I have been given permission to share this piece of writing by a client to show how accepting your diagnosis can really help you with your progression, thank you and kind regards.
Looking out for our children.Standard
Children’s mental health awareness week.
I am a mum of 3 boys and I have had the pleasure and/or misfortune of going through varying systems and organisations with anxiety, autism, dyslexia and relating issues. As a family we have worked closely within the mainstream and autism specific school system, it has been a rollercoaster ride of Senco’s, Ed Psych’s, school nurses, varying out reach services and pediatricians.
Over the years my children have needed support to get used to changes and gain control. I think we have been extremely lucky with the support that we have had.
However as a counsellor who works with children, families and adults I hear how other individuals feel let down by the system.
That is why they seek out private counselling for themselves or their children.
The Governments recent Green Paper children’s mental health promise is certainly an admirable statement to empower schools to tackle these problems.
However is their approach to fulfilling this promise manageable or are parents left with feelings of doubt and worry. Children will recieve support in schools from a mental health team and support staff with a teacher who is in charge of their mental awareness. This will hopefully encourage a sufficiently skilled counsellor in schools across the UK. This will hopefully discourage schools who are at the moment utilising their T/As and mentors as counselling services and ensure that their children are recieving the right support.
I believe that we need more qualified level 4 and above counsellors, play therapists and educational psychologists working in our schools who are already trained and have the experience to help these children. Yes this may cost a little more than the teaching assistants or mentors who are being employed to do this job. But isn’t it worth it? My concern is what level of training will this mental health team have to work with the children and young people. Is this quick fix really the best way to tackle children’s mental health in the long term? Or is it an ill advised therapy likely to create more issues that need dealing with later?
So on Children’s mental health week we need to look at these policies and realise that any therapy is only as good as the therapist.
Too much vs not enough.Standard
One question I am commonly asked with regards to a clients initial contact, ‘What is too much and what is not enough in the first message’. So over a cup of tea I sat and thought about this and yes, I wrote it in a blog to share what I think on this subject.
So I am going to help to break this down for you, give you an idea of what I feel is important, what I feel is handy and what you can put in if you want to.
The initial contact by clients is usually made via telephone email, text or social media.
When the contact is made by telephone this problem doesn’t need to arrise, the counsellor is open to Q&As.
Some clients would rather make their initial contact via messaging or email, this is perfectly fine and I am happy to recieve these.
So let’s look at what is in the message?
OK, it is important to put your name and age (ie adult or child)
It is good to put your availability of when you would like your initial consultation, ie day, evening and over the next week and with some times that you are free.
It is helpful to give to give brief description of why you what you are coming to counselling for. However if you don’t feel comfortable doing this over a message that is perfectly fine.
You can also ask me on the initial message when giving your name if I can call you back to discuss counselling, always remember I may not read this message as soon as you send this. I always reply to messages, texts and emails within 24 hours of receiving.
On a foot note always remember, voice tone cannot be heard in a message.
Please also remember, I may not return my messages as soon as you send them. This may be because I am with a client.
The next step
You may be hearing today is ‘Blue Monday’ but you have a choice to be happy, sad, smile or frown. You can walk or run, trot or skip but remember it is your choice to do whatever you want to do. If you woke up this morning feeling ok and then you heard on the radio it was depression day, do you turn instantly low, why? Stop! Now think, how were you before this and remember how you started your day. You can choose how you want to get through the rest of the day. It’s your choice. Have a good Monday!
Through the eyes of a child.Standard
I was sent this lovely piece of writing yesterday, which yes it did bring a tear to my eye, thank you for such a precious share. I have been given permission to share this with you all.
After I had wiped my tears, reading this made me think about how a child can see the importance of what I do as a counsellor. In a nutshell she is correct counsellors do listen to people and help them so why is there still a stigma to receive this help?
Why are there people still worrying what others will think if they find out that they are attending counselling?
Why are people being judged, being questioned and thinking it is not beneficial?
When actually as this child has pointed out a counsellor is there to listen and help people. Sometimes we need somebody to listen, somebody to talk to who doesn’t know us. It is amazing how open a person is with an impartial listener. Remember it is good to talk.
So how’s your first month going? I know it’s only 3 days in and you are still getting used to being in January, whilst getting over the December feeling. You are probably still writing 2017.
The trouble is after all the hype of Christmas and New Year, the fireworks and the seasons greetings, January can be a bit of a dull month for some, it can be a struggle after the excitement, an anti-climax. Then there’s the thought of going back to school and work, some of you may be back already, whilst others are not. For some it can be a hard month financially too, especially if you are waiting until the end of the month for your pay packet knowing that it has already been spent on gifts and going out. Working out a budget and spending wisely in January and February may help reduce those feelings of stress. Why not invite friends round to your house for a meal instead of the expensive nights out over the next two months? You will be surprised how many other friends are feeling the pinch of January.
Is anyone struggling with seasonal cabin fever, that strange feelings and emotions which arise from lacking in your regular routine, days off and not knowing which day it is?
How many of you have spent the festive time either with family you really don’t get along with, counting the hours until the house is silent again. Whilst for others they have no choice but to spend their time wishing to see more people but only face it alone.
Any and all of the above can cause stress, arguments and anxiety, which can also heighten a person’s symptoms or bring on new.
So how can you help yourself and others around you?
If you think about individual’s who work in a structured environment ie children who are at school with a timetable, they seem to cope ok at school, they don’t seem to get anxious with a set routine in place. Or a man working in an office with a set amount of hours, he has a lunch and break time, he knows exactly what is expected of him, so he functions OK. So why does this all go wrong? Could it be the unpredictability of home and social life? In school and work we are in a controlled environment whereas when we leave we are not. There is no routine, no control, this life is all crazy which triggers anxiety. It all seems to hit the fan and then the parents for instance are left wondering why their child can cope at school but not at home.
Something so small can trigger a past anxious issue which has been kept on lock down. You dont always know what the initial issue was, it could have been the way the turkey was cooked but because you haven’t dealt with it, layers of stress and anxiety have built up which makes the outer layer weaker. It becomes hard to focus, tempers begin to get shorter, the room feels as though it is closing in, others around you can irritate you easily, then the fight or flight kicks in.
It’s not about blaming or making excuses, its about learning. Parents you can put helpful routines in place to lessen anxiety at home. Talk to the childs school to see if there is any support and ask them how they reduce anxiety. Talk to their GP or the school nurse and discuss how you can help your child.
Adults you need to look at the triggers of your anxiety and what changes happen in you, become self aware. Start to notice what is going on around you and work on making positive changes. Whether this is a short or long term issue, it is ok to seek help. Talk to your GP who may be able to put support in place, alternatively your workplace may have a scheme for counselling and support.
You don’t have to go through this alone. Counselling can help you with anxiety and stress.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who reads my blogs and wish you a Happy New Year.
This wish includes health and happiness to you all for 2018 and I hope that you are able to have a good year.
As we turn over this new chapter in our lives remember that it is 52 weeks of a chapter so think about how you want to fill your weeks.
You know you cannot go back, return to a past chapter or rewrite it so it is about writing this new chapter now.
Do you want to remain in the same frame of mind as you were in in 2017 or would you like 2018 to be different. This is not a resolution this is writing a week as it happens, changing how you feel about you.
Resolutions are often broken because we want to achieve crazy goals, for instance lose 7 stone but your not mentally ready. So wouldn’t it be better to get mentally ready for the weight loss? Or achieve a turn over of triple the amount by July without actually doing any planning or extra work. Well that’s setting yourself up for a fail straight away. Plan first and see what is achievable.
Use your weeks wisely and plan what you want to do. Remember to have fun too, our bodies are not machines we need down time to enjoy, rest and rejouvantion. So think about how you can add that to 2018? I enjoy spa days and lunch dates with friends, plus walking and sunshine holidays with my family. This allows me positive relaxation and gives my body down time.
You don’t have to be doing lots in your 52 weeks as long as your mental and physical wellbeing is OK. If you are feeling stressed, depressed, anxious or symptoms that you are not comfortable with you need to do a body check. This is the time to look at what is going on and decide how to make some changes in your life.
We all need to take control and make changes to help ourselves, life is a rollercoaster.
So with the ups and downs of 2018 I wish you all the best hold tight enjoy the ride and try to have some fun along the way. Happy New Year.
One step at a time.Standard
At this time of the year some of us will be looking at the positives and negatives of our year. Starting to think about the up and coming New Year Resolutions whilst reflecting on how this year has gone.
Had you planned to do more this year and now realised you haven’t achieved as much as you had wished? Did you hope for a different outcome in your life by now?
Are you blaming others for your shortfalls, your choices or for where you are right now?
As hard as this is to read this is your journey and your path. When we start out on this planet we have on average around 4 thousand weeks to make use of. These are your weeks to do something with, so what are you going to do with yours.
We are about to enter 2018 with 52 weeks in front of you. You can make a list, write a bucket list or enjoy the weeks in any way you choose. However when you get to 2019 and you have chosen not to achieve them remember that is your choice. You are in control of your weeks to make a difference whether positive or negative. It is your choice to enjoy looking at the here and now, making plans to move forward or always look back and getting stuck.
If you want to make a change in your situation counselling may be the next step to help you.
This time of year means different things for each and everyone. For some it means excitement, happiness, fun and celebrations. Whilst for others it means tiredness, loneliness, sadness and highlighting how they have felt over the last 12 months.
It may bring unexpected emotions, the Christmas blues, with feelings of stress and anxiety and unexpected highs or lows. Take a look around at your christmas party, at your neighbours and at your friends. Is there somebody who looks like they are struggling, somebody who may need a little support? Can you give them a little bit of your time, can you listen to them? Not many years ago we would have done this. We would have taken the time to enquire about a neighbour and a friend in need, or the elderly lady living down the road. We used to pick up the phone to check on our relatives and friends, checking on somebody who was struggling, or just sending a christmas wish to say that we cared.
When you are on your own at this time of the year is it because you choose to be, or is it because you have nowhere else to go? Sometimes there is a place to go but it is about accessing that help, supporting yourself and finding it. Once upon a time there was no room at the Inn, Joseph searched and searched and found a room for Mary in a stable, it wasn’t the best but they made do and they made the best out of what they had. Joseph wasn’t looking for a 5* hotel with a spa and jacuzzi, he was looking for somewhere to support Mary. Sometimes you need to take control to help yourself, you often have a choice.
Today, living in this throw away society, we always want the best and miss the importance of what is going on around us. But is the best needed?
Are you spending out of your budget trying to buy the top gift, trying to get the no.1 toy of the year? How many are spending on the ‘never never’ and then worrying when this will always catch up with you in your January pay packet. Who is this going to make happy?
I remember as a child we only had 3 channels on the television and longed for a remote control on a wire on a video player (which we never got), I had an apple and an orange in my stocking and one gift from Santa. We played board games on Christmas day and we all talked. It was amazing! We had toys and games, we didn’t have computer games to pull us away from the importance of family time! But we did talk to each other and we spent time with each other. What would it be like to spend an hour with each other playing a board game at Christmas. Learn something new about each other. I wonder if that lonely neighbour would enjoy being with you all, at your table enjoying too much noise and hustle and bustle, enjoying time on the sofa whilst you all have your heads in your gadgets. How will you get through December?
When feeling down, depressed or anxious means being stuck inside, locked behind the closed doors. Locked inside our safe place, but is it really that perfect?
Would you rather be out there with friends, family. Could you be making new friends and breaking a pattern? How would that feel?
Do you really need to feel alone within yourself, with all the emotion that comes with it. Is that fair?
Sometimes we just have to just let go and have fun. Let our hair down. Ok it may feel scary, you may need support and that’s ok but why not try to take this control for you. Make that choice for you and see how it feels!