Read our posts about therapy

Talking to a Sex Therapist

Talking to a Sex Therapist

I talk about sex a lot; as a sex therapist it is my job to ask questions.  I ask my male and female clients and couples to tell me very intimate details about their lives.  I ask about their childhoods, their parents, their siblings, their relationships and, of course, I ask them about sex. But I do need to constantly keep myself in check and always try to put myself in “my client’s shoes”, wondering what it must be like to be asked the most intimate questions and share sexual thoughts, feelings and practices with a stranger (well, almost a stranger). It has been said...
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Compassion: Why Being Gentle to Yourself is the Foundation of happiness

Compassion: Why Being Gentle to Yourself is the Foundation of happiness

It took me a very long time to work out the difference between being kind to myself and actually being kind to myself. I used to think a long hot bath, a yoga class or a new pair of shoes would suffice to ease a low patch or quieten my noisy inner critic. These gestures may have helped a bit, but they remained just that – actions representing a kindness rather than actions that also felt kind to myself when I did them. I could practise yoga for an hour and still feel bad. I might even feel rubbish at yoga and leave a class feeling even worse. Learning to be truly kind,...
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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 to Know Your Genitals

Getting to Know Your Genitals

As a psychosexual therapist I often deliver sexuality and sexual education workshops to the wider public, and I have delivered many training days to male, female and mixed gender groups.  The groups consist of people of all ages - ranging from as young as 16, to over 70 years old – which gives me insight into a wide array of thoughts and viewpoints. One of the topics which surfaces frequently, is the different relationship men and women have with their genitals.  Of course, there is a big difference between the sexes ... in males, genitals are external and boys from...
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Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy arguably exist on a continuum;  Julia Bueno has given a good explanation of the differences in her article Who does what? Talking therapies explained on this site.  Compared to the more emotional focus of psychotherapy and counselling, coaching is typically addressed at specific issues in a person’s life which may be perceived as dilemmas, conflicts, or simply “being stuck”.  These issues very often appear at first sight to be mostly practical in nature, but a little investigation frequently reveals deeper truths.  It would certainly...
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Knitting Therapy

Knitting Therapy

The feel of soft yarn between your fingers, the rhythmic click-click-click of knitting needles, the satisfaction of watching your work growing inch by inch while at the the same time your breathing slows, your body relaxes and the cares of the day slip away with every stitch. No wonder knitting is so popular. People knit for four main reasons - relaxation, stress relief, therapeutic qualities and in order to be productive. The rise of this old-fashioned hobby over the last few years has very little to do with thrift - after all, you can buy a scarf on the high street...
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Self-soothing: Coping with Stress

Self-soothing: Coping with Stress

Sometimes it’s the simple things that can be the most effective. Connecting to our senses promotes wellbeing and relaxation through our sight, sound, smell, and touch. Learning how to manage the everyday and extraordinary stresses of life is a vital skill – one that everyone can develop simply and easily with minimal expense. While there is little that can be done to take away the risk factor, stress - including traumatic events - is increasingly part of everyone’s experiences. While you may not be able to avoid it, you can do something to mitigate the risks and reduce...
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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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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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