am a trained addiction therapist with over 20 years’ experience working with individuals and families who have been affected by addictions.

Call me for a 10-minute free consultation at JDJ Counselling on: 07541 872 474 to talk over any concerns that you may have regarding this blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, has reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day, while a separate helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse seeking help to change their behaviour received 25% more calls after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be physical or psychological, and it can affect anyone of any age, gender, race, or sexual orientation. It may include behaviours meant to scare, physically harm, or control a partner. And while every relationship is different, domestic violence typically involves an unequal power dynamic in which one partner tries to assert control over the other in a variety of ways.

Insults, threats, emotional abuse and sexual coercion all constitute domestic violence. Some perpetrators may even use children, pets, or other family members as emotional leverage to get their victim to do what they want. Victims of domestic violence experience diminished self-worth, anxiety, depression, and a general sense of helplessness that can take time and often professional help to overcome.

Abuse can take on many forms including:

  • Physical: hitting, kicking, biting, pulling hair, pushing, grabbing, blocking exits, destroying property and precious objects like family heirlooms

  • Emotional: name-calling, mind-games, threats

  • Sexual: includes assault and rape as well as coercion, pressure, threats, and sexual bargaining for things in return

  • Financial: putting someone in debt, closing accounts without consent, giving an allowance that then infantilises the other person

  • Neglect: withholding affection and attention

If you have been affected by Domestic Violence call me at:

JDJCounselling (07541 872 474) to book a free 10-minute consultation.

 

 

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I wanted to share with you Paula Hall talking about sex and drugs. I trained with Paula and her team at the Laurel Centre, Leamington Spa. 

If you feel that you would like to talk over any issues that are highlighted in this article, please contact me: Julie Jones on 07541 872 474

Sex and drugs have been closely connected: loved by some, a major addiction problem for many. We guide you on dealing with concurrent chemical and sex addiction and offer 2 worksheets for therapists and clients alike.

By

PAULA HALL

PDF:  Concurrent sex and drugs – Paula Hall

 

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Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behaviour. 

Brené Brown explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humour, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

View here

 

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More and more young people who are addicted to gaming are contacting me. It's a fast-growing issue. Have a look at my new video on the subject and if it chimes with you, just get in touch. I can help. 

 

Food for thought?

 

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Food plays an important part in our lives, and most of us will spend time thinking about what we eat. Our relationship with food often changes. We may try to eat more healthily, have cravings, eat too much, or lose our appetite. However, if you aren’t eating a regular balanced diet over a longer period, it could start to become a problem for you.

Having an eating problem can be very hard to cope with, but it’s important to understand that eating problems aren’t just about food. They can be about difficult things in your life and painful feelings, which you may be finding hard to express, face, or resolve. Focusing on food can be a way of disguising these problems, even from yourself.

I hold the Advanced Certificate in Eating Disorders, which means I can help you if you find yourself having to deal with an eating problem.

If you feel that any of the above has become an issue for you, you can book an initial assessment with me to talk over your concerns in a safe and confidential setting.

Please contact me on: 07451 872 474.

 

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Having worked with couples for over ten years, I surveyed what couples would have wanted to know about each other before they ‘Jumped the Broom'. I then asked what could have made the difference to their marriage…

Working with couples in crisis it is becoming more and more apparent that learning “relationship skills” at the beginning of the journey can save a great deal of pain, upset and distress further down the road.

My survey indicated that 76% believe that Pre-Marriage Counselling is something that the participants would consider, and 88% of participants suggested that they wished they'd entered Pre-Marriage Counselling before engaging in a long-term relationship.

As a result of my extensive conversations with clients, JDJ Counselling is launching Pre-Marriage Counselling for couples. I’m working with several wedding planners, and colleagues to offer a bespoke pre-marital service!

In this post I will outline reasons I think all couples who intend to make a long-term commitment to each other should consider:

1. Pre-Marriage Counselling can teach you how to talk to each other. The central focus of my work with couples is teaching them how to talk to each other so both can stay safe, both feel heard and both learn to listen. Learning these skills at any stage of the relationship is going to be transformative. Why not learn it at the beginning rather than when things get tough? As a lecturer, I use my teaching skills to teach couples how to relate to each other.

2. Pre-Marriage Counselling can explain why you chose each other in the first place. Once we have made the commitment to stay in a relationship, such as marriage, it’s likely that we are going to start noticing the negative side that our partner displays more than the positive stuff. If we have had pre-marriage counselling and understand this will happen, and why it will happen, it allows us to ride it out and appreciate that it’s at this point in our relationship that we have our best opportunity for growth.

3. You learn about what events in the journey are likely to test you out as a couple. Pre-Marriage Counselling gives you a “heads up” and creates a space for you to plan some strategies to put in place should life’s ‘issues’ come your way. These are simple yet powerful coping mechanisms, they work if you work them! They will not only enhance your own relationship, but all relationship that you have with family, friends, colleagues etc.

4. You will learn about how to resolve disagreements. Pre-Marriage Counselling teaches how to deal with differences and disagreements. After all, this is a realistic process of being in a relationship and learning skills to resolve disagreements will enhance the relationship in general. I offer a ‘tool kit’ of being with one another, and a safe way of communicating your needs and desires to your partner and listening in return to theirs. Have you ever heard of a ‘talking stick’? Talking sticks have been used for many generations in many different cultures to resolve disagreements. You will be able to make your own couples taking stick that will be you’re for the duration of your time together.

5. You get to express your feelings of love and affection for your partner. That’s why you’re making a long-term commitment to each other in the first place right? You will work on “appreciation dialogues” that will be motivating, intoxicating and have a wonderful feel good factor. Focusing on the positives at the beginning of your journey together, leads to ongoing appreciation of each other – both as an individual and as a couple.

Entering something as important as marriage or civil partnership the need to prepare in any way for the emotional difficulties that are inevitable in a long-term union with another human being, can sometimes be overlooked.

Does this sound like something you and your partner would benefit from? If so, just contact me and we can discuss the opportunity to set your life-long relationship off on the best possible footing!

Future events to look out for:

With such a demand for couples Counselling, JDJ Counselling is also pleased to announce that we will also soon be offering ‘Couple Retreats’ in 2021. I will keep you posted about events on my blog.

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Over many years, I’ve seen Love Addicts repeat the same patterns time and time again. Some of my clients believe that they just can’t find the right one, or that their love has gone from the relationship. They jump from one to another, always searching for that fix, that high which makes them feel special and whole. They are on a hamster wheel and too frightened to get off, so they keep running around searching, exhausting themselves in the process.

Love addiction is a chronic and compulsive craving in the pursuit of romantic love. They desire security from another without thinking things through rationally. Their need for attachment is to survive and they seek connection, especially that romantic connection, time and time again.

There's nothing dysfunctional wanting love as this is a human condition, but when you forsake yourself for the ill-fitting relationships that you are in repeatedly, your life becomes problematic to you!

Here are 10 questions for you to ask yourself:

1. Have you ever thought if only someone loved you in a wonderful, special and distinctive way? And that if only you had someone like that, you would be happy forever?

2. Were you, or are you, pre-occupied with the notions of love? Do you listen to music and drift away with the notion of it – dreaming of it as you see it unfold in the movies that you watch, or the couples that you see holding hands and laughing together in the streets etc.?

3. Have you ever talked yourself into loving someone, needing them even though you knew they were not right for you? You've not been able to turn away, as the power of being in love is bigger that the reality of difference. You need their LOVE now as it will sooth you, numb you and make you feel whole.

4. Have you stayed with someone because you are not prepared to be alone? Do you panic at the thought of being alone and will return to ex-partners who have treated you badly.

5. Did you ever place scaffolding around your partner, smooth away their own issues to make them seem better to you early in the relationship? Have you felt that doing this to/with someone was much better than accepting the lack of similarities and admitting that you are just not suited.

6. Do you always strive for those ‘whistle and flute’ days? The excitement of being in love is stronger than anything. Your believe you met your soul mate again, you are whole once again, and this time this is the one true love for you!!

7. Since you started dating, how long have you been on your own or unattached to someone? Have you been free from fretting about being attracted to someone, or someone being attracted to you?

8. When you are in a relationship, do you ever wonder off in your head to past relationships and wish they were still in your life. Are you always on alert for that attention from others and thinking there is someone better around the corner – even though you are with someone and committed to them? Does flirting stay with you during these times and the need to feel special from others is as strong as ever?

9. Do you expect your partner to make you feel whole, loved and special all the time? If they are not paying you as much attention as you would like, do you become upset and the need to feel wanted and loved is stronger than ever?

10. Have you ever taken time to heal from a relationship before entering a new one?

I don’t intend to score you on your questionnaire. However, if you’ve answered ‘yes’ to a majority of the questions above, there are ways that you can stop this compulsion and lead a healthier life with healthier relationships. The first step is to forge a better relationship with yourself.

Why not try something different, because your past experiences have not worked for you.

Don’t ever, ever give up! Recovery is possible. If you slip, get right back up – as the old saying goes: “Fall 7 times; get up 8!”

  • Learn everything you can about your addiction. Stick to your treatment program, even when you don’t feel like it!

  • Don’t compromise your personal values just to fulfil an urge.

  • Have a game plan in place for those times when temptation rears its ugly head.

  • Keep a log of all the times you are successful – this will help keep you motivated during the most difficult times because you’ll see how far you’ve come.

It’s okay to desire “Mr. Right” or “Ms. Right”. BUT, don’t make it your highest priority, or put your life on hold while you’re waiting. The more fully you live your life, the more attractive you will be to that right person for you when he or she comes along.

Don’t try to be someone other than who you really are.

  • No matter how low you feel, never put yourself down – truly be your own best friend and treat yourself with the same respect you would treat any dear friend.

  • Learn to forgive yourself and others. Holding grudges takes a lot of energy, and the underlying hurt and anger can be a trigger for giving into urges.

  • Don’t try to manipulate someone to make them stay with you.

  • Don’t look to others to validate you – that must come within. The more you believe in yourself and value yourself, the more others will admire and respect you.

  • Don’t ever settle for Mr. or Ms. Wrong because you’re scared of being alone – you’ll just end up exchanging one type of pain for another.

  • Don’t dwell on past mistakes or regrets. Accept that you can’t change the past, forgive yourself, and focus on the present and the future.

  • Don’t make perfection a goal – it will never be attainable. Instead, strive to be excellent.

  • Surround yourself with trustworthy people who will support you while treating you with the respect you deserve.

  • Take responsibility for the decisions you have made.

  • When you’re feeling alone or scared, find opportunities to spend time with others in a healthy environment.

Remember that being alone does not mean you are worthless or undeserving of love. Make time in your life to focus on something you are passionate about, or that gives you a strong sense of purpose. Rid your life of anything or anyone that is toxic or not good for you. This may include bad habits, a relationship with someone toxic, or replacing an old bad habit with a healthy new one. (Note though – don’t try to do this all at once, just focus on one or two things or people at a time.)

  • Visualise often a life without this addiction. Imagine yourself living that life right now, not some day down the road.

  • Learn something new that you enjoy. Focusing on a new task or project is a great way to ward off intrusive thoughts.

  • Make sure that your expectations of yourself as well as others is realistic.

  • Always stay focused on your goals and be true to your heart.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, it will hopefully help you see the importance of getting treatment for your love addiction.

Treatment:

I offer an assessment that can help you identify what your needs are, and we can begin our work from there. I will use a model that is the right one for you. You are an individual and this needs to

be explored within therapy.

Remember: You do not have to do this alone and it’s hard to combat without the support of others. We will work towards a bespoke treatment plan that caters for your unique life, and unique you!

 

 

 

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Sex addiction is a term that describes any sexual behaviour that feels ‘out of control’. It’s not the behaviour itself that defines it as an addiction, but rather the dependency on it to numb out negative emotions and difficult experiences. As with all addictions, most people with sex addiction will have tried to stop or limit their behaviour on many occasions – but despite continuing harmful consequences to self and others, they can’t reliably STOP.

Do take a look at this talk by Paula Hall. She explains that sex addiction affects young and old, rich and poor, male and female and shares what we can do about it, even if we don't suffer from it ourselves.

 

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Do you ever find yourself following a certain train of thought, without consciously deciding to go down that path, that takes you to a sad or upsetting conclusion? It’s an automatic process and we are usually completely unaware of our distortions and how they affect our lives. But it can be a scary place.

If so, CBT Therapy can help you! CBT is based on the belief that a distressed or disturbed person can demonstrate so-called maladaptive thinking and distorted processing – meaning we don’t adapt to or deal with a particular situation or issue in a positive way, and instead end up thinking the worst...even though there's no reason to do so.

But when we stop and recognise some of our thoughts are not based on reality but on negative distortions, we can facilitate the change process.

Let’s look at some of the negative-thinking traits that we can all be prone to. If you feel that any of the below ring a bell, you can change this by identifying the problem.

· All or nothing thinkers: Placing experiences in one of two opposite categories. Something can only be good or bad, right or wrong. Its either flawless or defective.

· Catastrophising: We believe and imagine that the worst is going to happen. We cannot see the wood from the trees and we are in despair. Everything is closed, and everything is heavy!

· Overgeneralisation: We can make some wonderfully exaggerated statements here. For instance, we can suggest that we cannot control our temper, when in fact we have only lost our temper a couple of times.

· Discounting the positives/Mental filtering: This is when it’s a case when we only notice what our mental filter will allow us to notice. Here we can discount the positives and chose to favour the negatives. For instance, someone says “Wow, what a great day”. Rely – Yeah, but it’s not going to last, as it never does!

· Jumping to conclusions: This informs our judgements. For instance, we can always be in a negative world in this place as we decide what we want to decide, rather than what’s in front of us.

· Fortune tellers: We always know something bad is going to happen before it happens.

· Mind readers: We assume that we know what the other is thinking of us and the world around them and give it a negative slant. For instance, she didn’t say my new dress looked nice, so she must think it’s horrible and I look horrible in it.

· ‘Should’ statement people: This is where we tell ourselves that we “should be” doing A, B or C. For instance, “Yeah, the house is nice, but I should have had more by now. I should have had a bigger house”.

· Labelling: This is a two-fold whammy! For instance, we can label someone, and it can stick to them like glue. For instance: “You will never amount to anything” (bullies use this tactic regularly). We can also internalise and label ourselves: “I can’t do this, as I’ve never been able to cook and now I am having a dinner party. I’m useless!”

· Emotional reasoning: This is where we can feel that something is true because it feels like it is true. For instance, I know he or she is going to leave me, not because they are angry or anything else, I just feel that they are going to leave me.

· Critical Self: This is the internal critic and she/he loves to criticise themselves. Always self-blaming, putting themselves down. They feed off ‘rubbish thinking’. For instance, the self-critic is always thinking the worst of themselves, they are never good enough. It’s not a nice place to be at all. If you cannot like yourself, you will never allow others to like you either. It’s a Catch-22 situation, as the self-critic will always beat you, blame you, and push and hint of confidence away from you. The self-critic will feed of your self-doubt and insecurities.

THEN LAST BUT NO MEANS LEAST:

· Inappropriate Blaming: Using hindsight’s to determine what you should have done, even if you could not have known the best thing to do at the time. To be in this mode is a no-win situation as you will always ignore mitigating factors and can ignore the role that others play in a negative experience or event. For instance, you go on a long overdue holiday and the neighbours cat got run over the days that you used to care for him. You would blame yourself – because if you did not take that long overdue holiday the cat would still be alive and kicking. It would be great to kick that negative and inappropriate blaming out of your life, but you need in now more than ever as this is your automatic thinking process.

CONCLUSION

All the above form a hard, but automatic part of your life. It’s been with you, but you're not even aware of it most of the time. It can be hard to let go of any safety net, after all – its been with you on particular journey of your life.

Many people I see in most of the categories above are also ‘YES, BUT’ personalities too. An example of this is when I am working with them and there is a movement forward, which I might add is a positive. Then out of nowhere the ‘YES, BUT’ arrives: YES, BUT what if this and YES BUT if that?

I can only say this: Whatever brought you here is because what you have been doing is not working for you anymore. Let me walk beside you and help free you from this negative pattern of behaviour. Let me walk beside you while you make the changes necessary to make your life a little easier than it has been’!!

If you feel that any of the above has rung a bell, you can change this by identifying the problem. CBT Therapy can help you!!

Remember: To know the problem is to solve the problem.

 

 

 

Researchers have found that people who have a happy partner also have an overall balance of wellbeing and suffered less stress. As a result, it’s suggested that a happy partner will provide better emotional support, stronger social support and could be responsible for a healthier outlook.

We can’t always be happy, right? And it wouldn’t be fair to suggest that another is totally responsible for our wellbeing…but a stressful partner does have an effect on us and therefore our stress will affect them too.

Therefore, a positive influence will influence your partners health! Using therapy, such as goal-orientated therapy, can help us reduce stress levels and aim for a better lifestyle, which in return will have beneficial result on our life and our relationships.

Ref: Chopik, W. J., & O’Brien, E. (2017). Happy you, healthy me? Having a happy partner is independently associated with better health in oneself. Health Psychology, 36, 21-30. [PDF]

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Mental health issues can cause life to spiral out of control. That’s because our mental health affects our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and general interactions with the world and ourselves.

When things feel off or especially challenging in the areas of thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and interactions with others, it is time to consider taking charge of the situation and reverse it before it gets worse.

My belief is: ‘To know the problem is to solve the problem’.

I have heard of so many professionals suffering from mental health issues and burnout and the incidence of sickness leave is growing at a considerable and worrying rate. It’s time to consider mental health across the board as everyone can have issues in this area.

The Welsh government is delivering a plan for improving mental health and wellbeing and improving the care and treatment of people using mental health services, their carers and their families.

Find out about the agenda for change here:

https://gov.wales/topics/health/nhswales/plans/mental-health/?lang=en

 

It was music to my ears to see that the government has promised more mental health support for schools. They are suggesting that mental health teams could offer students the help they need to overcome their difficulties. There has always been a stigma with mental health issues and I have had experience of this while working in schools, universities and for the most vulnerable people in our society. My passion is to encourage more men to seek help when they are feelings ‘out of sort’s”. 

Big boys DO cry and it’s about time we began to listen to them.

Whatever our age or situation in life, we do not have to suffer alone. Here are some helpful links to support:

· The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day. Call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.or

· The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) offers support for men. Call 0800 58 58 58 between 17:00 and 00:00.

· Papyrus helps people under 35. Call 0800 068 41 41 Mon to Fr 10am to 10pm

· Childline is available for children and young people under 19. Call 0800 1111 (the number will not show on your bill).

· The Silver Line helps older people. Call 0800 4 70 80 90.

I have found that many sex addiction clients I have had have been women, and I don’t feel that this is discussed enough within the literature on offer. 

Let’s start talking about SEX ADDICTION AND WOMEN!

Sex addiction is a crippling addiction…do not get excited about the word SEX. SEX is a mask and when taken off, there is someone who is suffering.

Women sex addicts tend to use sex for power, control, and attention. They score high on measures of fantasy sex, seductive role sex, trading sex, and pain exchange. 

Unlike men, female sex addicts do not seem to be following an intensified trend already existing in the general culture. In fact, by acting out sexually, these women seem to be reacting against culturally prescribed norms.

Find out more:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-are-female-sex-addicts-different-from-males/

 

We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued. It consumes, it destroys, and it disables.

For both men and women equally, having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them. It’s a hit, a feeling of exhilaration but shame at the same time.

Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional partner at a time. Trawling, not being able to quench the thirst, never satisfied and always being disappointed.

We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts. It’s all-consuming and takes its toll on you and your loved ones. Living in secrecy, living with lies and more lies. We sexualise stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing care, and support. It numbs our feelings and soothes us for a short while. Its vicious, a cycle of abuse to oneself.

We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others. This is part and parcel of the addiction. We must control, we must manipulate, and this is part of the cycle of the horrible game they call ‘addiction’. But the truth is its there because we have no control. It’s a false sense of security and there is no security when you live it. Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones and ourselves. It’s a lose-lose situation.

We become immobilised or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.

We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities. Porn is one of those compulsions and it takes over your life, the life that has no purpose other than the addiction.

Whatever has prompted you to seek help, I am able to work with you through a process of assessment, understanding, exploring underlying issues and recovery strategies.

Or, if you are a partner, I can offer support and understanding at a traumatic time in your life. I work with clients Face-to-Face or via Skype and welcome enquiries from individuals, couples and partners who are affected by Sex/Porn addiction.

 

 

 

This five-minute breathing exercise can help bring feelings of inner peace. To begin with, sit comfortably or lie down and as you follow the on-screen image. Make sure to relax your body as you breathe in and out. Try and complete the full five-minute exercise for best results.

Focusing our attention on our breathing is an excellent way to rid the mind of mental noise and worries about past or future events – allowing us to be aware of the present moment. The most basic way we can do mindfulness breathing is to simply focus on inhaling and exhaling by "watching" our breath.

You can do this anywhere and once you get used to the 4-7-8 breathing pattern of inhalation-hold-exhalation in this breathing exercise. Then you can do it closing your eyes and just listening to the music, as that may be more comfortable. You can also lie down and just listen to the music if you like.

It can be helpful to set aside a certain time every day to practice this deep breathing exercise. I recommend spending around 20 minutes breathing and relaxing with your eyes closed in order to achieve best results when trying to reset in the middle of a long work day. Here are some handy tips to get you started:

1. Find a position that you find comfortable. I recommend sitting in a comfortable chair or lying down (once you have mastered the timing of the breath).

2. Notice your body and pay attention to how you feel. If you feel certain muscles are tense or are working too hard actively relax those muscles. It can be helpful to scan your body in your mind and focus on relaxing each part of your body at a time. For example, you can start by relieving tension and anxiety in your toes, then relax your feet, then your ankles, your calves, and so on until your entire body is relaxed.

3. If you find the 4-7-8 (Inhale-Hold-Exhale) to be too difficult as a beginner, start with just paying attention to your breath without actively controlling it. Pay attention to you breathing in and out naturally, without doing anything.

4. As you do this, you may notice your mind start to wander and think about other things. This is completely normal. Don't get tense or stressed out – just allow the thoughts to fade away as you refocus your attention to your breath.

5. At the end of the exercise, sense your whole body one last time and notice how much more relaxed you feel. Also, take a moment to appreciate yourself for taking the time to care for yourself and practice this exercise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04PgJqJGLQc

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of research on happiness and subjective well-being has been done over the past 50 years — it seems like everyone wants to determine the exact formula for joy. While there will never be a universal prescription for attaining happiness, some important findings offer guidelines for all of us. Here are five prerequisites for finding satisfaction or experiencing happiness in life:

Human beings need relationships to enjoy optimum well-being and happiness. This is a simple truth — we are born with a strong drive to establish connections with others. While many of us think that we will be happy when we find "true love," or whatever we feel approximates that, it is NOT romantic relationships that are required for happiness.

Simply having good friends who encourage and support you will contribute just as much to your overall feelings of happiness and contentment in life.

Our human brains are wired so that we feel joy when we behave in altruistic ways. Just making plans to do something nice for others — whether it is throwing a party for a friend, volunteering your time for a worthy cause etc, etc — will give you a boost and generate a sense of satisfaction and well-being.

Acknowledging the abundance of your own life — no matter how extravagant it might be — and experiencing gratitude for how these people, experiences, and things in your life also positively contribute to your sense of well-being. The drive to attain more and more is counter to the expression of gratitude and a feeling of contentment with who and where you are in life. The pursuit of "things" only has value if you cherish the pursuit more than the "thing" it might yield. Finding a senseof meaning and purpose in your pursuits in life is necessary to your contentment and happiness.

Believing that you are contributing to something beyond yourself and being a part of something larger than your individual existence are also necessary to experience a feeling of peace that is a part of happiness.

Making healthy lifestyle choices in terms of your basic needs — sleep, nutrition, and exercise — also contribute to your happiness in life.

There are many research studies that show that regular exercise — even just a daily walk — is effective in reducing depression. Contemplation activities, such as yoga, meditation, and reflection, also are proven to reduce stress and promote well-being. Depending on your age, many people think a good night's sleep is "optional," but research shows that poor sleeping habits lead to greater stress, increased risk for cardiovascular illness, and even weight gain. Sure, you can "sleep when you're dead," to paraphrase a movie title, but why would you want to risk an earlier demise than you would otherwise need to? 

Regarding nutrition, healthy diets really do affect your overall health. And your physical health affects your happiness significantly. A recent research study has shown that including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet also reduces depression and anxiety. Trading the short-term convenience of addictive processed foods or the pleasure of the overindulgence of alcohol or nicotine or other recreational drugs may bring that fleeting "high," but the crash that follows not only affects you the day you feel it but has a lasting negative effect on your long-term health and happiness.

When you think about what brings you happiness in life, if your answer is related to the acquisition of possessions, think about the let-down you feel once the novelty or thrill of the purchase is over. Perhaps you imbue more power into a material object than it warrants. Thinking about your most treasured and successful romantic relationship, was the satisfaction based on simply "possessing" the person or on the experiences and feelings that were benefits of the relationship?

Many of us enjoy the hunt or the pursuit more than we do the possession of a particular thing. Often, you will hear couples reminisce fondly about the days that they struggled in their relationships — and too many couples will break up after they "make it." It is the experience of striving and working together that bonds us with others. When we reach a point when we feel we "have it made" and have no more goals to work toward, then we are apt to find less value, satisfaction, or meaning in life.

Happiness Should not be an Industry but a Personal Practice

As a therapist, I know that people are often seeking that perfect "happiness prescription" that will bring them the kind of satisfaction and contentment they long for. Unfortunately, I also know that these two goals are by-products of life, not "targets" or "places" that can be entered into a GPS to be found. People who are unhappy often seek professional help, and yet the two core reasons that people are not happy to come down to two very basic relationship-centred states — either they have no relationships to others at all, or they have poor relationships with others. To find contentment and happiness, we need to have people in our lives with whom we can be ourselves — vulnerable, imperfect and striving to live a better life. For some, there will always be something just out of reach that cannot be achieved or attained and is unable to find joy in the pursuit, only the possession or attainment of a goal. And once that goal is reached or possessed, it loses its value, and they look outward again to seek the next "thing" they think will bring satisfaction. It is a never-ending cycle of wanting what is just out of reach, rather than taking pleasure in what is.

The "happiness industry" is the result of our belief that we are masters of our lives, and that we should be able to control our emotions and states of being. Unfortunately, anything that truly brings lasting contentment or authentic gratitude is more than likely not a "thing," but an experience. Decades Ago, Happiness Wasn't Considered Something to Be "Bought"

Generations ago, happiness was not quantified or assumed to be a specific "place" that could be reached. People had less time and resources to devote to "personal enrichment"; they just got up each day, did what they were raised to do, and then got up the next day to do it again. Contentment was found in successfully doing what was required of them. Relationships, families, and communities (including spiritual/faith communities, neighbourhoods, etc.) also played a larger part in an individual's life. We are supposedly guaranteed the "pursuit" of happiness, but intrinsic emotional states cannot be "guaranteed" any more than one can guarantee freedom from fear.

Today, the value of individual achievement has created a society that seems intent on personal success above the greater good. Thus, people are somewhat "on their own" as they seek out ways to bring meaning to their lives and find happiness, however they define it. Unfortunately, humans need healthy, authentic relationships and a support network of those who will love them unconditionally. We also need to feel that there is purpose in our existence and that we are contributing to something larger than ourselves. Without that sense of meaning, a connection to others, and an appreciation for what we have in life at this moment, contentment and happiness will never be experienced.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about happiness now is the belief that happiness is a "destination" or that happiness can be "bought." It all sounds a bit strange, 

to say the least, but it is our journey through life and our experiences along the way that will truly yield feelings of contentment and satisfaction with our life. 

What do you think?

 


 

 


With the Royal Family’s Heads Together campaign, the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Changing Minds, the Sunday Express Crusade for Better Mental Health and Mind, and 

Rethink’s Time to Change, the government is now speaking the language of “parity of esteem” for mental and physical health. It has pledged NHS money to improve access

 to mental health care. But we have a worsening crisis in the treatment of people with addiction.

 

Addiction to alcohol, drugs, tobacco and gambling are recognised by the World Health Organisation as mental disorders in need of compassionate treatment. Addictions cause a 

huge burden of disease worldwide and contribute to countless social problems and deaths, and a wide range of mental health problems. Yet research shows addictions are the 

most stigmatised of mental health conditions. They are dismissed as self-inflicted or a lifestyle choice, despite evidence that they can be genetically inherited and have a strong 

basis in abnormal brain functioning.

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Research shows that 54% of women and 24% of men in alcohol treatment services were victims of childhood sexual abuse and 80% of people seeking addiction treatment have 

mental health problems. So why does society hold a moralistic judgment of addictions while developing a compassionate stance on mental health?

It is difficult for many to comprehend how people become addicted and continue to use substances in the face of serious consequences.

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Then we have the Health and Social Care Act of 2012, a disaster for addiction treatment. It split treatment from the NHS, giving responsibility to local authorities. The money was 

ring-fenced but this was removed at the time huge cuts were imposed on local authority funding.

Due to the stigmatisation of people with drug and alcohol dependence, addiction services in England have been cut by 30% – in some areas, by 90%. As the major cost is the 

workforce, the impact has been a loss of specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses – and reliance on volunteers and staff with limited expertise. The Royal 

College of Psychiatrists has seen a drop in people training in addiction psychiatry by 60% since 2006.

Deaths from heroin and morphine have doubled since 2012 and are the highest on record. Alcohol-related hospital admissions doubled in the past eight years. People with 

addiction needs are unable to get help for their mental health as addiction services can no longer treat them. These pressures push the most in-need patients into overstretched 

emergency departments and mental health services, police and even prison.

It is time to halt cuts to addiction services. There is little incentive for local authorities to use their budgets to reduce the NHS addiction burden. The NHS should be an equal 

partner providing addiction treatment to reduce demand for care. We need to rebuild sustainable, safe services and reinstate training for psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses to 

treat people with addiction problems before specialist staff disappear.

We need to give people with addiction problems parity with those with other disorders.

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You can contact Julie Jones on 07541 872 474 to arrange an appointment to talk over any concerns you might have regarding the contents of this article.

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