Read our posts about counselling

How Words Healed Me

How Words Healed Me

No-one now is a greater believer in therapy than me. But hitherto there’s been one huge problem with talking cures: finding the right therapist. It took me several years, three therapists and hundreds of pounds before I found Sarah who then transformed my life. First I had to believe that I needed to embark on therapy. I was initially resistant. Eventually it was my psychiatrist who persuaded me of how valuable therapy can be. A person, unlike a pill, can listen to your story when you are well enough to tell it, and give you a fresh perspective, he said....
» Read More
Surviving University: Freshers Week and Beyond

Surviving University: Freshers Week and Beyond

If you’re just starting university, you’ll probably know that it is an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy yourself, think, meet new people, learn new things, mess around with ideas and fully embrace your independence. Universities are awesome places, in the full, religious sense of ‘awesome’, and the ideals they purport to stand for are often under threat. So try to celebrate this time. I met wonderful friends, studied something I loved, and started to be the person I wanted to be. However, looking back, I didn't settle in quickly. Others took longer. Others still...
» Read More
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...
» Read More
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...
» Read More
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...
» Read More
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...
» Read More
Military Stress

Military Stress

I am a counsellor and psychotherapist with almost 30 years experience of working as a therapist. For the last 9 years I have been a full time therapist in an unusual environment for therapy - the welfare department of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, situated at the naval base in Portsmouth. This has been a voyage of discovery for myself and the clients I have seen, chiefly because of the learning that has taken place - for me about the military ethos, and for my clients about the very concept of therapy that can seem very alien to a military mindset. Joining the...
» Read More
How CBT Helped Me Change Bad Food Habits

How CBT Helped Me Change Bad Food Habits

In a recent blog, I shared what I have learnt about using food to combat my depression and anxiety. But knowing what you should eat won’t automatically cure you of bad food habits. Our attitude to food is as much about emotion as it is about satisfying hunger. Throughout my battle with the Black Dog I have tried many approaches – one of the more effective for me being Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This involves retraining your brain to avoid patterns of negative thinking, replacing them with new more positive neural pathways. I tried to stop and judge what my...
» Read More
Therapists and Pets: Is Three a Crowd in the Consulting Room?

Therapists and Pets: Is Three a Crowd in the Consulting Room?

When therapists talk about providing a ‘safe space’ where clients feel able to open up we are usually speaking metaphorically. We mean to indicate that the consulting room will be a place where everything is treated confidentially and judgements are on hold  regarding what is said or done by the client. But ‘safe space’ took on quite a different significance for the unsuspecting client who, towards the end of her session and in mid-thought, was attacked by a Manchester therapist’s cat. The feline who broke the therapeutic boundary had slipped unnoticed through an...
» Read More
Why is There So Much Anxiety?

Why is There So Much Anxiety?

Given that we enjoy longer and healthier lives, why are so many of us suffering from anxiety? We do live in an increasingly competitive society. We are bombarded with images of ‘success’. Are we thin enough, handsome enough, rich enough, and clever enough?  We readily use words like ‘success’ and ‘failure’, yet what do these terms really mean? It doesn’t occur to us that these ordinary concerns might be a symbolic reflection of our anxiety about mortality. In my work as a therapist I have come to understand that, often, underlying our deepest anxieties are...
» Read More