One important piece of advice I would offer as both therapist and stepmother to another therapist working with stepfamilies, is try not to push too hard and too soon for change. Whilst sometimes our role as therapist is to bring things to a head or shake things up a bit in order to bring about change, if you push too hard and at the wrong time you will defin ... Read more..

I never thought I was wary of intimacy and closeness before I came to realise this in my journey as a client with a psychodynamic therapist. The turning point of realisation occurred however not in a moment of a session, but during a professional development event where the issue of treatment length was raised. The speaker was a famous psychodynamic therapis ... Read more..

This story is about the experience of Embodied Imagination (EI) work, with a traumatic memory of sexual violation, by a group of teenage boys which a client I will call Miriam experienced when she was 15. Embodied Imagination is a therapeutic and creative way of working with dreams, memories and physical symptoms, pioneered in the late 70s by Dutch Jungian ... Read more..

Raymond Carver came up with a memorable title for his 1981 collection of short stories. As a moniker, What do we talk about when we talk about love has it all. It points to the impossibility of coming up with exhaustive definitions of what we most value. Love, it tells us, is not a statistic, nor a science. It is an experience best understood as a question, ... Read more..

WHO KNOWS what pushes us over the edge? A middle aged woman I once interviewed said the depression that stole her life was a mix of childhood and genes. Parents who did not show her warmth or cuddle her set the scene, but it was not until she lost her job that she entered a tunnel from which there was no escape or glimmer of light. "I get so angry when I'm t ... Read more..

The Context We live in a quick fix culture that tries to pack into living as much as it can, and the quicker we can get one job done the quicker we can move on to the next one. There also seems to be an increasing discomfort with empty space as this tends to be perceived as a waste of time. A few years ago I was at a basketball game and what really struck me ... Read more..

The purpose of the exercise We can have extreme emotional reactions to what comes to mind involuntarily. It may sound strange but anxiety and depression can come from just being freaked out by our own thoughts. We can become addicted to "great ideas" which are soothing and develop an aversion to "depressing ideas" which are painful. What we are doing here ... Read more..

Psychodrama? What's that? Well reflect for a moment with me, will you? Do you enjoy watching a sport? Do you have a favourite sport? If you don't please imagine being someone who does. Imagine going to a live football game and it is the grand final. It is 3 seconds before the time runs out; the teams are level; silence reigns as we await an umpire's decision ... Read more..

Chances are either you or someone you know has been prescribed anti-depressants. Sadly, they have become the default drug of choice. It's so much easier for a doctor to prescribe a pill that promises to help you feel better than to take the time to figure out what the real issues are that may be causing your depression. When "feeling low' and fatigued, ther ... Read more..

Many articles have been written to assist women determine whether or not they have postnatal depression. This article serves as a resource for mothers who, having already identified it, want to know more about how to live through postnatal depression. At the outset it is important to note that a variety of strategies will help different individual women. W ... Read more..

Pets as Therapy

    Posted in in - Conversations - Therapy

What inspired you to start Velma's Pets as Therapy? A chronic, painful illness had me in bed for over 2 years and Honey was my constant companion. If not for her, I believe I wouldn't be here today. She lifted my spirits and made me feel better in ways that no medication could! As I began to feel a little better, I felt sorry for all those people in residen ... Read more..

'The photo album is kept in remembrance of those we love and we trust our memory to them. It's the first and possibly the most sacred thing we grab if our home's on fire', I think out loud. Isabel, my 20-something grand-daughter and rebel art student, holds my hand and looks up at me with that special kind of wise young pity, reserved for very old and very s ... Read more..

For many men, the idea of seeking help, either medically or emotionally, is a serious challenge. They tend by their nature to prefer self-reliance. Resorting to external help may risk their sense of autonomy and independence, so they often ignore or minimise their emotional pains, even the physical ones. Research shows that in some cases this tendency can be ... Read more..

In a world in which we are increasingly persuaded that all our discomforts should be dispensed with by way of a new drug, a new body, a new car or holiday, leisure activity, home renovation etc., etc., there is clearly no shortage of insecurities to exploit, nor 'products' to promise fulfilment. Inevitably, these remedies fail to deliver and insecurity resu ... Read more..

Analytical Hypno-Psychotherapy - Hypnosis as a tool in therapy. Hypnosis is one of those things shrouded in misunderstanding, by both many therapists and lay-persons alike. All too often the term Hypnotherapy is used in place of the term Suggestion Therapy. This happens so much so, that the two are considered to be the same thing. Suggestion Therapy may be ... Read more..

For some people, the only exposure they have to a psychologist or psychotherapist and the kind of work they do is through watching films. If you have seen a number of the movies listed below you may have noticed that practitioners are as individual as the people (clients) they see. Did any of these movies make an impression on you? We would love to hear your ... Read more..

Every time a natural impulse is denied (don't shout, don't cry, don't look, don't get too excited), we cut off from our aliveness, our connection with our biological pulsation; thwarting our ability to experience "streamings" - a cellular function that gives us feelings of security, belonging and wellbeing. Most of us lost contact with these streamings at su ... Read more..

In all counselling the key element is the quality of the relationship that is formed between client(s) and counsellor. In my lifetime the art of counselling has grown to become a major profession. As with all growing movements there is a lively debate in place concerning the nature of this work and the theories that support it. As a counsellor of over thir ... Read more..

Therapy involves disclosing parts of us which we don't reveal to anyone - hurts from the past, thoughts that are different to others', feelings which seem "wrong" or inappropriate. For most people, talking about their deepest fears is quite a big deal. A significant degree of trust in the therapist is necessary for the client to open up. So it's not simple ... Read more..

In my years as a therapist, I have worked in a number of environments - doctor's surgeries, youth centres, training facilities, and private practices. The spaces provided to work in have ranged from ugly and depressing, through utilitarian and plain, to comfortable and friendly. In all of these working environments I have found myself 'attending to the spa ... Read more..

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