What will counselling be like after the COVID 19 pandemic?

This is an excellent question. I think clients are more aware now that counselling can be accessed through more mediums than simply face to face, these now including video, telephone, online (eg a pre-written CBT program online clients interact with/follow) and even text therapy. Clients can now not only choose their preferred method of therapy but have a wider choice of therapists as electronic means of therapy offers clients the ability to pick a counsellor who may live 200 miles away from them but has the skills they need. The right client can now find the right counsellor and the right method of therapy more easily than ever before.  

For many counsellors they have themselves realized that therapy has more access points than they previous worked with and have chosen to expand their practices into those areas they feel competent with. For myself I think the process of how I offer counselling will alter very little, since I qualified in 2010 I have offered video therapy session (I even wrote my thesis on the values of video therapy), telephone therapy and face to face therapy. I am delighted that more clients are aware of video therapy and are now able to make use of my skills from any UK location, it also allows clients to ‘take their counsellor with them’ if they have to travel, relocate for work or family. It allows busy people easier access to therapy as they may not need to travel to a counsellors office but use video, it allows people who are socially anxious to have counselling from home and work up to travelling to the counsellors office, it allows people who need space the option of face to face, it allows people to choose week on week which method of therapy wish to access.

So what has COVID 19 done for therapy? Well one thing I know is that it has improved people’s awareness of ways to access to therapy, and improved counsellors access to clients. Overall I also think it has improved people’s awareness and understanding of the vital use therapy can be when people are struggling.

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Brene Brown

I know I’ve said it before but here it is again, this time Stessopus is busy reading Brene. Remember to Dare Greatly in life.

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

New Job Anyone?

We find ourselves with more freedom as some of the world is starting to look forward from the last 18 months of lockdowns, restrictions, working from home and job loss due to the pandemic. We are changed because of it.

One of those changes I have noticed is I have been involved with several friends and colleagues who have been discussed the idea that their job may not be all they want it to be, may not be fulfilling enough, may no longer offer them what they now desire in life. Our views and needs have changed. This is normal.

So if your desire to change is ongoing here are some interesting links that might help you move forward.

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/skills-assessment

https://www.ucas.com/careers/buzz-quiz

https://jobpersonality.co.uk/career-aptitude-test

https://www.career-test.co.uk/

If, however, you are unsure if it is a real desire to move forward or if it is maybe: a fear of returning to work after the pandemic, a loss felt by working at home, a realisation that when all you have is work it is not enough etc please do consider seeking counselling to help you reach a personal clarity before you move forward.

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Impacts from Childhood

ACE’s or Adverse Childhood Experiences are events from childhood that have negative impact on someone as they grow and develop. They can be from things we commonly expect such as trauma and/or abuse to the child in childhood, but also from things such as the child experiencing poverty, divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration etc in their family environment.

What sort of impact this has is variant dependent on the care the child receives as well as their personality type. Some children can experience a relative dying, or being incarcerated without a negative impact if they perceive love and protection adequately from other sources. It is all to do with the impact of toxic stress on the brain of the child. Some stress is normal, some can be mitigated as mentioned above, while in some children it becomes toxic.

What are the impacts of toxic stress or ACE’s? These can be multiple including things such as drug use, alcohol issues, smoking, obesity, depression, anxiety, suicide, but also physical issues such as increased risk of heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, stroke and lung disease.

ACE’s can be prevented by ensuring a balance between stress impacts (which can’t always be avoided and to some extent are a natural part of life) and providing a loving, safe, nurturing and stable environment to encourage and teach children to cope with adversity, to teach resilience and build confidence and encourage them to love and care, offer compassion and understanding.

Here is a link to a website that explains in more detail and offers the scientific information about the impact on the brain as well if you are interested in knowing more

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Nightshift?

I think this post is really just a musing I am having after noticing an article on my news app about shift work and chatting to a colleague who works nights in an ambulance.

Have you worked nights for a long time? Do you find yourself feeling more depressed, stressed or anxious than usual? There has been some research into the concern that being awake when the bodies natural rhythm is to sleep (darkness), or trying to achieve beneficial sleep when the bodies natural rhythm is to be awake (daylight) can, for some people, have a negative impact on the chemical repairs and rejuvenations that naturally happen to the body and brain when we sleep at night.

Below are some articles reviewing the impact long term nightshifts may have on people.

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20171208-what-working-through-the-dead-of-night-does-to-your-body

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499504/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/study-reveals-why-all-nighters-may-dangerous-your-health/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924933817309768

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

The Road Forward

For over a year we have battled a pandemic, you have lived through an international and historical event that many people will never experience. How we move forward from here is an unknown, just like the road ahead. The government have produced a roadmap as a guide to when they feel things might be safe to return to a version of normal, but that is a general guide, how you feel individually will differ greatly. Some people will want to go out and explored life, others will be more cautious, some will want hugs, others will shy away from human contact, some will be so happy to work from home forever, others will be desperate to get back to an office. Please remember everyone is different, everyone has reasons for the way they feel and all these feelings are valid and important, try to be kind and not judge others or demand they feel the way you do. We have all been changed in someway, big or small, by the last 18 months and the pandemic.

If you need to reach out and talk about your experiences or your road forward please do, whether it is to a friend or a professional.

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Suicide

Suicide has been discussed in the Media recently and I felt it might be a good time for another blog post about it. Something psychotherapist, counsellors, health professionals are taught in training is to never avoid talking about suicide. There is no evidence that addressing concerns over suicide with someone will make that personal more suicidal, in fact evidence tells us that it will likely make them less suicidal to feel heard and to be offered support.

We know that we do not have control over someone else life or choices and that we can not always prevent suicide, but that shouldn’t stop us from being there to support people who are suicidal in changing their thoughts if they want to, and we shouldn’t feel guilt if we don’t make a difference even though we tried.

I have attached some links at the bottom of this page about how to help someone/yourself and where to get support from if you need to. Don’t be afraid of talking about suicide, address your fears and concerns and be there to support someone who may need help in preventing suicide.

https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/if-youre-worried-about-someone-else/myths-about-suicide/

https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/carers-hub/suicidal-thoughts-how-to-support-someone/

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/help-for-suicidal-thoughts/

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Media and Mental Health

Mental Health has been in the focus of the Media a lot recently, especially discussions around suicide (which my next blog post will address in more detail). How do you feel mental health is portrayed in the Media? How do you feel Media impacts on your mental health?

Many people have mixed feelings about social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and probably a dozen more I can’t name). Some people take joy from seeing others posts about happiness, kittens and trees, while others feel they cant live up to their friends happy lives. Often it depends on personality types and existing mental health feelings to how people react to social media. How do you react? Are you aware of the impact social media has on you? Do you need to challenge your thinking to make it healthier?

But Media doesn’t stop there, it is not just about social media, it can be about the news, video or written sources. How is mental health portrayed here? At the bias of the organisation or journalist authoring the piece? Is it intended to manipulate, educate, indoctrinate? Some media articles can be empowering, honest and supportive of mental health, while others can paint it in a negative light, suggest it shows weakness, offer ridicule or blame. Would you know which to believe or why? Could you make your own decision or would you be swayed by the media’s interpretation?

Illustration of social media concept Free Vector

Below I have added some articles about media and mental health to get you started, remember media doesn’t always present things in a clear way, look around before you form a belief based on one piece of information.

https://www.verywellmind.com/mental-health-stigmas-in-mass-media-4153888

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/category/blog/media-tv-and-newspapers

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/improving-representations-of-mental-health-on-tv/

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Personality types

As a therapist I am often asked about personality types and how this might impact on peoples understanding of themselves and their therapy journey. Finding out your personality type can be really helpful to some people, while to others they find they want to try to fight who they are.

The most widely used personality test is the Myers Briggs, I have included a link here to their website where you can find out more about it.

Isabel Briggs Myers believed “Good type development can be achieved at any age by anyone who cares to understand his or her own gifts and the appropriate use of those gifts.”1. Why not take the test yourself and see how well you now yourself? Here is a link to a website that allows you take the test. Do you agree with the answers? Have your learnt something about yourself?

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Thoughts Journal

If you have had any exposure to self-help or counselling I am sure you will have heard the word Journal be thrown around. I use it too as a therapist, and decided it was a good idea to share with you all the idea of a thoughts journal.

To start with wipe away the idea of a traditional journal, no dates or times or years, no hours or tasks. No long pieces of prose detailing your movements that day, no bullet list of activities and times.

Thoughts journals are about putting your mind onto paper so you don’t have to carry it all around in your head. They can be a book, or a folder, or a box full of bits of paper, or even a computer document.

The idea is to take what is in your head and put it on paper. This is a creative free for all. Words, images, squiggles, colours, pictures, sentences, anger, sadness, express it however you want. Write your emotional process, draw your thought process, cross things out, stick things in, anything you need to. Draw, paint, write, scribble, get glitter everywhere.

Have a go and see if it helps.

If you would like counselling or to explore more in therapy about journals please do contact Wright Minds: laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304