Read our posts about mind

Boarding School Survivors

Boarding School Survivors

“Are we going to be head of rugby?” a well-dressed mother self-consciously jokes with another. They stand by their BMWs in the forecourt of a prep school accepting their tiny sons for the first time. Trunks have been carried in, housemasters have made brisk reassuring comments, and the ‘settling in period’ has begun. There are no tears. The scene comes from a BBC 40 Minutes documentary, made 20 years ago, called The Making of Them, in which young boarders were discreetly filmed over their first few weeks at prep school. It is available on YouTube, but careful: it...
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How to Gain Power From Misfortune

How to Gain Power From Misfortune

This obstacle in front of you —this frustrating, unfortunate, problematic, unexpected problem preventing you from doing what you want to do. How do you tackle it? What do you do? Probably what most people would do, and what you are doing right now: nothing. Whatever our individual goals, most of us sit frozen before the many obstacles that lie ahead of us. But what blocks us? Systemic issues of rising unemployment, skyrocketing costs of education, and technological disruption? Or personal insecurities of being too old, too scared, too poor, too stressed, no access, no...
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Andrew Solomon's Ode to Identity

Andrew Solomon's Ode to Identity

Andrew Solomon spent 10 years talking to more than 300 families about their children to discover what it means when your child is radically different to you, when the apple does, to contradict the saying,  “fall far from the tree”. This incredible project has won him the Wellcome Book Prize 2014. He was drawn to this subject following a journalistic assignment at a dwarf convention, but it was also because he felt so different from  his own parents. First of all as a seriously dyslexic boy whose mother worked tirelessly to get him help; secondly, as a gay man,...
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Can Celebrities De-Stigmatise Mental Illness?

Can Celebrities De-Stigmatise Mental Illness?

Long gone are the days of lowered voices and nervous shifting glances at the mention of the T word; more people than ever before are seeking therapy for a whole host of reasons and are speaking about it openly on sites like this, or to their families, and their friends. But have things changed for the better-known members of society, where a mental health diagnosis might affect public perception or their ability to make a living? In the last 10 years, the answer appears to be yes. From accomplished actors to decorated sportsman, from successful pop stars to seasoned...
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What Therapy Did For Me

What Therapy Did For Me

I have the dubious distinction of having made my therapist cry - when I said goodbye recently, after four and a half years of therapy, I gave him a small artwork I’d made which featured the words ‘you helped me change my life’.  He was moved; it was gratifying to see him cry, since I’d struggled not to throughout our entire relationship. But I was truly grateful for his care, his insights, humour and professionalism. We’d had quite a few laughs together, along with the agony, sadness and confusion. What I have now accepted is that there are times in your life when you...
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Why Philippa Perry Loves This Therapist Directory

Why Philippa Perry Loves This Therapist Directory

I am really delighted that Louise Chunn has set up the Welldoing.org directory and this is why. Up until now, it has been hard to know how to find a suitable therapist and whether you get a good match with one is far too much down to luck. I’m going to share some case studies with you: Good outcomes in therapy should not be so dependent upon chance encounters. An acquaintance told me that her partner had gone to the doctor for an erectile dysfunction problem.  The doctor referred this 48-year old man to a female counsellor who looked about 22; he felt too embarrassed...
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Why Introverts Don't Like Parties

Why Introverts Don't Like Parties

Extroverts crave excitement. They often take chances, and they tend to act on the spur of the moment. They find it hard to motivate themselves to finish tasks, but they generally have lots of friends, and love to party. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to avoid excitement and pressure from the outside world. They’re more...
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Understanding the Imposter Syndrome

Understanding the Imposter Syndrome

I first witnessed the disturbing force of the imposter syndrome while doing research on young people at the cusp of adulthood.  As they leave the family home and their long term friends for the wider world - either of higher education or employment – the familiar comparators shift, and with it, their comfortable place in the pecking order of peers.  The fear that your true ineptness will be exposed. In defence, some act like peacocks, displaying confidence to attract attention and mark status.  With lots of people around them also strutting their stuff, they may be taken in...
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Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Guardian journalist Zoe Williams has known integrative psychotherapist Julia Bueno since they were teenagers. But they have never before spoken about Julia’s profession - how it works, why she does it, and whether Zoe is sceptical about the whole process. Welldoing put them together for a truth-telling session. ZOE: My prejudice about therapy is that it's every day, it really gets into your life, it goes on for eight years, the therapist doesn't say very much and you talk yourself into an answer . JULIA: Therapy isn't like that. You are thinking about 'old...
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Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy arguably exist on a continuum;  Julia Bueno has given a good explanation of the differences in her article Who does what? Talking therapies explained on this site.  Compared to the more emotional focus of psychotherapy and counselling, coaching is typically addressed at specific issues in a person’s life which may be perceived as dilemmas, conflicts, or simply “being stuck”.  These issues very often appear at first sight to be mostly practical in nature, but a little investigation frequently reveals deeper truths.  It would certainly...
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