The phrase mental health doesn’t always sit well with me. It suggests that some of us have it and some of us don’t.
I see it more as a continuum.
We all have deep struggles. We can all lose touch with reality. We are all challenged with ourselves and the world we interact with to a greater or lesser extent.
Perhaps we smoke too much. Eat too much. Argue too much.
Perhaps we sit on the sidelines when we long to be in the game.
Perhaps we stay quiet when we want to ask someone on a date.
Perhaps a million things that get in our own way and we know it.
In this post, I’m going to share a 4 minute exercise that will soothe your anxiety. I do it myself several times a day whether I need it or not. Then I use it at those times when I feel jangly. I use it with my clients too. It works. So I’m sharing it with you.
In my therapy practice, I use a number of approaches. But my bedrock is Solution Focused Therapy. In this article I break down the philosophy and approach of Solution Focused Therapy so you can understand the ideas behind it, and why it is so effective.
When people come for therapy, they usually want one of two things: support or change.
Support while they travel through one of life’s inevitable sticky patches.
Change to bring about some transformation in life. This post is about change.
Often, when people think about change and therapy, we think it is the person who needs to change.
We’ve all witnessed this scene. We are at a party or family function. There’s a DJ. The music is too loud to talk. The tables are those huge, round ones that mean nobody is close enough to connect. A lot of people look bored and flat.
And then the DJ puts a new song on.
When Brene Brown studied people, she found something strange.
The nice people who accommodate everybody else were not nice at all. They were seething with resentment.
They seem nice. No matter what you ask, they’ll do it. Any change to agreed plans, they’ll accept it. Any extra mile you ask them to go, and they’ll go there.
You don’t have to go back into painful memories to feel better. This is one of the ways my approach steps out of the mainstream. Therapy should not be an ordeal.
Yet when I explain this, people often express doubt.
“But what about trauma?” they ask. “Surely you have to go back and heal it?”
In my role as a therapist, I get to watch lots of people feel better about life.
I am able to observe the steps they take and the difference those steps make for them.
Everybody, of course, is different. What works for you won’t necessarily work for me.
I see many guides around that help you review your year or your life.
Many of them seem self punishing. Many want to invite you to look back and beat yourself up for all the things you didn’t do.
What’s the point of that?
I’d rather use a review that celebrates progress, and connects to your hopes going forward.
In this post, I’m going to show you 5 areas of your relationship that you most need to keep track of.
Then I’ll show you the 5 questions that will help you create the relationship you most want in each of those areas.
I call it the 5×5 approach to enriching your couples relationship.
We all have a gremlin. It’s that voice that tells us things that don’t help us. The voice that has us feeling scared or self conscious or silly.
Whenever we least need it, it pops up and starts yabbering.
Let me tell you about mine. As you know, I am a musician in my spare time. The singing psychotherapist, if you like.
She was an acclaimed writer. But she had writer’s block. There was nothing she could do to get her creative mojo back.
Her psychotherapist was a writer too by the name of Irvin Yalom.
So he suggested an exercise for them both, in an attempt to inspire her.
At the end of each session they would each write up an account of it.
My clients teach me things. They’re a smart bunch.
If I did therapy the old fashioned way, I’d likely miss their wisdom. It would all be about clever old me.
The benefit of a collaborative approach like mine is that it makes full use of the smarts you have too.
They say that the left brain is for language and logic, and the right brain is for creativity.
That’s a bit simplistic because the left and right brains are connected. They talk with each other.
Unless, of course, you have had split brain surgery.
Some epilepsy sufferers who have severe grand mal seizures undergo split brain surgery. It severs the connection between left brain and right.
Feeling down in the dumps on any given day is something everyone will recognise.
We all wake up sometimes and think “uggggh”.
We all have a bad day from time to time.
Sometimes that bad day happens tomorrow too, and the next day, and the next day.
Now it’s a bad week.
I’ve been so busy recently that my house cleaning regime had fallen by the wayside.
Sometimes, something has to give.
As things got messier, they also got more overwhelming to face.
I decided that, no matter what, my bathroom floor was getting mopped.
Of course, I knew this wasn’t enough.
At the heart of therapy is change.
When people come for counselling, they are almost always seeking out some form of change.
They may want a change in their life circumstances. They may want to change their actions. Perhaps they are fine with both, and simply wish to change how they think about them.
The aliens had captured Sisko. They were more evolved creatures than us humans.
For instance, they experienced time differently to how we do.
They experienced it simultaneously. Past, present, future – to them, it was all one.
They decided to kill this lesser being, who moved through time in a linear fashion – one moment after another.
Sometimes, we need to have difficult conversations. Someone is doing something that we don’t like. We need to address it in the hope of making it right.
It’s not easy to do. They’re not called difficult conversations for nothing.
But there is a way of doing it that is more likely to result in getting your needs met without conflict.