Read our posts about therapists

Is Masculinity A Cultural Myth?

Is Masculinity A Cultural Myth?

In my role as a counsellor I was working with a boy who had just had his 10th birthday, I asked him what did that feel like? His reply had a stereotypical ring to it which was almost chilling: “I am a man now”. There it was laid out before me; the role of being a MAN, soon to be joined by all the traditional expectations that come with that role. “Take it on the chin; No pain, no gain; Act like a man; Are you a man or a mouse”? We have all heard them so often but do we really appreciate the damage these expectations can have on that young man of 10? A Persistent...
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Men In Therapy: Why Are We Holding Back?

Men In Therapy: Why Are We Holding Back?

Why do men become therapy clients? We can also ask why men become therapists. Are men’s aims and goals, as clients and practitioners, different from those of women and, if so, have therapists really recognised this? Or, just as so many aspects of culture take the male as the norm, could it be that, for contemporary therapy, it's the female model that prevails? And men simply have to fit in. We know that men die younger than women, commit suicide more frequently, and are slower to take serious symptoms of illness to the doctor. We assume that men aren't as likely as...
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Edna O'Shaughnessy: Melanie Klein's Handmaiden

Edna O'Shaughnessy: Melanie Klein's Handmaiden

The leading Psychoanalyst Edna O’Shaughnessy is 90 years old today. For many this will be a cause for celebration of one of the UK’s leading psychoanalysts. For Mrs O’Shaughnessy (as she is more respectfully known by her colleagues and students) it will be just another day in the office as she leads the weekly clinical seminar of the Fitzjohn’s Unit at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Mrs O’Shaughnessy is a Distinguished Fellow and Training and Supervising Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society. She came to psychoanalysis from a...
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What Makes Us Who We Are?

What Makes Us Who We Are?

This unassuming question, which is nevertheless one of the most complex we are ever likely to encounter, lies at the core of psychotherapy.  Who we are, and how we deal with our experiences, forms the basis of any form of self-development, whether we are seeking help for a particular problem, or simply curious to find out more about ourselves. From its earliest inceptions psychotherapy has been concerned with people’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings, and how these are interlinked.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is currently popular, because it offers a time-limited...
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Does Facebook distort our body image?

Does Facebook distort our body image?

Facebook offers a fun way to connect with others, share photos, news and events.  However, arguably everybody uses Facebook in other subtle, self-esteem boosting ways: to project a more ideal sense of themselves, to receive supportive comments and to gain ‘likes’ from others.  Sounds warm and wonderful. But there is a flip side.  Other people are also presenting their best selves and constant social comparison can lead to self-persecutory thoughts as well as self-improving and assuring ones. Our negative thoughts provoked by a visit to Facebook can often revolve...
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Don't Let Mindfulness Unleash Your Inner Critic

Don't Let Mindfulness Unleash Your Inner Critic

Many years ago, I did what increasing numbers of people are doing – I turned to mindfulness meditation in an attempt to get my psychological health back on track. Back then it wasn't endorsed by the NHS or written about in lifestyle magazines, nor were there iPhones, let alone apps, around to help with its instruction. But despite a few cagey responses from friends and family, at long last I felt I'd found something I could 'do' that would help lift my mood and dampen down anxieties. And it worked. For a bit. What I hadn't known then though is that mindfulness often...
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Does Religion Have a Role in Therapy?

Does Religion Have a Role in Therapy?

If you lived in England a hundred years ago and described yourself as having beliefs, it would be almost certain that you went to church on Sundays, read the Bible, and said your prayers at night.Britain has changed a lot in the last hundred years.  A chaplaincy in a university or hospital, once populated by a Catholic priest and an Anglican vicar, is today a multicultural hub with representatives from all the major religions.  People’s religious and spiritual well-being has never been so well catered for -  in certain places.  In others, unfortunately understanding remains...
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Why Do Young British Men Become Jihadis?

Why Do Young British Men Become Jihadis?

The reasons why any young person leaves their home, family and friends to go and fight in a foreign country will always be complex to unravel.  It does seem incomprehensible that someone who has been raised and educated in the UK with no history of violence would be willing to get involved in acts of unspeakable brutality and yet we are told that hundreds have made that choice. There are clearly powerful global forces in play and we need the input from political theory, theology, history, social science and of course psychology to make some sense of it.  Yet, as a...
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Drugs, Sex and Gay Clubs

Drugs, Sex and Gay Clubs

We are constantly being bombarded by messages telling us we all should expect better sex and we are not getting it right if our social life is not constantly hectic and we're not acquiring Facebook friends exponentially. In other words the pressure is on, to succeed. I first met Matt about eight months ago, and his story was certainly far from unfamiliar to me. I remember asking him what he wanted from counselling and how he felt it would help him? “ I want somebody who will understand me and where I am coming from, I don't want to be judged; just understood”! He...
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Why You Should Sometimes Take Things For Granted

Why You Should Sometimes Take Things For Granted

If you were lucky, you got through your childhood with no major traumas, except for the odd domestic here and there. If you were one of these lucky people, your childhood was a time of taking things for granted; that your life was safe; that your parents were alive (and were going to stay that way forever); and that your home provided everything you needed.  This is likely to have provided you with a sense of abundance and safety. On balance, everything was probably going to be okay. If you are less lucky, your levels of resilience influence how secure and abundant...
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