Being present

Be Aware, Listening and Engaged words on papers pinned to a bullBeing present is not as easy as it may sound. It is a relatively simple concept. Be with the client. Or just be with the person who needs you, relative, friend, loved one. Just be with them. Simple? Not really. What it means is don’t be in your own world, be in theirs. Listen to them, respond to them, empathise with them, care for them, love them, feel with them.

Do not think about the shopping list, the dogs, the children, the TV series you can’t wait to catch up on, your latest email, your date. Just be with the person. Try to ignore your head ache, back ache, clothing, temperature. Just be with the person. Pay attention to that person.

It is a very hard technique. But it is very rewarding for the person you are with who will feel your attention and focus on them. It is a very powerful tool. Psychology Today has a lovely article to help you be present if you would like to practise. Alternatively if you are in the Staffordshire area you can contact Wright Minds

Psychological contact

This idea is key in all types of psychological therapies. It is the simple concept that the client and counsellor need to be in psychological contact, that means their two minds or personalities, need to be in contact with each other, in the same room, same space, with the same purpose. They are willing to open up and share their minds and thoughts. Yes quiet thinking alone can be powerful but thinking with someone can be more fulfilling. Just being present with someone, thinking with them, willing to enter into therapy is the start of the the process. Without this the other techniques are redundant.

If you are in Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme areas and need to start your therapy journey, if you are ready to be in psychological contact with a therapist please do call us at Wright Minds

Pause Breathe Reply

 

 

 

 

We often find ourselves talking before we have finished listening and thinking. I talked in an earlier post about active listening, not thinking about our reply until we’d heard what was being said. This follows on from that. Now you have heard what has been said, PAUSE, think about what was said, BREATHE, plan your reply in your mind, INHALE AND EXHALE slowly, reword what you want to say to make it perfect, to give it the exact meaning you want. REPLY.

This idea combined with active listening will help reduce miscommunication and the arguments that can often be associated with it. It gives you time to give a calm and measured reply. Time to be sure of what you are saying, that you have put your emotions clearly into the words and that you have responded to what the other person said.

 

UPR

UPR or Unconditional Positive Regard is one of Carl Rogers Core therapy conditions. It is about positive regard, offering love, without condition, to the client. I feel this is often the most self explanatory of the therapy techniques, but can be the hardest to genuinely achieve.

It is about caring about the client no matter what, regardless of if you are having to work late to see them, or if they annoy you, or if they are berating something you passionately believe in, if they are a criminal, if they are rude to you, or if you have a headache, or if you’re tired. Regardless of all these things the client will develop and grow more from a therapist who can offer them positive regards/thoughts/love regardless of any other factors. The client will hopefully feel the positive attitude and feel safe and secure and loved, thus be able to open up more deeply.

This therapeutic technique is one of the hardest to achieve, and often counsellors who find themselves struggling to achieve it take that to supervision, to explore if it is counter-transference, if they need to take a sabbatical from counselling as they are burnt out or if it is something about the clients beliefs they can’t work with, and if they can’t work around they this issue this often results in the counsellor recommending the client see another therapist.

Try it yourself, if there is someone who you feel you need to make a better connection with, try caring about them regardless of any other factors and see if they are more positive towards you.

If you want to explore anything above further please do contact Wright Minds

Transference

Transference and counter transference are words often associated with Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytical therapies, predominantly those of Freud. It refers to the feelings, thoughts, emotions, and actions passed between therapist and client, often subconsciously. If the client dislikes managers because they all bully them and the client sees some of these traits in the counsellor they can react the same as they may do with their manager, they transfer the emotion across. However, if the client really likes females as all their friends are females them a female therapist will receive extra adoration. None of this is intentional or conscious. Often the counsellor picks up that they are being treated badly (like the manager) or wonderfully (like the friend). Here the therapy can start, the counsellor can analyse their feelings and reflect back to the client, and between them they may hopefully realise the that client is acting in a certain way based on their presumptions about people and thus help change the clients attitude or actions.

The importance here is that you too can pick up on transference and counter-transference. If you notice someone is always grumpy with you and no one else, think if it may be the way you act with them, are you putting your guard up first as they remind you of someone you don’t like? Is this then making them pick up on your negative mood and reflect it back at you? If so what is it about that person? Now you are conscious of this fact, you can start your own thinking process.

If you are in the Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme area and if you would like help with anything mentioned about or would like some basic counselling skills training please do contact Wright Minds.

Congruence

Another of the Core Conditions Carl Rogers discusses is Congruence. Congruence is the art of honesty with yourself, it is about reconciling your thoughts and actions. It is the awareness of yourself as a whole, your thoughts, feelings, actions, desires, all matching. For example you are feeling very sad but pretend you are happy – this is incongruent, it is better within counselling to show the sadness you are feeling, as this may reflect what the client is feeling, this could be your empathy with the emotion the client is transferring.

Congruence is about the genuine nature of what is being experienced, being present and connected and sharing this to work together in counselling.

This doesn’t just have to be counselling, the more congruent you are with yourself on a daily basis the more you can reduce your stress and anxiety levels, by not locking the feelings away, by revealing them, experiencing them, dealing with them, sharing them, owning them, empowering your self you can be more relaxed and more yourself.

If you are in the Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme areas and would like counselling to become more congruent or training in basic counselling techniques please do contact Wright Minds.

Empathy

 

Carl Rogers is famous for his person centred counselling theory. Within that theory he suggested there are Core Conditions that need to be present for counselling to have its full effect. One of these conditions is Empathy. Empathy is something we can all try to use when with another person. It is not about the words “I understand” because we don’t, we will never be inside someone else’s mind or body we will never be able to know exactly what they are thinking or feeling, but we can try to use our own experiences and feelings to empathise with how someone else might be feeling.

The aim of empathy is to see it from someone else’s view. to try to understand what they are feeling and thinking. Not to pity them but to feel with them.

For example if someone is talking about the death of someone they loved, what experiences can you draw on to understand them more? Remember how you felt when someone important died? Are they describing similar feelings? Are they talking about being bullied? Have you been bullied? Are they talking about being lonely? Have you been lonely, have you watched a film where feeling lonely was explored, have you read a poem about loneliness that my help you empathise? They won’t be feeling the exact same way that you felt, or that you’ve experienced in the past but these are good places to start.

Now use what you already have to put yourself in their shoes, listen to their words, look at their reactions, uses your experiences and your imagination, link your emotions into the process. To empathise try to think in someone else’s place.

If you are around Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme area and are interested in any basic counselling skills training please do contact us.

Active Listening

Active listening is a technique counsellors use, but it can also be used by anyone.

The aim is to listen to the person talking.

Easy yes?

Well not really.

Try it? Do you remember the last thing you listened to? Can you recall what the radio just said, what song they just played? What advert was on TV? What did your partner say as they left home today?

The problem is our minds are so busy, thinking so many things, what time is my meeting, did I charge my phone, what is there to cook for dinner, do I need petrol, where are my keys, am I cold, have I booked the vets, when was the school trip, have I got the PE kit?

Not only that, but when we listen to a conversation we are usually thinking about how we are going to respond rather than just focusing on what is being said to us.

We are also not always looking at the person talking.

Active listening is trying to empty your mind of your own things, not thinking how you will respond, but hearing the words that are being said, listening to just those words, processing them, adding them together with the tone, body language, volume and delivery. Then pausing, replaying the key points in your mind. Now build your response to the sentence.

That is active listening. Focus on nothing but what is being said.

Its not an easy skill and takes a lot of practise.

Over the next few blogs I will discuss some more counselling techniques.

Using Our Knowledge to Cross Boundaries

I suppose this is part of my famous, influential, powerful people making a difference in mental health blog series. Although it is from far more humble origins that the hero stems and has used his own experiences and actions to become influential.

This article talks about Johnny Mercer a soldier who then became an MP.

He talks about his own mental health issues, how when he was young he worried his OCD made him feel like he was just mad. How his war experiences led to post traumatic growth – the positive side to trauma that is often unspoken when people focus on PTSD (post traumatic stress). He feels that there is again stigma and change is needed, he focuses on change in the military as well as change for the public health sector and he is using his role as a MP to make positive changes based on his own experiences.

You two can change your experiences, you can work on your difficulties, your mental health can change and grow. Please do give me a call if you would like to arrange counselling to start changing your mental health.

Employee Listening

I read this article that popped up on my phone – I know, its not enough I work with mental health all day I read about it in the news app on my phone as well. I like to keep up to date with what is happening in the world of mental health.

The article talks about employees asking for more mental health support in the work place. This is a vital part of the current world. Following on from my previous post about the Governor of the Bank of England trying to offer a balance I felt this article fit well with my current theme. It again promotes the idea to ‘talk openly about it’.

Whether it is a professional supervision (sometimes referred to as debriefing) where you can offload, discuss and ponder the private and confidential parts of your day to day work to someone who is neutral and confidential. Or if it is counselling for stress, anxiety or any other issues I can hopefully offer you support.

If you are an employee and want more support and your boss doesn’t know where to turn, or you are the boss looking to provide mental health provision for your team then I am more than happy to work with your company to help advise or to arrange this.