Read our posts about therapy

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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My Mad Fat Diary: Journals as Therapy

My Mad Fat Diary: Journals as Therapy

It doesn't matter in which decade you were an adolescent, My Mad Fat Diary will resonate. It's dark, funny, touching and painfully true. I was never fat (though I thought I was, agonising over my weight when it crept over – shock horror! – 9st) and never mad (though it's jarring to re-read my diaries and see the young me passing off casual mention of suicidal thoughts as "nervous tension"), but watching this programme is a sweet agony. It transports me right back to those teenage years of acute self-consciousness and vulnerability when binge-eating followed by...
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Coping with Painful Anniversaries

Coping with Painful Anniversaries

Anniversaries are generally considered to be celebrations, marking events, people, places and times that we have loved and enjoyed. They bring us into contact with memories we wish to retain and relive such as birthdays, graduations and weddings to name but a few. Anniversaries have a place the world over, in culture, religion, history and society. But what happens when anniversaries become difficult? In my work as a psychotherapist I have come to believe that the reason some anniversaries are difficult is two-fold. Firstly these anniversaries act as a type of...
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How to Choose a Therapist

How to Choose a Therapist

I have to admit that simply following your intuition and inclination is not such a bad way to go. This is particularly true if you know a fair bit about therapy, such as the various different approaches. It is even more of an option if you have a clear sense of what you want to achieve in therapy. But what if you want to approach this question more systematically? Let’s work through a few variables that, from my experience, people contemplating therapy are concerned about. Age I have never heard of anyone saying ‘I really want a very young therapist’. This is...
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Who Does What? Talking Therapies Explained

Who Does What? Talking Therapies Explained

'Shrinks' come in various guises, but understanding what type of practitioner they are may help to make more sense of the work they do. Counselling or psychotherapy? First off, you may wonder about the difference between counselling and psychotherapy. Even the professionals aren't agreed on a definitive distinction, as both involve talking to someone who is trained to listen and respond in appropriate and helpful ways. However, generally, counselling deals with a specific issue over a short period of time (‘goal-oriented’), while psychotherapy tends to work...
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What Do Therapists Wear?

What Do Therapists Wear?

What we wear says a lot about us. That can be unfortunate for therapists when trying to let their clients do the talking. It can affect how people see you, whether they trust you and how much they're prepared to open up. So how does a therapist choose the right outfit?The respected psychoanalyst and psychologist, Peter Hobson, says in his new book, Consultations in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, that he always puts on a tie to meet a potential patient as “symbolic acknowledgement that, however intimate, this is a meeting within a formal framework” and to underline that his...
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The Stressed Sex?

The Stressed Sex?

“Women become insane,” opined the Victorian psychiatrist G. Fielding Blandford, “during pregnancy, after parturition, during lactation; at the age when the catamenia (periods) first appear and when they disappear…” Back in the bad old days, it was accepted that women were inherently susceptible to mental illness, due to the imagined intimate connection between brain and reproductive system. For women, read madness. In these sun-lit days of supposed gender-equality, the idea that one sex is more prone to mental illness than the other has become taboo. Wanting...
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What is Trauma?

What is Trauma?

Trauma happens just as sure as life happens. We can be happily bumbling along one minute and the next, reeling from the shock of an unexpected event. Trauma is a deeply distressing experience that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, helpless, hopeless, angry and scared. Many people describe a huge sense of loss following a traumatic event. Trauma affects both the mind and body, resulting in a set of symptoms, that continue long after the event has ended. The effects of a traumatic experience can seep through families, friends, colleagues and neighbourhoods leaving a trail of...
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Case Histories: How a Gay Man Found His Thrills

Case Histories: How a Gay Man Found His Thrills

“Do you consider any of your behaviours to be high risk?” The question about high risk behaviours is deliberately open. It’s designed to encourage people to stop and think. But most don’t activate their mental Rolodex and reflect on their online gaming or shopping habit. They brace a little and shoot back, “What do you mean?” I offer up a list of potential areas of concern at that point. Your relationship with alcohol? With gambling? With pornography? Have you ever cut or scratched yourself? Do you take pleasure in driving above the speed limit? Edward chuckled when I...
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EMDR Explained

EMDR Explained

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing may sound like an occult magic trick, but in fact it is a form of psychotherapy developed by the American psychologist Francine Shapiro in 1989. She noticed that when feeling depressed, if she moved her eyes in different directions her level of distress reduced considerably. I was first drawn to the technique because of the controversy that surrounded it. When I found out more, I became intrigued by the techniques themselves, which seemed  to produce profound changes, although seemingly simplistic and rather inexplicable...
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