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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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We All Use Sexist Language, Women Too

We All Use Sexist Language, Women Too

Adjectives have now become the scapegoat for a sexist culture - these naughty words are seen to be drenched in misogyny.  First “bossy” came under fire; now “feisty” is targeted. Forget feisty's positive meaning - apparently the fact that it is commonly used to describe women provides sufficient proof of bias and bad intent. When I went through the list of additional 'women only' words presented in The Telegraph Wonder Woman, I felt the frisson of easy recognition that often accompanies what psychologists call the 'confirmation bias': it is much easier to think...
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Workaholics Infect Domestic Life

Workaholics Infect Domestic Life

In Sheryl Sandberg's best-selling book, Lean In, she argues that a major reason why women don’t assert themselves at work is that they think it will make other people see them as selfish, cold and unpleasant workaholics. For men, success is correlated with niceness but successful women are often perceived as bossy and dislikable. Sandberg cites Deborah Greenfield, Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at Stanford, who explains that this is the result of a widespread assumption that women not only are nurturing, but that they should be – which...
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Don't Judge Me For Not Getting Drunk With Work Mates

Don't Judge Me For Not Getting Drunk With Work Mates

I realised that binge drinking wasn’t for me during my Fresher’s Week at university. This is the infamous time in every young adult’s life which consists of masochistically getting bladdered repeatedly, in the hope of forming some lasting bonds of friendship with a group of petrified fellow students. All so that we could LOL about our collective hangovers and embarrassing hook-ups of the morning after the night before. Of course the natural antidote to our terror about being alone was to glug as much poison as humanly possible. Away from home, and far from the...
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How to Manage Your Online Presence

How to Manage Your Online Presence

Your professional reputation matters. What you say about yourself online, what others say about you, the comments you make, the opinions you express - all these can influence whether or not colleagues trust and respect you, give you business, a promotion, or a job. It’s vital to take control of your online presence and make sure that the spaces you inhabit, and what you do and say in those spaces, fits with the image you want to project. And here’s the key - consciously thinking about how you want to appear to your professional peers. Do you want them to see you as...
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Beauty: What Lies Beneath the Makeup

Beauty: What Lies Beneath the Makeup

Inspired by the media coverage of the no-makeup selfie campaign by Cancer Research UK, I decided to research the influence of makeup on women’s lives by setting myself up as guinea pig for my student paper at the University of Warwick.   One day I went out barefaced and the next I wore noticeably more makeup than usual. How would I feel? And how would other people respond to me? I normally wear minimal makeup, but the idea of going out makeup-free even for a day made me feel uncomfortable.  I was concerned about looking unprofessional at work and...
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The Beautiful Game and Depression

The Beautiful Game and Depression

Footballer Gary Speed, former captain-turned-manager of the Welsh national team, had movie star looks, a million pound mansion, a beautiful young wife and two sports-obsessed sons. He seemed to have the world at his feet. But three years ago he took his own life after an embittered battle with depression. With the World Cup in Brazil only days away it is easy to cloak our footballers with the super human strength of gladiators in Ancient Rome. However when the arena clears and the applause dies away, cases like Speed’s are sadly far from rare. A study carried out by...
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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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Why I Left My Enchanted Cage

Why I Left My Enchanted Cage

I am standing on a bench in the Green Dragon and waving a black handbag. You have to guess what three designer items I am wearing, I say. Everyone laughs as they look at my wintry gear: yak jumper, cashmere jumper, alpaca coat, zigzaggy pony skin belt. We’re at a Green Drinks night in a free house in a small market town called Bungay in Suffolk. It’s a monthly event in which my local Transition Initiative, Sustainable Bungay, discusses environmental issues within a frame of social change. Tonight I’m the ‘expert conversationalist’ and the topic is Give and Take...
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