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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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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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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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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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Getting Too Close to Your Therapist

Getting Too Close to Your Therapist

The relationship you have with your therapist is intimate. You say things to him or her that you may never even have articulated to yourself before, let alone another person. You show them your most vulnerable side, and parts of your psyche that even you have trouble tolerating, yet they accept all this non judgmentally. In your relationship with them, you deepen your relationship with yourself. A therapist in this and other processes can become an idealised figure for their clients. An idealised figure has a lot of power over you, power that might be helpful, benign or...
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