Iceberg

No I’m not talking about the lettuce kind, but the Titanic destroying kind.

Our conscious awareness or our everyday responses to things are the tip of the iceberg, this is what is said, done and seen by others and what we are aware our minds are thinking, e.g. ‘do I want a cup of tea?’ ‘I like tea’, ‘I am useless at painting’, ‘I’m great at sewing’.

Below that are areas that we are not aware of the subconscious and the unconscious, things we think but are not aware we are thinking. For example in our subconscious all those rules we’ve heard in childhood and taken on board are stored subconsciously. If you see pink you think of girls, blue makes you think of boys. Or a phrase ‘big boys/girls don’t cry’ often means we are not aware of these thoughts but our brains throw up the action – e.g. If you are hurt by an action you would resist crying, but unless you think hard you are unsure why.

Finally the unconscious is where we find our most primitive beliefs and behaviours, like violence, hunger, desire, belief in Gods.

We can bring our subconscious and unconscious minds into focus and become aware of them over time with therapy work. For example belief in a God, it can often be a unconscious belief from our early existence, being told by parents, or something we are born with, then we are able to recognise it in the subconscious as our religious activities – e.g. going to a place of worship. Finally we can focus our conscious mind on it and begin to debate why we do what we do. Here in the debate the awareness rises and we can start to see where the beliefs come from under the surface and start to bring them to the surface and adapt them if we wish.

This also links to the topic of ANTs I discussed the other week.

If you are in the Staffordshire area and would like to explore your mind further please do contact Wright Minds.

Flip the Thought

This is a technique I started using with children but can work very well with adults too. It follows from the previous topic of ANTs, to help change those negative thoughts. Take two pieces of paper, or two post it notes, they need to be different colours, try to make one colour you associate with negative and one you associate with positive. On one write the negative thought. On the other, the positive colour, write the opposite thought. With children I have a laminated paper, one side red and one green so we can write the thought and flip it over to the positive side.

For example ‘Oh its raining again’ would go on my negative colour, on the positive colour I could write ‘but the garden will look very green when it stops’ or there won’t be a water shortage’. Try not to let your mind slip towards other negative thoughts, really focus on the positive one.

Once you establish the flipping skill you don’t always need the paper, you can auto correct the ANTs in your mind.

If you are in the Newcastle-under-Lyme or Stoke-on-Trent ares and would like counselling to help with your ANTs or any other issues please do give Wright Minds a call.

ANTs

ANTs? I hear you say. I thought this was a counselling blog and shes talking about insects. Well you are right, it is a counselling blog and no I’m not talking about insects but about Automatic Negative Thoughts.

 

These occur once our minds become used to negative things occurring, the thoughts get stuck in a negative loop. This can be changed to a positive loop. Often this is a technique used within CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

The idea is that the mind notices a correlation when it experiences X then Y occurs. So every time you talk to your boss in a week they yell at you and make you feel useless lets call this X. You respond to this by feeling sad, scared, unappreciated, useless (whatever negative emotion it connects to) lets call this Y. So now the brain will make the connection with Boss X to negative emotions Y. However, when the boss is less stressed and stopped shouting your brain is still expecting X so will start to feel Y. Thus ANTs are established. This can carry over into other areas, so people who are viewed as similar to the Boss will be linked to the same negative feelings. Thus it can spiral out of control.

Now I’ve made that very simplified, it isn’t always that simple, but its a nice explanation. The idea is to recognise these ANTs and start to turn the wheel the other direction. My boss doesn’t hate me, they were having a bad week, it was their problem not mine, I am competent etc. It is hard to do. Breaking the negative cycle, but it can be done.  

If you are in the Newcastle-under-Lyme or Stoke-on-Trent ares and would like counselling to help with your ANTs or any other issues please do give Wright Minds a call.

Therapeutic Relationship

The therapeutic relationship is the combination of the counselling skills. It is the connection between the therapist and the client, the bond they create together, that as it builds allows an environment that fosters trust, love, affection, caring, understanding, concern, respect, dignity, equality, compassion, unconditional. Rogers and many other therapeutic theorists would suggest that the relationship is the most important part of therapy. That being held in this safe environment allows the client to be truly open and honest and to foster change because they are allowed to do so, and that change is accepted by the counsellor unconditionally.  If you are interested in knowing more or would like to expereince therapy for yourself and you are in the Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme area please do call Wright Minds.

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.